Simple Campaign Idea

So a simple idea I’m trying out for my most recent d&d campaign is as follows:

1. Every player has a public goal, which is one of the big reasons they’re traveling with the party. It’s either in the party’s best interest to pursue the goal or the goal is appropriately noble. Example: Create a center of learning that will draw people from throughout the land!

2. Every player also has a private goal, something that is probably secret and that they don’t really need the group’s help to accomplish. In fact, such a goal might even run contrary to the group’s goals. Example: Become a God!

3. The players are all united by a few principle goals that I set before them (assuming they care about them at all). Example: Discover the mystery as to why the  the boundaries between the planes are breaking down.

4. Because I’ve been really annoyed in the past at having to separate in game knowledge from out of game knowledge I’m instituting a rule where if some piece of information comes out at the gaming table, anyone can invent a reason why they might have figured it out. This is a little silly, but is my best guess for how to actually preserve a sense of intrigue at the table. So if someone is about to have an important conversation, I ask them if they want to have it in another room away from earshot of other players. And people are encouraged to slip me notes and the like.

5. Players all have quests and minor quests associated with their goals (which give XP to the entire group, naturally). Thus, mechanical reasons to pursue your goals!

The main goal is to encourage rich interwoven storytelling where what might seem like a straightforward adventure like exploring a cool tower actually has several layers of subtext. Plus it’s fun in D&D to have a personal sense of accomplishment that goes beyond the mechanical benefits of leveling up and the mundane satisfaction of saving the world yet again!

3 Responses to “Simple Campaign Idea”

  1. Paul says:

    I like rule 4. There really is no point in passing notes if player knowledge is strictly separated from character knowledge. I think by instituting Rule 4, you are making a choice to run an “intrigue game” as opposed to a “regular game”.

    In our usual games, we keep character and player knowledge separate, meaning characters often do something that their players know is a bad idea. This leads to hilarity, but it’s a very different play experience than the one you’re going for. I’d like to play in a Rule 4 game sometime.

  2. Rory rory says:

    It is worth noting that you can choose not to know something if you want, like if it really strains credibility or if you think it would be more fun to walk into the room where your last three friends got ripped apart by a horrible trap. It’s just totally up to each player.

    Also, there is a hilarious thing you can do in this sort of game if you want, which is spread misinformation… Like I could say out of character “Gosh, I hope no one finds out that the reason I want to go to the abandoned mine is to steal all the treasure hidden there” to try to trick comrades into coming to the abandoned mines with you sans bluff roll and the like. I’m not 100% sure how I’ll handle that!

  3. Paul says:

    Head of Vecna antics ensue.

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