It Was There, Honest!'s Exploration System

I decided to go with the five-rooms approach, to give the game some structure. Based on that, I broke down the five areas, wrote descriptions for each one, and wrote three questions that the AF should try to ask as the kids narrate.

The adventure is divided into five sections: the Secret, the Wonder, the Shock, the Danger, and the Escape. During this time, the players portraying the Gang will tell their story to the Authority Figure.

The Secret

Tell the authority figure about this amazing thing the gang discovered! A hidden tunnel in the cellar, a UFO abduction, or an encounter with a white rabbit.

As you tell this part of the story, the authority figure should try to find out:

  • Why don’t the adults know about this already?
  • How was it the kids managed to stumble onto this thing?
  • Was it a special person, a special place, or a special thing that opened the way?

The Wonder

Why did you know right away this adventure was going to be amazing? Was it flying away from Earth in a spaceship, stepping into enormous glowing crystal caverns, or getting your very own magic amulets? Whatever made you go goggle-eyed and open-mouthed and “whooaaaa!”

As you tell this part of the story, the authority figure should try to find out:

  • Did the kids do, or not do, anything especially dangerous or stupid?
  • Did the kids all get along and go in the same direction, or was there disagreement and separation?
  • Did the kids do, or take along with them, anything that was going to be important later?

The Shock

Suddenly things became serious! The spaceship came under attack. The caves started to shake, or there were dinosaurs stampeding everywhere! The Plutonium Gnolls attacked! Whatever it was, this is when you started worrying. Was everyone going to be safe? How were you going to make it home?

As you tell this part of the story, the authority figure should try to find out:

  • How did the kids make it through the dangerous situation?
  • Did anyone or anything help them, or were they on their own?
  • Was this something natural and normal in the setting, or did it seem like it was an outside disturbance?

The Danger

The Gang survived, but now the source of the shock is apparent! It’s going to take everyone working together to stay alive and get out of this. An alien commander, an earthquake generator, a rogue magical artifact - there’s something that has to be stopped, sealed, or at least avoided. Bravery, or fast feet, are what’s needed now.

As you tell this part of the story, the authority figure should try to find out:

  • Was the danger actually solved, merely contained, or only avoided?
  • Did the kids have a hand in dealing with the danger, or just witness what happened?
  • Did anything the kids learned, or acquired, contribute to the solution?

The Escape

Everyone is still tired, hurting, and scared, but there’s a way out. The Gang can try to get back home. Most importantly, the Gang is still together, friendships were strengthened (or damaged), and maybe some important life lessons were learned.

As you tell this part of the story, the authority figure should try to find out:

  • How did everyone cope with the adventure?
  • Were there any change in the relationships within the Gang?
  • What’s the Gang going to do next, given what they’ve learned?