Looking for campaign ideas

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Being one of the co-DMs of my D&D group, I have been assigned the role of DM for the summer. Normally my group plays pre-mades, but this summer they expressed that they'd like to see original content. Now, with this being my 2nd time to pretty much ever DM a campaign, I'd like some suggestions and or ideas for a campaign that I could run throughout the summer that will keep my attention, as well as the players of my group. Honestly, I'm looking for somethnig home-brew. Any feedback is appreciated.

- Namphoodle
-Players grow up in a remote village away from an expansive empire. Campaign begins when the PCs come of age, and after completing a grueling trial in the mountians, return to find the Empire attacking their village. De-facto leaders after completing the trial, they must decide how to proceed.

-Players are regular adventuring folk of some note. They are summoned by a mysterious letter to help retrieve an item in a city that, 20 years past, had fallen to an army of goblins. On succeeding, the benefactor of their efforts invites them to help retake the city and, someday, help administrate it. Campaign follows the player's efforts to revitalize the city, and restore it to it's former glory.

-On a routine mission to root out some undead/goblins/some kind of gribbly plaguing a city from the inside, the players discover a rift in space that leads to the Shadowfell/Feywild/Elemental Chaos/Astral Sea/Cool Location. Any attempt to close it instead forces it wide open, teleporting the party and the city they were in to said location. Campaign follows the player's attempts to go home, and deal with all the complications therin.

-Players ride a caravan to a large center, accompanied by a noble in hiding. When the noble turns up dead mere hours after arrival, the players are the main suspects, and must clear their names or face death. They become embroiled in the dangerous backdoor politics and skullduggery of the city.

Just some ideas I had floating around that I want to run/have run/running right now.
What kind of original content do they enjoy? You really need to ask them about the kind of campaign they want to play in, the style/theme, what kind of adventuring group they intend to be, and their group's role in the campaign. Anything else, and you're just guessing at what they'll like and it'll suck if you're wrong. Get on the same page with your players first and agree on content you are all excited about.

Example response to my question: A tense campaign of war and misery with a brooding pace interspersed with frenetic battles and hard choices. The living envy the dead. The PCs are a highly-trained group of mercenaries, specialists-for-hire to the highest bidder.

Another: A light-hearted campaign of explorer-archaeologists a la Indiana Jones, exploring tombs and traveling to the farthest points of the world. Fast paced, episodic, high adventure, pulp flavor. The PCs are in a club of gentlemen adventurers that promotes friendly (and sometimes unfriendly) competition and where turning a good phrase is as important as making it through the Tomb of Sorrows.

If you can boil down the story you and your players want to tell to something as simple as that, you'll have all the fodder you need to come up with some stuff that everyone will enjoy. That's the key to a good game.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Since you only have a summer you have to make sure you do not over reach.  If you meet every week that means you have 12-14 weeks and 1-3 encounters per session.  If this is true then you have about at many levels as you encounters per week.  This is also true of most adventures.  If you want to cover more ground you can tell an entire adventure in 3-5 encounters and grant a level after each adventure.  That gets you as many as 14 levels assuming you can run an entire delve every session.  I find that I need about 5 levels at 1 adventure per level to tell a full story.  That means about one adventure every 2 weeks with a few left over for slippage.  You might also me happy with a single adventure that takes the entire summer to tell and has 10-12 encounters at 1 per week with a few weeks left for slippage.  The downside will that the characters will not grow much over the summer. 

Mathius
Being one of the co-DMs of my D&D group, I have been assigned the role of DM for the summer. Normally my group plays pre-mades, but this summer they expressed that they'd like to see original content. Now, with this being my 2nd time to pretty much ever DM a campaign, I'd like some suggestions and or ideas for a campaign that I could run throughout the summer that will keep my attention, as well as the players of my group. Honestly, I'm looking for somethnig home-brew. Any feedback is appreciated.

- Namphoodle

Have you ever seen any of the old films like "Sinbad and the eye of the tiger" or the games like "Prince of Persia".
I'd look maybe at basing a campaign on these films, where the group starts in an Arabian land (Old 2E Al Qadim could help but not vital) and is up against an unknown enemy at first (they are just aware that they must escort a shapechanged prince to a far off magician\seer for help who then tells them that they must travel to a once magical ruin where they should be able to change the prince back to his human form.
Lots of travelling to find maps for the magician\seer to locate the magical land. Maybe add a some extra dangers as the group travels like sea monsters, undersea adventures to find special keys to open the gateways of the ancient ruins, nice skill challenges as the group tries to get through jungles or fight raging storms on the sea.

