View Full Version : What did happen in the first session of your campaigns?

2019-01-19, 05:06 AM
There is always a lot of advice for how you prepare before the start of a new campaign, and for how you run an ongoing campaign. But there is always very little talk of what's actually happening during the first session.

How did the first session of your current or past campaigns start and what did the PCs do during it?

2019-01-19, 06:18 AM
I have run a two year epic campaign that started with the one-shot scenario "Night of the straw men"
Its a simple little thing with some character development, skill checks, a battle and a plot hook to build on.

2019-01-19, 06:18 AM
This depends on how exactly the term "campaign" is defined, mostly because I've been running a lot of one shots, and a couple have bled forward into future sessions. For the conventional definition of something intended as a campaign from the outset, I think the most recent was Nomad's Gift.

That opened with the PCs stumbling out of their tents into the cold, having shaken off a plague, surrounded by the dead of the rest of their tribe. Newly alone, they left the windplains to cross the mountains before winter, to seek the distant relatives of the tribe - a plan thrown by dangers. Mountain goats altered to be more vicious by ambient magic set upon them, early heavy snows clogged the pass, and they were eventually pushed to seek shelter. That was found in an underground cavern of glowing quartz, and as the blizzard raged above they explored the cavern, following the larger and larger crystals until finding one at the heart of the cavern, hundreds of feet tall and a good hundred around, rising from floor to ceiling. Then it spoke to them, a spirit never known or long forgotten, with revelations that would change their lives forever. They were given a glimpse into the magical world, made aware that some of the storms that set their lands were different than others (plagues, blizzards, spontaneous ossification, turns out one of them is magic, who knew?), then given their first two words of power, varying slightly across the party but with the essential combination of sense magic there for some of them. They cast it, and amidst the noise of ambient magic all over the place there were a scant handful of points of brilliant intensity, points that only the PCs knew about. End session.

For one shot overflow, there was the forum inspired one based on speculation here about whether you could run a metroidvania in a tabletop format (where I did that to prove I could), but more recently there was Magic Knight Delta Theta Phi, my magical sorority girl one shot. I realize that sounds like bad taste, and to some extent it was obtaining a surprisingly classy game by playing chicken with the trash fire that game could easily have been from the concept, but it was actually pretty solid. The PCs were all members of a sorority who got pulled into a secondary world as hoped for saviors. The game then essentially alternated scenes between the events in the secondary world and the changes in mundane life the characters got from their new friendship and from their shared experiences in that secondary world. The specifics are pretty character driven and don't summarize well, but I can do highlights. There was a darkly comic scene where two characters with fairly significant relationship problems deeply opposed to each others essentially both inadvertently gave deeply terrible advice to each other which would have been great for themselves, there was a fight against an elite wyvern rider squadron and the black knight leading them, there was a scene where everyone got to do their transformation sequence to really get in genre, and there was a fun scene where one of the first portals involved swiped the character while they were driving a race car, took the car out, and after she came back from fighting she got to try and reassure everyone in her mundane life that she was still alive.

Both are potentially nonrepresentative. In the former I had a lot of buy in from players in terms of setting campaign direction, because I'd figured out how to accommodate the ridiculous genre request (fantasy, but in the specific subgenres of magitech and discovery of magic), the second was in a style that was basically anthology picaresque that I don't tend to use that heavily. Plus there's only so many times I can beat the odds playing chicken with extravagant tastelessness.

2019-01-19, 07:18 AM
Our current campaign started with the players being amongst the first part of an army to breach a city.
They found themselves cut off and split up in a partially collapsed warehouse and had to navigate a bunch of challenges to regroup before distracting a level 15 mage long enough for backup to arrive.
More like a game zero "introduce your characters and their relationships to the others," with a bit of catching up on 5e rules and learning that high level NPCs are active in the world from the start.

2019-01-19, 07:45 AM
Ok, i will sum up the first session of the last campaigns

- One was a theme group for organized crime. The game started with each PC basically doing their thing and establishing some NPC contacts. Then the common crime boss (an intermediate in the whole organization) was murdered. One of the PCs was offered to replace him but had to prove his competence first. For that he had to finish some buissness the old boss had had running. Discrediting an official, getting some stuff into the city without paying taxes (and providing the paperwork), sabotaging some brothel and having some unique work of art stolen a customer had paid for. So he basically hired the other PCs (a smuggler, a forger and a pimp) and started trying to do so.

