The Quintessential Adventure Design Methodology

When designing an adventure, there are two obvious methods.
  1. Construct the plot. Then select an appropriate villain to fit the plot. 
  2. Select the villain. Then construct an appropriate plot around the villain.
This second method is probably the easier and better solution, particularly when using any form of random plot generation. The second method should produce a plot that is character driven, while the first method may produce characters that are plot driven. Character driven plots tend to be far more compelling and rational than plot driven characters. Regardless, with the information provided here, neither method should prove too difficult.


Villains play the most crucial role in every tale. The villain is even more essential than a hero. A hero is only as good as the villain is evil. Every phenomenal hero requires an equally phenomenal villain. Without a threatening villain, any hero is less impressive.

From an author's point of view, a villain is the foundation of action, adventure, story, and conflict. The villain is the antagonist. As such, he's active and aggressively pursues his goal. The hero, on the other hand, tends to be passive or reactive.

Therefore, a villain initiates action and sets the adventure in motion. Conflict emerges only when the villain's pursuit of a goal or desire interferes with the hero's goal or desire. Without conflict there is no story, no challenge for the hero to overcome.

From a design viewpoint, each adventure is essentially the villain's tale not the hero's story. The villain provides a hero with purpose and direction. A villain gives the hero some reason to take action.

Typically, a villain creates an opportunity or circumstance for the hero arise. Rarely does a hero give rise to the villain. However, a villain and a hero generally define one another as mirror images of each other.

Furthermore, villains tend to be far more interesting and unpredictable characters. Heroes tend to be predictable and less interesting, because they're reactive. Only from a reader's viewpoint is an adventure the hero's story.


Its all about motive, desire, and denial. A compelling villain deeply desires something, but he's having difficulty seizing the object of his desire, because some troublesome hero is constantly interfering with the villain's machiavellian machinations. Unfortunately for the hero, this villain will go to any length, use any means, and stop at nothing to achieve his goal.

Such single-minded pursuit of a goal gives rise to certain questions. What does the villain desire and why does he crave it so badly? Such tantalizing mysteries compel reader's to turn the page and read just one more chapter.

At this point, we must determine what the villain desires and why. Once we can answer those questions, we'll need, at least, one good plot twist. Then everything else should fall into place easily and naturally.

More to come...

Additional Resources

No comments: