Monday, November 26, 2018

How I Build My Campaign Storylines

On Reddit someone asked "What is your way to make an interesting storyline for a campaign?"

Here was my reply with the hopes that it may help other GMs who are new to the hobby and looking for answers to this question as well...

I read a lot of Science Fiction, and Fantasy, but mostly old world stuff that my friends may not have read... I glean ideas from those sources, and play mix-n-match with background concepts a lot. What if Mars had an underground ocean which the Martians had retreated to long ago when their atmosphere got blown away in a huge war? I will often start with a premise like that. I then sketch a map and some basic blocks of important information. The two main societies located are North and West. One is warlike the other are mental giants, but few in numbers, who survive because the ocean is difficult to cross (no idea why yet), and the Mentats are very smart about defending their land. I then sketch out main characters. The Warriors are ruled by Throknar, a grizzled veteran with a taste for brutality. The Mentats are ruled by a Quorum of 9 who all excel in wisdom and the arts. Among the Quorum are 3 Shining Stars, named Eloaim, Sarasaz, and Ninya. I will sketch their personalities, and then assign them stats based on their classes. I also give them each a Motivation. Throknar hates Eloaim because she refused his hand in marriage, and so he wants to destroy the West and capture her for his wife. Eloaim is motivated by the wish to re-establish life on the surface of Mars, and as a scientists is working towards that end. Sarasaz is a wise ruler intent on protecting the West, and seeking new ways to cultivate food. Ninya is an artist who loves the sublime, and is well loved by the people. His goal is to foster kindness in the world, and put an end to warfare. Once I have this, and a rough map of the terrain, I will work on some additional details by answering questions about the environment. Underground ocean is teaming with sea monsters. There are several underground tunnel and cavern systems that lead between the North and the West but these are often occupied by tribes of wild Martians, and a collection of all sorts of monsters. Ok, at that point, I select monsters for the caverns. Lastly I want to include sources of riches ... on Mars there are certain stones which are rare and serve as a kind of currency. They are energy stones, named Alamir, and come in a number of colors, from red, to blue. They have different levels of power based on the color, and can hold potent energies which can be used for psychic powers. I place some of these at a few places on the map, and at that point I'm ready to start playing. After that I wing things according to what the PCs do, and glean ideas along the way based on their actions, comments, and from any other source I can get my hands on. And that's how I do it, more or less. I hope this helps.  Best wishes.




Post a Comment