- One was in the official setting Myranor. One PC, a low ranking member of the mage-nobility of Xarxaron got the order to entertain some important guest of the house, a priest of some unknown god from beyond the borders of the empire (2nd PC) While walking around the town they noticed some unrest among slaves near the mines. Inquiring about it they found out that a couple of slaves were in fact not really slaves but travellers taken by bandits and sold illegally. The two then went to the office of the vice-praetor of the temple guard of the god of law which is suppossed to do police work and complained. The person in charge there, the next PC and another member of the mage-nobility probably, albeit utterly unpious, uninterested in law and hating this job, would have liked to ignore that had not been the mine in question belonged to his house, so thee would have been political consequences. So the three went and tried to stop the bandits. Which proofed difficult as those bandits had some special monster in their ranks. In fact, that had already gone wrong when the players found the bandits with the monster having fought them and proofed to be the actual danger. During the bandit expedition there was also some encounter with the local humanoid winged flying species, who could be persuaded to drop some hints about the bandits.
As this was a long silvester session, there was some more stuff about some preacher doing subversive work who had to be investigated and later to be taken out without producing a riot. Then there was another PC introduced (aquatic species, having swam up the river, going into town and managing to insult and disgrace some noble) and we had some foreign agents fom Draydalan trying to start a coup which actually was pretty successful

- The next one (in the official setting from Splittermond) also started with bandits. But considering the PCs were a caravan guard, a tracker, a merchant, a roadwarden and a smuggler (and no, this was not a theme group, just coincidence), the first adventure was tailored to them. On the market stuff had reappeared that was supposed to have been on a caravan leaving the town. The merchant, whose family owned the caravan hired the rest of the group to look what had happened to it. After some inquiry in town they got some hints, set out, avoided the bandits, found the bandit camp, freed and armed the peisoners and were then confronted the bandits who had catched one scouting PC in the time. They negotiated and got the whole caravan back without a fight.
But the caravan was suppossed to use a moongate to some fey path to reach its destination. And those are only open at certain times. Going back would mean a huge loss but when the bandits overwhelmed the caravan, they had killed the guide and several of the guards. So... what to do ? Obviously trying to get the caravan to its original destination, without having some safe route or a guide or a map. The way would necessarily include a bit of wilderness, a war-torn area and of course the dangerous gey-path itself.
We did not manage to complete the full journey in the first session.

2019-01-19, 08:54 AM
My first sessions for new campaigns for new players (which I tend to run every year) are always the same, with minor variations.

The setting (custom) is that the PCs are about to graduate from the Adventurer's School and receive the status of Sanctioned Adventurers (basically international special forces/mercenaries rather than standard "adventurers"). Before the campaign proper starts (based on a seed the players choose), they have their final test of Adventurer's School. Anyone who fails a scenario by "dying" is not dead, but instead merely can't participate in the further tests.

This is a 3 scenario, solid illusion test, serving as a tutorial for the game system and as a window for me to get a feeling for the play style they will gravitate toward.

The scenarios:
1. A forest glade with a tree trunk bridging a small stream. A group of bandits (plus a weak caster) appears on the other side. Their instructions are that this group has refused calls to surrender and must be stopped by force.

This one teaches basic combat tactics and tests for "lateral" thinkers in the PC group. My policy is to basically say "ok, you can try" to any off-the-wall tactics but to keep a lid on the "I describe how I succeed" cheese (aiming for the head and expecting a headshot, etc).

2. A mountain pass, with a very narrow rock bridge (less than 5 feet wide and about 10 feet long), made slippery by a waterfall. Their task is to help a heavily pregnant dragonborn noble (an illusionary NPC) across this gap. She can't make it unaided (will auto-fail any Dex checks without help).

This one teaches skills and teamwork. Most groups have had one member jump the gap with a rope and form a rope bridge/railing. One group threw the halfling across the gap instead, signalling that it would be a quite quirky group. And so it proved to be.

3. A dungeon, with the instructions "there is a large golden cup on the other side of this wall. You win if at least one person makes it back to the entrance with the cup." In the dungeon there are traps and animated objects that will only attack if alarms are triggered.

This one tests being careful and methodical (and paranoid). It also tests paying attention to detail in descriptions. The best group here was the one made of adult players (all brand new) who bypassed all the traps by being genre savvy in the extreme. Although they were a bit too paranoid--the cup rests on a stone altar on a stone dais. No traps there at all. But they spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to retrieve the cup without ever touching the dais (because they figured it was a trap as well). They ended up lassoing it with a rope and catching it.