In short take from these resources what you think appropriate.
What kind of original content do they enjoy? You really need to ask them about the kind of campaign they want to play in, the style/theme, what kind of adventuring group they intend to be, and their group's role in the campaign. Anything else, and you're just guessing at what they'll like and it'll suck if you're wrong. Get on the same page with your players first and agree on content you are all excited about.

Example response to my question: A tense campaign of war and misery with a brooding pace interspersed with frenetic battles and hard choices. The living envy the dead. The PCs are a highly-trained group of mercenaries, specialists-for-hire to the highest bidder.

Another: A light-hearted campaign of explorer-archaeologists a la Indiana Jones, exploring tombs and traveling to the farthest points of the world. Fast paced, episodic, high adventure, pulp flavor. The PCs are in a club of gentlemen adventurers that promotes friendly (and sometimes unfriendly) competition and where turning a good phrase is as important as making it through the Tomb of Sorrows.

If you can boil down the story you and your players want to tell to something as simple as that, you'll have all the fodder you need to come up with some stuff that everyone will enjoy. That's the key to a good game.



We all enjoy pretty much the same stuff. Generally, we're all still very new to the D&D experience so I haven't really seen much of their interests other than the classes they play. I'm probably looking at a Ranger, Wizard, some form of tank and a Cleric. But yeah anyway, to the Sinbad comment, no I haven't, but I'll certainly check it out. One big thing about my group is is that they love horror/zombies, so I was thinking of researching some Lovecraft during my free time to get a sense of running a horror survival campaign of some sort.
If you guys like horror you might want to try you hand at updating Expidtion to Castle Ravenloft.  Count Strahd von Zarovich! is one of the best villians of all time and the setting is all about horror.  It will still be homebrew since you will have to redo all of the mechanics.  Just remember not to be slavish in your update, but more like when hollywood does a remake of an old movie, except good.

Mathius
We all enjoy pretty much the same stuff. ... One big thing about my group is is that they love horror/zombies, so I was thinking of researching some Lovecraft during my free time to get a sense of running a horror survival campaign of some sort.



"Hey guys, I have an idea for a horror campaign where you guys are paranormal investigators and/or undead hunters in service to a church whose power is in decline as a zombie plague devastates civilization. What do you think?"

Listen to what they have to add to that and write it down. Add more suggestions to their suggestions. Ask them how they see their characters in that role. Inquire as to how their characters backgrounds might mesh together with that theme and with each other. Boil it down to where everyone is on the same page and has a good grasp of what to expect in the game.

Then write an action-packed first adventure using that information to draw them into the campaign. And feel free to come back here for ideas on how to write it once you and your players have agreed on the story.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character     Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!

FREE CONTENT: Encounters With Alternate Goals  |  Full-Contact Futbol   |   Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs  |  Re-Imagining Phandelver  |  Three Pillars of Immersion

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

How to Homebrew Quickly


If we consider the Red Box (c. 1983) we find in the back of the Dungeon Master’s Rulebook a three page section on creating Dungeons. This is an interesting step-by-step method which we can quickly use to build an adventure. 

Step 1 – Choose a Scenario
1D10
1                      Explore the Unknown
2                      Investigate Enemy Outpost
3                      Recovering Ruins
4                      Destroy an Ancient Evil
5                      Visit a Lost Shrine
6                      Fulfil a Quest
7                      Escape from Enemies
8                      Rescue Prisoners
9                      Use Magic Portal
10                   Find Lost Race 

Step 2 – Decide on a Setting
1D10
1                      Castle
2                      Tower
3                      Caves
4                      Cavern
5                      Abandoned Mine
6                      Crypt
7                      Tomb
8                      Ancient Temple
9                      Stronghold
10                   Town 

Step 3 – Select Special Monsters
It is here that we are expected to select our Monster that will feature in the Adventure. This is not the random beasty that might be stumbled across – rather the one that is fundamental to the story. 

Step 4 – Draw the Map
Here is where we build a map of our Adventure Site; Our ‘Dungeon’. 

Step 5 – Stock the Dungeon
Here we allocate our Special Monsters to the various encounter areas, add treasures, traps and so forth. 

Step 6 – Fill in the Details
This is where you finalize the little details. By now you have an idea as to what is going on and why.




KOG 1 – THE TORISANDE STRONGHOLD


The Title is a bit of a Giveaway but here we go: The easy bit is the roll of two dice...Steps 1-2.


 


Scenario & Setting


Scenario: (8) – Rescue Prisoners.


Setting: (9) - Stronghold.


