Go from Zero Ideas to Complete, Playable Adventures Guided the Whole Way with my Step-By-Step Recipe
Become a Wizard at Adventure Design With My Complete
Wizard of Storytelling Adventure Building Course
for Tabletop Game Masters
Creating adventures is tough. Where do you start? How to you write the story? How do you create the encounters? And how to you build up to that epic finale encounter with Demogorgon?
Welcome to my course on how to build complete adventures for tabletop and online RPG campaigns. Through online lessons including videos, handout, and templates, I'll guide you all the way to the finish, even you have haven't the slightest idea on what you want your adventure to be about today.
If we haven't met, my name is Johnn Four and I've been publishing RPGs, award-winning GM how-to books, and online courses and workshops for game masters 17 years. I wrote a column in Dragon Magazine for years, co-wrote the D&D DMG II, launched two hugely successful game master courses online, and continue to write an email newsletter several times each week with my latest tips for GMs. It's nice to meet you, fellow game master. :)
I know how tough it is making awesome adventures. So I'd like to invite you to my online course where I'll go through an awesome system for creating open-ended adventures. You can follow me every step of the way and look over my shoulder as I build a complete adventure using this unique and thorough system.
And you can choose to build your own adventure alongside me, or just watch and learn as I go through all the steps of my recipe while I create an actual adventure before your eyes.
Let's make an adventure together!
What You Need to Know
Not long ago I put together an adventure-building workshop. There were two parts to it. The first was the core study material. The second part was access to me as we went through the material and my special adventure-making recipe. It was supposed to last just a couple of months and be fairly small.
However, I kept adding more lessons, making new videos based on member questions, and expanding the workshop.
The Wizard of Story program is now several courses and growing! After enrollment, you will have access to the largest and most thorough online program on building RPG adventures in the world.
Here's What You Get Today
After purchasing the course, you'll get a login and can start browsing lessons right away. And it's all self-paced, so you can fit it into your schedule.
All lessons are unlocked immediately, so you can skip around anytime if you are interested in learning about specific topics like treasure pools, encounter challenges, sandbox design, and so on.
You also get lifetime access. So you can come back anytime to review or resume the course. I always find it helpful re-watching my favorite lessons in courses after gaining more experience (you can mark lessons in the Adventure Building Course as favorites just for this purpose).
There are currently four courses 100% complete and available to you today:
- Adventure Building Workshop: 39 Lessons. How to create sandbox + hexcrawl + story path type adventures
- Adventure Building Master Game Plan: 59 Lessons. We go deep into how to homebrew wondrous adventures.
- Adventure Hacking: 24 Lessons. How to prepare published adventures and mine them for homebrewing.
- The New Game Master's Guide to Adventure Design: 6 Lessons. By Sojourner's Awake, you'll learn how to design an adventure from scratch using a neutral tabletop roleplaying setting and a simple story led system.
Work in Progress (Coming in 2022/2023)
The following are being written as we speak and will be published in 2022/2023:
- Wizard of Story: This ties all the pieces together into a step-by-step blueprint for brewing your own wondrous adventures.
- 5 Room Dungeon Workshop: Learn how to Plot, Build, and Polish epic 5 Room Dungeons to entertain your players for years to come.
I Am Helping You Each Step of the Way
Each lesson has a interaction area. If ever uncertain about things, or if you need additional advice, you can ask me questions directly as you work through the course materials.
The course works from scratch. It starts with how to create a strong adventure concept called The Razor that will guide you through the entire recipe. Then I will show you how to create an adventure outline, flesh out the details, build encounters, and smooth everything out.
I also cover all the nuances and smaller but critical steps in good adventure design, like what structure to choose (sandbox, linear, hexcrawl), how to integrate the PCs and get them invested in your story, how to make interesting new monsters, how to get players to roleplay more via adventure design, and other things like that.
Is This Course For You?
For years I struggled with adventure building. So I finally sat down, did the research, modelled several methods I found in books and online, and created my own successful recipe.
Once I started following a consistent recipe and levelled-up my skills each adventure, my confidence grew, my adventures improved, and now I'm about to publish my first mega-adventure to the world.