After these, they have a debriefing with the trainer (letting me give some IC advice) and they pick which seed they're interested in following (both IC and OOC) for the rest of the campaign.

2019-01-19, 03:55 PM
First session of my last Pathfinder campaign:

My player have build characters that live in a country embroiled in a bitter feud between two human nations. It´s a bit past midnight and their larger village comes unto attack by a massive Hobgoblin force, sporting unknown uniforms, quite sophisticated equipment and ruthless tactics.

By the time they has gathered their gear, equipped, armed and armored up, half the village was already aflame and the Hobgobs cut down their fellow villagers in droves, with a lot of them fleeing towards the more fortified structures.

At that point, my players noticed that this is no static scenario, but includes a progressive timeline. Race to one point and save the NPC, villagers and resources there, the other points will suffer from the continuous assault.

*Laugh* The original plan had 5 major points with a degrading list of benefits, survivors and resources that can be salvaged, 4 of them should be able to be done, the 5th being lost, but my players managed to split and regroup the party in such a way, that they managed to save all 5 locations and flee to the nearest woods with an overabundance of loot, to rest, regroup and plan.

I Hi-Fived all of them for that feat.

2019-01-19, 05:45 PM
My first session was kind of bad, but I was the only one who had touched D&D before, so... We built chars, and then I had a quick merchant caravan, and then a bar fight.

2019-01-19, 07:44 PM
I like to start mine off with an 'escape the bad situation' type deal.

The party was on an airship that crashed into a mountainside.
The sailing ship had a breached hull and was run aground in hostile territory
Prison escape

Most follow a similar flow

Encounter 1 is mostly roleplay; finding out who's nearby (introduce the party to each other), establish the threat they face: characters are missing their gear, some are restrained, telegraph a combat that will be coming up.
Encounter 2 is a mix of small free-form skill challenges for the players to prepare themselves: freeing each other from restraint, getting some improvised weapons/tools, initiating the first combat on their terms
Encounter 3 is the combat, usually 1 or 2 weak things with 1d4 damage attacks (cr 0 - 1/8)
Encounters 4-6 are mixed about in order based on the condition of the party and what they aim for first but usually involve: locating the character's starting equipment, working out a survival plan (find the prison key, find the main road, etc), and another combat that is to either be stealthed around, ambushed, or driven off (this one is telegraphed to be more dangerous than the first so players prioritize getting their character's gear before engaging)
Encounter 7 is the 'Boss' encounter (CR 1 at most), once player get past this they are considered safe and ready to push onto the starting town/location for the campaign.

I aim to have enough encounters (including the roleplay and exploration ones) to get the characters most of the way if not fully to 2nd level.
If i can, I theme something during their escape that hooks into the campaign's plot, or an ongoing threat to use for 'random' encounters, but otherwise the first session is isolated and self contained from directly effecting anything else.

2019-01-19, 09:46 PM
I use Honor + Intrigue a 17th Century historically based environment.

Session zero has the rules explained, the players develop their character concepts, build their character and establish how the group is connected.

The first game session starts with the group walking down an alley and they hear cries for help. They go into a walled garden find a kidnapping in progress and they fight the kidnappers. This gives them run through of the combat system.

Then the kidnapping victim tells them his/her backstory and why he/she was being kidnapped. He/She sends them out to find out more about the kidnappers, under strict instructions of no violence. H+I has a social combat system so this gives the players a chance to use that.

Finally when they return with the info, they are sent on a heist mission to get a maguffin. Which is about using stealth, agility and problem solving.

When they come back with the maguffin that”s the trigger for the main plot to start rolling. The main plot usually is only tangentially related to the first session, so any critical mistakes made in session one won’t carry over to the main plot but substantial successes can give the players useable contacts.

I vary the particulars for each new group. I’ve used a damsel in distress being blackmailed, a noble with gambling debts, rivalry between priests of different churches, orphans being kidnapped into slavery.

One time I was doing a pirate campaign, so I made a session 2 which was about ship handling, ship combat and navigation before getting started on the main plot.

2019-01-19, 11:28 PM
So, the first campaign I ever ran was intended as a 1-shot, where the all-elf party was to investigate a sickness in a bordering village of human refugees. What actually happened was, the party latched onto a bit of background fluff, and I instead ran an encounter with the first goblin flamethrower brigade.

