In-Depth Review – Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters

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Chapters two, three, and four include the real meat of the book: 167 plots in each, with one to two plots presented per page. Each plot briefly outlines the set-up, situation, and predicted events of the plot, arranged so that a GM can extract enough scenes or encounters to fill an evening worth of gaming. This breaks down to roughly three to six scenes/encounters per plot, arranged in the most likely sequence that they will unfold. While it may sound like these are basically telling the GM “railroad the players to get them here,” the information presented is very open-ended and offered simply as possible events that might unfold. How closely one adheres to them or forces the structure upon the group is largely left up to the GM, and the previous chapter provides good advice on how to avoid simply running the plot as a pure railroad session.

As written, each of these plots could be use for a very improvisational session (basically using the set-up and running from there) or could be used to create a very organized and tightly orchestrated adventure. Similarly, while the goal is to provide a plot for enough material for a single session, there’s the potential to get several sessions’ worth of material out of a single plot depending on how the group interacts with the situation. The vast majority of these plots are excellent. While not every one inspired me – expecting that would be ridiculous given the book contains 501 entries – almost all would work as the basis of an adventure and more than a few are fantastic.

The Verdict

Eureka is a great product and one which I would wholeheartedly recommend to people — there’s something in here for everyone, whether you’re struggling to create your first adventure, are suffering from a creative block, or just want to break out of a rut. New GMs will find an endless wellspring of ideas, while experienced GMs can use the plots for last-minute session prep or as inspiration when creating their latest adventure. While the book will be of use for almost any RPG out there (it is system-free, after all), I think it’s of particular use for anyone who favors system/prep light games. For example, the book would be awesome for pick-up games of Spirit of the Century. As a PDF this is a must-have for taking to a con and I’ve already added it to my iPad as a permanent addition. So, if you are a GM and can afford the price (at $16.95 for the PDF it may seem a little expensive, but you’re getting a lot for your money), Eureka is definitely worth purchasing.

Full disclosure: I received a free review copy (in PDF form) from the publishers through DriveThruRPG.com

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