Game Design

Playtesting your TTRPG Adventure

Playtesting Your TTRPG Adventure

As a writer of TTRPG adventures, you know that playtesting is crucial for your adventure to succeed. When you playtest, you can find and fix problems before publishing. You also get feedback to improve gameplay.

This article will help you with playtesting. We’ll give you tips for finding playtesters, collecting feedback, and refining your adventure.

Key Takeaways

  • Playtesting is crucial for refining and enhancing your TTRPG adventure.

  • Before you start playtesting, make sure to establish a strong foundation for your adventure.

  • Try online communities, social media, and local gaming stores to find playtesters.

  • Set up a feedback system to collect constructive insights from playtesters.

  • If external playtesters are unavailable, facilitate your playtest or consider self-playtesting.

  • Use playtest feedback to improve your adventure and make the gameplay experience the best it can be.

When Should Playtesting Begin?

Before you start playtesting, make sure you have a strong foundation for your TTRPG adventure. Before playtesting, ensure your adventure is complete, well-reviewed, and edited.

Once you have a solid adventure in place, it’s time to start thinking about playtesting. To test your adventure, start playtesting early if it’s complex or long. This will give you ample time to make changes and improvements based on the feedback you receive.

Identifying the Right Time to Begin Playtesting

Choose a point in development where your adventure is complete enough to be played, but still has room for improvement. This will allow your playtesters to provide constructive feedback.

Some factors to consider when identifying the right time to begin playtesting include:

  • Completeness of your adventure

  • Length and complexity of your adventure

  • Number of playtesters available

Before inviting external playtesters, you might want to conduct some in-house playtests. This can help you find big problems or glitches before your outside playtesters do.

To get the most helpful feedback, start playtesting your TTRPG adventure early. 

Finding Game Masters and Players for Playtesting

To playtest your TTRPG adventure, find game masters and players to participate. This may seem daunting, but there are several options available to you.

Utilize Online Communities

Online communities dedicated to TTRPGs are a great source for finding playtesters. You can find game masters and players on Reddit, Discord, and gaming forums. Make sure you read the community rules and follow guidelines for promoting and advertising.

Social Media

You can use social media platforms like Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram, and Threads to find playtesters. Use relevant hashtags and join TTRPG groups to connect with potential playtesters. You can also reach out to TTRPG influencers and ask if they would be interested in playtesting your adventure.

Local Gaming Stores

If there is a gaming store near you, contact them to see if they would host a playtesting event. Some stores have community boards. They may also promote your playtest on their social media.

It shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find game masters and players to take part in your playtest. To respect people’s time, set clear expectations for the playtest. The feedback from your playtesters are critical in refining your TTRPG adventure.

Collecting Feedback from Playtests

Once your playtests are underway, it’s essential to collect feedback from your playtesters. Their thoughts can help you see how your TTRPG adventure is going and find areas to improve.

Start by setting up a feedback system that is easy for your playtesters to use. This could be an online survey, a feedback form, or even a group discussion. Be sure to structure your questions to gather specific, actionable feedback. For example, asking, “what did you think of the adventure?” may not provide as much insight as asking, “What did you think of the pacing of the adventure?”

When collecting feedback, be sure to encourage honest and constructive criticism. Don’t take negative feedback personally. See it as a chance to grow and improve. Collect feedback from various playtesters to get a well-rounded view of your adventure.

When reviewing the feedback you get, search for common problems or themes that come up in many playtests. You may need to address these areas in order to improve the overall quality of your adventure. Don’t worry about making changes based on feedback. Try more playtests to see how changes affect the experience.

RECAP: Finding Playtesters for Your TTRPG Adventure

Finding playtesters who can give helpful feedback can be challenging. If you’re struggling to find playtesters, here are some options to consider:

  • Online Communities. To find playtesters, try joining online gaming communities like Roll20 or Discord. Many people in these communities love playing TTRPGs and are excited to try new adventures.

  • Gaming stores. Local gaming stores may be a great resource for finding playtesters. Some stores may even have their own playtesting events or groups that you can join.

  • Social media. Use Twitter or Facebook to connect with the TTRPG community and ask for playtesters. Make sure to use relevant hashtags and groups to increase visibility.

  • Virtual playtesting. If you’re having trouble finding playtesters in your area, consider virtual playtesting. Platforms such as Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds allow for online playtesting with players from all over the world.

Remember, when reaching out for playtesters, be clear about what you’re looking for and what you expect from them. To attract the right playtesters, give a short description of your adventure, estimated playtime, and any requirements (like character creation rules).

