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Interesting campaign starters for D&D? All I usually get is Tavern, Caravan, Tavern, Caravan and maybe a library.
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>>66740027
You wake up in a room with a note on the wall saying "I want to play a game."
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>>66740027
You see, you may want to have some connecting event to draw the players together to guide them towards the story.
For example
>Hey you, you're finally awake
>You were trying to cross the border, right?
>Walked right into that Imperial ambush, same as us, and that thief over there.
>>
If I ever run DnD again, I think I'll put all the players in the office of a town mayor/duke who's put out a request for any brave heroes to take out some creatures terrorizing the town and also to look for his lost son, who he sent previously to deal with the problem and hasn't returned in a week.
They get to the cave that the mayor told them about, nearly two days walk from the town, and find the son stabbed to death. The son was a knight from the large capital city somewhere else, wearing armor representing them and normally would never go into a cave of monsters alone, players would learn this by reading his journal that he had on him before heading deeper inside the cave to kill the monsters, and learning there that the seemingly mundane baddies were being bossed around by some bigger fish which I haven't come up with yet

but yeah that's about all I got so far
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Gathered together by war recruiters as emergency mercenaries for an upcoming battle.
Summoned by a powerful but demented wizard, who lets them go on their way (but won't send them back). They have no idea where they are. May not even be their home plane.
Captured by an evil wizard to be used as experimental subjects, commit prison break.
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>>66740158
motherfucker
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>>66740195
Is that a reference to something?
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The party starts in the midst of an organized rally to unionize mundane craftsmen and laborers against the local wizard business magnate who magically crafts goods and is devaluing their wages. Halfway through Ork union busters arrive to start bashing in skulls.
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>>66740027
slaves escaping from a sinking ship damaged in naval battle
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You are each one of the 400 the sons and daughters of the God Pharaoh or their retainers and hired help.
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>>66740027
Pick it up in the middle of a combat encounter.
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>>66740529
exactly
thats how the best movies start, fighting now, explaining later
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>>66740529
Or lost in a dungeon or stuck in a pit or locked up by the enemy, they all had their reasons for going in and they become an actual party to get out and they stick together as they turn out to have a similar end goal.
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>>66740027
Left for dead after a huge raid, start in a bar and when the first player is about to say something make a dead body fly through the window, you can make them try to survive, join the raid to escape later, or if all of them die wake up with the town reduced to cinders. Maybe have some knights put the in the current of things if that last thing happened.
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Survivors of a shipwreck wake up at dawn on the beach with the wreckage breaking up against the rocks.

Sole survivors of a disaster wiping out a village/town. Think flash flood, earthquake, etc. So you can say that they lived on hills above the flood, etc. Throw in a little spice indicating the disaster wasn't natural as a hook.

Jailed together by the corrupt sheriff. May be being gather for sacrifice, slavery, etc.

Go Terminator and have a friend and an enemy from the future start shit.

Have the party members stricken by a significant malady. They start glowing, levitating, etc. and people they consult with direct them to the temple of XXXXX toconsult with the priest. Who gathers them together to tellthem that the great god Blarglefarg has a quest for them.
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There are only a few musts that need to make up a start:

>1. Colocation. All the PCs need to be in the same physical space. This is critical to avoid drawn out recruiting sequences.
>2. Cooperation. Everyone needs to have the same (or similar) initial goals. Otherwise there is no reason for them to work together to begin with.
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>>66740027
Hey, you. You're finally awake.
You were trying to cross the border, right? Walked right into that [Faction] ambush, same as us, and that [other pc] over there.
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>>66740813
[other PC] gives an exposition dump on himself, including his living place.
When party visits it later, there is nothing there.
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>>66740848
That’s some prime mindfuckery material there.
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>>66740027
All the players were accused of a crime they didn't commit and end up in the same prison awaiting trial. Now make up the rest, OP.
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>>66741105
I do this, but they are already standing on the gallows or waiting their turn at the guillotine
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>>66740088
I have unironically considered that as a campaign starter. Some form of "patron" has gotten sick of the PCs wasting their lives, and puts them through the deathtrap wringer, at the end of which they gain their first level.
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>>66740027
There was a thread about the party being the adherents of the same god, and being on sacred mission(s)
It quickly devolved into fedoraposting, but I personally liked the idea.
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>>66740027
Anything else creates danger of railroading
>You start in dungeon, getting raped
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>>66741370
You're an idiot.
PROTIP: if you want a good campaign intro, you'll say where the PCs are starting out in the campaign notes. If the players don't want that, they don't have to join the game.

