Continuing the discussion from How to write a series bible:
The eleventh item of the checklist is “Episode thumbnails”
- Episode thumbnails Next, include three or four thumb-length descriptions of subsequent episodes. Write only about a paragraph for each, setting up the principal A- and B-plots and then describing how they’re resolved. The purpose here is to demonstrate that our idea isn’t just a one-shot, but has “legs” that can carry it over the course of one or more seasons.
This evokes something that @RogerBW always says: that if you can’t dash off six to ten workable ideas for adventures in a campaign that you mean to run you don’t have a workable campaign idea. The purpose for an RPG campaign is just what Ury indicates for a TV series: to demonstrate that your idea isn’t just a one-shot, but has “legs” that can carry it through a sustained campaign.
I’d like to add a few thoughts:
This has to be six to ten adventures conforming to the standard format for the campaign — that is, consisting of X doing Y in Z. You will perhaps pad out your campaign with the occasional “bottle episode” or “shore leave episode” once the characters are established, and eventually switch up the formula with a few variations and inversions to change the pace. Don’t count those. You need to establish a pace before you can change the pace, you need material to pad out before you can add padding. Unless six adventures come easily to mind and perhaps ten with a little thought then you don’t have enough material to establish a pace and contain padding with.
You are going to get more material to use once you have specific player characters to work with. Don’t count those either. That’s what is going to unfold your six to ten generic adventures adventures out to the dozen you will actually run.
You don’t need detailed synopses here, just thumbnail sketches of adventures, just adventure seeds. But be careful that you only count actual adventure seeds that encapsulate the substance of an adventure. A lot of times GMs and writers mistake a mere hook for an adventure. Any adventure seed that ends on a note of mystery is not an adventure seed. You don’t need to know how it will turn out, but you do need to know what is happening.
Combining a couple of thoughts from above, make sure that you have adventures for this campaign, this premise, this adventure format. For example, right now I’m trying to work up the courage to run a campaign of troubleshooting missions for “effectives” of Human Heritage or the Ethnological Society in my interstellar-SF setting Flat Black. I jotted down twelve troubleshooting missions for effectives of Human Heritage in twenty minutes, and that would be good enough if the template adventure for an adventure in Flat Black were “go to a planet with a mission; effect an investigation, caper, or clandestine op to discharge the mission; leave”. But it isn’t. The core of an adventure in Flat Black is the complication of the mission that is raised by the encounter with the exotic society of the planet. And I don’t have enough of those to be sure my campaign has legs.