Are System-Neutral Adventures A Good Idea?

Lately, I have been slowly working on an adventure* that I intend to publish. Why?

This tweet:

As I have stated previously, there are a lot of terrible adventures out there. I could spend my energy endlessly deconstructing them (and there is some valuable work in that), but I want to build something.

The adventure I am currently working on is currently an adventure for 5E. However, a thought struck me: why not make it system-neutral?

While I love Maze of the Blue Medusa, my current players would not enjoy it, so I may never actually run it. But there are plenty of ideas to steal from it! This particular adventure is system-neutral, but you can tell it was designed for a D&D-inspired system. There are some minor statistics mentioned (such as AC), but you could run this with just about any edition of D&D or OSR retro-clone. Heck, I suppose you could run it with GURPS, but it would take a little more work.

I am not employed by any game companies, so I am not forced to create an adventure within a particular system. So why limit my adventure to one particular system? Why not make it system-neutral? I am not sure what I should do at this point?

Part of me thinks that a system-neutral adventure creates a little more work for the GM, so if the adventure is not of the absolute highest quality, many GMs will not bother with doing the extra work to make the adventure work in their preferred system.

Another option would be to create an adventure in one system and then me, as the author, converts it to another system, the way that Rappan Athuk is for Swords & Wizardry and Pathfinder. I would then have multiple copies of the adventure pre-made for different systems.

Or do I just create the adventure in a single system I know well and let others do the converting if they like it enough to run it?

Any thoughts or advice?


* Why is mapping so hard? WHY???

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2 thoughts on “Are System-Neutral Adventures A Good Idea?

  1. How about aiming for “conversion friendly”? Write the adventure so that it could be used for any system, then include data for D&D 5E or whatever system you personally are using. That way it’s 5E out of the box, but usable by anyone with a little work.

    Mapping is hard because when people create a map for an adventure they usually focus on the final product rather than working up from the initial causes. Don’t ask “what paths will work best for an adventure?” ask “where would the orcs (or whatever) who originally built this place need to get around?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a tough call, because people get modules for different reasons. Some people get them because they actually want to run the adventure more or less as written for their group so they can experience it as a product. In those cases, system neutral stats or something fairly akin to B/X would work just fine.

    Other people get modules to take apart, borrowing set pieces, monsters and items to use in their own game and system. For instance, while we’ll never actually play Vornheim, our DM has used it for its tables A LOT. For those people, including stats and mechanics is good, but they’ll probably tinker with what you have there anyway.

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