Microadventure: The Necromancer's Lab

I've been working on microadventures lately. It looks like my target word count is right around 200 words, which fits on one side of a 3x5 card. I want something that I can throw in a backpack and pull out for a one-session adventure if the party takes a hard left and charges for the edge of the map.

Here's the question: Will that brief 200 word description give enough detail to run an adventure?

Hopefully you can help answer that question. Here's a sample:

The Necromancer’s Lab

Premise: The necromancer Braxas stole a Sun Shard from the local temple.
  1. Approach – 2 zombies attack any living creature that approaches. Braxas will know if the zombies are defeated. The entire complex is Unhallowed.
  2. Workshop – Body parts and tools lie strewn around haphazardly. Unholy water is stored at A. If disturbed, 8 skeletons animate and attack. Purifying the water will reduce the Unhallow effect, but only a long ritual will end it.
  3. Storeroom – More body parts lie in piles here. The freshest body parts are stored in the cold box at B. A stone with a permanent Chill effect sits on the top shelf. A small bag of jewelry lies in the bottom of the cold box.
  4. Lab – Braxas has rigged up a work space at C. 3 zombies and 3 skeletons act as assistants. Braxas will try to blind the party with the Sun Shard, then use spells to injure and cause confusion. Braxas’s Hand Amulet doubles the range, duration, and effect of all “Hand” spells, including Mage Hand.
  5. Back Door – Braxas keeps a go bag at D, and will run if the zombies fall. Animated bones cover the floor, hindering and damaging pursuers.
Reward: 2 healing items, a boon from the temple, and free temple services.

(Adventure text ends.)

Stats will be on separate cards, so you can easily swap out stats and use at multiple levels, or in multiple rulesets. If you want big beefy zombies for your 6th level party, you could make them giant zombies for OD&D, or dread zombies in DCC, or Giant Dread Zombies 3.5e, or wights in S&W. You just need to pull out the stat card you want to use.

So what do you think? Is this enough detail for you to run a night's worth of adventure? Are you interested in hearing more?

Thanks for reading!


  1. I like it, and I'd enjoy seeing more (with maps?)

    1. That's the plan. I'm vetting things separately, with the idea of putting them together and eventually offering them for *gasp* SALE.

      I've been hearing positive feedback generally, so I'm very encouraged. Thanks for adding another check in the "do this thing" column!

  2. I really like this idea, the info you supplied would be enough for a couple hours session in an already running gameworld, because I would know the area / current campaign and be able to elaborate if necessary. Also, the text is always going to give GMs a wealth of spin-off ideas to carry on with, providing a boost all round. A couple of small questions come to mind, regarding the physical layout of your index card - is your 200-ish word limit imposed by font style and size, handwriting or other constraint? Presuming you are typing, could you lower the font size / change kerning etc to increase your word count whilst retaining readability? From what I have seen of you developing this idea, you would have the map on one side and the key / info on the other, right? Apologies if these are things you have already considered. I like the simplicity of the premise and rewards statements. Succint and unambiguous, leaves the GM opportunities to introduce existing NPCs / organisations from within their existing gameworld and helps you with that space-saving.

    1. I could lower the size on the text, but I think 10pt Arial gives good readability and thus usability of the cards. I may play with it a little and see what happens. Next step: printing a handful of prototypes.

      Thanks for the feedback!