The most recent campaign, for mid-level characters, I told them that the adventure proper started in the aftermath of a great battle, and that they were welcome to have been involved in said battle, or not. After some thought, the party decided that they not only wanted to have been involved, but to play that part out. Good thing, too - they were some quirky characters with some quirky mechanics. It was good to get everyone acclimated to the characters before the adventure proper began, so that they actually felt like mid-level adventurers who knew what they were doing when the adventure began.

The campaign I'm looking to start next? Well, the players (age 7-13) all independently wanted to make evil characters. So I was planning on running them competing to become the BBEG's next evil minions. But, after telling them a bit about the BBEG and his old minions (who might pick up their own minions from those who "failed" the test), they seemed nonplussed. But, somewhere in helping them build their characters, I described Quertus' bad tactics, and was met with a chorus of "bring him!" "We want to adventure with him!". So, to be clear, rather than being enthusiastic about the BBEG or any of his minions, team evil minions wants to adventure with Quertus, my signature academia mage, for whom this account is named. I'm reality not sure what session 1 is actually going to look like now.

As for the last campaign where I wasn't the GM... Where I actually remember session 1... And know where session 1 ended, and session 2 began... I've got nothing.

The scenarios:
1. A forest glade with a tree trunk bridging a small stream. A group of bandits (plus a weak caster) appears on the other side. Their instructions are that this group has refused calls to surrender and must be stopped by force.

This one teaches basic combat tactics and tests for "lateral" thinkers in the PC group. My policy is to basically say "ok, you can try" to any off-the-wall tactics but to keep a lid on the "I describe how I succeed" cheese (aiming for the head and expecting a headshot, etc).

2. A mountain pass, with a very narrow rock bridge (less than 5 feet wide and about 10 feet long), made slippery by a waterfall. Their task is to help a heavily pregnant dragonborn noble (an illusionary NPC) across this gap. She can't make it unaided (will auto-fail any Dex checks without help).

This one teaches skills and teamwork. Most groups have had one member jump the gap with a rope and form a rope bridge/railing. One group threw the halfling across the gap instead, signalling that it would be a quite quirky group. And so it proved to be.

3. A dungeon, with the instructions "there is a large golden cup on the other side of this wall. You win if at least one person makes it back to the entrance with the cup." In the dungeon there are traps and animated objects that will only attack if alarms are triggered.

This one tests being careful and methodical (and paranoid). It also tests paying attention to detail in descriptions. The best group here was the one made of adult players (all brand new) who bypassed all the traps by being genre savvy in the extreme. Although they were a bit too paranoid--the cup rests on a stone altar on a stone dais. No traps there at all. But they spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to retrieve the cup without ever touching the dais (because they figured it was a trap as well). They ended up lassoing it with a rope and catching it.

After these, they have a debriefing with the trainer (letting me give some IC advice) and they pick which seed they're interested in following (both IC and OOC) for the rest of the campaign.

This sounds like a cool way to do a lot of what I do with individual sessions for new players + one-shots to (among other things) test out new characters & character interactions.

2019-01-20, 12:15 AM
My group played Night of the Living Dead. They started in the graveyard on the anniversary of the death of a PC's grandfather. While the PC says a few words an old gentleman approaches and attacks, being a zombie. They leave and get to the House where an uncooperative Jerk NPC is in the basement with his wife and sick child. I'm not running a Zombie Apocalypse game, so there is a solution to deanimate the zombies I made up. There's a clue in the House that leads them to a river to break a magical staff. The river was a site of a major battle in history and now the main source of zombies.

I've run this adventure many times, often as one shots. Most of the time the players do well and solve the adventure without trouble. They fight off many zombies but get to the river easy enough and find the staff. One group decided to ignore the clue and board themselves in the house. Naturally the zombie hoard approached, especially when they set off the magic trap that made a loud noise. However, no matter how many times I told them the backyard of the house was clear they refused to leave, so I had to run a siege I never did before until finally someone agreed to leave the house to follow the clue.

Another group reached the river but never searched it. Instead they followed the river looking for a bridge to cross. No matter how many times I told them the number of zombie holes where they dug up from the ground was decreasing in number, signalling they were moving away from where they were supposed to be, they continued moving on. I let them find a bridge and they cross. They reach a farm. Herschel's farm. Dealing with that and realizing they haven't escaped the zombies they finally go back to the river where the battle was and search it.

There was a third group who stayed at the graveyard fighting off the zombies and hoarded up in the church for awhile, so I had to make up that encounter. I placed a clue about the river there. They eventually left the church and got to the House. The House's clue confirmed their suspicion about the river which they went to and broke the staff.

I agree the adventure is a bit railroady, but everyone enjoyed it including those who knew nothing of the movie.

