When You Steal This Cheesy Idea You Won’t Believe What Happens Next
Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0949
Use clickbait as irresistible adventure and encounter hooks.
Clickbait catches characters like catnip does cats. And when players bite, your jaw will drop.
Awhile ago I tried writing clickbait subject lines for my Roleplaying Tips emails to you. Readers called me out on that and asked me to stop. Thank you. I failed my WIS save there.
But clickbait in your campaigns is actually a pretty good tactic.
When NPCs drop hooks to your 5 Room Dungeons using clickbait formulas, it gets your players interested.
Clickbait creates mysteries and engenders curiosity.
Easy Clickbait Adventure Hooks
Here’s a simple approach you can try.
Step I: Pick an important detail from your adventure. For example, a detail about the entrance, news on what the reward is, or the nature of a nasty obstacle.
Step II: Choose a clickbait headline you like from the internet. Tweak it for your adventure hook.
Step III: Add a prop for the NPC. A clue. Evidence. An example. Something physical in roleplay.
Step IV: Use the prop to draw the PCs into conversation. Then unleash your clickbait hook. Reveal it as a story
Step V: Turn the clickbait punchline into the mystery. The PCs need to go on your adventure to get the answer.
Example: The Gut Monster
You tell your players a farmer sits alone. Everyone in the tavern gives him a wide berth. Something slimy and bloody sits on his table. The farmer yells drunkenly for another ale.
No player can resist the prop. What’s the thing on the table?
When the PCs mosey on over to find out more, the farmer slurs at them, “He didn’t know what was inside him the whole time! When we cut it out we couldn’t believe our eyes.”
Turns out the little monster on the table was inside the farmer’s son-in-law, Jeb. When it started to squirm and Jeb started screaming the farmer sliced open Jeb’s guts and the creature fell out. Jeb stomped on it. Then died.
The farmer’s daughter then discovered weird footprints near the farm. They lead into the forest….
You arm the farmer with a few more clues and details he can relay to the players.
But the kicker is when the farmer suddenly screams and a larger specimen claws its way out of his gut and attacks the PCs….
Now that’s an adventure hook!
An adventure hook so shocking your players will lose their sanity!
It’s gut-check time.
Google “best clickbait headlines.” Write a few to get a feel for it. I’d love to read what you create.