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Skaven
2011-04-30, 07:49 AM
Hi guys and gals.

I may be starting a new campaign soon as my current DM is feeling a little burned out and I need some help. I'll either be going for Faerun, Planescape or trying out my currently being worked oin homebrew setting depending on player interest.

Just want to probe for some good adventure/campaign openers here. My biggest weakness is always starting out an adventure. I have a habit of falling back into the old 'tavern meeting for a job' trope, and I really want to avoid that this time.

Does anyone have some good ideas for unique adventure openers?

Bonus points for someone who uses a little creative writing to set a scene and open up! I need inspiration.

Pigkappa
2011-04-30, 07:53 AM
- The PCs already know each other and are willing to cooperate. If their race is the same, they can be brothers. This way, you only need a plot hook for one of them to start.

- The PCs have been chosen by an oracle as champions of that deity. This makes little sense if their alignments aren't compatible (Pelor would hardly choose an Evil character as his champion). Anyway, a party with both good and evil characters is unlikely to work for a long time.

wizuriel
2011-04-30, 09:15 AM
-The characters were all involved in some sort of teleport like spell and ended up in a mysterious location.

bladescape
2011-04-30, 09:19 AM
-The characters have all, somehow, offended a assassin's group/diety/evil horde of something/any other enemy you can conceivably come up with, and they are all trying to find a way out/way to stop the evil guys that are after them, but since they can't do it alone they have to work together?

Hmmm, that sounded so much better in my head, looks kind of lame once I've written it down.

Traab
2011-04-30, 09:29 AM
A member or a couple members of the future party is under attack by bad guys of some kind. By luck, the rest of the future group happens by and they choose to save him. Clues found on the bad guys belongings point them in the direction to the new adventure.

Starscream
2011-04-30, 09:44 AM
* They all meet in a jail cell, and must escape (I started my current campaign with this).

* They've had some sort of dream or vision that led them all to come to a certain spot for reasons they don't understand (think Close Encounters).

* Captured as slaves, or maybe Charmed or Dominated by the villains. If dominated, you can even start them out with an "evil adventure" in which they are commanded to attack innocents or burn down a village or something. When they regain control and realize what they have done, they want revenge.

* A creature who can see the future is dying. He/she/it was trying to prevent some sort of disaster before perishing, but now it is too late. It knows that the only hope is to bring these specific people together, and must convince them to take up the quest before it goes.

Conners
2011-04-30, 09:55 AM
Something I've always wanted to try that might work well: Could get the players to coordinate a back-story. IE: The Cleric is married to the Fighter, the Druid is the Cleric's brother, the Barbarian is an old war friend of the Fighter, and the old wizard is someone they are travelling with as of recent.

You can get something far more complex and interesting than that, with a good group, I'd say. Won't work with everyone, though.

Dr.Epic
2011-04-30, 10:09 AM
The small town you're in is attacked. The attackers have religious symbols for a dark god and a map with red X's marked over major cities. Let the adventure begin.

EccentricCircle
2011-04-30, 10:42 AM
the player characters wake up in an unknown location with no idea how they got there.

the player characters are all prisoners who are offered a pardon if they can do one "simple" job for their captors.

the player characters return from a day burning charcoal in the forest to discover that their farm/village has been burned to the ground.

the players are summoned by a band of desperate angels who are being attacked by celestial brigands and have used a summon mortal ally spell to get help.

the players are each delivered a sealed letter telling them to come to a specific place at a specific time. when they arrive nothing happens and they have to work out who brought them all there and why.

Notreallyhere77
2011-04-30, 02:01 PM
Check my sig. The article has 26 decent hooks. If it doesn't have what you need, it should at least inspire you to come up with something better.

Personally, I've been wanting to start a campaign as a race/scavenger hunt/other competition involving travel. The PCs could all be part of one team, or they could team up for survival when the already hazardous competition is made harder by cheating competitors (i.e. the bad guy disables the PCs' vehicles in an attempt to kill them, but through luck they survive the crash(es) ane possibly meet in the nearest shelster that night to plot retribution. If you can get that to work, it could be the basis for the entire campaign.

I.care.0
2011-04-30, 02:45 PM
"DM - You are all dead. Or were, before somehow being forced to come back to life.

