Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Low level adventures from the second level publisher

Art by the very talented, and only mildly evil,
 Jennifer Fraggle Dee
You can learn more about Jennifer: HERE
Even Goblins have to relax sometime.
When in the course of gaming history, a band of characters unite with a common purpose; that being to travel aimlessly about, slaughtering monsters and plundering their loot, empowering their own confidence through conquest, and honing their skills at mayhem...

In the beginning there was the idea, and it was good.

The idea being to unite friends in common purpose, for enjoying one another's company, narrating adventures of heroic fantasy, and for creating, through play, a great tale of a campaign of aspiring heroes.

Though many such campaigns are attempted, many fail and fall short of their ambitions.

Today then, how do we set the tone for a legendary campaign?

How shall we devise, write, and play our games so that cause has effect, and a sensibly progressing story emerges?

Where does the story plant the seeds that sprout greatness?

An answer lies in the first adventures.

When we begin our campaigns we introduce new characters to a new world which reveals its story before them.

So these first adventures, these first tales, are important to set the tone of the campaign.

Make your first adventures memorable.  Nest within them a fragment of the overarching story.  Don't relegate them as a simple stepping stone for leveling or advancing skills.

Make the story count.

Build upon the early adventures.  Let plot hooks evolve into divergent stories for the characters to explore.  Make them personal to each character individually, and you will see the immersion in your games deepen.

Within the first adventure the characters encounter a child, fleeing from goblins or other low level threats (to the adventurers) which are certainly a life and death threat to the child.

Rescuing the child will yield the benefit of feeling heroic and may open options within the adventure itself, but it need not end there.

Time passes and the young teen boy or girl may begin an apprenticeship or enter the clergy, or other vocational training (if they weren't already so).  Can your adventurers turn down a request for aid from someone they once saved from deadly peril?  Story hooks abound.

Five years pass, now a teenager, the same child may become promised in marriage by her/his family, in or against her/his best interests.  A desperate call for aid, either to save an imperiled fiancĂ©, or to escape marriage, certainly provides a range of options for adventures for low to mid-level characters.

More years pass: as a young adult does this character perish in childbirth, become maimed by bandits, become a skilled artisan or knowledgeable scribe, does the child now wield political or magical might? What adventures may unfold, and what stories may wait to be told?


The above example, building on stories involving one character through the course of the campaign, need not be a primary or even secondary thought in the overall plot.  It may simply afford the story those touches that lend logical consistency, or a touch of familiarity, or could even become critically important late in the characters' lives.

Had the characters not been there to save the youth during their low level adventures, then none of the stories of that character's life could unfold.

Build on this, and you will see great things unfold at your game.  Harness the power of these "small" stories, and great memories of a fun campaign can be told in the following years.


I hope you find this principle helpful in your own campaigns.

Lets bring the fun to our table-top games.

I hope you will join me again for the next step in this grand adventure.

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