• Justin Handlin

D&D: How do I Create Great Adventure Hooks?

Updated: Feb 20

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Art: Wizards of the Coast

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How do I Create Great Adventure Hooks? In Dungeons & Dragons an adventure hook is a powerful tool used to drive the players and their characters into an adventure, gather their party, or anything else set out like a fishing line to "hook" the players into the story. Today we share guidelines for creating great adventure hooks your players won't want to miss out on.

Great Hooks Grab the PC’s Attention

A great hook can make a character stop in their tracks and address it

  • PC’s are abruptly interrupted by a noble and asked to be his guard.

  • PC’s hear a shout in the distance “THIEF!”

Weak hooks may not stand out and thus get easily missed by the PC’s or they may not care.

Great Hooks Clearly establish why the PC’s care

Offer something to compel the PC’s to pursue the hook

  • Currency reward is most common

  • Unique service or access

Relate the problem to the PC’s

  • The PC’s were all raised in an orphanage, and it was attacked

  • Merchants aren’t coming to town due to ambush by bandits. Food and other shortages

Offer a solution to a problem they have

  • A close friend or mentor was murdered or has gone missing

  • You see a man with a large battered cloak with hawk images on it. A piece of cloth with a similar image on it was found at a crime scene.

Related Article: Storytelling is NOT just the DM's Job

Great Hooks Creates a Call to Action

If PC’s don’t take the bait on the hook, they may need a bit of a push

  • There have been threats on a noble’s life that requested the guarding is on fire.

  • More and more people are being robbed, now the PC’s find their own articles missing.

A call to action may be a result of inaction

  • The noble who wanted to hire them goes missing.

  • The thief is now leaving behind victims wounded or worse.

Great Hooks Mix and Match Different Types of Hooks

The old, you’re in a Tavern and are approached by a weird looking person…gets old.

  • The PC’s are called upon by someone.

  • Someone or something goes missing.

  • A small village or town is attacked.

  • PCs stumble upon a corpse.

Great Hooks Give the PC’s choices when possible

Players strongly dislike being forced into a situation that they have no control over.

  • If you must do this, do it sparingly.

While players won’t take all your hooks, it’s good to have 2-3 set up.

  • This gives them multiple choices and still gives you a bit of control as to where the adventure may go.

  • You can reuse those hooks later that don’t get picked up

Source DnD 4th Edition Dungeon Master's Guide

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