Generally an adventure will have an overall goal to be accomplished by a party of player characters, and guidelines about the prerequisites for success. It then subdivides the plot into a set of scenes that the players could encounter during the course of play, and provide descriptions of the locations, details on creatures and other characters that could be encountered, and information concerning potential obstacles and hazards. The adventure will often contain one or more maps that the gamemaster can use to locate points of interest and manage movement.
"Dungeon crawl"-style adventures for combat-intensive games such as Dungeons & Dragons may allow or require large amounts of combat and little or no interaction with other characters outside of combat; storytelling games such as the World of Darkness games may focus on character interaction and provide little opportunity for combat. So-called linear adventures will restrict the actions of the players to a significant degree, requiring them to resolve each part of the plot in turn. Non-linear adventures are more flexible about the order of player activities, and allow the players a greater opportunity to "write" their own adventure.
An important component of the adventure are the often colorfully-written blocks of descriptive text that are read out loud by the gamemaster to the players. These blocks ("flavor text") provide atmosphere for the game, and can provide clues about what the players are about to face. Significant attention is spent describing important locations or plot stages, such as the player's introduction to the setting.
There are several broad categories of role-playing adventures:
There are a multitude of commercial adventures published as modules for different published game worlds. However many gamemasters enjoy writing their own adventures, an activity that can require considerable effort and labor.
Different games have different names for their adventures; for example, White Wolf Game Studio calls their adventures "chronicles", while Dungeons & Dragons adventures are often called "modules" or "scenarios" ("module," "scenario" and "campaign" are all loanwords from the miniatures wargames that were the hobby's roots). Games with televisual or cinematic pretensions often call adventures "episodes" with a campaign referred to as a "series."