By signing up to the game with them in full foreknowledge of what they're doing the first scene isn't railroading.

For example; if you put in you game ad "you've been summoned before the king as he is seeking those with great skill! What skills do you have that the king would have heard of your name?"

Having the first scene be of the group meeting before the king isn't railroading because if you didn't want to do that, your PC didn't have to turn up and you don't need to play in the game.
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>>66740027
You wake up in a bare concrete room naked and you ass is on fire.
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>>66740027
I've been doing introduction sessions for the two parties I run, where some of their characters already know one another, while others are going to meet for the first time.

They're starting on a train because I couldn't resist the railroad pun.
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>>66741493
You wake up on a luxurious, soft bed wearing full formal suit. It cold... It's so... very... cold...
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>>66740027
One I've used recently is that when the party arrives in town, they find a dead body in the street that nobody wants to acknowledge.
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A problem with the imprisoned/enslaved hook is that there is often at least one person who will end up starting a vendetta against whatever person or state took away their freedom, which you may not want.
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I like prison-break/slave revolt to start a campaign.

For brainless dungeon crawling campaigns, doing the isekai summon is a good way to pull together wildly different backgrounds. My preference is the unexplained summon to a dangerous area, giving an instant long term objective of "wtf is happening".
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>>66741531
There is an easy way to screen that.
>Empire or Stormcloaks?
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You all wake up in a locked room. Naked, bound and pregnant
Good luck.

Had a one shot start like that it was DnD with hints of ERP
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>>66741531
People behind party's imprisonment are nowhere to be found. Not in jail. Not in city. It's all deserted.

- Where do you go first?
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>>66741531
That is why you kill the original captors before players get their hands on them.
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>>66740027

I like the idea of the party getting drafted into the militia of a town or settlement during a raid from an opposing nation's army. It gives a lot of freedom in terms of player backgrounds, chucks them right into combat, and gives them plenty of plot hooks after the attack. Enemy officer dropped important documents, local Lord wants you to join his side as scouts, shit like that.
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>>66740027
How do you even design a campaign knowing that the players may go rampage and go to any direction except the one that leads to your story?

What if you didn't prepare for a decision that they suddenly do?
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>>66741629
I've considered a campaign with the PCs as part of an irregular unit for an army on the march. Essentially, they need people who can perform recon, infiltration, sabotage, assassination, all the things that John Cowfucker can't be expected to. Since they're going to be spending a lot of time away from superiors, the players get their agency in how they go about things, while still getting that military feel that some players really like.
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I tend to start my players out in medias res, usually halfway/mostly through their starter dungeon, with the implication that they'd worked together to get there in the first place.
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>>66741460
No shit, I was referencing a fatguy who started his game like that without any preperation and got banned from the event.
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>>66741523
That just gave me the idea for an inception-type campaign, neat.
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>>66741493
>>66741523
You wake up on a luxurious, soft bed wearing full formal suit. You ass is on fire
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>>66740027

Not D&D but applicable, this is still my favourite campaign starter and sold me on in media rez:

