|More high school art.|
And my writing got better. The monsters in each adventure had a theme - no more zoos! The layouts were more spacious, after my library encounter with the Holmes sample dungeon. I didn't get to run those adventures and the notebook where they were is long since gone, but I could still rebuild from memory the abandoned silver mine inhabited by a foul being and its servants, the temple to the Toad God shaped like a colossal toad, the forgotten underground wizard's lair on a volcanic isle. I also created a new campaign world - Antellus - that wasn't based on random terrain and city rolls, and wrote a lot of Greyhawk Gazetteer-inspired entries for it.
As much as people write and read procedural advice for making an adventure or campaign, there is still nothing like a good example. If you are publishing a game, the sample adventure is critically important, and it should be the "practice" for whatever you are trying to "preach" in design. If you are getting started as an adventure creator, then reading other people's material, just to see what works and what doesn't, is better than reading a long-winded essay that can't possibly capture all the important elements.
I'll go even further and point out a further development that so far nobody's taken up yet: the commented adventure, to teach the art of running from notes or a module. This could be a podcast of an actual run through the module. Or, it could be a commentary track or designer notes. The idea is to follow up the example of good design with an example of good play. Without cluttering up the actual reference notes for a play session, the commentary could address some of the things that players typically try to do, ways to turn the pressure up or down at various points, things that came up in playtest, and rationales for your big design decisions. Anyway, it would be something great to offer as supplementary material or premium content.
In the years after high school I kept thinking about gaming and roleplaying off and on, but my actual activity dropped off. I don't think I ever ran or played in a sustained campaign for more than a few sessions, but I was reading a lot more, learned the value of improvisation in one memorable run, and absorbed a lot of ideas. When the Legend of the Five Rings franchise ensnared me, roleplaying was part of that, and I did a little writing that got published in the "Secrets" sourcebooks, a little playing in games here and there, but nothing too sustained.
So this past year, starting the game has been a real renaissance for me, not just of an old-school approach but the exhilaration of preparing, improvising, and being constantly surprised by my players and my world. I think it all turned out okay ...