So you all are in a Tavern: 88 ways to open a campaign and unify the party


Homebrew and House Rules

1 to 50 of 85 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

8 people marked this as a favorite.

This thread focuses on the nucleus of all adventures and campaigns - where the party starts. The tried and true method is to start in a Tavern, but what if you want to try something else? Presented for your benefit..

1) PCs are locked in a jail together, with no memory how they got there.

2) PCs are viewing a large protest against occupying military forces when the protest gets ugly.

3) Two separate parties of PCs discuss forming a new adventuring party at the wedding of two NPC party members. The NPCs met while adventuring as a joint two party mission, fell in love, and decided to settle down and start a family, while the other adventuring members are still going to continue adventuring.

4) 2 surviving PC parties discuss plans for rescuing/avenging comrades after an adventure gone wrong.

5) The PCs, currently strangers together on a passenger ship, must work together when pirates attack.

6) The PCs are gathered in a law office or temple to hear the will of a person that has named each PC in the will.


7) I'd use an Adventurers Guild, which is basically what PFS is. It makes sense that something as lucrative as adventuring would have its own guilds and that your PCs who are seeking adventure would want to join such a guild. Then the guild master can send them out on missions.

Of course you only have to start out with the guild. The players could very quickly go off on their own and the ramifications of leaving the guild could lead to interesting story hooks further on down the line.

BTW: I'm actually kind of thinking of the setup in Fairy Tail, but the guild idea is already pretty embedded in Pathfinder with Pathfinder Society. You just remove the non-aggression pact between factions for your home game.


8) the pc's are kids of a legendary adventuring party, and have been trained together as kids..


Please number your suggestions. Thanks.

9) The PCs are bystanders at a party on a urban balcony on the full moon when multiple NPCs turn into lycanthropes simultaneously.

Grand Lodge

10) The PCs are the seemingly only survivors after their ship crashes on an island.

11) The PCs are all invited to a party by a noble they haven't met before.

12) The PCs are all visiting a cemetery where friends/relatives are buried.

13) The PCs are all independently scavenging through a village that's been abandoned due to the war.

14) One PC has found the Macguffin with intent to sell it, but has a bounty on their head, which another PC is out to collect, while yet another PC is after the Macguffin to stop the villain from acquiring it. One last PC has a vow of revenge against the villain. (Guardians of the Galaxy)

15) The PCs are all slaves who have been sold into a gladiatorial arena to fight for the amusement of onlookers.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Rabbiteconomist wrote:
5) The PCs, currently strangers together on a passenger ship, must work together when pirates attack.

Believe this has already been done in the Savage Tides AP (not sure though since I've never played it).

Rabbiteconomist wrote:
6) The PCs are gathered in a law office or temple to hear the will of a person that has named each PC in the will.

I know this was done with Carrion Crown, which I ran for my group very much to our enjoyment. :)

16) One PC is at odds with a local thieves' group, and everyone including the other PCs are in the tavern... everyone who isn't part of the thieves' group is guilty by association.


17) The PCs' favorite tavern has burned to the ground after 20 years due to a fireball incident. Now the small town has run dry of alcohol and regulars stare at the wreckage in shared sadness and fond remembrance.


18) The PCs all arrive separately at a dungeon they want to explore. Is it a coincidence or destiny? Before they can decide to trust each other, a rampaging beast attacks clearly intent on killing them all.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

19) The PCs all hear an explosion and come out into the street to investigate, and the captain of the guard immediately deputizes them to check on the mayor while the actual guards are busy trying to corral the panicking townspeople.

Grand Lodge

20) The tavern the PCs are staying in gets raided by a troop of goblins intent on stealing the food and ale from its larders.


21) The PCs have been summoned by a local authority as witnesses to a crime, subject experts (putting that Knowledge(Arcana) to use), or for jury duty.

For an additional twist, the DM can encourage the PCs to try to skive off jury duty. Of course, the PCs may try to do that anyway.


22) It's New Years Eve, and the PC's all find themselves standing in the front of a crowd before a yearly firework show and feast.

23) The PC's find themselves being restored to their original forms by a powerful spellcaster after being polymorphed into harmless animals. (Evil DM option - the PC's begin polymorphed as harmless animals and must get to a spellcaster first)

24) The PC's come to their senses after being dominated for a long time. They remember being dominated by a villain or monster and being used as lieutenants in its army. The PC's come to their senses while leading group of orcs/goblins/humans on a mission, and must decide their next course of action quickly before the soldiers under their command realize the PCs are no longer dominated.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

25) The PC's have been restored from petrification after a run-in with a Medusa or a Basilisk.


Rabbiteconomist wrote:
25) The PC's have been restored from petrification after a run-in with a Medusa or a Basilisk.

I played a character introduced into a party via this very method.


26) a powerful NPC recruits the adventuring party ala There and Back Again (when in doubt steal a classic)

27) the PCs meet as caravan guards/passengers

28) the most holy type PC (cleric, oracle what have you) has a dream telling him to gather together the PCs into a party and start the adventure

29) the most applicable organizational type PC is directed by a superior to gather the other PCs and start the adventure due to a prophesy

30) the party meets as they wait in line to be mustered out of the armed forces due to a RIF

all I can recall right now.

Liberty's Edge

Melkiador wrote:
18) The PCs all arrive separately at a dungeon they want to explore. Is it a coincidence or destiny? Before they can decide to trust each other, a rampaging beast attacks clearly intent on killing them all.

This is similar to how Wild Arms 3 begins, actually. Not in a dungeon, but on a train. They have a short stand-off (due to misunderstanding) before the actual bad guys interrupt and they join forces to fight them, then have a brief "should we work together?" moment afterwards. Spoiler: They work together.

31) All the PCs are recruited/conscripted into the army, but on their first battle their unit is routed and they get cut off, presumed dead. (Bonus points if they survive because they fell into a dungeon that would've been a lot more challenging had others not fallen as well.. and probably died.)

32) Necromantic bomb goes off in market square while all the PCs are present. They, and a handful of others, nat-20 their saves and are miraculously unaffected as a result. Others become zombies/skeletons that immediately set to doing what undead do best. Some others were just outside the range.

33) (Prepare for the cliche..) A diviner sends agents to fetch the PCs directly, claiming that they have had a vision that the PCs will become a great force for good. The diviner's vision did not give the details other than the PCs must be gathered together and explore a specific ruin. All will be made clear there.


34. An annual week-long spring festival draws visitors from far and wide (including adventurers). All that wealth and potential victims in one place is also a natural draw for bandits and other baddies...

Remember this one from an Issue of Dragon:

35. The Inn the PCs happen to be staying in suddenly collapses into a sinkhole beneath, where the caverns all exist on the Plane of Shadow. They have to work together to protect the normal folks and find a way out.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

We actually already have this thread...


Freehold DM wrote:
We actually already have this thread...

Yeah, I remember that, and at least another like it. But some people just get bored on New Year's Eve.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

36. Last player to link his/her Pc to another Pc by background conections..buys pizza for the group..and drinks.


Freehold DM wrote:
We actually already have this thread...

Thanks Freehold! I searched around for a bit but came up empty so I made this thread. It's just as well. This thread also has a different theme so far than that one - these tend to be more general to be used for any plot, whereas those most suggestions in that thread focus on specific campaign plots and less or not at all on why the PCs are even together.

@Ashtathlon I really like yours. I think I will use that in the future.


This one may not work with a while party but

37) One PC has been assigned to or volunteers to be another PC's language partner.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

38) Your requisite female eye-candy NPC patron put up a poster on the Adventurer's Guild message board that reads (in full) "ADVENTURERS WANTED!! A party of Four* Courageous** Heroes of the Realm requested to fulfill one simple errand. Inquire at Iocasta Gardakan's*** manor house." and has those little serrated pull-tabs at the bottom with her address.

