A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Default Journalist Campaign: Encounter Ideas

    As a DM, my most successful campaigns have always been episodic. Every session, the players would sit down and choose between a handful of relatively self-contained adventures. Over time, these episodes would build upon each other and reveal an overarching plot or accomplish an overarching mission. But still, they're work as stand-alone adventures.

    For example, in one campaign, my players were private investigators/police. Each session, three cases would be dropped on their desk, and they would choose one to try and solve. The others would be left over to solve at future sessions. For example:
    • "Murder in a Church's Homeless Shelter"
    • "Repeated Attempts to Break In to Antique Store"
    • "Vandalism of Wealthy Oracle's Home".
    • Etc

    Over time, these episodes revealed and overarching plot. The antique store contained a magically locked briefcase containing an unknown object of unknown import. The murdered hobo was a retired, disgraced wizard who was in the process of created a spell to unlock that very briefcase. The "vandalism" at the oracle's home was the chaos caused by a poltergeist: the murdered hobo himself, whom the oracle had tried to contact! And so on.

    I think this structure works because it makes sure players have clear goals every session, instead of one giant objective and no clear way to break it down.

    I want to try an episodic campaign where the players are journalists who choose a story to cover every session. But obviously, sitting at a press release or simply watching an event and taking notes is no adventure. So I want to hear your ideas for what adventures a group of intrepid journalists might go on!
    Last edited by GalacticAxekick; 2022-08-17 at 03:25 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
    Yakk's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Journalist Campaign: Encounter Ideas

    So, step 1: steal.

    Googling Journalist TV shows I get this link:


    Succession: Stories about the owners of the journalist media empire.

    The Newsroom: How do you cover stories? What information to you go looking for when a story is breaking? Which stories do you cover?

    The Day Today: Parody and humour. If the PCs aren't the anchor, having one be comic relief might be fun.

    Brass Eye: More humour. Here, it is the ridiculous responses of upper class people to made up facts.

    After Life: Black comedy. Boring stories about locals being Quirky. Could be turned into adventures? Or mined for "meanwhile" bits (like, stuff you gloss over between important bits?)

    State of Play: Investigative journalism. Murder, politics, combined.

    The Morning Show: Office power dynamics.

    Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge: Talk show?

    The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Soapy?

    Sharp Objects: Demons of the reporters seems important to the genre.

    Press Gang: I like the episode descriptions -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._Gang_episodes -- a bit corny, but some good micro plots.

    "Every month on the 15th, the outline of a dead body is drawn a block of flats. Investigate!"

    Drop the Dead Donkey: Steal from the current headlines to generate plots.

    The Hour: Wag the dog, causes of war, old friend asking them to look into something then dieing.


    I'd make the PCs work for a newspaper. They can be assigned to investigative projects, long-form assignments, or whatever.

    There is at least one patron behind the entire paper, a shadowy figure at least to start. And maybe various positions at the paper are also funded (sort of like academic chairs), allowing more than one wealthy patron to be involved.

    Maybe eberonn steam-punkish. So we can have a "report on a dirigible flight" episode.

    Rising geo-political tensions. WW1 esque is classic for it; no clear enemy. At least one brushfire war by the empire to warm things up.

    High society -- covering a ball could be an episode.

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