Or, truth be told, back to a hellish madness.

What seems to be what's left of a city is burning in fire. There are elven corpses everywhere. at your left a small group of elven children are being slaughtered by a female human with a greatsword and a maniacal grin. "




That's how my current campaign begun. At some point, it was revealed that the elf city was a the base of a group of Illithids that mindraped every single elf, and was trying to assimilate the human country. And, or course, the PCs destroyed what was left of the army, opening way for the Illithid to control everything.

Think PCs stopping Isildur's army before he has time to cut off Sauron's finger.



Ps.:Sorry for the bad english. :smallfrown:

Dust
2011-04-30, 02:48 PM
The PCs are being hauled off by slavers, captured from different walks of life. The campaign opens with one of the PCs getting kicked hard enough in the face to break their nose, and the slavers relaxed and not expecting any sort of resistance from the bound-up PCs.
This gives incentive to work together right out of the gate, and also allows you to drop the heroes off in a strange land where they can't immediately separate.

TheThan
2011-04-30, 07:05 PM
You awake, laying on the cold wet leaves. Your body is stiff and aches and you canít move. Looking around you see (x) people, all laying on the ground their hands and feet bound. Looking at yourself you find you are also bound in a similar fashion.
You hear guttural voices over there, looking up you spot several orcs squatting in a group, talking amongst themselves. They are next to a large caldron, steam rises from it and you are suddenly aware of the faint smell of stewing vegetables.
What do you do?

Eric Tolle
2011-04-30, 07:29 PM
The PCs all meet at a wedding, where they are the friends of the bride and/or groom. Suddenly there is a scream- a bunch of masked raiders kidnap the bride! Through clever tactics (and the fact the PCs don't have their weapons) the raiders escape with the bride, leaving behind only a ransom note. Strangely, the parents of the bride and groom forbid any rescue attempt, but you're not going to stand for that are you?
1. Things are as they seem; the raiders want a family heirloom that supposedly holds the secret of the location of a great treasure.
2. Things are as they seem: the raiders want the bride herself as she is the key to summoning a powerful and evil god.
3. The raiders are actually a plot by one of the guests, who wants to marry the bride or groom themself. By disrupting the wedding in this way they hope to cause a rift between the families or the bride and groom.
4. The family of either the bride or groom hired the raiders. Either they can't pay the dowry/bride price, or a better prospect has shown up, but they can't convince their child to cancel the marriage (or canceling out would be impolitic).
5. The bride herself arranged her kidnapping to get out of the wedding. Naturally things get out of control.
6. As any of the above, but the bride becomes or already is infatuated with one of the PCs (extra amusement if that PC is a paladin).
7. As any above, except that a local fraction has noticed the commotion and has decided to take the bride for his own.

genmoose
2011-04-30, 07:33 PM
The players are all in a moderate sized town for whatever reasons best suit their characters. If anyone is outside they feel a sudden breeze and the sun is blotted out. Everyone looks up just in time to see a colossal red dragon swoop overhead. The townspeople scream and panic, drawing the attention of anyone inside.

Fierce winds hit the town as the dragon flaps it wings and tries to gain altitude. Everyone holds their breath as it looks like it might fly away, when itís huge body is suddenly wracked by violent convulsions. It vomits a stream of napalm fire into the clear blue sky as it suddenly falls out of the air.

The massive bulk of the dragon slams into the townís market district, collapsing buildings and sending dust and debris flying into the air. The players rush to the market and see the dragon lying in the rubble. Most of the villagers flee the area but a few curiously approach the still dragon. It appears dead and if the PCís donít mention it, a local smith mentions that he could butcher the dragon and make dozens of suits of armor.

One of the PCís approaches the head and suddenly the eye snaps open. They stare at each other for a moment, then the dragon mumbles ďRun.Ē Suddenly the dragon starts to convulse violently, lashing its limbs and tail into people and buildings. Then without warning the dragonís belly explodes in a mess of fire and gore. When the PCís recover they see a dozen strange creatures crawl out of the mess. They are about the size of a tiger and have a mix of features between dragon and insect. They immediately begin to attack both the PCís and the villagers.

Assuming the PCís survive the encounter, they see that none of the villagers that remained escaped the slaughter.

