KOBOLD Guide to Game Design—Volume 1: Adventures

***** (based on 9 ratings)
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Practical Advice from Great RPG Designers

Ever wondered what it takes to make it as a freelancer? Want to improve your homebrew adventures?

Wonder no more!

The KOBOLD Guide to Game Design distills years of professional experience into a collection of design wisdom that can improve your game and vastly increase your odds of selling a publisher on your work.

  • Your Audience and Making the Pitch
  • Design Tips and Tricks
  • Writerly Craft
  • Pacing and Drama
  • Worldbuilding
  • Genres from Noir to Arabian and Underdark
  • City Adventures
  • ...And More!

This 88-page collection of 15 essays—many previously presented only to patrons of OPEN DESIGN—is now available to the public for the first time. It also collects design wisdom from the pages of KOBOLD QUARTERLY magazine.

Authors include Keith Baker, Wolfgang Baur, Ed Greenwood, and Nicolas Logue.

Product Availability

PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Print Edition: Unavailable

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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Average product rating:

***** (based on 9 ratings)

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This Covers a Need Exactly

*****

Though short, this is packed full of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. I have read articles and "how-to" blogs, books, and threads about the very topics this book covers, and none of them reach this level of informative and entertainment quality.

Baur not only explains the information the reader needs to hear, but he does it well and in a way that can be understood.

This book is for a GM who is looking for help on how to write his own material, a new freelance writer who does not have a personal coach, or a seasoned world craftsman looking to perfect their art.

This book is worth more then the purchase cost, and if used to boost freelance writing skills it will more then repay for itself.


Great resource

*****

This is exactly the sort of "nuts & bolts" resource I've been wishing for as a DM since I first picked up a DMG, and I unreservedly recommend it to anyone who strives to improve their adventures.

I only have one quibble: at least in the .pdf, there are a ton of typos!


Useful RPG designer ressource

*****

This guide is a great book about the design of a RPG adventure that I take a pleasure to read and to grab the knowledge.
Even, some of the advice can work for other things of life than the design of an adventure.


An RPG Resource Review

*****

People often say that they know what makes a good adventure, or the sort of things they want to see in one, but few - until this product - have attempted to tease out how to make it all work. Herein is a collection of 15 essays about the adventure design process, what works and what does not, but all with one eye cocked at not just writing good adventures, but also publishable ones.

The Introduction is pretty much an outline of how the first few essays came about and why the authors began to share this kind of material - with many of the essays having developed out of ideas kicked around during the development of Open Design projects.

The first essay looks at The 3 Audiences, and analyses how there are three quite different groups of people to whom your adventure must appeal if you hope to see it in print: the publisher, the gamemaster and the players. It's short, both in length and detail, but thought-provoking nevertheless. The next essay looks at the merits of compact and concise writing, then there's one on how real writers push on past the fun parts of writing to ensure that the piece is as good as they can possibly make it, but also knows when to stop and mail it in ... you are already getting the idea of a collection of essays that will really make you think, whether you are a published author (or want to be one) or are interested in some of the thinking which goes into the role-playing books and magazines that you read.

Will reading this improve your writing? No, you have to do that for yourself. But this work will get you thinking about what you do and that WILL make you a better writer. This can benefit you even if it's not RPG adventures that you write, or want to write. Who knows, I may even write better reviews! There is a whole bunch of fascinating ideas here, which will send me back to read, reread and above all think more about what I'm doing when I write and run games.


Good for Designers, and Good for GM's

*****

Did you like Wolfgang Baur's "Adventure Builder" series on the WotC website? Did you like his (short) run of "Dungeoncraft" articles? Consider these kind of like the graduate-level semester.

These essays were written for a specific audience:

  • writers interested in freelance design work (for example, essay #2, "Shorter, Faster, Harder, Less" on writing tersely)
  • GM's willing to spend money, time, and effort to create kick-butt adventures and experiences for their players (for example, Nick Logue's "Stagecraft", on cinematic techniques)
(If you're happy running modules as written, there's not a lot here that will interest you.) Wolfgang culled the best of the Open Design essays for this collection.

My recommendation: get the print version. It's well-assembled and a nice size.


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Liberty's Edge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Just finished reading, you guys need to get this one.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Ordered the print edition from Wolfgang this week. :)


I'll be picking mine up...*checks calendar* next Monday, when I get paid. Depending on how things go, I may be picking up a copy of GM Gems, the critical hit deck, and a card capsule to store said deck in. And deck protectors. I love Paizo!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
SirUrza wrote:

Just finished reading, you guys need to get this one.

Ordered mine as well. Thanks for the heads-up Sir Urza.


When is this coming out print again?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So does this give tips on getting published, or on how to publish your own work via PDF or something. Or is this more like GM advise. Wasn't sure, but I would like to gain some insight on starting up a publishing house (small one obviously) and would like to know how much I don't know.


Andre Caceres wrote:
So does this give tips on getting published, or on how to publish your own work via PDF or something. Or is this more like GM advise. Wasn't sure, but I would like to gain some insight on starting up a publishing house (small one obviously) and would like to know how much I don't know.

It's more on how to craft an adventure and points to remember when making a story. If its industry stuff you want to know about, try taking a look at this.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Lilith wrote:
Andre Caceres wrote:
So does this give tips on getting published, or on how to publish your own work via PDF or something. Or is this more like GM advise. Wasn't sure, but I would like to gain some insight on starting up a publishing house (small one obviously) and would like to know how much I don't know.
It's more on how to craft an adventure and points to remember when making a story. If its industry stuff you want to know about, try taking a look at this.

Thanks for the info.

TTFN Dre

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

As I'm going to be writing a lot of adventures in the future, mostly for Dragonlance but also some for Pathfinder, this book should be very helpful to me. It's always good to learn some tricks from the best.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Lilith wrote:
Andre Caceres wrote:
So does this give tips on getting published, or on how to publish your own work via PDF or something. Or is this more like GM advise. Wasn't sure, but I would like to gain some insight on starting up a publishing house (small one obviously) and would like to know how much I don't know.
It's more on how to craft an adventure and points to remember when making a story. If its industry stuff you want to know about, try taking a look at this.

Louis Porter has recently released some of that information, updated and in PDF form, here.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Are they any way to get this book in Canada without paying a unknown price because the shipment, the conversion, etc?

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

dragonvan wrote:
Are they any way to get this book in Canada without paying a unknown price because the shipment, the conversion, etc?

At paizo.com, you'll be given the exact shipping price before you check out... but we only accept payment in US dollars, so currency conversion is still in play.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

when is this coming out in print again? I had it in my shopping cart yesterday and now it's showing as "unavailable...

M

The Exchange Kobold Press

Mauricio Quintana wrote:

when is this coming out in print again? I had it in my shopping cart yesterday and now it's showing as "unavailable...

Yeah, it sold out rather quickly. However, it is still available at Kobold Quarterly right now, and I hope to have a restock to Paizo in February.

And hey, congrats on making Top 32!

The Exchange Kobold Press

This book was nominated for an ORIGINS award today. Yowza!

Contributor

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
This book was nominated for an ORIGINS award today. Yowza!

WOOT!

Sovereign Court Contributor

Yahoo! Way to go, guys!

Sovereign Court

Awesome! This was a fantastic read! Glad to see it's getting the respect it deserves!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

I finally buy this book in my LGS with the volume two and the PFRPG Core Rulebook at the street release date of this last book. It was an awesome book to read about the design of an adventure. Also, it can work to all system of RPG or the presentation of a useful document for a customer.

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