So you’ve decided to start playing D&D. You’ve got your group prepared, you’ve learned the rules, and you’ve even got a nice adventure set up. All you need now is to start. But that’s where the trouble comes in: how do you properly start a campaign? After all, first impressions are important, and you want your game to start off with a bang! There are a few great ways to gather your party and start your game. Let’s look at some of the possibilities.
Let’s start off slow. With the slow burn method you start the game off with all players separate. Over the course of the game you will steer the players towards each other until they form the party on their own. This allows each player to introduce themselves in character and feel like they choose to be a part of the team. The main drawback of this method is that it can set back the action. But if you’re willing to spend the time, then your party will have a stronger bond for it.
If your players are the impatient type, then maybe you’ll want to throw them headlong into the adventure. You can start the game by having your players roll initiative for a fight. This fight could be a great time to introduce your campaign’s main villain. That’ll really draw your players in quick and give them a common goal to strive for. The biggest drawback of this method is that it may give your players the idea that you’re running a combat focused game. If that’s your goal, then this method may be for you.
Another great method is the skill challenge method. This method employs the use of skill challenges, which are a series of skill checks in an encounter. These challenges help to let the players show off what they can do, and they help teach new players about what checks apply where. This method is a good middle ground for both new and experienced players.
What is my preferred method? Well, personally, I like to combine them all. I drop the players into a lively setting with a lot going on, like a festival. This presents plenty of skill challenges for your players to get accustomed to the game with. While performing these challenges, your players might gain the attention of one another. This then flows into natural introductions. After a while of this your game may start to run out of steam. This is the perfect time to spring your story hook on them. Perhaps the festival is interrupted by your main villain, who decides to give your players a taste of his power. This then plays into an explosive finish and cliffhanger to really hook your players on the story.
No matter your method, as long as you avoid the played out trope of the party starting together in a bar then you’re already a step above most starting dm’s. Just have fun with it! How has your best campaign started? Let me know below! And until next time, keep those dice rolling high!