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“I Know What You Did Last Adventure” - A New Way to Begin a Game

Art by Rafael Balbi for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells
I love the Adventure Title Generator in the Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum book and the one in Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells. I think they are so inspiring. When I generate a name, they always come with visual imagens in my mind and immediate plots that could transpire with a story with that name.

But a friend of mine has come up with a cool way to start a game using the Adventure Title Generator and make the players do all the work. His name is Filipe “Pep” and he calls this the “I Know What You Did Last Adventure” method!

Basically, when the game starts, you and your players randomly generate an Adventure Title using Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells - Addendum, Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells or the Lost Folios of Creation. The adventure name, however was the previous adventure and the game will start after the events of it.

The premise is that it did not go that well. Something has gone wrong and now they have to deal with the consequences. Maybe they failed to defeat the villain of the adventure and now they are trying to rectify that act. Or, maybe, the villain is now after them. Maybe the treasure they took for the Lost Citadel is cursed and now they need to get rid of it. But how?

So what we do as Referees, with the title generated together and in front of the players, is to ask questions. Some of the questions we might want to make are the following?

1. So what were you trying to do or accomplish in the adventure?
2. How it went horribly wrong?
3. Whose fault that is?
4. What good did you take out of the adventure?
5. Did you make an enemy?
6. Did you make a friend?
7. What were the consequences?
8. What are you going to do now?
9. Where are you now?

And, of course, depending on the players’ answers, other questions might become important. This is more of a collaborative effort between the Referee and the players.

Let’s suppose the Adventure Title generated was “The Citadel of One Thousand Eyes”. And we asked all of those questions above. We could have the following answers.

1. So what were you trying to do or accomplish in the adventure?
Actually, we had hired a crew of the Centurion Falcon ship to follow a treasure map we bought from a crazy old man in the city’s bazaar, but a strange storm that had green lightning destroyed our ship, killing most of the people in it. We manage to survive and swim to a nearby island that didn’t appear in the map. There, inside a primeval jungle, we found a Citadel made of pinkish marble. No living soul could be found in that eerie place, but hundreds of statues lined the avenues and streets of that citadel. Inside the marble manors we found riches beyond any of our dreams and we filled our pockets, sacks and backpacks with gold, jewels and silver, not realizing we were carrying our own demise. As we collected our treasures, we felt like a thousand eyes were observing us, eyeing each and everyone of us as thieves, heretics and unworthy. It didn’t take long before the first sailor lost their mind and started to attack us, accusing us of thievery. One by one they fell into madness and we had to flee. By the will of the Gods, we found a small boat on the beach on the other side of the island and we manage to sail into the ocean until we were found by a merchant boat.

2. How it went horribly wrong?
You see, the treasure we took is cursed, now anyone who sees it, see it as the thousand eyes who guarded it, and wants to kill us for the heresy of stealing it.

3. Whose fault that is?
I don’t know, it isn’t really ours. Or maybe it is. We took what wasn’t ours.

4. What good did you take out of the adventure?
Well, we did manage to spend a lot of gold and buy us nice things and a little comfort, but now people want us killed.

5. Did you make an enemy?
Many. Anyone who sees the gold want us dead. So, everyone is a potential enemy?

6. Did you make a friend?
Since we can’t trust anyone, our bond of friendship and companionship are stronger than ever. But a new friend is hard to make under these circumstances. Especially when you can’t spend a coin to buy them a beer at the tavern.

7. What were the consequences?
We can’t spend the treasure we found, and can’t get rid of it unless we want everyone out there to draw their blades at us.

8. What are you going to do now?
We need to find that strange and mysterious island again and return all the gold there. Do you think we need to get back the gold we spent already?

9. Where are you now?
At the docks of the Great City, trying to decide if we steal a ship or try, somehow, to hire a crew to take us on this crazy adventure.

As an exercise, at the end of the game, why not try to come up with a title for the adventure they just played based on the last one?

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