The hook can go a few ways from here depending on the level of your group and what they like to do.

The main idea is that some unknown force has begun to attack all the dragons in the area. It appears to be some sort of parasite that impregnates the dragons while they sleep and grows into the things the PCís battled. The creatures are not natural, and the adventure is to find out who is doing this and why.

1. If the PCís are motivated by greed, they could band together to try to track down the dragonís lair and pilfer itís now unguarded horde.
2. If the PCís are more on the good side, then shortly after they recover from the battle a dozen men on horseback come riding into town. The leader of the men, a man dressed in ornate and expensive robes, gathers the PCís and explains about the strange new dragon plague. He offers the PCís substantial wealth and magical items in exchange for their help tracking down the source of the plague. They may later find out that the man is actually a gold dragon in human form who fears that while the plague is currently only affecting chromatic dragons, it may soon spread to the good metallic dragons.
3. If the PCís need a more direct motivator, then before the red dragon dies, he casts a Geas on the PCís to find who started the plague and avenge his death.

Renrik
2011-04-30, 07:52 PM
My current campaign is starting with the PCs in the middle of a crowd of striking workers getting beaten by Last War veterans and warforged thugs hired by the owner of the factory they're picketing.

Knaight
2011-04-30, 08:00 PM
They just finished an adventure, and the guy who was supposed to reward them instead claims they weren't doing anything, calls them charlatans, and sends guards after them while leaving. Ideally this provokes a desire to get revenge on the guy, which is where the adventure starts.

Mastikator
2011-04-30, 08:30 PM
These are three methods I've used.

The characters are kidnapped by raiders and meet in their cage.

Some of the characters are hired by a local farmer to work the farm, the others are hired to protect it. They get an assignment to escort a simple transport of goods from one village to the next since all available warriors are away for the ting.

The characters know each other from before, and a previous employer sends a message to one or few of them once again requiring their assistance.

Edit- can't count.

Dienekes
2011-04-30, 08:55 PM
Two I've used and gotten great responses for (though I'm certain a lot of folks here would dislike them):

Each PC is currently living in a city, it is their responsibility to come up with a reason. Suddenly the city is attacked by elves (though any race works here really), they each must respond with this and over the course of the first meeting they meet and begin planning a way to free their city and start a resistance.

The noble and monstrous races are finally calling a ceasefire and meeting at the human capital to make finish a treaty. There will be nobles, freed prisoners, entertainers, guards, soldiers, et al present. Each player must have a reason for being there it can be anything really. During the opening ceremonies all the PCs black out and awaken to find the place destroyed with each of the nations leaders murdered before them. They are now forced to find out who disrupted the peace, why, while keeping each of the nations from going back to war after their leaders were killed.

Mutazoia
2011-04-30, 10:14 PM
One of my favorite tricks is to start in media res.

DM: Ok everybody finished making characters?
Players: yup!
DM: Great...roll initiative!

littlebottom
2011-04-30, 10:58 PM
The PCs start out dead. yep, all dead. Explain a long winded, beautiful death scene of the PCs as it begins to rain, one by one, they get slain, explain it in exquisit detail "[character name] falls to his knees, his head falls back as the rain trickles down his cheeks, hiding his tears. [character name] keels over onto the cobblestones, the cold, unforgiving cobblestones, and yet, they felt welcoming, inviting even as you watch your own blood trickle past your face with the rain, you slowly accept the innevitable, and slowly close your eyes, ready to meet [diety/lost family member/friend]." sort of thing, i cant do it very well, but really make it feel like a "whoa" moment. make it as atmospheric as possible, you can start off with a "such and such does a sweeping blow to the gut of the enemy" stuff first just before their deaths if you like, but whatever works.

after which be like "that was how it all ended, but its not the ending thats important, its the journy. And this is the beggining to our journy" and then bring them into it.

yeah, PCs can sometimes be complete [bleeeeeep]s and intentionally make sure the death scene is impossible by flat out refusing to join the party or some such, but you know, they are the kind of people who dont enjoy a good bit of roleplay.

it puts the characters in the light that they should enjoy it while it lasts, because they will know it will end sometime. also, it gives them a chill if you are good at all the fancy stuff at the death scene. and of course, they dont have to actually die there, where you explained they died, because roleplays never work out like that, but it can really just set the mood, most of the players will have forgotten how the death scene went by the time it (or their actual possible deaths) come around.

unconventional? perhaps...

insane? yes. but i just made that up at 5 AM so of course it makes no sense! i just thought it would be a nice way to set up an adventure for a change.