Your party were the first four people to show up. Nothing special, nothing destined, you're just the first heavily-armed ruffians to arrive.

*Or five. Or four + a bard; bards don't actually count as people.
**Courage optional.
***Not her real name.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

39) The company picnic gets attacked by amonster.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

40) The PC's meet at a speed dating event.

An advantage of this one is that it forces the PCs to have a response for questions that other participants would ask - ones that form character background. "Hi! What is your name? Where are you from? What do you do? What's your family like? Do they live near here?"

41) PC's were orphans adopted as children by their guardian. Twist #1 - guardian dies or goes missing at campaign start. Twist #2 - Their guardian is not human (ex. Dragon, hag, giant, worg, celestial, beholder, etc.)

42) The PC's meet because the discover they are all dating/having sex with the same person. It is not yet determined if the person in question is spellcaster, a doppleganger, or if the person is not a person but in fact a spell (an illusion or a summoned creature).

43) The PCs are connected by arranged marriages.

44) The PCs meet at a polyamory meetup. In Golarion, this could be sponsored by Calistria or Desna.

45) The PCs meet at a kink event. In Golarion, this event could have connections to Zon-Kuthon.


46) The PCs independently meet each other at the door of a Wizard's home. Each PC was previously paid for a job peformed on behalf of the Wizard, but they were paid in counterfeit currency (fools gold).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Rabbiteconomist wrote:

This thread focuses on the nucleus of all adventures and campaigns - where the party starts. The tried and true method is to start in a Tavern, but what if you want to try something else? Presented for your benefit..

The only time I've ever started in a tavern was the opening of "Bard's Tale".

Liberty's Edge

47) The PCs share in common a villain who has done them wrong. A tarot card reader who has also been wronged has contacted the pcs mysteriously in order to put him down. ( a la curse of the crimson throne)


48) Each PC has a vivid dream and clearly sees the other PCs for the first time, and they are fighting as a team against some monstrous foe. The following day, they meet in a tavern...

49) Similarly, each PC has been called separately for an audience with the local nobleman, standing in line and unintroduced all members, note a mural painted on the wall to one side of the antechamber that depicts all the PCs riding together on a noble quest - and then realize they are all present, together, in that chamber sharing the view.

50) As strangers visiting the local adventurer's tavern/office searching for any jobs. On the wall is a Wanted poster with all the soon-to-be party member's accurate illustrations as the Dalton Gang, while all members are looking at the same board looking for work.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

51) The PCs are all part of the national government's monster hunting and mage control force. Their superior officer formed them into a squad, and sent them forth to destroy high powered magical threats to the people of the realm.

This is basically how my campaign setting works. As a worldbuilder I naturally lean towards strong governments that have the best intentions, and relatively high levels of infrastructure and technology. This does not lend itself to traditional adventuring. So I don't use traditional adventuring.


52) A local crime syndicate has its grasp around each of the PCs lives through unpaid favors, unpaid loans, gambling debts, protecting friends or relatives serving time in jail, etc. The crime boss has invited the PCs to a mission, with promises to settle debts or catchup on lay payments. Although unknown to each other, they were selected for this mission based on their individual expertise specialties.

Scarab Sages

53) Individual adventurers all receive messages received in their dreams, calling them to a location they consciously have never been to, yet seem to know the way.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

54) The PCs are all summoned by an extra-planar being using a reverse form of Summon Monster. However, their compulsion doesn't stick and they're free to act normally. Now they have to work together to figure out where they are and how to get back to the prime material.

Lantern Lodge

Like this?


55) The PCs are gathered in one place by their families, who cooperated for each family's common goal at this intervention: help the PCs overcome their addiction to adventure, treasure, adrenaline and danger.

