The first thing you must do as a referee is create adventures for your players. Adventures can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. You can design them completely from your imagination, or take ideas from books and movies.

There are six steps to creating an adventure:

1. Choosing a theme or basic story and the goal of the adventure.
2. Selecting the settings where the story takes place;
3. Designing the events that lead to the goal, and the obstacles that must be overcome to reach the goal;
4. Creating the non-player characters and creatures that the characters will meet, and deciding how they will affect play;
5. Writing any special rules that are needed for unusual events;
6. Writing a final outline of the adventure to guide the referee through the action.


When choosing a theme for your adventure, you should consider these three things:

--- What has happened before that led to this adventure?
--- What must the characters do to complete their job?
--- What sorts of obstacles do you want the players to face during the adventure?

Some suggestions beginning referees can use to create simple adventures are listed below:

--- Explore a New World: The player characters are hired to explore an undeveloped planet. This theme can be used many times by creating new planets with new challenges.

--- Obtain Information: The player characters must search for special information about a place, group or thing and return to their employer with the information.

--- Retrieve a Stolen Item: The player characters are hired to locate and bring back to their employer something that has been stolen perhaps secret plans or an invention.

--- Catch Criminals: The player characters must find and capture space pirates, thieves or other criminals.

--- Rescue Someone: The player characters must locate and rescue someone who is being held prisoner -- a hostage, kidnap victim or a person in prison.

--- Mad Scientist: The player characters must prevent an evil scientist from taking over a planet, setting loose terrible robots or performing some other evil.

These are only a few examples of possible adventures. You could even combine several of these themes into one adventure. You could also create an adventure based on something discovered by the player characters in an earlier game. This adds excitement as players use information they have found in earlier adventures to solve the riddles of another.


The settings or locations of an adventure determine the events that can take place and what animals and events can be encountered; guards and robots can be encountered while searching a secret outpost, but wild creatures and dangerous terrains are more likely if characters are exploring a new planet. Your settings can be as big or small as you want to make them. An entire adventure could take place in a single building, or it couId require the characters to travel halfway around a planet.

The settings you select should have a purpose in the adventure. The players should be able to complete some part of their objective at each place. For example, when searching for someone lost in the wilderness, searchers can find important clues at the spot where the lost person was last seen, at the site of an old campfire, at a spot where they find a dead beast with a trail of blood leading away, etc. At each setting, players can discover the direction the person traveled, how long ago he was there and what has happened to him.

When designing a setting, you should try to answer these questions:

--- What is the setting's purpose? When during the adventure will the characters arrive there? What information are the characters supposed to find there?

--- What does the setting look like? What are the most important features: where are trees and streams, doors and furniture?

--- What types of creatures, characters and events will the characters meet there? Are there any important plants or weather conditions, alarms or robots? These are not necessarily challenges to the players. They can be used to identify the area.

--- Are there any other important features about this setting? Does it limit movement in some way or hide things from sight? Does it have obstacles the characters must overcome?

As you decide on each setting, write it down, including all special information about the setting.


Once you have chosen the theme and settings for an adventure, you must design the adventure itself. An adventure is divided into several smaller challenges that the players must overcome. Each of the challenges must be placed in a specific setting.

When designing an adventure, first determine what events or challenges you want. Each event should provide an obstacle to overcome, a lesson to be learned or an opportunityto gain something that will aid the characters in reaching their goal. Events should always be exciting or provide a puzzle that the players must overcome with their wits. Follow each of these four steps when designing events.

--- Decide what purpose the event will fulfill. Is it an obstacle to fight or overcome? A puzzle to solve? A chance to gain something helpful? Or an event just to add excitement?

--- Determine all the elements needed in the event. Will the player characters encounter NPCs, creatures, robots, fouI weather, physical obstacles or security systems?

--- Decide how NPCs, creatures or robots will react to the player characters, and what actions they will take.

Random Events. Sometimes, referees may wa nt to set up encounters or events that occur randomly, instead of being pre-planned. Usually, random encounters are tied to die rolls that are made at certain time intervals or when characters enter an area. For example, the referee could decide the characters have a 20% chance of being attacked by wild animals every night they spend in the mountains, or a 30% chance of meeting a criminal in a seedy part of town.

Random events shou Id be created whent he adventure is designed. If you have only one random event, you can simply give it a percentage chance of happening. If you have more than one random event, you can arrange them on a table and assign a percentage chance that one will happen. Then, if there is a random event, you roll a second time to see which specific event happens. If you have more than one event, you can let each one happen only once, or let an event happen whenever it is rolled up.

