Starting a new campaign


Rules Questions


So I'm sure this has come up a lot, but how do I start running my own campaign? I can't seem to find how to begin.


We start at the very beginning; its a very good place to start. When you learn to read it's A, B, C. When you're campaigning its...

DEVASTATION!

Seriously, start with a problem. Figure out what your players have to fix/do/stop etc. From there, just make up a story. Finally, when you're ready, make up some adventures around the story.

Ex:

1. The problem: a green dragon
2. The full story: the dragon is extorting money and the region is going broke. As a result desperate folks are turning to crime, making dark alliances or just plain giving up. The land cries out for heroes.
3. Synopsis of adventures
a. PCs are ambushed by bandits on the way into town
b. In town the PCs are hired to deal with the bandits in total; this will take a couple of attempts since they're pretty widespread. The PCs discover the bandits working with kobolds.
c. Kobolds strike back at the town. PCs hired to deal with the kobolds
d. Kobolds worship the dragon who hides deep in the forest. PCs hired to deal with the dragon, once and for all. This will take a couple of tries since there's a lot of monsters in the dark forest

A simple, easy campaign. If you want to do any more detailed work than that you can take the time to write out the actual adventures. Heck if you're REALLY into it you can write them up like a module with boxed text, adding maps and illustrations as well.

Finally, once you feel like you've GOT something you'd like to run, all you need to do is get some folks together. Make sure they have characters or you have some for them. If they don't know how to play at all or they've only played a couple times, use the first couple of encounters are throw-away events so the players have it down cold. Now you've got a campaign.

Of course, if you've got any more SPECIFIC questions feel free to ask and we'll get 'em answered up!


Patrick Bailey wrote:
So I'm sure this has come up a lot, but how do I start running my own campaign? I can't seem to find how to begin.

What exactly are you asking?

Did you want to buy an AP or make one? Are you asking about how to find players? How to find a place to play? Are you just asking about what's the best way for a bunch of PCs to meet each other at the start of a campaign? Are you asking about what information you need to know before you take on this responsibility? Are you asking about what tools and resources you need to start a campaign? Are you asking something else?

I'm not trying to be difficult, but your question is so huge that there is no way I could know how to answer it.

In short, could you be more specific?


"You all meet in a tavern..."
Can't go wrong with tradition


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dragonhunterq wrote:

"You all meet in a tavern..."

Can't go wrong with tradition

Ugh... all but this. Please.

As a game designer, I'll give you some advise as to what you NEED to keep in mind when running your game, or it will end quickly. Some of these things may sound obvious, but trust me, it's not.

Give them a reason to be there, where ever it is. This is why I grone at the "You all meet in a tavern". Because some characters first instinct can be "I leave" or "I sit down at my own empty table". Not many characters (I dare say none) will have the first reaction "I talk to these very specific people and get them together around one table to get things started". A game designer/DM needs to give players something to work with, you can't expect players to just come up with stuff them selves. That's when games go out the window and you have naked elves running around hitting on nuns (or if they're boring, do nothing at all). This doesn't only apply to the beginning of a game but it's extra sensetive there, as most characters aren't thought out and the players need every boost they can get to get a feel for their characters.

Ex: Even a game like Minecraft, a game that many people claim to have no narrative or fixed gameplay (it's a game where you need to come up with what you want to do yourself, as the game doesn't tell you what to do at all), still invites a player to do things within the game.

This is what you need to do, have NPCs talking in the background about things that may interest the players and engade in conversation, otherwise the players will just do nothing while sitting in a tavern. Give them a reason and they will do it.
So what is a reason? It can be anything, simple isn't bad. It also helps if you bring your players in on this, as their characters have their own motivations.

Further, if you want your players to know something, never assume they get it unless you KNOW that they know. Be overly clear about what they need to do, don't leave room for guessing, because they'll get it wrong or just forget.

Ex: Only time I ever used the word 'fortune' in my game was when my players acquired a gem. It was worth a fortune, I played a specific tune while I explained that they can't just try to sell this to anybody, as most can't afford to pay it justic anyways. They need to find a filthy-rich jeweler to buy it. Some time later, they get to a party, they're asked by the musicans playing at the party to talk to one of the guests at the party that they owe money. The musicians tells one of the PCs that the guy is a filthy-rich jeweler only dealing in gems worth a fortune (and I play the same tune again).

They had forgotten all about the gem even though I repeted my unusual behaviour (and my players are not stupid).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Patrick Bailey wrote:
So I'm sure this has come up a lot, but how do I start running my own campaign? I can't seem to find how to begin.

If you don't have an idea on how to start or build a campaign, an Adventure Path is a good way to start one pre-packaged as if it were.


LazarX wrote:
Patrick Bailey wrote:
So I'm sure this has come up a lot, but how do I start running my own campaign? I can't seem to find how to begin.
If you don't have an idea on how to start or build a campaign, an Adventure Path is a good way to start one pre-packaged as if it were.

I'll have to disagree. When it comes to running your own campaign, Adventure Paths are pretty bad teachers. The problem with pre-packaged scenarios is that they can get pretty railroady, and if you're not already flexible enough to know how to alter content to your preferences, they end up teaching the wrong lessons. The best way to start running your first campaign is to make up an introductory adventure (or get one elsewhere. While I kind of decry Adventure Paths, stand-alone modules are more palatable to me) and fumble through it. Sooner or later, you'll develop a sense of what you're doing. That's the natural way.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Very useful.


Neurophage wrote:
The problem with pre-packaged scenarios is that they can get pretty railroady

Not a problem unless your players are the kind that wants to f#&& around or is under the illusion that they're "free people" and can't take the fact that they are expected to do good in an AP. If they understand that the DM doesn't spend time preparing for them so that they can spend an evening being jerks, it's not a problem.

With that said, some APs are not good and rely too heavly on railroading (as some things that are expected by the players makes no sense). Though Pathfinder does have great APs, just pick one of the many good.

But if your players would rather play killer hobos, APs are not for them, as they're not fit for evil PCs. Then you really don't need to prepare at all, as they'll render any preperation useless.


Rub-Eta wrote:
Not a problem unless your players are the kind that wants to f@@* around or is under the illusion that they're "free people" and can't take the fact that they are expected to do good in an AP. If they understand that the DM doesn't spend time preparing for them so that they can spend an evening being jerks, it's not a problem.

There's a difference between a group going off the rails because they found a better way to solve a scenario than the one intended or completely dismiss something that's actually really important or sympathize with the wrong group because they don't see the other group's motivation as compelling or important or moral, and a group going off the rails because they want to murderhobo. One is an issue of behavior and the other is an issue of perception and subjectivity. The latter is basically unsolvable without either risking improvisation or risking lowering the players' enjoyment.

Not every group that goes off the rails is doing so maliciously.


I'm planning to start one by pre-establishing the players as friends.

Then, the arcane caster will be coming into his village early one morning, and see a sorcerer standing there with a wand, fireballing all of the major buildings. The sorcerer sees the PC, smiles, hands him the wand, tells him the activation word is "Hit me" and teleports out.

Game begins with PC's being hotly pursued.


I agree, big difference. Though going about something the smart way (or rather the not so smart way) is not really a problem in most APs.

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