EDIT: just as a thought you could throw in one of their last words as "Sorry [NPC name], we failed you." and theres a plot hook right there, whether they have met the NPC yet or not. proberbly best when you start them off properly, you start with their introduction to said NPC. i mean, they could do a favour for him in 20 years time which is the cause of the death, it doenst have to be the first adventure, just it gives the character some resonance already.

Velaryon
2011-05-01, 01:08 AM
An organization that employs adventuring parties is having a sort of "job fair" where adventurers can network and find people to journey with, whose skills complement their own (the other PCs, for example). Once they've formed a group, they can accept their first mission from the organization.


Each of the party members is connected in their backstory to a certain retired warrior, whether they be relatives, neighbors, business associates, old war buddies, whatever. The campaign begins at that the reading of his last will. The PCs learn that each of them stands to inherit something from him, but in order to collect they must find his killer (the warrior knew someone would be coming after him but was unable to stop it) and bring them to justice.

The-Mage-King
2011-05-01, 01:25 AM
From the second campaign I tried to run here...

Background is kinda nessicary for the basics...


Long ago, the world was ruled by the four Great Houses, and everything was happy and good. But, of course, that couldn't last long.

The Elven house Rilynn-Tae decided that the Orcish house Prekarst was too ugly and hated to continue in its existence, and attacked with a full scale assault, killing most of the leaders and forcing the rest of the house to go into hiding. The Dwarves of House Kak'Zrach- the keepers of the truth- realized that the Hobgoblin house, the name of which has been lost to history, was planning a large scale coup, aiming to be the last of the houses.
And before you could say "Fuster-Cluck", the elves and the dwarves had eliminated the other two houses, and entered into an intense magical war with each other, eventually turning the lands of the Hobgoblin house into a nigh-uninhabitable wasteland that was slowly spreading. As the chaos continued, dozens of smaller city-states and counties as they disavowed ties with any of the houses in order to save their own skins.

Eventually, the city-states and counties were bound together in several countries, though none as large as what remains of the elves' and dwarves' homelands.

In one, Twer'pia, a powerful warlord, called simply Cindre the Crimson Commander, has started hiring bands of wandering violent hobos adventurers to conduct raids on the dwarves' slowly expanding supply routes, claiming that it presents a risk to his small but growing nation.
That's where you come in. Hired to join a squad trekking through the great desert, you find yourself with a group of like minded individuals, slowly making your way towards the dwarven homeland.


So, basically, tell them what they're going to be doing- say that they're a bunch of mercs, and they've been hired by someone. Then tell them where to go. Then see if they spot the references.

Ravens_cry
2011-05-01, 04:03 AM
I had players be part of a local militia group on patrol.
The tavern opening, done well, actually makes sense as a tavern was a natural meeting place. I wonder how a market place would do, having players walking around a market when the town is invaded by some enemy. Do they run and panic like the rest of the villagers or do they stand and fight?

Dark Herald
2011-05-01, 06:19 PM
I started a Science Fiction adventure with the characters flying a routine mission from one orbital space station to another, when the political situation on Earth went downhill and China and Russia had a full scale nuclear war that the rest of the world got dragged into, irradiating the entire globe and killing of several billion people. Since about a million space ships lifted off in about three hours, all ships were required to land on the moon for processing and naturalization, with the moon's government essentially becoming humanity's only governing body.

My best fantasy opening was "you may be wondering why I called you here tonight. On the night of August 14, Lord Dowdy was murdered, and the murderer is standing in this very room!" Then the lights went out, lightning flashed, and the investigator was dead. Monsters were in the hallway and only entrance to the room, so the PC's had to band together to fight them off.

