Sandy was recently interviewd by JDR Magazine (a French gaming publication). Among other questions, they asked him about how he goes about writing scanarios for RPGs, and what makes a good scenario. Here is Sandy’s answer:
Sandy: Well some basic tips are:
First, the opponent must be malign. Nothing destroys the feel of terror more than finding out the monster just wants to return to its home in outer space, or be laid to rest, or whatever.
Second, I work visually, so I think of a cool scene from a book or a movie or whatever and try to incorporate that into the scenario at some point. Then I design the storyline so it leads to that scene, or away from it. For example, I designed the MOHOLE scenario in Petersen’s Abominations about the time of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The thought of being trapped on an oil platform during a catastrophy seemed exciting for a plot. So, I posited the concept of an abandoned oil platform in the North Sea, which had been repurposed for a nuclear-powered super-drill as a scientific experiment. Obviously, something goes horribly wrong when the drill starts breaking through the earth’s crust and mayhem ensues.