Framework for Analysis

Before I start analyzing adventures, I need to establish what I am looking at and how I am approaching things.

For my purposes, an Antagonist is going to be any monster or NPC who has a goal, plan or story goal that leads them directly into conflict with the PCs. I am going to leave out the un-named cannon fodder and creatures that are simply part of the environment. Even doing this, I suspect I will find there are often a handful of key antagonists in each adventure driving things forward.

Each adventure will be looked at to identify the antagonists, and then each antagonist's plot and goals will be examined. After that, I will comment on the structure and presentation of the actual encounters and events in the adventure, and try to determine how well they support and expose the antagonist goals to the PCs. I feel that this last element is vital for gaining the players' interest in pursuing an Adventure Path campaign, since they need to be involved in the outcome enough to accept the limitations put on their ability to roam freely through a campaign world. Or, to put it another way – I'm going to count the interesting ones as antagonists.

I am going to use the structure of the adventure as presented by the authors as the structure for my analysis. I did think about converting things into the Act Structure, but adventures have their own rhythm that is different from the film/play/drama structure that supports the Act. Instead, I think using the presented "Part" and "Chapter" structure that Paizo has used will allow me to examine properly the development of the adventures. I might also look at "level breaks" as well… where the party should be crossing a level up point in the adventure could also be an important marker.

My qualifications for this are… well, nil. I have been playing D&D and other RPGs since 1978, so that is 30 years under my belt now. I have written a little for White Wolf, so have dipped a toe into the publishing side of things. I have long had an interest in the craft of writing, having read many books and articles discussing the constructing of stories and plots. I am not an academic – just a dilettante dabbling in some criticism.

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