 


So our adventure is to involve the rescue of prisoners from a Stronghold. Strongholds imply some degree of Authority unless they are abandoned/ruins. So with an idea as to where this is going we move forward to: Step 3 where we generate the monsters we know are in here – the ones pivotal to our story.


 


Friends & Foes


We look at the Section on Monsters in our DM Book and select Human as our foe.


The PCs will be going up against Men who are in control of a Stronghold. We can use Bandits – not because they are Bandits (3-30 level 1 Thieves) but because they are representing a template (Light Militia: 3-30).



Militia Leader Amdar Kreyg


The Leader of the local Militia is Amdar Kreyg (level 3 Fighter; 11hp; S10, I10, W12, D11, C9, Ch12). He doesn’t wear Armour rather he wears fine clothes, a hat, cape, and carries a cane sword (short sword) as well as documents of a Minor Bureaucrat of the Kings Authority (Secret Police).


He represents part of a Nationalist Faction currently taking control of the Bureaucracy of the Kingdom.


Amdar is efficient and meticulous in his book keeping. If he can’t afford to feed prisoners he disposes of them.


 


Other Nasty Critters


Ghouls control the very bottom of the Stronghold.





Mapping the Dungeon


What appears to be no more than a fortified parade ground with an odd entry, Torisande is a considerably substantial regional fortification – it is mostly underground and has very little surface infrastructure. Instead a single surface access –a secret door is located in the tunnel that enters the walled parade ground leading downward as a single spiral path linking chambers.


It looks (for now) to be eight encounter areas with a tunnel down from there– though 8 and beyond are for future adventures when the PCs are more powerful.


 


Amdar Kreyg & 30 Light Militia defend this Stronghold. 30 Light Militia seem difficult for a low level adventuring party so let’s break them up.


Amdar Kreyg & 20 Light Militia are currently off raiding another Village and rounding up the locals for whatever reason.


The Stronghold of Torisande is thus guarded by a more manageable 10 light militia.


 


Entry & Area 1


Outside patrolling the Stronghold are three members of the light militia.


Area 1 – Guard Post/Armoury – 1 light militia is guarding the only entry point from the inside. There are sufficient arms to arm the villagers.



Area 2 – The Dining Hall – Currently 2 Light Militia are having a meal break. There is room for up to 10 at a time and a small kitchen and cellar.


 


Area 3 – Barracks – These bunks are currently empty but provide sleeping areas for the 30 militia.


 


Area 4 – Leader’s Quarters (Amdar Kreyg who has a private room), Baths and Toilet facilities - Currently there is 1 light militia heading up to area 3 from area 5 to get a meal. In Amdar Kreyg’s quarters there is a ledger with lists of thousands of names.


 


Area 5 – Cell Block-A - 2 light militia who are beating a prisoner to death. The Common Cell here contains 7 children from the Village.



 


Area 6 – Cell Block-B – The Common Cell contains 12 Women from the Village.


 


Area 7 – Cell Block C – The Common Cell contains 11 Men from the Village.


 


Area 8 – The Iron Door – beyond this fortified and well locked door (the PCs may look into the dark and cold room by the shutter) is a pile of corpses. If illuminated by a light source the PCs will see 1-6 Ghouls chewing on dead bodies and dragging them off down the tunnel.


 


PCs are not expected to venture any lower than the Iron Door at this point.


Basically they can fight their way out because Amdar Kreyg and 20 Light Militia have arrived with Prisoners. However they may choose to face the Ghouls rather than Amdar Kreyg and his militia as this is the secret escape route from the Stronghold of Torisande.


 


The Big Picture


This and further adventures will be based on the Armenian Massacres that occurred in Turkey in 1914 onward.


Our adventure represents part of a larger tragedy occurring across the Kingdom of Guwa. In this case Amdar Kreyg is a minor official of the Secret Police who is overseeing ethnic cleansing in these ‘border villages’. His light militia are local villagers of the approved of faction who have been trained to form a military authority – those of the other faction (the PCs and their families) are to be disposed of. Laws were passed restricting possession of arms to the local militias, names were taken, a list of those of the approved faction was established and they were instructed to report for militia duty. Currently they are enforcing laws about taxation and smuggling on the border villages – rounding up and doing nasty things to the villagers. In the case of tax evasion and smuggling the charges are true. These Border Villages have always been very independent. Indeed the PCs will have returned to find their families arrested having escorted goods over the border to markets where they are not being heavily taxed for being members of the undesirable faction.




Source: yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com/2012/0... 
The Citadel Megadungeon: http://yellowdingosappendix.blogspot.com.au/2012/08/the-citadel-mega-dungeon-now-with-room.html