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Campaign creation help


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#1 Sxzero92

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 06:34 PM

I am a new DM who is planning on running a 4e D&D campaign. I have the first three dungeons written with some semblance of an over arcing story, but where do I go from there? I have been trying to write a lose plot where the players have a lot of options, but I seem to run into dead ends every time. As a DM how do you write a story that is entertaining for the players but is still manageable to run? Any and all help or advice would be appreciated.
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#2 thranduul

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:25 PM

Maybe I am not understanding everything you're saying but it seems to me you have more than enough to get started. My advice is to let and the drive the rest. For example, let what you have and how they play it plan the next series of moves--so if the big bad evil guy gets away at the end, have him send minions, assassins or whatnot after them in the future as an ever present menace. That is the brute force way of course---maybe the guy that got away uses his vast wealth to attack them socially/economically (e.g., sends Slavers to the PC's home town(s), drives down prices of crops or whatever stuff drives the economy of their local town). What fun is it for a big-bad-evil-guy to not even get his hands dirty and instead have the PCs friends and family drive the PCs out of town (or better yet, sell their unconscious bodies to the BBEG).

Those are just a couple of quick ideas. My point being, you'll come up with more ideas once you've got a module or two under your belt.... Then the PCs will 'learn' more about what they want as characters too.
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#3 Hafwit

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 02:38 AM

What sort of dead end? :) Give us a concrete example.

For me personally, it works best if I don't look too far ahead, but focus on the present and maybe the next styep in the game.
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#4 CrazyMLC

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Posted 13 October 2009 - 09:43 PM

Try to get your players to make their characters first, and ask them to put details and backstories into their characters that you can tie into the plot to make them feel more involved and to make the whole thing more thematic.
Use ties to make it more dramatic, and to motivate your players into doing what you have planned for them, but be relevant.

I'd recommend thinking about your over-arcing plot and what your players would want, they are your audience, you have to appeal to them.
After you have your main plot, think of the possibilities of your first few sessions, and try and plan what your players might do in certain situations so you have an idea of what you're going to do, but you're probably going to have to improvise a little bit. You can never really tell what your party is going to do.

But you can probably take all of that advice for a grain of salt; I've never DM'd a game.
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#5 thranduul

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 06:46 AM

CrazyMLC---sometimes the best DMs are made from good players. Remember that. You should try your hand at it. If you know what works as a player, you have the main ingredient to do it as a DM. Just my $0.02.
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#6 Caelvan

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 10:08 AM

I think that the advice has been great so far. I find that the best way to go is to have a loose story that the players can make up the details (this coming from a guy who tends to over plan the session and then has to throw away half of the planned material and just wing it anyway ;) ).
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#7 Phneri

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:01 PM

I think that the advice has been great so far. I find that the best way to go is to have a loose story that the players can make up the details (this coming from a guy who tends to over plan the session and then has to throw away half of the planned material and just wing it anyway ;) ).


That planned material can be some of your best fodder for new adventures. Just because the party didn't go on the sidequest doesn't mean it goes away. Maybe the villain there brought his nefarious plans to fruition, making a much tougher situation that must be faced when the PCs return to the area.

I've run a particularly dark game by constantly presenting the PCs with two choices. Something bad can happen with both, which means they have to make awful decisions and face the consequences each time. Of course, this isn't for everyone and it overdone will just frustrate the hell out of everyone.
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#8 Pencil-Monkey

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:15 AM

I've run a particularly dark game by constantly presenting the PCs with two choices. Something bad can happen with both, which means they have to make awful decisions and face the consequences each time.

It just goes to show, you can reconcile life as a Storyteller and being a Killer GM at the same time. ;)
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#9 Phneri

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Posted 23 October 2009 - 08:27 PM

I've run a particularly dark game by constantly presenting the PCs with two choices. Something bad can happen with both, which means they have to make awful decisions and face the consequences each time.

It just goes to show, you can reconcile life as a Storyteller and being a Killer GM at the same time. ;)


Mostly I just enjoy telling a story. The horrifying (and deadly) world came from my group, who desperately wish to munchkin the hell out of their characters.
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