2019-01-20, 01:10 AM
Doing an Eberron spin on RHoD. Got hit on the road just inside the Breland-Droaam border by a group of red cap fey. Our goliath barbarian OHKO'd one and made short work of another. Party caster zap-fried another and my character goes for the advanced red cap boss.

That's when it went south for me.

I'd eaten a minor hit from one of the minions but wasn't really concerned. It wasn't too bad and there's plenty of healing in the party. I hit him once and was thinking through my next turn and that's when it happened. DM rolls to-hit; nat 20. Rolls to confirm: hit. My face falls as I watch him roll just over 70 hp of damage on the scythe crit he just landed. My maximum hp is only 48. First melee attack this character ever had directed at him and it cuts him clean in half.

Session ended with me asking the party to sell off 2/3 of my gear to pay for a ress'. Wasn't quite ready to let this character go just yet.

2019-01-20, 01:40 AM
We didn't start the adventure or even finish character creation. By the time, a couple sessions in, that we had characters mostly made my college class schedule had changed and I had to leave :(

We had a bunch of snacks though. IIRC there was pizza and I think I brought a chocolate chip cake.

That was years ago

2019-01-20, 04:59 AM
My players started at level 5 and I told them they were one of the adventuring groups that runs quests/tasks for this agency in the city that serves as some sort of job agency, bringing together people who need assistance and those who want to help/make money/gain fame/etc.

I told them that they had just hit level 5, were just promoted in rank from 'new arrival' to 'experienced member' and were given a Bag of Holding as a reward.

"Okay, so this is what just happened. You're standing right outside the [job agency building], what do you do?"

This gave them the opportunity to either go back in and pick up a new quest, or to roam and explore the city a bit.

2019-01-20, 06:48 AM
- D&D 3.5: I ran a sort of session zero in a bog-standard, very simple dungeon, to introduce them to D&D. In the first actual session, the PCs met in a tavern and went to fight some Troglodytes in a cave (to retrieve hostages). The Troglodytes were cultists of the deep Horror that was awakening, so it served as foreshadowing to the main plot.

- FATE. The premise in that campaign was that it was set in our world in 2017, but there was also a parallel, very oneiric Spirit World, and the PCs were among the rare humans who could Travel between the worlds. The first session had them Travel inadvertently to the Spirit World in their dreams, where they met for the first time without a clue of what was happening to them. As they traveled through the Spirit World (where Rule of Symbolism prevailed over logic), they were quickly located and hunted by a malevolent spirit. So the first session was: understanding that they could access another world, meeting each other and finding out how that world worked, in order to escape it. And lots of symbolic foreshadowing through dreams. Second session had them meeting in real life and starting to investigate about why their power was awakened, and who else knew.

- Pathfinder (current campaign).The premise I told them was: it's gonna be partly an aquatic campaign, you'll have to fight an evil coming from the sea (as they since found out, it's the demon lord Dagon). First session started in medias res: the group (minus one PC) had been hired to clean out a crab infestation in a coastal village, as some of the crabs were particularly big and fearsome. They had been working (off-screen) for a day, and were sleeping at the inn. There was a storm outside. Suddenly, they heard raised voices. The last PC barged in the inn: "Quick, someone, I need help! My ship was attacked by fishmen and wrecked in the storm!" They proceeded to go to the ship to try to find survivors, fighting the storm, some crabs and a group of looters.

2019-01-22, 12:33 AM
Basically, everytime I start a new campaign, I have a general storyline, basic story arc and stuff that needs done. But I do not set anything in stone, until the end of the first session.
It is to get the vibe of the characters. what the dynamics are in play. How the intend on playing. After that I adjust my planning on the party I have, not the party I want ;)

For instance, my current campaign, which is in its 7th or 8th session, revolves around a "slightly futuristic" Faerun. Its very early industrial age, where the Waterdeep Trading Company along with others managed to drive the pirates from the Nelanther Islands, and they are a part of a colonization effort. And even though there are no pirates on the island, there are plenty of dangers looming.

So basically I began with a single mission on the island. Which actually didn´t actually contribute to the big picture plot. You do not want to begin by doing that. It was just to see what style they intend on playing.
Then I begin to tailor/alter the storyline and milestones to accommodate them.

