“A Simple Job” was the second adventure module released for Battlegrounds (and the first user-submitted one), and it has now been updated for use with newer versions of the software.
It was made by Vry, a relative newcomer to the Battlegrounds software, and is a conversion of a PDF adventure which is included in the GM download. It is intended for use with D&D 3.5 (or 3.0) rules, with a party of two to four 2nd level PCs.
This adventure module is for use with BRPG v1.8b or higher, and includes everything you need to play (maps, tokens, pre-generated PCs, stat blocks, etc.). A valid BRPG license is required for each participant (although a player can play using just the unlicensed free Demo if the GM has a Floating License available for them to use).
Installation instructions and other important information is in the ReadMe file which is included in each download. You may also wish to view Tutorial Video #2 in this thread.
I hope this becomes a catalyst for more user-created adventure modules.
Why did I re-release this adventure in artpack format? Because the artpack format offers several advantages:
- First and foremost, hassle-free installation. Unlike media bundles, whose content needs to be imported, an artpack’s media doesn’t need to be imported at all, it’s simply “dynamically attached” to the BRPG program, transparently to the user. You just place the artpack in the BRPG‘s “Artpack” folder, launch BRPG, and all the media is instantly available for use.
- A much smaller download. When this adventure was originally released, it weighed in at around 72 MB (64 MB for the Player’s version). It’s now slimmed down to a lean 11 MB (5 MB for the Player’s version).
- You can use the artpack’s content in your own original BRPG adventures, if you want.
- Using an artpack prevents unnecessary bloating of your “User Cast” file (your multimedia database). This results in snappier performance and requires far less frequent purging of older content.
Here’s a little “interview” with Vry, the creator of this mini-adventure.
How easy or hard was it to put the module together in BRPG?
Surprisingly easy. Most of the learning curve with making the adventure came because of my own inexperience with the program and not knowing what I could do rather than having any problems actually doing it.
Are you happy with how it turned out?
Yes, for the most part. One thing I didn’t realize till I sat down to make the maps was that the entire adventure would have to be set at nighttime. I had never thought about it much when I originally ran the game it was on a plain black & white gridded paper with dry-erase markers. So it was a little odd to have every map need to be so dark. My more recent maps had been trending darker these days anyway, so I started to worry about whether people with dark monitors would be able to see anything at all. I ended up cheating a lot with the lighting to make parts more visible¦yes, they were even darker at one point.
Other than that, I’m not really happy with the PDF and the read aloud text. Most of it still feels rather weak, and I really should have had a full read-aloud description of each room. I’ve never been happy with my writing. It’s one of the things that originally drove me to want to make my games more visual; to have the pictures say what I can’t put into proper words.
What was your prior experience with BRPG before this, if any?
Just a demo at iCon and a little fooling around with the program for the screenshot contest. If a total noob can do it, you can do it!
Was the PDF pre-existing, or was it specifically made to accompany the BRPG module?
Half & Half. This adventure was the first game of my current campaign. The original notes for the game, and indeed, most of my games, are just a few paragraphs of loose notes and stat blocks with most of the specifics being made up during the game as needed. Add to that the fact that this game was run almost five years ago, and I really didn’t remember too many of the fine details. The PDF was mostly put together while waiting on character tokens and portraits to render in Poser. Eventually, hopefully, the PDF won’t actually be needed at all in a Virtual Tabletop and the whole game can be run just from within the program.
Was there any part of the adventure that you had to cut or modify because it couldn’t be represented in BRPG with the current feature-set?
Not really. The only map layouts that were made ahead of time were the manor interior ones, and they were still small enough to fit together on one map. The other maps were designed with BRPG integration in mind.
There may need to be some changes like this in later adventures. I can think of one in particular that could be tricky to pull off, but really, you can do a lot of neat in-game changes and effects with PNG objects if you really need to.
If you were to create another adventure module, do you think you would do anything differently? Do you think the creation process would go faster?
Less rooms! The whole picture to thousand word ratio isn’t as attractive when you’re expected to write the words too.
One idea I had late during the design of this adventure that didn’t apply but could be used in later ones is setting up all the encounter options for an area’s random encounter tables as deployments. So, for example, if you roll and the table says the party should encounter a group of four orcs and an ogre, you simply load up the premade deployment of four orcs and ogre and drop it on the room. The figures would already be properly set up with stat portraits attached and ready to go.
More GM-only objects on the maps to help show what and where and make sure things aren’t forgotten. This is the aspect I think will make the PDF part of the adventure obsolete once it’s perfected. Instead of needing to flip back and forth and wasting time looking up the right section of the PDF, all of the information about an NPC or object or the encounter itself could be right there just a mouseover away. This can most likely be accomplished right now, but all of the text popping up everywhere could be distracting for the GM.
I’m sure there will be more changes to future ones based on the feedback from this one.
Future adventures will almost certainly go faster now that I know a lot more about the program and won’t be bugging heruca with newbish questions that had already been answered on the forums.
Can you think of ways to make the adventure-creation process easier, or improving the distribution and installation process?
A mute button. Sounds are nice when running an adventure, but beeps and boops aren’t needed when making it.
One thing I would have liked to have seen, and is possible that it does exist and I just missed it, would be the ability to format text macros with styles, line breaks, and the like.