This post is dreadfully late, as perhaps it should be, as a modified form of April Fool’s Joke. April Fool, the Blog is late, what a surprise!
Well, needless to say, it’s April, so I’m going to talk about funny adventures. Some people LOVE funny adventures. Some people HATE them. This can be made even more painful by the fact that people don’t always have the same sense of humor.
So, let’s talk about clowns, circuses, pies in the face, slapstick humor and the geist of comedy.
Funny adventures are different from other adventures for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the problem of getting people to laugh. Laughter may heal a number of things, but sometimes, people don’t laugh at things you think are funny, or you don’t laugh at things your players think are hilarious.
These are the things you need to do to have a successful humorous adventure:
1) Look at all your players. Will any of them have no fun with this adventure? If that’s the case, sometimes you can end around it while the player sits there sullenly. But some players don’t enjoy light-hearted adventures at all. This can be a big problem, especially if the other players do. Talk about this with the player if you can. Explain this adventure might not be for him or her. (Yes, girls can be as emo and creepy as guys, and have no sense of humor. Don’t believe it can’t happen.) Often, this might mean that your next adventure isn’t just dark, it’s going to be extremely dark, and have unpleasant consequences as a trade-off. Sometimes, characters will NEED a trade-off after a particularly dark adventure, too. For some people, though, this doesn’t happen.
2) Make sure that the plot doesn’t have unintentional serious consequences. Nothing’s more frustrating to the players than discovering that The Evil Doctor Clown’s master plan to cover the city in pea soup advanced The Hand of Entropy’s evil scheme to cover the world in darkness. They may be laughing now, but… This CAN work as long as your players are good natured and don’t mind the knife in the kidneys when the truth comes out, as long as the Hand of Entropy had some sort of finger in Doctor Clown’s banana cream pie.
3) Make sure that the adventure doesn’t step on any senses of humor in the group. If people hate Bollywood, don’t have them fight Pandit Mukharam, Master Maharishi.
4) Don’t excessively humiliate the PC’s without expecting the villain to get humiliated in return. These adventures aren’t meant to have serious opposition. If they do, something has gone grossly wrong.
5) Don’t be afraid to have your villain’s motivation be stupid, or useless, or easily solved by a common piece of technology the villain is unaware of. I once ran an adventure in an online setting where the villain’s main motivation was to escape from the human who was abusing him, and all he wanted was a malted! The adventure involved magic wands that shot fish at people! It was silly. People liked it. They laughed. They gave the chaos god a malted. It was a good time.
That’s more or less the basics of humorous adventures. But whatever you do with your humorous adventure, don’t forget to laugh.