Mixing Module Styles

A question for the Peanut Gallery. When you’re running or playing in an adventure module, do you like it to have a single consistent “tone” (role-playing, combat, exploration, dungeon crawling, etc.), or do you like to mix it up and have different styles?

For instance, I’m working on a project right now, and the way the outline is going, it’s got:

  • Combat 
  • Investigation/detective work
  • Combat
  • Role-playing
  • Role-playing
  • Dungeon crawl
  • Infiltration/dungeon crawl
I’m a little worried that the investigative and role-playing chapters will frustrate folks who just like combat and dungeon crawls, and the reverse for the people who really enjoy putting role-playing first and foremost.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

8 thoughts on “Mixing Module Styles

  1. You won't be able to please everyone. I prefer modules that commit to one style or another–if I want a murder investigation, I probably am not looking for a crawl. One of the reasons I like "old school" style modules, where the DM can mix and match as desired for his group, rather than the author trying to make it work for every group.

  2. I like to have a loose idea of a plan, even using a module, then just let it develop. Sometimes the players wreck shit and it's all golden. Other times we follow the module to a tee and is lackluster. It's always a crapshoot

  3. It really doesn't matter – I'll take a single-style adventure, or a mixed-style adventure, depending on what I want or need. As long as it's a good adventure.

    That said, I have more "single style" than "mixed style" modules, so if you can managed a good mix it would be less common in my collection at least.

  4. I mix up module content and my own content anyway, so either way is fine. I guess for that I prefer modules where each component stands on its own, rather than absolutely needing the other parts to make sense. Yes, modular modules.

  5. Present an interesting and dangerous situation or location, and players will, by their actions, decide if it is a roleplaying, investigation, combat, or run-away-very-quickly-and-never-look-back scenario.

    Thinking in terms of what players should do in a given situation is dangerous, as it might lead to railroading – "how can I make sure that players realise they are supposed to talk to this guy", while it is completely valid play for players to take a different route.

  6. I usually mix it up, but it depends on what part of the story the PC's are traversing through. I have had some sessions where it's almost all role-playing, with just a bit of combat, and vice versa. Although, I'm lucky enough to have players that dig all the facets of the game and aren't fans of just one aspect

  7. I've always been a DM who likes to mix it up. A steady diet of only one type can get boring, so a module that has a good mixture of these things is always a great find!

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