View Full Version : Campaign Intros - How big do you go?

2010-03-05, 03:42 AM
Just wodnering how many other GMs/DMs here make the opening of their campaign a big event? As I GM Star Wars, I always find it appropriate to begin with an opening crawl read by me to John Williams, the crawl being a great out of character way to get everyone on the same page in regards to what is happening generally to the galaxy as well as right now to the party.

If only they weren't so hard to right. :smallannoyed:

Any other methods?

2010-03-05, 03:59 AM
After character creation ( a tedious process since i need to approve a lot of homebrew and/or learn new rules that my players utilize, also my campaigns usually are at levels 10-16 ) we spend 2 or 3 hours getting to the intro.
Usually its a homebrew world so the intro is necessary, usually consisting of how characters participated in big events (such as great wars between undead and far realm creatures, supernatural magic resistant plagues and so on) and how they fare now ( enmity between PC #1 and a cabal of shadowcasters or PC #2 is a warforged trying to rebuild himself as a fully living creature so he can embrace feelings afterwards )
In short in those hours i try to get the PC's into the intro rather having them detached from it.

2010-03-05, 07:39 AM
Since I generally work from a homebrew world, I give my players a lot of background on the world: There are these various regions, and humans are the most powerful in this, and elves are this, and halflings don't get this... etc.

By the time the actual first session comes around, the players already know the basic social and political structure, they receive a world map, and they've already built their backgrounds to fit in with the campaign world. I have them find a reason to be at the place where the campaign starts, and we just go on.

2010-03-05, 07:43 AM
Epic, I describe the world in rich detail, the history, and the current happenings. They tend to be very GRIMDARK, and quite often, the PC's lose in the end, but I make sure that their defeat is fun. I always use a pseudo-greyhawk world that my last DM created, everyone in that group does too, so we can create a richly detailed world.

PairO'Dice Lost
2010-03-05, 09:24 AM
I send out 2-3 pages of bullet points on OOC background info and stuff their characters would know, then give a short intro monologue at the beginning of the first session. It's not too intensely detailed, but it gets the job done.

2010-03-05, 09:42 AM
I give the players a couple pages of background info on the world, then run a one-shot with premade characters. That way, by the time they make their real characters they have a feel for the system and the setting.

2010-03-05, 10:38 AM
About a paragraph:

"You are [here] to do [a thing]. [Something], [another thing] and [more stuff] are nearby. What do you want to see/do/loot first?"

Anything longer just gets in the way of the game.

2010-03-05, 10:55 AM
If it counts as a intro,

Last time I DMed I had the players enter the plot due to the fact they were all somehow blood-related to the re-rised BBEG. They were "branded" by a strange tattoo which burned red hot in the moonlight (only when the BBEG or one of his agents were close).

I had lots of fun telling them individualy how that mark burned like hell in the first day of the game just before they all met and decided to walk together to find what the hell was going on.

Besides that it was my first and only gestalt game... Sad... I liked it. The problem was having to rebalance everything so the players would no steamroll everything in their path or get killed in the first 2 rounds.

2010-03-05, 11:21 AM
My intros tend to last 1-2 sessions. What I tell them is a brief synapses of what their characters would know and place them about in the city. The next 1-2 sessions is the opening event and getting the group together to start the major campaign. As we've found that it helps explain why the prissy noble is oddly going on adventures with the barbarian from a society he only heard about and so on.

I would suggest in general not doing this for most groups, mine seem to like it though.

2010-03-05, 11:37 AM
Given enough free time I write individual intros for everyone. These are extensions of the backstory that lead each PC into town on their own personal mission of their own design. Then the personal stuff merges into main plot.

2010-03-05, 12:23 PM
I tend to leap straight in. Set the scene, let the players come up with reasons for why they're there, what they're doing, that sort of thing. Usually something fairly peaceful, and it tends to be on some form of transportation (train, ship, airship) or a place where a lot of different people are likely to gather (amphitheatre, central market). The PCs simply get told where they are, they have to think of why they're there. I've had reasons ranging from "hired security" to "waking up drunk" to "conscripted into navy" to "teleportation accident" to "family cruise".

Then a fight starts. Typically something big, fast and frantic. Like a ninja attack, zombie pirates or a dragon.

Good way to get them to sit up and pay attention, not to mention getting a good handle of what sort of abilities each of them has brought to the table.

I tend to do the intro speech after that first combat. You know, in case somebody managed to slip something by me when I was okaying character sheets. Plus, now they're paying attention.