Great question (I saw you posted this on our forum too so I'll respond there as well)
Story Scenes can be big or small, with a lot of action or none at all ( I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but it did). It really depends on your preference as a game master and what your players like. I know thats extra vague, but you'll probably have to try a few and see what works for you (and if you've played an RPG before you probably have a good idea what will work).
Here's some tips that work for me and I think are good advice for Yeld:
- Choose just one goal for each scene. This goal could be exploring a location (or a small part of one, like a room), talking to a character, getting into a fight, discovering a treasure, overcoming an obstacle like climbing a tree or sneaking into a fortress or solving a puzzle, or even just showing your players something you want them to see. Let the scene be about this one thing, and move on to the next scene when that thing has been addressed.
- Having a Challenge or Fight in each scene isn't necessary, but both make good goals for a scene.
- Presenting goals that players can accomplish in each scene is a good way to keep them engaged, but if they do fail its better to move on to a new scene and present a different goal that will allow them to move forward than staying at the same scene and trying again. If they can't climb the castle wall, maybe they can sneak in through the sewer or bribe a guard??
- Shorter scenes are usually more fun than longer scenes. If a scene is stretching on too long you may notice that your players are getting bored, lost or frustrated.
- Setting a nice backdrop and seeing where the players will go can be a great approach, but be ready to direct players if they're not sure what to do. Improvising based on your players actions is great when your players are ready to engage, but very often being ready to direct players toward a scene you already had in mind is a good idea.
- A single fight can dominate a scene and really stretch it out. Giving each fight a purpose helps make them fell like more than filler. Instead of just saying "here's a fairy, fight it" you can present the Fairy as an obstacle that the players must overcome, and once they defeat it they can move on to a new scene. for example, beating the Fairy Jailer allows the players to open the cell and rescue the Bandit Princess, and now they can move onto a scene where they pick the locks to her shackles, interrogate her, rescue her or whatever. Finishing a fight and finding that nothing has really changed can be boring!
- Remember that the players shared some ideas with you when they chose the adventure's title.You don't HAVE to reference those ideas in your story scenes, but if you're not sure what to do remember that the players told you what they wanted.
- I often like to think of my adventures as episodes of a show like Dragon Prince or She-Ra. Each episode has a few big scenes and a few small scenes, but each scene has a point, and putting all those scenes together creates the episode's story. Before I start an adventure I like to plan 2-3 scenes that will be the backbone of the adventure. As log as we get to these scenes, or something similar, the adventure's story will be clear and things will mostly go as planned. One scenes (usually the Starting Scene) will set up the adventure and explain its premise. The next big scene, usually in the middle of the adventure, will present a big challenge or conflict for the players to solve. The final big scene is usually the boss fight, although sometimes its not a fight at all but a different kind of challenge! between these big scenes I often have smaller scenes that are less planned out, and are great opportunities for character development, exploration, shopping or just goofing around!
- Not everything goes as planned. In fact, a lot of times the story scenes I had planned out end up very different, or don't appear at all. Being able t improvise is important, and its good to remember that as log as you can guide your players along the backbone of your story it doesn't really matter if the details change as you go. You can have fun no matter what path you take.
I hope thats helpful and makes sense?