Tvtyrant
2011-05-01, 07:58 PM
*The tavern you are sitting in begins to rumble and quake, spilling ales and wine. With a great sucking sound the tavern falls into the ground, the windows revealing dozens of separate caverns as you fall thousands of feet into the earth. Sploosh! The tavern hits water and breaks apart, and you fight your way to the surface. You see (insert party size) other people paddling in the water, the rest drowned with the tavern. Above you a hole all the way to the surface gives the tiniest glimmer of illumination to the black waters around you.*

Yukitsu
2011-05-01, 08:01 PM
Boats or airplanes. It doesn't feel like a railroad opening, and you don't need to have an NPC tell them "go place X" to force them into the adventure setting.

zorba1994
2011-05-01, 11:26 PM
My best fantasy opening was "you may be wondering why I called you here tonight. On the night of August 14, Lord Dowdy was murdered, and the murderer is standing in this very room!" Then the lights went out, lightning flashed, and the investigator was dead. Monsters were in the hallway and only entrance to the room, so the PC's had to band together to fight them off.

The investigator is obviously Investigator Tiger

Callos_DeTerran
2011-05-02, 12:19 AM
The PCs start out dead. yep, all dead. Explain a long winded, beautiful death scene of the PCs as it begins to rain, one by one, they get slain, explain it in exquisit detail "[character name] falls to his knees, his head falls back as the rain trickles down his cheeks, hiding his tears. [character name] keels over onto the cobblestones, the cold, unforgiving cobblestones, and yet, they felt welcoming, inviting even as you watch your own blood trickle past your face with the rain, you slowly accept the innevitable, and slowly close your eyes, ready to meet [diety/lost family member/friend]." sort of thing, i cant do it very well, but really make it feel like a "whoa" moment. make it as atmospheric as possible, you can start off with a "such and such does a sweeping blow to the gut of the enemy" stuff first just before their deaths if you like, but whatever works.

after which be like "that was how it all ended, but its not the ending thats important, its the journy. And this is the beggining to our journy" and then bring them into it.

yeah, PCs can sometimes be complete [bleeeeeep]s and intentionally make sure the death scene is impossible by flat out refusing to join the party or some such, but you know, they are the kind of people who dont enjoy a good bit of roleplay.

it puts the characters in the light that they should enjoy it while it lasts, because they will know it will end sometime. also, it gives them a chill if you are good at all the fancy stuff at the death scene. and of course, they dont have to actually die there, where you explained they died, because roleplays never work out like that, but it can really just set the mood, most of the players will have forgotten how the death scene went by the time it (or their actual possible deaths) come around.

unconventional? perhaps...

insane? yes. but i just made that up at 5 AM so of course it makes no sense! i just thought it would be a nice way to set up an adventure for a change.

EDIT: just as a thought you could throw in one of their last words as "Sorry [NPC name], we failed you." and theres a plot hook right there, whether they have met the NPC yet or not. proberbly best when you start them off properly, you start with their introduction to said NPC. i mean, they could do a favour for him in 20 years time which is the cause of the death, it doenst have to be the first adventure, just it gives the character some resonance already.

That's beautiful. I might have to use that myself. You mind if I borrow it?

Jay R
2011-05-02, 12:55 AM
"Walking down the street, you smell smoke. Looking to your right, you see that the orphanage is burning. What do you do?"

Introduce one each melee round or two - perhaps one of them sees another having trouble pulling someone out. After several rounds of saving the kids, they should know each other pretty well. Now provide evidence that somebody set the fire as a distraction so they could rob the bank.

----------------------

"Your teacher/mentor/knight/master has been murdered. Your first inclination is to accuse his/her rivals, whose names you know." Each new PC is told that, and attempts to locate those rivals should lead to their surviving apprentices/squires/students (the other PCs). Presumably, they will band together to solve the mystery.

-----------------------

Pretty much any serious mutual tragedy works as well as a tavern, and they don't have to pay for drinks.

littlebottom
2011-05-02, 05:59 PM
That's beautiful. I might have to use that myself. You mind if I borrow it?

i uh... yeah go for it. i didnt think my sleep deprived ramblings meant anything. but apparently it creates things of beauty... that, i was not expecting :smalltongue:

infact i feel honoured that you think anything that came from this ol' brain of mine is any good at all :smallbiggrin:

EDIT: i was going to put "dont forget to credit me for it!" cus i was proud you wanted to use it, then i realised, A: you dont know me at all other than a username, and B: its not like even the username would mean anything to your players hehe, no all i want back for it if you use it, is a PM telling me if it went well and how the players took it. if it went well i might use it myself.:smallamused:

Winds
2011-05-02, 09:44 PM
Stolen from a DM pal in the same position:
Circumvent the issue. If the adventurers are higher than level 1, they have been a party for some time already. Once the party dynamic is developed, you'll be able to think of how they actually met and became a party later.

