Two blogposts inspired this idea today, so you should probably read them first, The Hickman Revolution and How Dragonlance Ruined Everything. One of the major themes that runs through those posts (and similar ones) is that the railroading involved in module like the Dragonlance modules and subsequent “big story” adventures runs contrary to a game where encounters and even the very dungeons themselves were supposed to be randomly generated. Even worse, a big story adventure like Dragonlance requires that, if players kill certain key NPCs, GMs must twist themselves into pretzels to come up with a reason why that NPC is alive and well 3 “chapters” later.
Still, so many players (and GMs) love a story, and so the story campaign is both alive and well and continues to sell modules. So what if adventure module series were written like a choose your own adventure book? Rather than a giant 30+ page module or series with a single continuous plot, what if each module was a smaller 5 – 10 page one or two session adventure, which had one or two major plot devices which depending on the outcome determined which module in the series you should pick up next? In module 1, your players might encounter the standard goblin camp raiding the local town. Did your players destroy the camp? Pick up module 2A next. Did they parley and negotiate? Grab module 2B. Did they instead turn on the town? Kill the sherif or set fire to the inn? Grab 2c.
Obviously there’s still some degree of railroading going on here if you’re going to stick to the written modules, since the written module can’t account for every single possibility your players might engage in. But if the story forks are broad enough, the should be able to cover a lot of ground, while remaining flexible for the GM to add in their own brand of flavor.
What do you think? Did I miss some huge problem?