I had an idea for an Esoterrorists supplement, which I passed on the Robin Laws for fleshing out and to Gareth Hanrahan to write. These posts will give you an idea how we develop supplements.
The germ of the idea was in The Esoterror Factbook, where I had suggested that PCs might be stationed in a particular location. This gave me the concept for the supplement. I love those monster-of-the-week programs such as Angel, Buffy and Reaper, combining episodic missions with an overarching theme, and contrasting the hassles of mundane life with abject terror of their foes. I suppose there is an element of Burn Notice in it, juggling personal relationships with an unspeakable job.
This is what I sent to Robin and Gareth, soliciting opinions.
PCs are assigned to an area where the Membrane is weak – typically a small town, but I suppose it could use the MCB idea of “Your Town” or a fixed location. Some PCs can be local recruits. The players decide their cover organisation (for example, plumbers, pizza delivery people, carpet fitters) and then set up a monitoring station – they have to keep their business and personal lives going, too.
Typically, there will be an Esoterror cell in the background, which will gradually be revealed as the series progresses. They have to keep out of the eyes of the authorities, though a friendly cop is a possibility.
A collection of Armitage File style clues and documents give the adventure a player-led element, and if they use the “Your Town” option, the GM can use the Ripped from the Headlines approach to run the game world parallel to the real world.
They liked the idea, so Robin wrote up the skeleton, and Gareth commented. The book is now next on Gareth’s list.
We’ve used this approach before; as early as Cugel’s Compendium, Robin wrote an outline and some example entries text, and others fleshed out the book. Robin has written adventure outlines for Dead Rock Seven; Gareth wrote the adventures themselves. Often the ideas for supplements come from the writers themselves; Bookhounds of London and Armitage Files, sometimes, as in this case, it’s me.
Next: The Outline Document