You will follow the same path (professional publishing optional, heh), but your quest will be one hundred times shorter because I've cut out the crappy parts learned from trial and error:
Building adventures in my unique way of linear + sandbox + hexcrawl blended format is awesome, because with a bit of up-front work, you get an adventure that's easy to run, simple to maintain, and goes practically on auto-pilot after the Inciting Encounter. I'd even call these adventures mini-campaigns, because your group will get so much mileage out of them.
Build adventures this way, and you get a lot more roleplaying out of your players too. You'll see what I mean when I lay it all out during the workshop.
The Adventure Building Course is NOT for you if:
- You don't like building adventures. It sounds obvious, but this course is not a magic pill for instant adventure creation.
- You play pure story-type games. Parts of the course will apply to you, but a lot goes into designing for game with experience points, treasure, and crunch.
- You have just one player. Parts will apply to you too, but I'd actually take a few different approaches for solo campaigns than I take in this course.
The Adventure Building Course IS for you if:
- You want to create grand adventures will full story arcs, roleplaying and action scenes, that span at least three sessions.
- You play D&D-type games (e.g., D&D 1-5E, OSR, Pathfinder, Traveller, Dungeon World) with XP, monsters, tactical combat, treasure allocation, story arcs, and encounter designs.
- You have at least 30 minutes a week. Most videos are 10-15 minutes long. If you can watch two a week, you'll be learning consistently, and soon your brain will be going mad with ideas and a desire to start taking action.
What's in the Course
Here's a quick list of the 39 core lessons in the Adventure Building Course:
Building the Core
- 01 The Razor
- 02 Your Premise
- 03 Ideation
- 04 Workflow
- 05 Sections of Work
- 06 Meta Details and First Map
- 07 Scope and Encounter Budget
- 08 Adventure Planning Stat Block
- 08b Adventure Planning Template Part II
Fleshing It Out
- 09 Tomar’s Crossing First Pass
- 10 Encounter Outline
- 11 Encounter Outline Completed
- 12 Location Stories
- 13 Location Stories Finished
- 14 Villain Stories
- 15 Location & Encounter Stories + Necro Lair
- 16 “Encounter Complete” First Draft Design Notes
- 17 Encounter Stat Block
- 18 Minimized Encounter Stat Block
- 19 XP and GP Budgets
- 20 Location Introductions
- 21 The Grind + Description Text Tips
- 22 Be Agile
- 23 Creating the Village of Tomar’s Crossing
- 24 Building an NPC Relationship Map
- 25 Story Overlays
- 26 Events vs. Encounters
- 27 Villains & Rivals
- 28 Home Bases
- 29 Critical Paths & Parallel Endings
- 30 Combat Missions
- 31 Loopy Planning
- 32 Factions & Faction Pyramids
- 33 The OODA Loop
- 34 Sandbox Play
- 35 Mining Carts
- 36 The Knowledge Table
- 37 The Legends System
- 38 Loopy Tables
- 39 Spikes of Danger
- Q&A #1
- Q&A #2
- Q&A #3
All told, it's:
- 39 course videos
- 3 Q&A videos
- 12+ hours of material
- Lifetime access
- Download all lessons as MP4 videos and MP3 audio files for offline listening and watching
- Track your progress as you go
Loot the Adventure Treasure Horde
In addition to the almost forty lessons, the Adventure Building Course comes with several cool add-ons and bonuses to help you successfully build great adventures:
Bonus Loot #1: Evernote Mini-Course
Learn how to use Evernote to help write and organize your adventures.
8 easy lessons show you the ins and outs and getting around and using this excellent software, specifically with RPG, GMing, and adventure building in mind.
- The secret philosophy of Evernote that if you go against it will make this app nearly impossible to use, but once you understand it, will unlock its true potential for gaming
- How to use Notes and Notebooks to organize your gaming
- The magic of Tags and how to tag your notes for best results
Bonus Loot #2: Transcripts & PDF Book
I'm having all 39 course videos transcribed so you can soon read the lessons too!
Once all transcriptions have been completed and edited, I'll then be compiling them into a PDF book you can download and read anytime.