>Playing Numenera
>Opens with the GM describing an immaculate peaceful pastoral scene, green grass, flowers, butterflied and birds
>William Tell Overture is playing from this part (https://youtu.be/xoBE69wdSkQ?t=371)
>As the Finale part of the music approaches, he describes on the horizon 4 human shapes (we had 4 party members) running for their lives pursued by a huge mob
>Animals scatter and the ground trembles as distant shouts and screams fill the air
>Zoom in: It’s us, we are running for our lives from a horde of furious peasants who want to lynch us, we start improv
>Party member 1: “I TOLD YOU IT WAS A STUPID IDEA! ALL THIS FOR A MAGIC COIN??”
>Party member 2: “I DIDN’T KNOW THEY’D BE SO ATTACHED TO IT!”
>GM asks us what’s on the coin
>One player says: “An engraving of a guy with a weird haircut?”
>Another party member shouts: “And all the peasants have the exact same haircut!!”

Set us up well as a bunch of thieves, we were on the lookout for peasants with weird haircuts for ages. The coin changed haircut on a regular basis, it’s how they decided how to look, it was a very big deal to them.
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>>66742954
I didn't copy the link properly, should be starting from around 6:15, you get the idea
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I usually open a campaign with a graphic scene of player rape
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>>66742954
I love it.
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>>66743059
>I usually open a campaign with a graphic scene of player rape

Go on...
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I like the chrono trigger approach of just having some kind of festival or ceremony where the players are just getting a little world building slice of life style and can play with their abilities in a risk free way (Friendly brawls, magic tricks for others, towns people playing hide & seek or some kind of scavenger hunt, maybe a kid gets hurt playing and needs some healing)
It's a really easy vehicle for world building that's organic. The ceremony/festival tells you a little about the culture, the characters including the players can all be seen as they are in their regular life. and it sets up a juxtaposition between. It's easy to sow seeds of intrigue in the background. I would advise avoiding some kind of disaster or attack on the scene (unless you really feel good about that idea). Having there be some problem that needs fixing outside of the festival or ceremony is often fun because it requires a bit of a nature traversal.
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>>66743408
That’s pretty good
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You're all attending the funeral of a fallen party member (for higher level characters)

You've all been summoned for jury duty
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Kidnapped by slavers
Press-ganged into the navy

One of my personal favourites (that I stole from an epic story of a Shadowrun campaign) is to run every player their own session 0. It's a bit railroad-y, but the idea is that they end up caught in the middle of something - a gang firefight, an Orc raid, anything so long as they're either pinned down or on the run towards the only safe exit - and they basically get stuck with (or otherwise encounter)... TO BE CONTINUED.

Then when everyone's had their session 0, the game proper starts. Nice thing about that is, you can actually do it with 2 or 3 players, and if someone else wants to make your game but is tied up, you find a spot where you can do something similar a week or two down the line ("So the party exits the tavern, and a gnome runs into one of them. About twenty feet behind him is a fast-moving orc with a cleaver. And we'll pick this up next week!") and give him his own session 0 too.

Gives it a bit more of a living-world feel than "Okay, so you're all in a tavern, drinking alone, when an elf bursts through the door. He looks around the room, wild-eyed, and shrieks "Treachery!" before collapsing on the floor. As he goes down, you see three or four arrows buried between his shoulder blades. What do you do?".
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>>66740347
I once did almost exactly this. The orcs were kept as lower caste citizens, working the factories/labor positions. Working from birth to adolescence; upon full adulthood they were castrated and queued for sacrifice to various deities. The part discovered the Underground Railroad of Orcs celebrating Orcmas.
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>the PCs travel to a secluded grove in the frozen north, to meet and renew their vows as guardians of the realm
>one of the companions is missing

>the PCs are investigating the disappearance of a famous inventor; the games begins at the front door of his wondrous workshop
>the things they find inside will haunt and amaze them

>the PCs gather at a graveyard to pay their yearly respects to their fallen comrades
>their old master, long dead, is sitting, waiting for them; he has terrible news
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>>66740027
you're all trapped in a dungeon, could jrpg meme it a bit and find them teleported to some temple, hospital sick ward, being held prisoner on false premise and have to escape
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>>66740027
>The party starts in a tavern.
>Its currently crowded, most of its patrons waiting for the thunderstorm to clear out before leaving.
>Various strangers catch the eye of the party, whether from exotic accents, dress or events surrounding them.
>The storm continues to build.
>After an hour in-game, lightning strikes the tavern, shaking the building and causing the second floor to collapse.
>The wooden beams are aflame.
>Ten rounds after this, a white flash envelopes everyone.