Katana_Geldar
2011-05-02, 09:48 PM
Have one of the players hire the party as per instructions from some sort of superior and you begin by arriving at the briefing.

conaniscool
2011-05-02, 10:47 PM
I'm gonna have my PCs on a boat or something, traveling to the same place. The boat gets attacked and they're forced to work together to stay alive. After that, it's all about giving them a reason to stick together.

aart lover
2011-05-02, 11:02 PM
the party leader's first child is born ( points if the mother is a party member ). just when the group thinks that the child will put a halt to their adventuring days, he/she is kidnapped, forcing the group to go rescue him/her...


you decide what happens after that.

akma
2011-05-03, 12:59 PM
For once I broke my habit of reading the whole thread before commenting, and here is my input:

The adventure starts by the players being chased by the same force. Maybe they saw something they weren`t supposed to see. Maybe they are confused with someone else. Maybe they got framed for a crime. Maybe they are just tasty.

There are several advandages of starting an adventure like that: there is action from the start, they have a reason to unite and they have a motive to kill whoever you want them to kill. You could make a fast paced adventure with the players constantly needing to worry how to survive.

I once planned to run an adventure where the players were magicians that hunt bad magicians for a kingdom, in a world where the stronger the magician, the more insane he is, and every magician is at least a bit insane.
Here is roughly how I would start it:
After being summoned by your commandor, you come to the room in which you normally take commands.
You see your commandor there with a few armed soldiers. One of the soldiers stand behind you, between you and the door.
Your commandor: "You served well, but you are too much of a risk. You are... Unstable. There is no knowing when you will turn on us. You can surrender, and be imprisoned for the rest of your life, or fight and be killed. It`s up to you."
The commandor turns to the soldier near the door.
"Elix, lock the door."
Elix: "It`s not right! They served our kingdom! We fought side by side!"
"Lock the door!"
Elix: "This is wrong!"
The commandor to the rest of the soldiers: "Kill them and Elix."

Then the characters could choose to fight a battle in which they have very low chance of winning, or flee.
If you choose to take the idea as it is, you can include non casters by them being soldier allies that are not willing to hunt their friends.

littlebottom
2011-05-03, 01:22 PM
I once planned to run an adventure where the players were magicians that hunt bad magicians for a kingdom, in a world where the stronger the magician, the more insane he is, and every magician is at least a bit insane.
Here is roughly how I would start it:
[/SPOILER]

soooooo warhammer then? :smallbiggrin:

akma
2011-05-03, 02:27 PM
soooooo warhammer then? :smallbiggrin:

The part about the magicians hunting other magicians or the insanity part?
I`m not familier with warhammer, and from a quick search I didn`t get the answer.
If it`s the insanity part, I would like to note that I simplified it, and my original idea is actully more complicated.

druid91
2011-05-03, 02:32 PM
- The PCs already know each other and are willing to cooperate. If their race is the same, they can be brothers. This way, you only need a plot hook for one of them to start.

- The PCs have been chosen by an oracle as champions of that deity. This makes little sense if their alignments aren't compatible (Pelor would hardly choose an Evil character as his champion). Anyway, a party with both good and evil characters is unlikely to work for a long time.

This all depends on what you know...

Is Pelor the good sun deity, champion of Lawful stupid paladins everywhere, that we all know and dislike?

