In terms of standard D&D style fantasy tropes, what are the qualities that make a situation an Adventure?
Consider three scenarios:
1) A chick with a sword and a dude who can do magic descend into some mysterious caves in search of treasure. The caves turn out to be full of monsters! It's touch and go for a while, but they eventually manage to kill all the monsters and get the treasure.
2) A chick with a sword and a dude who can do magic decide to see what's on the other side of those mountains no one's ever been over. The mountains turn out to be really tall! It's touch and go for a while, what with the cold and the avalanches, but they eventually manage to cross the mountains and make detailed maps of the valley beyond.
3) A chick who makes swords and a dude who quietly studies magic are minding their own business when suddenly their village is attacked by bandits. They fight back, but it's really scary! They watch their friends and loved ones die! It's touch and go for a while, but they eventually manage to kill all the monsters and turn to the grim task of burying their dead and rebuilding what's left of their community.
In standard D&D fantasy, #1
would absolutely be an adventure.
In The Real World, "adventures" throughout history have been much more like #2
, but in standard D&D terms, crossing some mountains doesn't sound very adventure-y.
Thinks like #3
happen all the time in The Real World, but only a clueless dick would call them adventures. In D&D, I don't think that scenario would be considered adventure either, would it?
So what is it, again in standard D&D fantasy terms, that distinguishes Adventures from just plain Dangerous Situations?