>The party starts in a tavern.
>Its currently crowded, most of its patrons waiting for the thunderstorm to clear out before leaving.
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>>66745151
That’s some shit Tzeench would pull.
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>>66740027
travelling in the first fligh of a zeppelling
those from the party who have money bought the ticket, those who don't have money won a free ride
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>>66740027
Start at the bottom of a dungeon. Describe how the dungeon was completely ransacked and looted. In front of them, is the grand vault, still locked.
They have the key.

When they open the vault and take out the great treasure the entire dungeon collapses into a mess of mishmashed tunnels and hazards, releasing or attracting a batch of new monsters.

Then roll for initiative.
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>>66740027
Everyone gets a letter before the game starts with some bonus starting funds and an offer for more if they agree to meet at a specified location with others and pursue an objective of some kind.
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>>66740027
>You are all in a mental ward. The mental ward is on fire.

>The battle has ended. You were the lucky few to fake being dead well enough that they haven't finished you. You all start with 1/5th (minimum 1) of your HP. You can hear ghouls in the distance getting ready for a feast.

>Last time you remember was chilling with your family in a garden - now you're sitting on a cold floor in a round room, surrounded by weird symbols. There is a man in very loose clothes and a ridiculous hat, looking very disappointed to see you. You can hear sounds of battle outside.

>You went with your friends to pick mushrooms in the forest - and you might have wandered a bit too far. You swear that such trees as here could not possibly exist.
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>>66740027
I like to take normal campaign starters and have them being on fire.
>You're in a Tavern
>It is on fire

or

>You're on an a Luxury Airship
>It's on fire
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>>66746703
You are underwater...
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The tavern in the caravan's mobile library
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>>66746715
Extra metal.
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>>66745151
Dope

>>66746195
I like doing ones like this, but with
>The Trap Springs,
>You are all hit with a mind erasure spell, and fail your saves (or system equivalent)
Then hand out blank character sheets.
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>>66740027
You and your friends meet at a tavern, looking to make a name for yourselves as heroes of the kingdom
The bartender sends you to the basement on a traditional rat killing quest
You enter the basement, but it seems to go on and on. Much larger than the floor of the room above, in fact.
Turning around, you not the door leading to the basement is gone.
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>>66746798
Nice variation on "first rat being the size of a cow" joke.
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>>66740027
I was thinking of having all the PCs begin as guests at the house/estate of some wealthy noble or minor ruler who hosts and is patron for notable individuals - not exactly obligated to anything, being guests, but always able to hear about adventuring opportunities.

The initial inspiration was the classical era, when sacred hospitality was immense, but that sort of shit happened for a long time, even in the historically modern era a lot of important people got their start by staying in the home of someone who was important and meeting other important or dynamic people there.
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>>66740194
I started a very popular one-shot with a prison break.
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>>66741531
Why the fuck would you not plan for that and have an option for it if you start with an imprisoned/enslaved hook?
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>>66740027
I have also done
>Shipwreck
and
>Summoned by authority
which are just as stereotyped, but still serviceable.