Or is he.... PELOR THE BURNING HATE! The master schemer, the all destroyer, and the one great being of evil that has fooled the staunchest champions of good into believing him an ally... for now.:smalltongue:

littlebottom
2011-05-03, 02:50 PM
The part about the magicians hunting other magicians or the insanity part?
I`m not familier with warhammer, and from a quick search I didn`t get the answer.
If it`s the insanity part, I would like to note that I simplified it, and my original idea is actully more complicated.

bit of both, but primarily the more powerful the wizard the more insane.

as magic is seen as bad fullstop by some. while others understand the difference between a wizard who has studied all his life and works for the emporer and a wizard who was gifted his ability by the gods of chaos (IE necromancy etc) or of course, they could of studied all their life working for the emporer until they themselves decided to somehow persue evil magics.

anyway, everytime that a wizard casts a spell in the warhammer world there is a chance of him losing some sanity (or in the case of the warhammer roleplay, gain insanity points) as a wizard becomes more powerful in the roleplay he gets more dice to roll, if he ever rolls a 1 (on a d10) he can gain an insanity point, also ontop of that is if a wizard has more than 1 dice to roll (the best wizards can get up to three, or perhaps even 4 depending how things go) if they ever roll a double (two 5s or two 8s etc) the spell whether successful or not can have aweful consequences, from just hurting the caster to summoning giant daemons that rip you and half the city appart, so yeah, as they get stronger they gain insanity points quicker, and the concequences can be much bigger (you dont even wanna know what can happen with triples :smallamused:)

akma
2011-05-04, 02:33 AM
Or is he.... PELOR THE BURNING HATE! The master schemer, the all destroyer, and the one great being of evil that has fooled the staunchest champions of good into believing him an ally... for now.:smalltongue:

For those who wonder what he is talking about:
http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19558798/Pelor_the_Burning_Hate
Hopefully he could be stopped before it will be too late.



*snip*

Does the insanity hinder the casters significantly, or more of a roleplay thing?

Clintodon
2011-05-04, 12:17 PM
If the setting has mapmakers and cartographers, the PCs could be hired as bodyguards to a surveyor heading for a dangerous area (mountains, swamps, forests) to map safe routes across. And if the area is unmapped and remote, who knows what the PCs might find? Ancient ruins! Lost temples! Angry savages! Isolated beings of power (dragons, mages, etc.)! Or just a straightforward job - that leads to the discovery of a new trade route that rich merchant guilds would pay dearly for, or kill to keep secret.

It's basically an excuse to get the PCs out into an unexplored area to find something interesting, but I can't recall seeing it used before.

Fri
2011-05-04, 12:21 PM
I always prefer a semi in-medias-res opening.

I mean, somehow the characters are already need to cooperate in an action scene. Maybe they're attacked. Or maybe they're in a mercenary company and in the middle of a briefing where they're told to attack a certain point of enemy's defense together. They might already know each other, and they might not (I prefer they haven't met each other though).

Then, after the opening intro mission is done, they can introduce themselves to each other or whatnot.

Greysect
2011-05-04, 05:07 PM
The characters all wake up hung over. Roll d%, choosing different tables depending on their backstories, to determine where they wake up. Regardless of location, equipment is missing, as well as an important NPC (or player, if one is absent), and the players must clumsily explore a city they have only spent a night in(meaning no chance to establish rendezvous points), first to find each other, then to find equipment and the missing person. This makes for a light-hearted start to a campaign by letting the players wander on their own, free to interact with NPCs as they would without Lawful Good morality anchors tugging them down and really get to establishing their characters. It is also a nice, mysterious hook without resorting to the darker, more common "wake up in a room, probably somewhere in silent hill, with no memory of how you got here".

Within a similar "party-going hi-jinx" theme, the party consists of scoundrels, amateur adventurers, or just heroes with no immediate kingdom-threatening quests or vendettas to tend to, who must prepare for week/month long, metropolis-wide festival, which can include all the danger and daring of an adventure with less of the tension. Encounters can include roughing up fairy court night club bouncers, crashing extraplanar balls or weddings, or even things as innocent and questing for magical foods, gowns, and items to add to the spectacle. If you want a hint of darkness or sentimentality, include lots of underdark or have the greatest part of the century take place immediately after a plane-wide catastrophe that, although solved, hangs heavy in the hearts of the populace, driving the party to find nonlethal means to pull the world from a dark and nihilistic age.

