JotEM Scenario Creation Playtest

Journey of the Elemental Masters

Scenario Creation Playtest

While making a Scenario use this form, which also includes some follow up questions.

One of these will ask how long the process takes, so take note of the time now.

Feel free to do this process multiple times or only once. 

This document is an edited excerpt from my game, focused on the scenario creation. It is a narrative-driven, pbta style game. The design principles behind this mechanic are; 

-keep it short

-kick start the creative process

-show setting (“random tables are setting” -Adam Koebel) 

The Journeyers

The player characters are Elemental Masters, able to control the elements of fire, air, water and earth. They come from The City, and carry the Gift with the purpose of delivering it to the Grand Spirit far away.

GM Principles 

(Some are more applicable here than others)

-Make the Journey interesting and complicated
-Be a fan of the characters

-Portray the world around the characters as tactile, dangerous, and stubborn.

-Encourage creative solutions

-Show intersections of the elements

-Give opportunities for the characters to be helpful

-Let the characters fail forward, but not without cost

Obstacles and Threats

While traversing the borderlands beyond The City, the journeyers will encounter obstacles that they must overcome to progress and threats that wish to hinder them. Each scenario of the journey introduces one obstacle, and suggests one threat, although you can create more as the narrative demands. The purpose of threats are to add tension and stakes while the characters are trying to overcome the obstacle.  

The Borderlands

Outside the borders of The City the forces of nature are unfettered and the rule of law has no power beyond what you bring. Some people have managed to establish lives out here, but living beyond the border is tough at best, but those who survive know that they do so by sheer grit, and by expecting the unexpected.

The borderlands are volatile and dynamic, and the journeyers have to pass through great distances of them. There are many strange and wondrous things ahead, people, places, and perils.


Each scenario contains six details that you generate before play, two environmental features, one obstacle, one threat, and a people with a want. Don’t worry, you’ll only have to come up with “the want” on your own. The tables below contain details from which you can roll or choose.


  1. Roll or choose two options from the Environmental Features table 

  2. Roll or choose two options from the Obstacle and Threat table and designate which is which

  3. Roll or choose one option from the People table, then write down a want for them. (A good want will relate to the characters, the gift, or the obstacle. A better want will relate to all three.)

Start each scenario by describing one or both of the features, the people, and the obstacle. You keep leftover details, including the threat and the want, behind for the characters to discover, or for when you want to introduce complications as GM moves.

At the end of your introduction, always ask the players “what do you do?”

1-1 Borderlands Environmental Features

  1. Tundra 

  2. Orchard

  3. Peninsula

  4. Desert

  5. Waterfalls

  6. Ancient ruined city

  7. Swampland

  8. Mountainside quarry

  9. Hot springs

  10. Lava flows

  11. Giant tree(s)

  12. Cliffs

  13. Geyser

  14. Rushing river

  15. Gem-rich cavern

  16. Runed monoliths

  17. Black-Sand beach

  18. Dense jungle

  19. Rocky island

  20. Briar Patch

 1-2 Borderlands Threats and Obstacles

  1. Brigands

  2. Thieves

  3. Nightmares

  4. Wild beasts

  5. Volcanic Eruption

  6. Wildfire

  7. Earthquake

  8. Tsunami

  9. Maze/Labyrinth

  10. Snow storm

  11. Magician(s)

  12. Fog or Mist

  13. Tornado

  14. Flood

  15. Landslide

  16. Overgrowth

  17. Giant insect(s)

  18. Lightning storm

  19. Unnatural Darkness

  20. Quicksand

1-3 Borderlands People

  1. Travelling musician(s)

  2. Wild child(ren)

  3. A family trekking towards Calderus

  4. Wolf-trainer(s)

  5. Mushroom hunter(s)

  6. Calderish academic(s) 

  7. Plant folk

  8. A wise hermit

  9. Fortune Teller(s)

  10. Talking animal(s)

  11. The Ranger

  12. A blind monk

  13. Giant(s)

  14. A family of farmers

  15. A lost pet

  16. Blacksmith(s)

  17. The swordmaster

  18. Horse nomad(s)

  19. Brewmaster(s)

  20. Sentient Puff-Ball

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.