One I once had in mind for a barbarian-esque type of game was:
>You're a famed team of gladiators and you've been promised freedom and a big prize if you win
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>>66746703
Look at this railroading GM who doesn't even allow his players to set shit on fire by themselves
>>
>the party wakes up naked in a grassy field they don't recognize
>their last memory was being collectively hit by the same truck while trying to cross the road
>what? it was a big truck
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>>66741642
>Find better players
>All paths lead to your story
The hands of fate have an inescapable grasp and destiny can't be avoided. If they bitch about railroading tell them to go play Skyrim.
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>>66745151
>The party hears the echoy voice of [god] in their heads.
>CHOSEN CHAMPIONS! [opposing god] HAS SET THE VILE MACHINATIONS OF THEIR PRIEST IN MOTION THIS NIGHT SLAYING MY FUTURE AVATAR!
>HUNT THIS SERVANT OF [opposing god] DOWN AND ELIMINATE HIM!
>cue groundhog day mystery with multiple options to escape the loop beyond just the given quest by [god[
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It can be as simple as trying to get home, or as complex as trying to get home
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>>66740027
The players are hired to be in a huge post office that includes magicial methods, smoke signals, etc, and are all operators in the same room.
they get a message about some big treasure or some shit that they accedentally intersept
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>>66740027
>you all are traveling to a new colony to work for the governor there
>you have set camp for the night
>you hear a wolfs howl in the distance, and then another one closer to your camp
>it doesn’t sound quite right, it’s quite a bit deeper than a usual wolves howl
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>>66742954
That's fantastic
>>
Isekai them.
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>>66740194
I like the idea of the players getting drafted for the local militia. At least at first level they cant just ignore the local guards without any risk.
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>>66741510
Was the first quest a train murder mystery?
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>>66741556
>naked, bound, and pregnant
What a mad man
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>>66740027

Y'all are on the docks, buying fish / looking for hookers / trying to talk fishermen into lopping off parts of your shackled troll to use as bait / what-the-fuck-ever when y'all see a ship, aflame with people falling out of it, fall out of the sky and hit the water just over the horizon line.

What do you do?
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>>66748623
A NEW HAND TOUCHES THE BEACON
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>>66740027
How about a Tavervan, a tavern on wheels? That is also a library?

UNIQUE CONCEPT DO NOT STEAL
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>>66740027
I just tell them they have to have a shared background and make them create characters together where I can listen. If you don't want to be in session 0 you must not want to be in session 1 enough.
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>>66740027
Going to the border of Breland and The Mournland to kill a small legion of twig blights enhanced and commanded by a crazed spellwarped druid
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What are some good ideas for doing in media res starts? I want to start my next session with a 1-2 hour timeskip into the middle of a firefight, but I can't think of a way to do it without railroading.
>>
My last campaign starts have been:

Heading to a rich patron's home for employment reasons (Not specifically adventuring employment though, he was just a rich guy that sponsored a lot of magical people and other curiosities and people wanted in on that, the rest of the campaign is centered around intrigue stuff in his crazy palace full of magic and stuff.)

Players are all newly knighted to a single lord (Of course that's a Pendragon campaign, so that's basically just the "You all meet in a Tavern" of that game)

Caravan (specifically an old West coach ride.)

Isekaied

Players have to flee their homes due to a magical disaster about to kill everyone in their village.

So yeah, I don't think there's a distinct problem with the old favorites, but I do try to avoid using them all the time.
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>>66740027
>They have taken you from the Imperial City's prison, first by carriage and now by boat, to the east. Fear not, for I am watchful. You have been chosen.
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>>66740027
Caravan preparing to ship books to a library that stops at a tavern
>>
good thread
bump
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>>66740027
My next campaign they're going to be starting in the middle of a raid as necromancers steal children for some diabolical ritual. Nothing too fancy, just to set free one of the undead oriented gods. They start upstairs in a workers home, the father and eldest son bracing doors with them as undead break through. I told them they're going to start in a tavern to ease into it, it's been a year since the group has played so hopefully it jolts us all back into the groove of things. Maybe do something like that OP?
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>>66740027
Last campaign I made, the adventurers cleared the area around an outpost, then were charged with repairing it, fortifying it, supplying it, and recruiting soldiers to guard it. Wanted to relive my childhood games of making a fort and fighting pretend enemies.
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>>66751743
What if it was also a ship and it shipwrecked? And the PCs were slaves on it and summoned by the King after the shipwrecking?
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>>66740027
my current Campaign started during a funeral of a Brass Dragon Paladin of Bahamut, the priesthood failed to conceal the fact that they tried to ressurect him, but failed
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We started out all imprisoned/enslaved by dark elves. Was only freed because mind flayers attacked.
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>>66740027
>the blacksmith wants you to go get some materials he needs to create the finishing touches on the macguffin
>>
>There hasn't been any word from the party of Big Damn Heroes that went to face the Big Bad / Big Threat for over a year. They are presumed to have failed.
>All of the PCs have ties of one type or another with one of these heroes. Now they feel the need to follow on their footsteps.
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>>66741642
>How do you even design a campaign knowing that the players may go rampage and go to any direction except the one that leads to your story?
You shouldn't have a story. You should have a framework for your campaign. That framework should have the following:

-informing the players what the game is intended to be
-making sure the players put in their backstories at least some reason to go along with the main aim of the game
-Ensuing that the players are aware that you will not be GMing outside the scope of the campaign if they don't want to play along.

Your framework should be able to handle some rampaging, as long as the players are intending to go along with something that you have planned.
If the players are deliberately trying to go off the rails, they're shit players and you can narrate the following:
"Player characters X, Y and Z decide to go off into the wilderness/become pirates/be petty thieves for the rest of their lives and are never seen again. They may have wonderful adventures or may have died pathetically, we will never know. But this story does not cover what they have done. Roll up new characters." Then consider kicking them out if their next characters also go off the rails.

>What if you didn't prepare for a decision that they suddenly do?
In the short term, when faced with an obstacle PCs can only do 4 things:
-Destroy the obstacle
-Run away from the obstacle
-Befriend the obstacle (or bribe, blackmail, threaten, etc)
-Be defeated by the obstacle.

You should have a plan for each of those options, even if the plan is "the PCs die and the campaign ends".

In the longer term, you should have several factions in your game each with their own goals and plans, and when the PCs do something unexpected, have the factions either carry out the next step of THEIR plans or adjust their plans to compensate for the heroes.

It's not hard if you don't look at it like a story and look at it like a political intrigue campaign.
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>>66740123
Even last night's storm couldn't wake you.
>>
>>66740027
I had my first party wake up in a cave, tied to chairs, about to be sacrificed as part of a dark ritual. An NPC got sacrificed first and a demon got summoned, killing half the cultists and scattering the event, meaning the party - who didn't know each other - had to work together to escape.
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>>66742954
I /love/ this.
>>
You wake up on a beach with a hangover. You don't think you've ever seen trees like that in your life.
>>
>>66740027
I just ask each player on-by-one (roll die for order or whatever) “Where You at?” At work around to them meeting each other before We start.
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>>66758042
I've always wanted to run a campaign where the party of maybe 5 starts with one player who's given the quest, then session by session we add one more player, with the increasing party having to find them in their locale to pick them up.

Like Ocean's 11, so it's like "you've heard about a bounty hunter in town. He's supposed to be the best... The very best. You're going to need to shake down every thug in town to find him, though" and then they have to finish off the bounty hunter's current bounty to get him to sign up.
>>
Had a WHFRP campaign start with the players escaping from a Dark Elf ship during a sea battle.
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>>66740027
The players all meet inside of a therapist's office after suffering the same crippling nightmares for over a week. They see that most of the town is in there, as is the King, all of them suffering the same affliction. The king exits the office and, in a fit of frustration at the therapist being unable to help, puts out a call to everyone present in the waiting room (magically enhancing his voice so even those in the line leading outside can hear) that he's willing to give tons of gold and land to any individuals who can make the nightmares stop.
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>>66740027
"You all meet inside a public restroom"
>>
>>66740027
I've opened with;
>Intense interrogation inside authoritarian state's border town
>Midway through urban vip-escort mission just before shit goes down
>Mercenary tent in larger military camp
>Town Square just before evening Festival
>Underground Drug Den
>Brothel w/Exotic Dancers & Bar
>Riding into City for political event
among other ways.
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>>66740158
reading this made me think it might be cool if the players were framed for the murder of the knight by the king for some reason
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>>66743408
You could also open up the story with the main characters starting out as kids and then building on them. You don't even really need to do them all separately you can have some of them be childhood friends.
>>
>>66740027
The start of one of my campaigns was one of those Help Wanted posters with contact info at the bottom leading me (and the other murdehobos in the party) to the estate we needed to clear and map.
Another one I was in started in a museum that detailed the history of the kingdom for us tourists.
One I've done is start a campaign with the consequences of another with the paladin in the Abyss and trying to get out. It's still a prologue for another campaign I've got on the back burner.
One I did was the party starting trying to get into a city because they were sent to proselytize, right outside of the gate.
'One I've wanted to do, though it could also just work as an adventure starter, is the party heading to their next job after getting directions to it and then falling into an abandoned mine or elaborate cave system maybe even have it be some precursor ruins.
Markets or festivals in the town square can always be a fun intro.
Be seasick in their cabins on a boat if you got a marine or coastal campaign or setting.
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>>66746715
... and on fire.
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>>66740027
Start on a train. The party meets each other by meeting in the meal car, by wandering around the car, or just being put in the same tiny room. From there you can either have them all go to their destination without much of an issue, have a train robbery, a mechanical failure in the middle of where you want them to be, or have the whole thing derail and the party survives banged up but alive.
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>>66746113
is there a suspiciously rich gnome with a fancy ring aboard the zeppelin?
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>>66741237
NPC in line at the gallows looks at PC, "First time?"
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>>66740027
All players getting off a boat. Sometimes i crash the boat and they wash up, then wake up as a local scavenger is trying to loot them.
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best campaign starter is 0th level funnel
if you aren't familiar, you make each player make multiple shitty scrub characters (at least, like, four each probably) and, with the expectation that most of them are going to die, they only give these characters the barest of backstories.
you then throw these poor sods into a meat grinder, like their village is being attacked and there aren't any neato adventurers or heroes around to save them.
the surviving characters form the party and automatically acquire two invaluable things: a badass backstory that is connected to the setting, and a strong connection to the rest of the members of the party.
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>>66740027
>everybody make characters who have a reason to go down into dungeons and fight monsters
>now tell me how you all know each other and why you're working together
Done. Any player who can't manage both of the above isn't tall enough for the ride anyway.
>also, consider an in media res start - bottom level of a dungeon and missing a few hours of memory, monster attack, etc. However this is optional.
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>>66740027
There's a grand fair happening, and there are masses of caravans traveling to partake as either customers or to man stalls themselves. Tell the players this, let them give their reasons for going/how they're getting there (merchant, assistant to a merchant, a guard, traveling in a group with others from their hometown, etc). Suddenly, [insert baddie group for main plothook here] attacks the caravan as the party members pass on the trail! Use the rules from the start of HOTDQ for civilian casualties or modify it if you like. The party proves to be the most capable combatants and as a result can all begin tracking down the baddies for whatever reason they decide, if at all. For example, one employed by a caravan could be sent to track them down to try and find out who damaged their employer's caravan with the attack or something.