56) The PCs meet after being inducted into a mysterious dueling club.

57) The PCs meet as part of the Rebellion.


58) A wanted criminal walks into the throne room, offering to surrender and give up the criminals who have been acting under the radar. These are the big movers and shakers, the ones pulling the strings of the criminal/heretical/rebellion world. But he will not reveal it to just anyone; he will work only with the PCs, who he mentions by name and location.

They have never met him before, and they are low on the adventuring totem poles (if on it at all), yet he insists on only working with them.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

59)There is an open audition for five spots in new boy band (or wotnot), and the PCs must heed the call. Part 1 concludes when they beat out the competition and must choose a band name. Then the trouble begins...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
59)There is an open audition for five spots in new boy band (or wotnot), and the PCs must heed the call. Part 1 concludes when they beat out the competition and must choose a band name. Then the trouble begins...

In a previous game, our party formed ranks around the bard to form our band, "Pelor and the Sunshine Band".


Did everyone take ranks in perform, or were some audible illusions utilized?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

60) You are all great heroes of the ancient days, who have slept beneath various mountains, lakes or other landmarks until the day your people or nation need you most. This is that day.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Did everyone take ranks in perform, or were some audible illusions utilized?

Both.

61) The PC's all used to work in a restaurant together, until all being fired and replaced with unseen servants by the new boss, an ex-adventurer.


62) The PC's all know what happened that Summer four years ago...


63) Each of the PCs has been visited by the same ghost. Said ghost wants the PCs to avenge his death.


64) PCs discover they are individually being poisoned by the same antagonist in a blackmailing campaign.

65) The PCs share a bond as fellow foreigners in a foreign land.

66) The PCs meet while trying to obtain a license (for spell use, rights to treasures looted, license to avoid peace bonding weapons, etc.).

67) PCs meet at the library while researching possible adventure locations.


Rabbiteconomist wrote:
42) The PC's meet because the discover they are all dating/having sex with the same person. It is not yet determined if the person in question is spellcaster, a doppleganger, or if the person is not a person but in fact a spell (an illusion or a summoned creature).

"I lost my virginity to a figment. Mom was right all along..."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

68) PCs meet while in Quarantine.


69) The most intimate PC meeting...

70) PC's are all killed individually by a powerful, shadowy entity. They all wake up in a field where others who seem just as confused as the party are being set upon by monsters.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

71) PCs meet while waiting to be executed, right before a dragon attacks.

72) PCs meet while seeking advice from a retired adventurer, who was an adventurer just like them until she took an arrow to the knee.


Fergurg wrote:

58) A wanted criminal walks into the throne room, offering to surrender and give up the criminals who have been acting under the radar. These are the big movers and shakers, the ones pulling the strings of the criminal/heretical/rebellion world. But he will not reveal it to just anyone; he will work only with the PCs, who he mentions by name and location.

They have never met him before, and they are low on the adventuring totem poles (if on it at all), yet he insists on only working with them.

And would this criminal's list of names be referred to as the blacklist???

73) A century (or two) after being conquered by a particularly strict and zealously lawful dictatorship, an underground community of street gangs have concocted a new game. Legend has it that under the Shiny New LG City is a dingy, dirty massive labyrinth system, rumored to be full of treasure. Each gang sends a team of n amount of adventurers. Whoever gets the treasure wins, but is that "treasure" really something worth retrieving?

Ok, so maybe that's how I'm running my new game


1 person marked this as a favorite.

71) One of the PCs moves to town where the rest of the PCs live. This town is run by a cleric named Archbishop Moore who has forbidden the young people who live there to gain morale bonuses from Bardic Performance. At various points, the PCs must defeat Sir Chuck in a chariot competition, confront the archbishop himself, and stop his followers from destroying every arcane scroll and spellbook in town.

1 to 50 of 85 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Homebrew and House Rules / So you all are in a Tavern: 88 ways to open a campaign and unify the party All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.