Good Afternoon, All:
This article continues the One Shot Adventure Creation Series, which I began more than a hundred posts ago. I was thinking about it this morning, and realized that I never did wrap up that series, so this is the first of a few posts to give some closure on the creation of One Shot adventures.
To this point, we've addressed the basics, the plot (including a random chart for those in need, and the story hook. The first scene of your One Shot adventure was built around action. It's purpose was to introduce the goal of the adventure and get your characters involved in the story you are telling. Now that you've met the needs of your more action-oriented players, you should create a roleplaying scene or puzzle challenge that further escalates the plot.
The Challenge scene is intended to provide non-combat characters with an opportunity to shine. In addition, it builds on providing a full roleplaying experience to the players, emphasizing why the group is playing an RPG instead of a board game. Commonly, this is a challenge that is most easily resolved through wits and roleplay, as opposed to skill challenges or combat solutions. It could be a magical trap inspired by the game of chess, or a riddle posed by a powerful guardian or a pair of magical doors. Maybe it's a trap involving scything blades or rolling boulders activated by pressure plates and trip wires. Perhaps the challenge is simply a roleplayed negotiation with a sage-like figure, such as a hermit or a sphinx. Whatever you decide to make this scene, you will know that you've done it right when you look at your write-up for it, and can see that the solution doesn't require game mechanics (such as die rolls or spells), but rather player ingenuity or character interaction.
Of course, that being said, don't penalize a group that uses their character abilities to gain an edge or even an alternate solution to the challenge you pose. Ultimately, it's all about everyone in the group having fun, not about being a jerk to a captive audience. Reward creative thought, and encourage a sense of involvement and investment in the outcome of the scenario. If the problem could have been solved with character abilities, an NPC would have done it, so the PCs need to feel like they are making a difference.
Hope This Helps,
OD&D Experience Levels
28 minutes ago