Major Goals for adventure/module/campaign writing.
Many times an adventure is written up and its largely the action areas where the crux of the adventure takes place. A good term for this is the "tactical environment" where action and tactics takes place. The word tactics immediately suggests that it's action and combat oriented but not neccessarily, role play may take place here as well. The point is that this is the central location of the adventure where the action is intended to be centered. If I compared it to a classic Basic D&D gaming module like B2 Keep on the Borderlands (also known informally as the Caves of Chaos) this would be the actual caves area.
However, Module B2 didn't just provide a tactical environment. It provided a region and a keep/town. The keep itself was a strategic environment, a place for rest, recovery, and resupply. This is important in a game for a number of reason:
1. Players need a place to convert their loot to coin
2. Players need a place to spend their coin- armor upgrades new equipment etc., repair broken equipment etc.
3. It offers a change of pace,
4. it offers a place to begin new adventures, plot hooks, jobs, contracts etc.
5. it offers a place to access information about loot, the setting, antagonistic NPCs, find clues to unravelling the current adventure etc.
So the strategic environment is important and its good to have some coverage of this in an adventure module/campaign
Also in B2 Keep on the Borderlands the region around the keep was given a cursory map with some details like a bandit camp and lizardman mound. This environment can stradle the line between strategic and tactical- its often a place for tactical encounters but does not have to be. The bandits can be overcome with negotiation and be turned into a strategic location for rest and recovery with a quid pro quo of the players fencing some of their ill gotten gains in the keep for them. By providing a bit of regional environment B2 allowed the players an option for more sand box style of play and not rail roading them directly to the caves. This creates options for referee and the players. In B2 it didn't take much to provide this other than a map and a few keyed locations. Ther referee was free to develop this thin material more at need.
NPC contacts are important as well. In B2 this was provided in embrionic fashion with a listing of stats for major NPCs like the priest. Clearly the go to NPC to ask questions about an evil artifact or cursed item at the keep was the priest. Having a couple or more go to NPCs for the players to interact with is always good as these characters can offer adventure hooks, information, clues, or offer a little be of help in their areas of expertise like healing or removing of curses.
Finally, a good goal of an adventure/ campaign could or perhaps should be to deepen the ties between the PCs and the setting. Gaining membership in a society within the setting as a adventure reward is good- if offers benefits but also carries some responsibilities. Developing relationships with key NPCs does this as well. (note developing key NPCs as contact is first required) If the players have asked named NPCs for help then those same NPCs could ask them for help. Non monetary rewards also help in this connection to the setting like gaining a conveyance (star ship), docking slip, title, fame etc.
To sum up, the major goals for a module/adventure or campaign should be to provide:
1. tactical environment (the focus of the adventure)
2. strategic environment (a place to rest, recover, and retool)
3. regional environment- for some flexibility in case the players go off script.
4. NPC contacts
5. possibilities to intergrate the PCs more deeply into the environment