In a post yesterday, I addressed two ideas about modules -- terse modules written to be convenient, detailed modules that explain all of the writer's vision -- and suggested the two approaches aren't opposites, but can be combined by keeping the room or area keys separate and self-contained. The preface to the room keys, which I labeled the "deep" notes of the module, then becomes an overview of what's going on, who's allied to whom, what the major players want, why things are where they are, and other notable details of the adventure.
Geoffrey McKinney raised an important issue:
I generally prefer terse, evocative modules. I like modules to be useable with no prior study. If I have to spend a lot of time studying a module, I feel that I might as well use that time making my own.Some things might not have been obvious from my post:
- I'm encouraging people to make the deep part and the terse part of a module truly independent. At no point should you be forced to refer to the other part to makes sense of the part you are reading.
- I want the deep part of a module to be a true overview, giving a picture of what is going on without requiring specific knowledge of monster stats, physical structure of the dungeon, other such details. I feel if this is done properly, you will not need to "study" the module per se, just read through it or even skim.
- But also, because the sections are independent, it should be possible for a creative, improv-oriented GM to skip the deep part and jump right into the terse part, running a game solely from the room keys without any study beforehand.