Friday, 1 April 2016

Plot Point Episodes vs Savage Tales vs One Sheets

In my "TV Shows as Plot Point Campaigns" blog post, I talked about the two types of adventure commonly used in Plot Point Campaigns - the Plot Point Episodes which cover the central storyline, and have to be played in a specific order, and the Savage Tales, which can be inserted into the campaign when and where the GM sees fit.

But many settings also like to offer a third type of adventure: One Sheets. These standalone adventures are usually around 1000-1200 words, and cover both sides of a single sheet of paper. Much like Plot Point Episodes and Savage Tales, One Sheets provide an overview of the adventure along with any necessary NPC statistics, but avoid getting bogged down with too much detail. Structurally they're very similar, but how do the three types of adventure compare size-wise?

Size Comparison

I ran some very rough numbers on Necessary Evil, and found that its Plot Point Episodes tend to average around 1200 words, while the Savage Tales tend to average around 1000 words. That's the same sort of range (1000-1200 words) as most One Sheets. There is quite a bit of variation (with a few adventures dipping below 600 words, and others reaching 1500 words), and the starting adventure is more like a feature-length pilot episode at over 2200 words, but a goal of 1200/1000 words would seem to be a good general rule of thumb for Plot Point Episodes and Savage Tales respectively.

However this does seem to suggest that a Plot Point Campaign is very much like a collection of One Sheets. In fact there's even a One Sheet in the back of Savage Worlds Deluxe called "The Fires of Ascalon" which describes itself as a "Savage Tale"!

Getting to the Point

Why is this information interesting? Because it breaks down an intimidatingly huge task (writing an entire Plot Point Campaign) into a series of smaller and far more manageable tasks (writing lots of One Sheets).

If you're pitching a new campaign then you're probably going to want to write a few One Sheets anyway, to drum up interest and support - and once you've got a few One Sheets under your belt, you'll have a much better idea of what is needed for a full Plot Point Campaign.

It also gives you a good feel for how you can split up the effort, as you can easily delegate Savage Tales to other writers while focusing on the central plot - the Plot Point Episodes. And because you've already written a few One Sheets, you should have a fairly good idea of how long it'll take you to write the Plot Point Campaign.

If you can write a One Sheet, then you can write a Plot Point Campaign. It's just a matter of scale.