2019-01-22, 01:55 AM
I started my Mythic Europe campaign that has been going for 3 years on an adventure I called Shadow War. The premise was that all the PCs started in jail awaiting their execution. During session zero this was made clear and they decided why they had ended up in jail for various reasons and they also shared their backgrounds as they had been rotting in a cell for a month together. The first session started on the day of their execution and when they walked to the block they are taken aside and given a chance to work for the spymaster of the duchy to gain a pardon.

This thrust them into a "shadow war" between three powerful people that vied for control of the duchy while the old duke lay on his deathbed. They had opportunity to switch sides as they got embroiled in intrigue, averted an assasination attempt on the dukes daughter and fought for their dear lives just to get ahead in a world of ruthless politics where they were painfully aware that they were just pawns in the great game.

It was a great introduction to the city that is their homebase and during the first session I gave them the basic layout of the city and a list of notable persons, like famous persons and notable nobles that most people would know of.

The adventure took around 5 sessions, during the first session they were sent to find out what had happened to some missing people who were on the spymasters payroll as he suspected his network had been compromised. The PC's found out that spymaster didn't care one whit about their fate, they were just there to rock the boat and to draw enemy agents into the light. The PC's snooping around made them a targets of some paid thugs that tried to kill them, those thugs of course didn't have a clue who hired them. Things kinda just balled from there as the PC's were trying to unravel things while being targeted for capture and interrogation or worse. At a time they became counter agents and then counter counter agents.

2019-01-23, 11:45 AM
First Sessions of:

Dark Heresy [Arg, Rayne, Ira]:
The first session included a demonstration combat against some Tyranids, since it was everyone's first time playing Dark Heresy. The game itself opened with the party arriving at the planet Inais, and being called down to the surface to meet with a very enthusiastic General-Castellan, who proceeded to brief them on the situation that she had sent out a request for resolution. They then proceeded to investigate some of the sites where Dark Eldar Raiders had abducted people from the citadel perimeter, and talked to the guardsmen around the area, both to re-assure them and gather information. They then prepared to mount a response to the next attack, so they could start trying to locate the enemy webway portal.

Dark Heresy [Erlin, Darkblaze, Chad, Heka]:
The session opened with them being briefed by their Inquisitor aboard their frigate over a Forge World. They were tasked with tracking down a renegade battle barge that was hiding out in the sector and unraveling the chaos conspiracy supporting it, and were starting at the forge world waiting for a convoy to depart so they could shadow the convoy. The party, however, with a little bit to wait before the convoy departed, decided to try to "gather information" from the techpriests, creating an incident where the techpriests thought there were "rogue robots" on their forgeworld, which would require creative resolution at the beginning of the next session.

D&D/Pathfinder [Ditz, Arthur, BARD, +SOME] [This was a game for a group of first-time RPG players separate from my normal group for most of the other games]:
The party entered the city to rest, resupply, and spend their spoils plundered from their last dungeon. Arthur decided to infiltrate a noble's party by dressing nicely and presenting a invitation. Ditz the Tielfling and the bard decided to rile up the oppressed peasantry to "storm the Bastille". The monk, who didn't stick around, infiltrated the fortress and opened the gate, while Ditz and his angry mob of peasants stormed over and captured it. Meanwhile, Arthur discovered that the nobles were also necromancers conducting horrible experiments, and escaped via second-floor window and jumping into the rose garden, where they failed to find him because of the sudden and very violent proletariat uprising incited by Ditz. With the wealthy fleeing the city, the party declared to the peasants that they were founding the Free and Independent People's Democratic City State of Ditzgrad, where the profits of their labor would be their own and all citizens would be free and equal.

Deathwatch [Azra, Tomix, Diego, Akel, Sartaq]:
The game opened with the party meeting each other and the Watch Master of Watch Fortress Astradomita for the first time. Once they had introduced themselves to each other, they were assigned their first mission as a Kill Team: to board an Ork Kill Kroozer to assassinate the Warboss in charge, and do so faster and more efficiently than a competing Eldar Ranger team. They prepared for their mission, and departed on their way. During the mission, the party did not work extraordinarily well together, but still accomplished the mission despite some hiccups [which included having to recover a party member from space after he accidentally blew himself up].

D&D [Henry, Effie (AEtherai), Mannfried, +MANY MORE][This game was a sort of party game, with a lot people, some who were playing for their first time, some who weren't]:
The party began in a city, planning to murder a Knight of the [Not-Holy, Not-Roman, Not-Empire] whom one had sworn vengeance on. They first went to the Markgrafin's court and presented him with a fruit basket, but didn't know what they actually wanted to learn in this infiltration operation, so then just retreated and staked out the gate to wait for him to leave the castle. They intercepted him and his retainers on the road and killed him, before immediately realizing that they clearly had not thought this through because the Markgrafin had a cleric, druid, wizard, and ranger in her retinue and would certainly find them and have them executed for the murder of a nobleman, and set out to try to hide the evidence and destroy the body. The rest of the session consisted of them running through the woods from a search party, Effie going back to town and getting stopped and then escaping, and the party starting a massive forest fire to cover their tracks.