I'm really excited about the video transcripts, because they'll allow you to textually search the entire course for faster look-ups and reference.
Bonus Loot #3: The Demonplague Dungeon
When a glacier melts instantly, and the deluge wipes out Luna Valley, who will survive in this apocalyptic grim sword & sorcery 5E adventure?
Guiding you every step of the way, I create my own adventure alongside you as a real life example of adventure construction. Note, this adventure features all three modes to illustrate your preferred type of adventure design: linear epic story, sandbox, and hexcrawl.
As a thank you for investing in this course, you will not only get the numerous drafts of the Demonplague Dungeon adventure to see adventure design in its stages of progress, but you will get the final, polished PDF and a discount coupon for the print version when ready.
My Critical Fumble Guarantee
As always, I stand fully behind my work. So if I roll a 1 for you, and you don't get any value out of the workshop, email me anytime and request a refund.
I won't put you in a hard spot and ask why you want your money back, that's always uncomfortable and weird. So I'll just refund you and we'll stay friends. Cool?
Also, I don't know how long the workshop is going to last. I'm not stopping until the adventure is done. So there's no time limit on my guarantee.
There's no risk to you now. Register for the workshop knowing if you aren't satisfied you always have the option of a full refund.
Praise From Workshop Game Masters
Here's what students have to say:
Hi, Johnn! I am an Adventure Building Workshop member. I just want to say that I loved all of the forums and the positive interaction with you and the members of this group. It really inspired me and got me to believe with 100% certainty, that I could publish adventures, and not just for fun, but professionally and for earning money as well.
I have created a 100+ page adventure module, a smaller, 14 page adventure, and I am and have been working on a huge quarterly aid for Game Masters, soon to see the light of day via Kickstarter. I learned so much and it was somehow easier than expected, convenient, and you get to meet some wonderful and very cool people. This is the best course I have ever taken and very VERY well worth the money, times TEN.
Johnn, your Adventure Builder Workshop is fantastic. The video guides are incredible, and I'm getting so much from the process of creating an exciting adventure that's truly equal to a professional publication.
The range of materials are so valuable to me.In the video presentations, you are clear, concise, and helpful. It is like having a new GM best friend sharing all their tricks and tips.
My favourite parts so far have been the design workflow and encounter budget, combat missions, and sandbox play. I'm really enjoying this, Johnn. This workshop is such a fantastic addition to my library.
Join the Adventure With Me Now
$97 Beta Access
One-Time Payment Only
Free Updates & Add-Ons
Follow at Your Own Pace
90 Day Critical Fumble Guarantee
What game systems does the workshop support?
While my design approach is nearly universal, I'd say the workshop is best suited for D&D-esque games. That includes all versions of D&D, Pathfinder, Traveller, Rolemaster, Heroquest, Dungeon World, and OSR games.
I feel this way because I frame things up in terms of encounters, treasure, experience points, challenge ratings, hit points, classes, and other concepts most familiar to GMs of these types of systems.
The sections on adventure outlines, sandbox, and hexcrawls, and other learnings are applicable to nearly every RPG. But I reference things in D&D-esque terms.
If you find the workshop doesn't apply well to your game system, you are definitely welcome to take advantage of my Critical Fumble Guarantee and request a refund. There's no risk to you.
What software, computer, or device do I need to do the workshop?
The workshop website is 100% responsive. So it does not matter if you watch the videos and chat via desktop, tablet, or phone.
No special software is needed to watch the videos or do any of the optional activities. You can create your entire adventure in Note Pad if you wanted!
I do link to files on Google Drive. However, you will not need a Google account to access them. I'll give you special links that do not need Google login.
All videos are downloadable. So you also do not need a high speed internet connect. If you find watching the videos online is too laggy, just download the files instead and watch them offline.
I have another question, how can I contact you?
Cool beans! I love questions. If a question gets asked a few times, I'll add it to these FAQs.
Email me anytime at [email protected]
Hi Johnn, I have greatly benefited from your adventure building workshop. I was a the brink of leaving the hobby when your workshop advertisement came around and you sparked a flame nearly extinguished. I'm really thankful for that. The videos and curriculum are excellent and well worth the time and money.