EXAMPLE: A referee wants to set up random encounters for characters that are searching for a missing caravan in a region with thick forests. He decides the chance for a random event is 20% every five hours. If the searchers have an encounter, he rolls 1 d10 on the Random Events table he made up.

Die RollEvent

Attacked by 5 flying shriekers
Heavy rainstorm, the searchers must stop moving
Attacked by 2 tree-cats
Ground-monkeys steal a piece of equipment
Searchers meet forest nomads

Arranging Events. Once you have designed your events you must determine their order in the adventure. The events should lead step by-step to the goal. However, the order does not have to be strict and unbreakable. Players may be able to reach their goal using several different paths through the events. Some events may not lead anywhere, and players will need to return to an earlier encounter to find the right path.

NPCs and Creatures

After you have chosen the events that will lead your players to their goal, you must create the NPCs and creatures that will be encountered in the game and write down any information you will need to know about them to use them in the game.

Determine the purpose of each NPC and creature in the adventure. Make sure they fit the purpose of the adventure and decide what they need to fill that purpose. For example, a guard needs a weapon and a technician needs a toolkit. You should try to make your creatures and NPCs fit the adventure and the setting. A gentleman would not live in a shack and wild creatures do not roam the city streets.

Special Rules

If any of your events involve special situations that are not covered in the game rules, you should think about them before starting to play the adventure and decide how you will handle these situations when they arise. You may want to design special rules for new equipment, alien devices, general skills, weather, strange terrain or anything else called for by the event. Try to keep your special rules simple. Write down any special rules you make up, so if that situation ever comes up again, you can handle it the same way.

Write a Script

When you have decided the order of the events, you should write all the information you need to play in a script that shows when things should happen. It is best to write down everything you need to know about each event so that you do not forget to give players important clues that will affect their decisions. Number each event, so that you will know its order. You can put the number of the event on a map so you can see where the event is to take place. Each written event should include the following information:

1. A description of what the characters can see.
2. A description of what happens when characters enter the setting, including NPC and creature reactions.
3. Ability scores for any NPCs or creatures that will be encountered in the area.
4. Any special rules for the event.
5. Random event probabilities.
6. Notes about what the characters can discover from the event.
7. Notes on what should happen if the characters succeed, if they fail, or take some other course of action.

Read your script several times, putting yourself in the position of a player trying to move through the adventure. Make different choices to see whether you accounted for the most likely possibilities. Make sure your challenges are not too easy or too difficult. Players should need to use reason and judgment to overcome the challenges. However, you can not think of everything before the game, so try to be flexible and make sure each event challenges the players.

Creating Maps

Once you have finished creating the adventure you should make the mapsyou will need during the game. There aretwotypes of mapsthat are very useful: a guide map to show the overall layout of the adventure and playing maps that are used during combat.

Guide Maps. Guide maps show the area where the adventure takes place in small scale. They do not show much detail, but can be used to mark areas where characters will have encounters, and show the types of terrain characters must travel through. A guide map typically has a scale of 1 to 20 km per hex or square.

Combat Maps. Combat maps are drawn on half-inch square grids and used with the counters during fights. The scale on these maps typically is 2 to 10 meters per square. They can show any amount of detail that the referee wants. Important features like doors, windows, security devices and natural dangers should be shown.

Indexing the Maps. Listing information about all of the important encounter areas directly on a map would be very confusing. Instead, encounter areas should be coded with a number or letter, and an explanation recorded or. a separate sheet of paper. This way, the referee can see at a glance where the important areas are on his map. The maps included with the adventure SFO, Crash on Volturnus, are good examples of how to set up both combat and guide maps. the sample adventure on the next page also includes two very simple maps, one a guide map with a scale of 1 kilometer per hex and the other a combat map with a scale of 2 meters per square.

Players' Maps. In many adventures, characters will want maps of their own. The referee should prepare these maps himself, and let the players keep them. Generally, these should be about the same as the referee's guide map, but without the notes and indications of where important information can be found. The players' map should include only the information that would be included on a regular map (unless the characters have found a hand-made treasure map or something similar).


This sample adventure was designed to show referees how to make simple adventure maps and key the events to them.

Mission. A ship that has been missing for several days is believed to have crashed into the planet. The characters must locate the ship rescue any survivors and find out why the ship crashed.

