In stories, you would like to add quests to give legends something to do. Either for the main story progression (a
main quest) or a side activity (a
side quest). In this section, we’ll cover how to make a quest and we try to make sure that the quest you make is interesting.
Keep in mind, the players are actually in control, they will decide if a quest is going to be their main quest or just a side activity. For example: If you introduce a quest to be the best wrestler in the world, but all the legends don't care about it and just move on, your quest will not be picked up at all, and you have to deal with it.
A quest blueprint
So let’s start simple, a quest is a task for the legends to do. This can be running some errand or hunting down a monster. Answer the following questions to create a blueprint of your quest:
- What is the goal of the quest?
- What characters will be involved in the quest? Will the legends get help or are they on their own?
- What needs to happen for the quest to be completed and are there half-complete scenario’s that you can think of?
- What is the reward of the quest and what would be the half completion reward?
- What is the information you are going to give the players up front and will you keep some aspects a mystery?
Use the blueprint and these tips to make the quest interesting:
Make the characters involved interesting
The best quests have good characters involved. The personal story of a character could be the driving factor of the quest or they can be in conflict with one of the legends. The best thing you can do is relating the quest’s story and conclusion to the main story you are trying to make. We do not want a boring character with a forgettable problem in the center of the quest.
Use quests to give another perspective of the world
The legends in the story are probably something like are adventurers. Since it is fun to travel, they will probably see a lot of the world that you’ve created. Changing this perspective in a quest could really add value to the ‘simple’ things.
A quest could involve the story of a crippled kid that wants to travel the world. For him, this is an unachievable dream. The quest could lead to finding a scientist and some materials to build the kid his own flying machine. At the end of the quest, the hopeless kid is helped and the legends fulfilled his dreams.
Don’t make a meaningless fetch quest
Collection quests are a pain, nobody really likes to do them, so give your players a good reason to do one of these. If the goal of the quest is just to collect and deliver an item, make sure the travel to the item and the destination has some fun interactions. Maybe they’ll learn the layout of a big city as a result, or run into a good source of information for later. Whatever you decide to add to the story, be sure it is there for a reason.
Offer variety of quests
Quests can be different types:
- Mystery: find the culprit.
- Collection: Get the right things in the right place.
- Adventure: venture into a dark cavern in search of long lost treasure.
- Contest: be sure to be better than the competition.
Make sure the rewards feel meaningful
In the blueprint, you already thought of possible rewards for the quest. be sure to think of the following to make the reward feel meaningful:
- Put the reward in perspective, a small kid will probably not give you hundreds of pieces of gold.
- Not all rewards have to be cold cash, think of the added value that the legends had on the world. Maybe a character can return on a later moment as an ally?
- Make sure the players know when the quest is complete, show true appreciation of the characters and let them know they did a good thing. Don’t really hard punish behavior you would not like to see, but be sure to thoroughly reward good behavior.
This is the story of Flynn, a small boy that is born crippled. He always wanted to travel the world but has never able to. For him, it is an unachievable dream to travel the world. After the first encounter with Flynn, the legends might realize that they've run into a scientist that is working on a one-person flying machine a while back. If they consult the scientist, maybe Flyn's wish can be fulfilled? The quest itself involves getting some different people together to create the flying machine (a scientist, a wood crafter, and a tailor). If the legends bring everyone together, they could create a flying machine for Flynn! Maybe the legends themselves travel on for the time being, but later in the story, Flynn could show up again in his very own flying machine! As for rewards, who knows, the legends might need a trusty delivery boy to get a package to the other side of the globe.
Implementing a trade sequence
A trade sequence is a special type of collection quest that could span the whole story. An example of a trade sequence would be where you would find one item, that is needed by someone else, who would give you another item, and so on. When you would like to make a quest like this, please make sure you check the following:
- Make sure it is clear what is expected of the legends, do they need to take action, or react at certain points in the story?
- Make clear what item should be used for this quest, and what items are not for the quest.
- If the quest is going to take long, make sure it is varied enough or easily completed.
- If only one player is engaged in the quest, be sure to keep the interactions for the quest short.
- Already plan a cool reward for the quest, the legends spent lots of time doing the quest after all.