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Starting my next campaign - advice / comments

Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew

Hi so, I have a weird idea for the start of a campaign and I thought the many creative people on this site could give me great some feedback.

First off, this campaign we are going to try something different, one of the players (who often dms), we all agree he makes amazing items, makes them come to life with the littlest of things, they cackle or glow or do neat things. Its what he does best. So him and I talked and I thought it would be neat if he played in my campaign but had a "power" where he could create items, like an artificer. So it would sort of be co-dming, only that would be his only area, and it would "make sense" in the story.

I also like weird starts to a campaign, heres what I was thinking.

Another high level party of adventurers is in a dungeon, they are looking for a powerful artifact that grants the wearer the ability to make magic items. Unfortunately the whole party save the necromancer named Leshrac dies in the dungeon from some poisonous monster. Leshrac revives his party, but unfortunately for some reason, it doesnt work... they are brought back to life, but they do not retain their memories, or skills, they are just level 1 adventurers who have an urge to follow Leshrac. Yep... thats my players. I know some of my players will find it cool Ill even play up how their arms were ripped apart and they have scars, one of my players will hope hes undead and be pumped to follow an undead wizard around.

Leshrac will mention that actually this is a good turn of events, more treasure for him. So he will order them to continue on, and in a couple rooms they meet a giant serpent that is protecting the artifact. They defeat the serpent but Leshrac dies at the end. The players are free, but dont know how to get out of this dungeon. After some hints from a note Leshrac has on him, they find the artifact, an arm that lets the wearer create magic items.

Im thinking of running this with the the first adventure of "serpents skull AP", smugglers shiv. The players escape the dungeon, battling low level serpent-people along the way (maybe leshrac just put them all to sleep instead of slaughtering them) only to find that the dungeon was on an island. How do they get off the island? build a boat, there is a lighthouse but it seems a cannibal tribe lives on it and they would have to be dealt with first.

This would be the story arc for the first 3-4 sessions. Revived by a necromancer, get a powerful artifact, escape the dungeon, find a way to get off the island/explore the island.

What do you think about this idea? Any ideas to flesh it out, or make it better? I know it's kind of railroady at first but I am less concerned about that as my players dont seem to mind that as long as it serves to make a good story. And of course it would only be the first bit of the first session that would be railroady.

Also one of my other players wants to be a necromancer.. so maybe he gets leshracs spell book or something. Or maybe leshrac comes back in some other form in the future, was he just using them all along? I donno :)

Sorry for placing this in the wrong forum originally.

Has anyone tried co-dming in a manner like this? Any problems that might come from it?

Co-GMing can work as long as the GM's don't work to cross purposes. Also, just as a note, when they share notes with each other it can lead to some meta-gaming if not handled correctly and that can impact the game for everyone.

On the other hand, if played well, the GM's can use each other's ideas to bounce off each other and make a more immersive campaign.

Very interesting intro, I love it.
I actually just got done with a small co-gm excrusion, in which one of my players built a dungeon and gm-ed it while I played a character (all still in my original world) for a few sessions. It seems to me that you're in more of a situation in which you're the GM, but you have a player helping you out with notes, stats, and maybe some plot, yes? Essentially he won't be taking over gm while you play and switching roles and such?

If that's the case, go for it, have a great time. If he's an experienced GM, he'll know how not to metagame, and if he does just address it with him and talk it out (outside of game time of course, either after or before the next game) and if it continues, just stop sharing notes with him, because some people may just not be able to help it, especially when the rouge forgets to check 'that one door' for traps, etc.

The only other problem that might arise could be rules debates, he might try and make a rules claim you don't agree with, or maybe you do but you're trying to stealthily fudge something to move plot forward. In the beginning it's useful because as a new GM you need to learn the rules and more importantly how to tweek them, but remember in the end you have the final say, so long as you're consistant. One technique I had to employ when I was running a 16-18 man group (good times) was in any debate that began to take too long, I'd hold a cardboard paper towell tube over the table and give my final descision, and they knew there'd be no further arguementation after that, it was time to move on. Silly, but effective and makes you feel rather bad-a**.

As for fleshing things out, I'd get the dungeon itself superdetailed first, go through the plot you want to acheive, then the major rooms for that plot. Go through the five senses, the aura of the place, the items in it, just to know the area. Then do the same for everywhere inbetween. For the island, I would approach it differently. Draw a map, put a little circle where the dungeon is. Don't worry about super detail yet, but work from the outside in, dot out the villages, scetch out the forests, beaches, major cities if any, tribes clans, mountains rivers volcanoes, just draw a map, all the while spending time to think about how each feature effects the others. Know the culture of the people there. If they're all hungry pagan cannibles, it'll go quicklyish, if there are more civilized sections, know their culture. Then!: go into detail on the immediate area around the dungeon, and have an idea of where your players want to go. I'd straight up ask then inbetween sessions before you're even close to getting out of the dungeon, but after you've had some time to do both combat and roleplay, hey guys, what do you want to do right after this dungeon. Some will say shop, find a certain item, train their skills, learn undercommon, go to a tavern, who knows, but use their ideas to flech out which areas of you island need fleshing, and because you not only drew but also learned that map, if they go down some random path, you may not know what 'is' there, but you have an idea of what 'would be' there.

First few sessions are okay to be linear in plot, that's fine, so long as they have the option to branch out after that, or maybe they'll like linear and want more, that depends on your groups gaming style.

Of course, most important rule of any game, have fun. If everyone is having fun then you're doing something right.

Hope this helps! Ask me anything.

Thanks a lot for your reply. Love your advice about fleshing out the dungeon first, great thing to focus on, especially the senses.

Yeah, the other DM will simply be a player with a power - making powerful magic items. This is what he always did as a DM, hed make wacky items (that were either very what overpowered, or were over the top in a story way but not so over powered) and he was good at narrating what it looks like, how it works, and making the players love the item. I've been DMing for a while, and if I toot my own horn I'd say I usually run more negaging adventures then him (with the help of dungeon). So we thought maybe Ill run the adventures, and let him be a powerful artificer. The rules are less of a concern... were big fudgers, I can always give the monsters a lot more damage and HP if I need to.

Love the paper towel idea, what an awesome idea to give a signal that means - "final judgement - lets move on."

Thanks for your response, I was also wondering if anyone thought my players might think the idea of being revived by a necromancer at level 1 as a hokie idea. But Ill give it a try, has to be better then meeting in a tavern :)

Very cool, I agree with fudging, it makes things move quicker, and I always have that one player who know's all the rules exclusively and can advice me when something really specific comes up. Also the additive of the artificer concept is great, especially if that's his knack, just don't let it get too out of hand or overpowered.

As for the revival, it's very interesting and I can't imagine why they wouldn't like it. When I first started DMing I was notorious for the tavern intro lol.

Just updating the post. The adventure went amazing, over two sessions. I got great feedback. It was mostly the "smugglers shiv" adventure from Serpents Skull AP (only the players started in a dungeon, and escaped onto the island to confront the cannibals and explore).

Interestingly enough, once the players found a wrecked boat on the island they started trying to repair it and become pirates. Ive now decided to use the second adventure of the pirate themed Skull and Shackles AP. The players will get help to fix the boat, and be told of a place they can sail that will completely repair there boat and recieve some help on the ways of a pirate.

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