Start. An aerial search spotted a grove of barren trees that might have been burned in a fire started by the ship. The ship could not be seen from the air. The characters are landed near the barren trees and given a homing device that can detect the ship's emergency beacon. The aircar will return in 20 hours.

1. Barren Trees. The trees in this area are bare and look as though they were burned. Smaller trees, low plants and shrubs are not damaged, however. The homer will pick up the ship's beacon to the southeast, where the characters can see something that looks like billowy clouds just above the trees.

2. Radio Beacon. The ship's emergency beacon is snagged in a tree, 10 meters above the ground. Aher the characters find the beacon, five stranglerchuteswillblowintotheareaandonewillsettleonthetree that holds the beacon. If any character fails to evade the chute's filaments, he is caught and must be freed by his companions. The wind is blowing from the southwest, so the beacon could have drifted from that direction.

3. Stream. This stream is 5 meters wide. Characters will notice an oil slick on the opposite side, drifting downstream.

4. Mire and Slither. Large patches of oil are floating on top of the muddywater in this swamp. There are several dry mounds of land the characters can stand on, but one of them is a slither. The characters can see a flock of winged rippers circling over the trees to the west.

5. Bodies. The bodies of two Yazirians in Hepplewhite, Inc., work uniforms are Iying here. They have been dead for several days. Thirty winged rippers will attack if the characters approach the bodies. The Yazirians' medkit still contains three doses of biocort, two stimdoses and one dose of omnimycin.

6. The Spaceship Wreck. The wrecked ship is crashed into the side of a hill and buried beneath vines and plants. Oil and vapors are leaking from the exposed engines. The entry hatch is blown open, but is hidden beneath churned-up plants and vines.

A. Entry Lock. The inner hatch is locked. Any tampering will activate a recording that says, "Only authorized Hepplewhite, Inc., employees are allowed past this point. Please enteryour securitycode." The door has a level 1 security lock. It must either be opened by a technician or blown open with explosives.

B. The Cockpit. A short ladder leads up to the cockpit. The body of a Human pilot is strapped into the seat. All of the instruments are scorched and ruined, but beneath the pilot's seat is a black box labeled "Flight Record" that seems undamaged. If the characters play the tape, they will hear a Yazirian saying, "There s been an explosion! Dierba is dead. I'm sealing off the engine compartment. Has anyone seen Rinny?" There is a fire extinguisher on the wall and an odd, slimy trail on the floor.

C, D. Wrecked Cabins. The room to starboard is caved in and contains nothing ofvalue. Ablacktrail ofslimecoversthe plasticfloor in the port room. There is a child's toy on one of the bunks. The crash weakened the floor, so anyone walking into the room must make a Reaction Speed check or fall through the floor, taking 1 d5 +2 points of damage.

E. Storage. All three storage lockers on the right are open and empty. There is a fire extinguisher on the wall and many black slime trails on the floor.

F. Rear Hatch. If the characters open this hatch, they will find dangling wires that are throwing sparks. Touching the wires will cause 2d10 points of damage and stun the character for 1d10 minutes. To enter this area, characters must use an insulated tool to move the wires out of the way. Two doors leading down to the cargo area are blown open. A ladder leads up to the engine pods, and the hatch is badly scorched. An access panel in the port wall is open. More slime trails cries-cross the floor.

G. Engine Pod. The body of a dead Yazirian is slumped in a control chair. The engines are cracked, and acid and oil are collecting in pools on the floor. There is a 1 0%chance each minutethata firewill start in this compartment. If a f ire starts, characters wi 11 real ize that the sh ip's remaining fuel will explode in about two minutes (20 turns). The fire extinguishersintheshipwillnotstopthefire,buteachturnthefireis sprayed delays the explosion for one turn. An extinguisher will last five turns. The character using the extinguisher takes 1 point of damage per turn.

H. Cargo Hold. Nothing is left here but wreckage and slime on the floor. The slime was left by a small omnivore, a slime bug, that is hiding in the wreckage (Move slow; IM/RS 6/55: STA 35; ATT 55, Dm 2d10). It looks like a flat bug with razor-sharp claws. Characters move at half-speed in the slime.

Any character with Demolitions skill can find enough evidence in the hold to prove that a bomb was planted in the cargo. Otherwise, the players must figure this out themselves.

I. Service Passage. The characters can hear the sound of crying from this passage, but hotwreckage blocks the crawlway. Afire extinguisher will cool the wreckage so characters can get past.

J. Wheel Well. A small Yazirian child, Rinny, is trapped in this landing wheel well. He is crying and scared, but unhurt.