Facilitating Your Own Playtest (Solo Playtesting)

If you’re unable to find external playtesters for your TTRPG adventure, don’t despair. You can still conduct a playtest on your own. 

First, create an environment that mirrors a typical game session. Assume the role of game master and assign characters to yourself. Remember, you can’t fully see things from the player’s view, so concentrate on the game world and story you want to convey.

Next, manage multiple roles and voices. You’ll need to play the parts of all NPCs and other non-player characters. Keep notes as you play, and don’t be afraid to take breaks to review your notes and adjust your approach.

It’s also essential to be flexible and adaptive. To play both players and NPCs, you must switch between different mindsets and roles. If things aren’t going as planned or the story isn’t progressing as expected, don’t be afraid to make changes on the fly.

Keep in mind that self-playtesting isn’t the same as external playtesting, but it can still be useful for improving your adventure. Take what you learn from your self-playtest and apply it to your adventure. If you’re open to making changes based on your experience, you can create an exciting TTRPG adventure.

Refining and Enhancing Your Adventure through Playtesting

Playtesting your TTRPG adventure is important for creating a great game. By testing the game with players, you can discover issues, gauge player satisfaction, and enhance the game before launching it.

One common issue that playtesting can help identify is balance. Your adventure may be too easy or too difficult, making it less enjoyable for players. By playtesting, you can make encounters harder or easier, adjust stats, or add randomness for excitement.

Another issue that playtesting can help identify is pacing. Your adventure may have too much filler content that slows the game down, or it may be too fast-paced, leaving players feeling overwhelmed. Playtesting can help you fine-tune the pacing of your adventure.

Playtesting can also help you identify potential plot holes or inconsistencies in your adventure. Players may ask questions or make decisions that highlight areas of your adventure that may need more attention. By playtesting, you can identify these areas and make adjustments before your adventure is released.

Finally, playtesting can help you measure how satisfied players are and find what they liked. By listening to your playtesters, you can uncover what is engaging in your adventure and double down on it. This may lead to new ideas and adjustments that make your adventure even better.

Conclusion

When you have a strong foundation for your adventure, start playtesting and ask for feedback. Engage online communities, social media, and local gaming stores to find game masters and players that can help you perfect your adventure.

If you’re having trouble finding playtesters, you can try virtual playtesting or organizing your own playtest. And if all else fails, self-playtesting can still provide great insights.

To gather valuable feedback, set up a system and ask specific questions during playtests. Don’t be discouraged by negative feedback; use it to identify common issues and iterate on your adventure to make it even better.

FAQ

A: Playtesting is the process of evaluating and refining a TTRPG adventure through real gameplay sessions. It involves gathering feedback from players and game masters to identify any issues, and improve the adventure.

A: Playtesting should ideally begin after you have a solid foundation for your TTRPG adventure. This includes having a complete draft of the adventure and ensuring that the major components are in place. If you start playtesting too early, you may have to make a lot of changes. But if you start too late, you may miss chances to make things better.

A: There are several ways to find game masters and players for playtesting. You can join online TTRPG communities or post on social media platforms for tabletop gaming. You can also reach out to local gaming stores. You can connect with people who want to playtest games on these platforms.

Consider creating a feedback system for playtests. It should let players and game masters share their thoughts and observations. Structure your questions to gather specific insights, and encourage honest and constructive feedback. Analyze the feedback to identify patterns and areas for improvement.

If you’re having trouble finding playtesters, try using online platforms for playtesting or TTRPG communities. Reach out to local gaming stores or attend gaming conventions to connect with potential playtesters. Additionally, you can explore virtual playtesting options, where playtesters can participate remotely.

A: When external playtesters are not available, you can facilitate your own playtest. Set up the playtest environment, take on multiple roles, and adapt on the fly as needed. Document your observations and actively simulate player experiences to improve your TTRPG adventure.

A: Yes, self-playtesting is an option for TTRPG adventure writers. Although it may not offer as many viewpoints as external playtesting, it lets you assess your adventure objectively. To evaluate thoroughly, consider blind spots and simulate player choices and reactions.

A: Playtesting is a crucial step in refining and enhancing your TTRPG adventure. It helps find problems, like unfair combat or confusing directions, and gives tips to get better. 

Written by
Beth the Bard (@ItsBethTheBard)

She/Her | Pro DM & Coach | ADHD | Best-Selling DnD Author of Feminist Curse of Strahd Book | D&D in a Castle DM | Creator of TTRPG University

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