Traveller [Dense, Seth, Joe, Chuck, Ari]:
This game opened with the party collecting their certified pre-owned and mostly spaceworthy ship on a sprawling planetary junkyard/wasteland. They then met with a federal marshal at the space port, where they were given a ticket to interdict some spacers smuggling explosives, and picked up a courier contract to a more prosperous planet. They then jumped and boarded the smuggler's vessel, killing them all and capturing it, and then jumped to deliver their cargo from the courier mission. They they prepared for the next leg of the smuggler operation, pretending to be the smugglers to deliver their contraband and find out who was buying illicit weapons-grade explosives..

Black Crusade [Vendrick, Henryk, Magnis][This game is in progress, and is being run for a different-than-my-normal-RPG-group that I play 40k with at the FLGS]:
The game opened with the party riding aboard a munitorium container shipping container being delivered to the planet Naos II. The lander lurched, and the containers began being unloaded and stacked onto the pad, secured by the Rogue Trader's house guards. The remainder of the session consisted of fighting the Rogue Trader's guards and evading responding personnel in the maze of containers to escape from the spaceport docks, then detonating explosives in the spaceport security checkpoint, stealing a truck, and driving to a bar the underhive.

Dark Heresy [Ra's, Morte, Fattus, Spezzal-furs, SKIITARI][This session occurred last sunday]:
The game opened with the party preparing for their mission at the Malleus Fortress, with an opportunity to supply, speak with several Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Lords to get more defined mission objectives, and speak with the archivists to get information about the planets in the sector. The party did supply, but didn't speak to the Inquisitors, and almost didn't speak to the archivists to find out what they were jumping into. They jumped straight to a Sentinel World, to start harassing it's occupants. 4 members arranged an audience with the Ordo Vigilus Inquisitor overseeing it, and the last one tried to slip off an infiltrate the Inquisitor's quarters, stealing some dataslates and servo-skulls from his acolytes and abducting a IG Quartermaster. After that, they teleported to a different place on the surface, and fought some Tzaangors.

2019-01-23, 12:00 PM
The first session of a campaign, for me, tends to be about getting to know the characters. And very often, since we tend to draw from a local community, for the players to get to know each other. So I tend to keep it relatively low key.

The players were wandering around a city, trying to find a priest of the god of oceans and storms who was willing to come along on a ship with them. (They were planning an expedition and going out of sight of land in a boat is a sin in that god's eye, which is punishable by being sunk by targeted storms. However, a priest and appropriate sacrifices can avert it) There was only a local shrine, but the priest was elderly. He had an acolyte, but that acolyte had vanished a week ago. They went searching for him, following a series of clues, until they found out that he had broken a taboo of his religion, got possessed by a spirit of vengeance and was now hiding out in the nearby wilderness, trying to exorcise it. There were some random encounters too, and considerable time spent on the party sitting around in bars and telling stories to each other. Second season was hunting him down and helping with the exorcism, then staffing the boat.

The campaign before that, the party consisted of two noble brothers, their hired wilderness guide and the family's magical "fixer" (assassin), who were travelling into the remote wilderness, because their eccentric uncle had written them a letter that he had found something fantastic up there and needed help (with a detailed list of supplies). Very usual stuff: bridge washed out, wolves scaring the horses, which lead to a wagon going off-road, attack by barbarian bandits, rumours that local barbarians were uniting behind a powerful witch and were determined to drive the local villagers off their lands, a suspicious traveller joining the caravan and asking a lot of suspicious questions about their uncle and what he might have found.

2019-01-25, 12:01 AM
N: As GM. Started the PCs as the troubleshooting squad on a 3+ kilometre long luxury space cruise ship being sent down to a small water-world to stock up on sushi. They did a bit of social combat to get through customs with their favourite danger gear. Learned that they were chartered on a 200 meter by 200 meter raft with corner towers armed with machine guns, 5 meter long harpoon launchers, and 30 meter long grapple arms, at a cost of around $75,000 per day. Went drinking and ended up buying a very young T-rex. Got ambushed by a gang just outside town in a fight that started with a PC being shot in the head with a RPG at 250 meters, and ended with that same PC decapitating the gang leader with a chain-axe. Eventually convicted of piracy and murder. Currently going to reprise 'The Trouble with Tribbles' using infectious nano-tech cyber-zombies for tribbles.