I'd love to see different sides of joy feuding each other, like the indulgent succubi against the mischievous fey, or the wholesome churches of the lawful good enforcing mild entertainment (perhaps parodying 50's dance sensations and values) on the unruly Orcs and Dwarves, who have settled their differences to create a robust cultural movement of manly, drunken revelry.

littlebottom
2011-05-04, 05:41 PM
Does the insanity hinder the casters significantly, or more of a roleplay thing?

well, after 6 IPs, if i remember correctly, any character then has to roll to gain an insanity, if they pass the test, they dont get one, but when they get their 7th IP the test is harder, and so on and so forth until you fail

when you fail you get a random insanity, some, are mild and quirky, others, are basically "your character is no longer playable" theres one where whenever you gain another IP you have to roll a willpower test, if you fail, you lock yourself in a room for days/weeks on end. which is entirely unpracticle in most games. but yes, there are many many different insanities

just dont be a bright wizard (a fire concentrated wizard) and gain the pyromaniac insanity...

Demon In Me
2011-05-04, 06:28 PM
I can imagine it's not always practical, but I like to do a solo session(or what I've come to dub the Origin story) for each character, getting them to their end destination with more personal, tailored reasons. But, then again, I have a very limited experience with DMing.

However, as a player, when my DM did this for me, I really enjoyed it. It allows me, as a player, to settle inside my character's skin without having to deal with the other party member's quite yet. As a DM, I also find I gain some really great insight for each character/player combo.

In general, my players start at level 1, and so the Origin stories act as a prequel to their adventures. IE, the cleric is in their temple, having just taken their vows recently, and is now being deployed by their High Priest for whatever reason.

World Eater
2011-05-04, 06:51 PM
Skip it. Get straight to the adventure. You don't always need a beginning.

TARDIS
2011-05-04, 07:02 PM
I've always liked the old "you meet via the same means of transit" method... you figure out why each of the characters are heading to a certain location, and then throw them all together on the same boat, caravan, train, or whatnot. Then, do something to them while in transit to establish that party dynamic - orcs raid the caravan, a flood washes out the bridge forcing the party to stay in a creepy town, dramatic pirate attack... take your pick! Its easy, customize-able, and slots into most campaigns with minimal hitches. Now, it's not as cool as dramatic as some of the other methods, but that's where the rest of the campaign comes in, right?

Another one I've pulled off a few times has been the old "recruited from jail by mysterious patrons" - oldie but a goodie. Only issue then is figuring why each character was in jail - do that beforehand, please, as coming up with it on the fly tends to end badly :smallwink:

Lesingnon
2011-05-04, 07:05 PM
I remember the first Forgotten Realms campaign I ran, had four players. Told them they woke up in a random room in the Undermountain with three strangers. And no one had any clue how they got there.

TurtleKing
2011-05-04, 07:07 PM
You could start them off by them waking up on a beach with only some generic garments with the last thing they remember is dying. The PCs along with some NPCs are there in the same situation, but hailing from all over history. Basically like the characters in the movie Riverworld.

Knaight
2011-05-04, 07:21 PM
I've always liked the old "you meet via the same means of transit" method... you figure out why each of the characters are heading to a certain location, and then throw them all together on the same boat, caravan, train, or whatnot. Then, do something to them while in transit to establish that party dynamic - orcs raid the caravan, a flood washes out the bridge forcing the party to stay in a creepy town, dramatic pirate attack... take your pick! Its easy, customize-able, and slots into most campaigns with minimal hitches. Now, it's not as cool as dramatic as some of the other methods, but that's where the rest of the campaign comes in, right?

It works better if you have people build their backgrounds around why they would stick together long term.

zorba1994
2011-05-04, 09:31 PM
It works better if you have people build their backgrounds around why they would stick together long term.

Writes background "I am an intrinsically trusting person and will never doubt anyone who claims to be my friend..."

Knaight
2011-05-04, 10:24 PM
Writes background "I am an intrinsically trusting person and will never doubt anyone who claims to be my friend..."

That would be fun to play. It would almost certainly end tragically, but it would be really fun to play.

That said, its more along the lines of shared goals, membership of the whole party in a singular organization, strongly intersecting backgrounds, etc. in most cases.

TARDIS
2011-05-04, 10:50 PM
It works better if you have people build their backgrounds around why they would stick together long term.

Eh, I've always had the players build that or develop it through the quests they go on... once they do get a chance to break off, they never do, because the initial missions have already established them as a group and now they're invested in the plot arc :smallwink: