Starting a new campaign can be a challenging task for a Dungeon Master. Here is my list of 7 ideas to help any DM easily start their campaign and gamers on the right track.
How to Start a D&D Campaign
1. Select a Campaign Theme
A theme is a specific premise using archetypal locations, environments, and cultures to differentiate the brand-new campaign from the last ones. The theme is used to set the tone for the entire campaign, offering it a distinct color and feel. Not all of the campaign’s adventures require to stick to the theme, but the DM should always keep the theme in mind while choosing adventures. There are no limits to the theme’s archetypes – one can use a mundane or exotic, broad or a narrow. Here are some examples of campaign themes:
- The adventures begin in a large city. Adventures will be of the urban type, fixated numerous city functions and landmarks.
- An enchanted forest that includes mainly elves and fey type animals.
- All the characters are from a desert-dwelling barbarians tribe. Adventures occur in a desert wilderness. Survival in this severe environment will be an element.
- A campaign that includes a lot of monsters and extraplanar locales.
- All the adventures are taking place on high seas and the characters are from a seafaring nation.
2. Define Classes & Races
The campaign theme will offer you some concept of what classes and races will best fit the characters and adventure environment. Obviously, there will be types of classes, races, and nationalities that would be out of place in a themed campaign. Before the gamers roll up brand-new characters, the DM ought to give them a list of all the classes and races they can play in this campaign. The majority of DMs never ever believe to enforce these borders on their players, but it does have the benefit that there will not be any oddball races or classes that clash with the remainder of the gamer characters. It likewise helps the gamers and DM stay with the campaign theme, providing it greater verisimilitude.
3. Define Alignments
Alignment is also a source of possible dispute. I inform my gamers they need to jointly decide their alignment preference prior to any brand-new characters for the campaign are created. They can have a good-aligned party that consists of some neutrals, they can have evil-aligned with a few neutrals, or they can be all the same moral alignment (all good, neutral, or evil, that is). By doing this there won’t be those bothersome parties with a mix of good and evil characters that cause so much problem further down the road. Furthermore, some positionings may encounter the campaign’s theme and must be limited for some or some all character classes.
4. Background of the Characters
Give each character background that information how they got to this point, usually the start of their adventuring profession (i.e. beginning at 1st level). You do not require to write a hyper-detailed biography of the gamer character, but you need to include their house land and town, plus family, brother or sisters, and other crucial figures in their life.
5. Character Personality
Not so much a job for the DM, however, their input is needed. Encourage players to provide their character with a personality, and inspiration for ending up being an adventurer. This need not be a multi-page dissertation– just a quick description will suffice. This keeps players from simply playing basically the very same character each campaign. While there is absolutely nothing naturally incorrect with playing the same character, a fully expanded character will be more interesting and memorable.
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6. Pick a Base of Operations
This is typically a house city or town the player characters reside in which they will go back to in between adventures to rest. Draw a map of the city and make a note of essential NPCs and services. It is likewise useful to map the area surrounding the city or town out to 30 miles. You do not need to describe everyone, place, and service in the city – simply a handful of the most important to the players’ at the start of their career. Some of the important ones to include are suppliers of adventuring products, blacksmith/armourer, potion dealer, higher-level wizard (or 2), local temples, gem merchant, etc. You can add more details as the campaign progresses and the requirement arises.
7. Adventure Ideas
Create some adventure rumours the gamers can find. We make 15 to 20 at the start of a brand-new campaign. The rumours may not constantly hold true, but they will constantly result in an adventure. Let the gamers hear 3 or four rumours at the start of the campaign, so they can choose what adventure they wish to follow. The rumour they opt to follow then is then fleshed out into an adventure. You can roll out new rumours or plot hooks as the campaign progresses. Here are some examples:
- The Shrine of Helwessen is paying a good amount of money for the sap of the lich tree. They are paying 10 times the current rate for a pot of the stuff.
- A variety of people have missing out on from the town of Hraltha, which lies southeast of Strekkenbourg. The missing out on villagers mysteriously vanished from their cottages or homes in the middle of the night, and there are no trace found.
- An rogue golem is attacking from the countryside west of Strekkenbourg. The crazed monster smashes in homes and ruins livestock. The wizard, Prestivan the Marvelous, tries to find a method to stop it and some help.
- Weird lights have actually been seen during the night above the tower of the sorcere. They say these lights are of evil spirits he summons to safeguard the horde of treasures he stolen from close-by barbarian tombs.