N-1: As player. Start of a Starfinder adventure path. Notable for beginning with us joking about all guns being pea-shooters because even the 'high power sniper rifle' took 4+ shots to down a random ganger when the 1st level class ability to add +1d6 damage almost doubled it's damage. Also for us bitching about not being able to rent a car because we weren't high enough level to buy one. Campaign got most of the way through the adventure path but never lost the nerf-gun jokes, levelled equipment limits, and frustration over only ever barely being able to afford level-1 gear without ever finding gear the characters could use.

N-2: As player. D&D 5e Out of the Abyss start. Memorable for us taking the instructions to 'bust out of jail' literally and doing so within the first hour of landing. Fighting against 4th and 8th level characters at level 1. Being called cheaters for deciding to cut rope bridges and trying to burn spider webs to escape fighting higher level NPCs who were thrashing us. Everyone making and failing the wrong rolls (weak characters rolling high on strength checks, smart characters rolling low on intelligence checks) and nobody being able to make a dc 13 climb check to get up to a 6' ledge. Game dies two sessions later.

N-2: As player. D&D 3.5 3rd level adventurers setting out to recover a crashed meteorite for a sage. Rolling new characters after we lost the whole party to goblins on wolves in the forest (1/2 speed, no way to avoid being tracked, out numbered, attacked every 4 hours without being allowed to rest). Cue a second party of warforged crusaders, warlocks, and a psion with a PP recharge trick. Eventually that campaign got past that and got good.

N-3: As player. D&D 5e Lost Mines of Pshoofy-whatever intro. Pregen characters all died to random thugs in the town . Rerolled characters. All died in the next dungeon when the entire dungeon was awake, armed, armoured, and waiting for the party during a midnight 'surprise' attack.

N-4: As GM. Champions: Heroes investigating the disappearance of a professor from the local university. Ended up trashing a biker bar, setting a car on fire, holding a minor villain in the fire until they almost died form smoke inhalation, and destroying the villain’s power focus which put her into a permanent coma. They ended up eventually having a higher body-count and doing more property damage than the bad guys. The game ran out of gas just before they got sent to a small 3rd world dictatorship on a 'friendship' mission in the hopes that they would do enough damage trying to actually help that the regime would collapse.

N-5 though N-7: Can't really recall the beginnings. Was a player. Two D&D 3.5, one D&D 4e.

N-8: As GM. Traveller campaign. PCs started out taking cut-rate passage on an old junker ship being send to the scrapyard because it was going to where one of them had inherited a 200 tonne Free Trader spaceship. There was a psycho-murderer hiding on the ship. Half the NPC crew died and one PC was quite seriously wounded before they stopped him.

Darth Ultron
2019-01-25, 05:03 PM
Most Recent: The characters suddenly awoke inside large glass orbs in the cargo hold of a skyship. The ship was attacked and crashed, and the characters escaped. To find themselves in a strange jungle...somewhere. They have no idea who grabbed them, who attacked that ship or where they are. 100% 'fish out of water' and 'strangers in a strange land'.

One of my classics is the Exploding Tavern. When the players waste too much game time ''pretending to drink", at the start of the game: I just blow up the tavern. The characters get wounded, hurt, and likely loose and item or two....and are tossed into strange, unknown place. As each character will take some damage, get at least one condition they can't ''super auto cure" and loose an item(sometimes even their super special item) I find this is a great way to weed out bad players.

I've used the Dragon of the Moon a number of times. The dragon lives on the moon, and watches the planet. From time to time he hires folks to ''fix problems". I use this one for players that like to have the DM tell them what to do(I hate it, but some players just have no motivation).

I've used more Cosmic Destiny too. A mysterious force that gathers people together to ''put right what once went wrong". This has the characters 'leap' into a strange, unknown place...and then they must role play and figure out what is going on(as all their silly knowledge skills are useless). And once they figure out what is going on: then they must figure out the right that went wrong. But they never know what that even is: so they just have to pick something to do. If they pick something that has an effect: they get to leap again.

I use the start of the characters have been captured too. Though most often I do like to play out the captures (have each player come over early each, and have the character get caught...then all meet in the game). Then they either have to escape....or get dragged into a 'Dirty Dozen' mission.