It's a fun and dynamic way to start a campaign. You can even up the stakes; if the party fails to kill X enemies within Y rounds, enemy reinforcements arrive, possibly prompting a tactical retreat by the party or leading to them and several merchants being captured which could offer another way to unite them; an escape from confinement.
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>>66769037
>tactical retreat
ahhaa
ahhahaha
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>>66740027
You all went to the same magic university, with the most martials taking the spell casting route, and the barbarian getting in due to an athletic scholarship.
Now you are graduated and want to go exploring the world.
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>>66741642
>How do you even design a campaign knowing that the players may go rampage and go to any direction except the one that leads to your story?
A story is not a campaign. A campaign is not a story. If you have a story you want to tell, write it down and don't GM it.
A campaign is a setup. There's an army invading your kingdom, your an army invading a kingdom, whatever else you can think of. A campaign is the record of what your players choose to do in that setup, but it's not your job to decide ahead of time what they're going to do and when they'll succeed or fail.
That said, if I have a premise in mind for the campaign, I just tell people what it is when I'm pitching the game. "Hey, you're all going to start on a 19th century Mississippi riverboat, but at some point you're going through a mysterious fog and ending up somewhere else, so don't spend all your points on local contacts." Or if it's a dungeon crawl game, or a military scouts game, or whatever else, JUST TELL THEM so they can decide if they want to play, and make appropriate characters.
>What if you didn't prepare for a decision that they suddenly do?
Awesome! That's the moment the real game begins.
But practically speaking, it's probably going to mysteriously take a game session's worth of trouble, obstacles and random encounters to extract themselves from whatever they're doing and travel to whatever I didn't prepare for.
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>>66740027
PCs can meet in prison, on the battlefield, or just be old friends/acquaintances/rivals.
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>>66752584
>What are some good ideas for doing in media res starts? I want to start my next session with a 1-2 hour timeskip into the middle of a firefight, but I can't think of a way to do it without railroading.
In an existing campaign, you mean? Yeah, you're going to have get railroady to do that. Some ideas though:
randomly caught in a firefight between two factions that have nothing to do with the party
paladin/bounty hunter finally brings a demon/fugitive to justice right on the party's doorstep, but he's in over his head
pickpocket steals something valuable from a PC; his gang is running interference as he tries to get away
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>>66769707
The GM does not tell the story of the campaign, ever. The GM can't even decide to do so. The GM is in charge of the plot, the circumstance that drives the story. The PCs are the one who tell the story.
However, to tell the story they want to tell, they need to talk to the GM to make sure the circumstance enables their story to move forward.
Just setting up a premise and going from there with no explicit collaboration makes for shit, uninteresting stories.
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Anyone have experience with Werewolf: the Apocalypse, or otherwise running monstrous PC's?

Here's an idea I was toying with. This is a modern urban setting:
>Before session 1, help each player with creating separate backstories: where they grew up, their home life, their age, all standard stuff.
>One day something pushes them over the edge to trigger their change into werewolves. The last thing they remember is seeing red, the agony of shifting to a werewolf, and the white hot hatred it brought with it.

>First scene; all PC's awaken naked, and covered in still wet blood that's not their own. They find themselves in an isolated rural setting. An abandoned logging mill, maybe.
>Could roll dice to see who wakes up in what order.
>Whether or not players stick around to question eachother, or run off into the night, someone finds them after a time.
>A large squad of rugged looking people with flashlights. They look coordinated, and move with purpose. The way they talk, it sounds like they were expecting to find the PCs here, and are looking to take them away.
>These people are actually fairly experience Werewolves. Behind the scenes, there's no chance a player could evade them in the woods, and the scene funnels towards them being taken, willingly or not, and introduced into secret werewolf society.

Thoughts?
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>>66773007
Extra part I forgot to mention:
This leaves them with several questions at the start of the campaign:

>Werewolves are very rare nowdays, and the last ones born were about 10 years ago. So why the sudden influx by this group? Is it coincidence?
>The first change is usually savage and uncontrolled. Why did they all seem attracted to this place, or maybe it was to each other?
>The prophecy of an apocalypse is neigh. But prophecy is vague at the best of times. Maybe these strange happenings are related somehow?
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>>66740027
Startem with the old “Wake up in a old tower with unspeaking monoliths inside”
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>>66774773
But seriously though just ask them what kind of game they want to play and work around it. Some of my best games came from this.
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A sinking ship, the captain of the ship starts shouting for help and haphazardly assembling different teams, thus the party assembles.
The boat sinks or doesn't, that's up to you



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