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Campaign building 101

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
The common mistake when building a first campaign is to start too big. You are full of ideas, write pages and pages of notes that too often you never got to use.

You really only need the basic for the first adventure. First a location often a village. What do you really need to know about that village. Let's call our village Douland.

In Douland you can find a mill near the river, a small inn where the farmers go get a drink after a day of work with a few rooms for the travelers, a blacksmith to make farming tools and horseshoes, a general store and a small church.

This village as a elected mayor, but is owned by Lord living in the city. This Lord as a small keep built by his grandfather but as been empty for over 30 years.

Now you adds a few names and detail. The inn is the Laughing Pig, the general store the Silver Heart, the mayor is name Alfred Burnytooth, the Lord Stephan Swooland, the church's God is Pelor.

Next you need a dungeon, since we have an empty keep already, we can find crypts below it where the Lord's relatives were buried. A good start for an evil cleric wanting to rise an army of undead in secret. Puts a few skeletons and zombies for the PCs to destroy maybe a ghoul or two.

If you have a player with noble background, make him be the Lord third son not the heir but his father can let him have the keep to own and rebuild. Now the player and his friends have a reason to visit the keep. They also have a reason to stay, and hooks for more adventures. Goblins are stealing the village sheeps? Of course the villagers will go ask the new keep owner to deal with it, they are already paying taxes to his father after all.

Add a few secrets like why as the Lord stay away from his keep, maybe his mother (the PC grandmother) died in the keep, maybe her ghost can help the group when they fix the undead problem. Finding what happened to her can be another adventure.

That's it for now :-)

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  1. LordEntrails's Avatar
    One thing I will say that you do need to layout first (at least to some detail) is the pantheon of gods and a at least a short idea of what history the PC's know of the world and cosmology.

    As you've noted, you certainly don't want to get bogged down in details like mythos and history, but some outline of these will help shape your world as you build it.
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