Dungeons & Dragons: 9 Tips For Making Quests (2024)

Quests are a classic trope in roleplaying games; that includes their tabletop counterparts like . A quest can be connected to an overarching story or just be a side adventure that may come back on later. They could be there to fill in some space and have your party just have good old adventuring fun.

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If you're a DM, you'll relate to these things.

But if you're a Dungeon Master, you may often wonder what the right kind of quest to send your party on is and how you develop them so they don't fall apart. Well, here are a few ways to ensure you have some great quests for your party.

1 Figure Out The Scale

You Need To Know How Long This Quest Will Be

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First, you need to figure out the actual scale of the quest at hand. Is this going to be part of an overarching adventure, and this is just a step to completing that? For example, if your party is hunting down a mad wizard, perhaps a quest could be getting a magical staff that could stop the wizard.

However, sometimes you can have quests that aren't that big at all. Maybe the party is just retrieving a magical staff because someone else lost it, or they're being hired to get it. This means it would be a much smaller side-quest, which you'll need to plan differently.

2 What Type Of Quest?

Figure Out What Kind Of Quest You'll Want To Make

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It may sound obvious, but you also need to know what kind of quest you're doing. Is it going to be something about espionage, where a party is sneaking in somewhere? Perhaps it's a retrieval quest, and they need to get an item? Or maybe it's a combat quest where they must hunt down a monster in the countryside or clear out a dungeon?

Before you deal with any plot details, just think about what kind of quest this will be. This will help you out so much in the long run when it comes to tone, how the quest will play out, and what you need to plan.

3 Know Your Players

Figure Out What Kind Of Quest You'll Want To Make

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If you know your players, then good; if you don't, find out. What is their play style? Are you at a table where people love to fight things? Then you should plot your quest to have some combat there. Perhaps they're more social, in which case you might want to come up with some names and details of throwaway NPCs in case your party asks them anything.

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Knowing how your players might react will help with predicting what you need to focus on specifically and maybe what kind of quests you can throw at your party in the first place.

4 Predictability And Chaos

You Can't Plan Everything, So Don't

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However, you cannot plan everything. The best advice to give you is to just plan the skeleton of a quest but leave enough gaps for your party to fill. Let's say the party must sneak into a prison in a different town. You can lay out skeletons, such as having the party go to this other town and inside this prison.

But you don't need to railroad how they get there. Have the party figure their own way out; this could further develop the quest. For example, if they decide to travel by foot, they may encounter something along the way you can throw together.

5 Seek Inspiration

Use Your Favorite Media For Ideas

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Every Dungeon Master seeks inspiration, which is to say that they look at their favorite television shows, movies, and books to get ideas for their campaign. There's nothing wrong with it, even if the players at your table know where it's from, looking at other storytelling can be a great way to improve your own.

Just make sure you're not ripping things off, as that can still be distracting and inconsistent with the tone of the game at your table. You'll also need to adapt whatever your inspiration is to the game at hand, which can be time consuming.

6 Experiment With Themes

Use Side Quests As A Way To Experiment

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Side quests are the perfect time to experiment! Maybe you can try having a combat that deals a lot more with environmental damage or perhaps try playing up certain NPCs with accents and attitudes you've never been able to really roleplay before.

But you can delve further and perhaps dive into different themes, like instead of having a classic dungeon crawl quest, maybe you try out a horror theme with it, making it a lot more spooky and atmospheric which can really shake things up at your table.

7 Have Choices Matter

Make Sure You Leave Freedom For Your Players

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Perhaps the most important piece of advice you can take is to have your choices matter. You can't railroad everything, and you really shouldn't. Remember when you read about how you should leave gaps in the quests and only develop the skeleton? That's because your party will have to make choices and approach quests their own way, which can really affect how things play out.

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That's the appeal of tabletop RPGs, having the freedom to do whatever you want and seeing the consequences play out over the sessions.

8 Keep Things Simple

Don't Overcomplicate Things

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As well as avoiding overplanning things, you should try your best to keep quests simple. The more complex sequence of events is the campaign as a whole, but quests are there to break down things.

So no matter what, you need to make sure that the quest and its objectives are simple, even if there are going to be plot twists or a manner of events going on, your party need to make sure they understand what they're doing, what their plans are and more.

9 Let There Be Options

Make Sure All The Choices Are Clear

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Yes you should leave gaps and yes, you should have choices, but you really need to make such choices be apparent. You should continually encourage your party to pursue choices that are open to them. If you don't let these choices be clear, then it might still feel just as constricting as being railroaded.

So make sure to write out a few options that the party is offered, although be aware that you can't plan for every single choice and this is just to help you broadcast such choices to the party when you're running the quest.

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Dungeons & Dragons: 9 Tips For Making Quests (2024)

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