need some direction from other Dm's

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ok so i have been running random adventures  that are all just scattered places and situations never anything that ties together. so basicly what im wonder if anyone out there can give me any tips on starting my own Campaign. I have never created my own world before and tried tieing together  adventures for my players. any tips are welcome and much appreciated thanks
Here's some tips, I recommend these for any first time campaign creation beginner.

1. Create a villain. Have him be recurring. Or at least his name be recurring. Beware introducing him too soon. Players have a habit of killing off or putting an end to your big bad before he's had a chance to do anything. In the meantime, have him do something to have an adverse effect on the world and in a roundabout way, the PCs. Or even directly, if you think your group can handle it.

2. Create a town. Put some interesting landmarks in the town that would be fun to explore or interact with. A tavern/inn, a shop or two, a temple/church, town square, etc. Fill those landmarks with interesting NPCs that can also be recurring. It doesn't have to be many. Just one, or maybe two. And you don't even have to have lots of landmarks. Just do as many as you are comfortable with.

3. Mcguffins. This is one of the few times I'll advocate the use of these. It gives the players a goal to obtain, a reason to drive forward into the next major plot point or section of the arc. Have the mcguffins they're looking for handed out several times by the same quest giver that, when obtained, help advance the goals of the heroes and put you one step closer to ending the villain.

4. Play with the personal stories of the PCs and have those be recurring events and moments to advance their own personal stories.

In the end, ultimately, stringing a campaign together is mostly about how well you use recurring NPCs. There are other ways to do it through objects, places, and so on. But the easiest is to use NPCs. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb.

get as much input from your players on what they want in the world as possible. I'd do something like make a city they start in and describe that in detail. Then ask them each what culture/country their PCs are from and how it is different. Sketch out the rest of the world between the other sessions as you need it.

This helps them invest in the setting. Youd be shocked how often DMs spend months prepping a setting only to have players bother to learn the basic core tenants of it.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

In the DMG2 there is a great article about cooperative campaing building. Check that out.
I agree with LunarSavage, because this is what I did.  One thing I will add though is that you do not need fancy computer programs or a zillion source books to get every little detail "right."  I used MS Paint (yes that overly simplistic program that comes with all versions of Windows) to draw my world and some cities and towns within.  And I used MS Word (only because I had it, wordpad or notepad would work just as well) to write down information about my setting.

developing a campaign is an excerise in creativity and imagination, and K.I.S.S. works every timeWink



Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
ok so i have been running random adventures  that are all just scattered places and situations never anything that ties together. so basicly what im wonder if anyone out there can give me any tips on starting my own Campaign. I have never created my own world before and tried tieing together  adventures for my players. any tips are welcome and much appreciated thanks

Be willing to disregard most of what you will hear. In fact, be prepared to disregard all of it. Including what I say.


Got that mentality in place? Good, now reach step 2 which is "Read a lot". Read a lot, be ready to disregard any of it or all of it. As you read more you will start to keep more things because they will be A) useful or B) strike you as true. Never take any of it as gospel willing to throw away what you have previously accepted and to re-evaluate what you have previously disregarded. Most importantly be willing to TRY things. If it falls flat, it is not the end of the is an opportunity to learn. Remember, you and everyone at the table are there to play a game, play it well and enjoy your time. Getting to higher levels of play and higher levels of enjoyment requires experimenting and pushing the boundaries...otherwise you will stagnate. Stagnation is the death of's the death of can even be the death of groups.

That out of the way, prepare to work. If someone tells you DMing is easy, they have stagnated...and I've already told you what that will (eventually) mean. DMing is an art and, like any art, one improves with practice but it never becomes easy because good artists work to improve and take on new challenges in their chosen field. Take the same attitude towards D&D. When something becomes easy for you as a DM, add it to your toolbox and look for ways to make it make it better and more challenging. Effort pays dividends.

With all that in mind...

Start from the top down. Figure out what the flavor and feel of the world is that you want. Make a list of the things you want to include. Do not worry, it does not need to be need not get everything down in the first draft.

Make sure you start at a high level. Recognize the most world-shaking and impactful things that will exist in the world. Make sense of them now. For instance, if Raise Dead exists in your world, that would have ramifications on the world. Figure out how you want it to work. This will not only give you a framework to fill in the world, it will help you avoid many strange inconsistencies and odd questions later on.

When you decide on something in the world and decide how it is, ask yourself "Why". Then answer it. Usually that will mean making something up to add to the world. If that leaves you with new Whys then answer those as well. Drill down on this until you come back to something you've already answered. This means you have come full circle with your design.

For instance and clarification I will give you an example from my world

"I want dragons". Okay.

"They will be classic dragons of D&D that gather hordes"


"Hmm...they use the horde to hide a rune that ties them to the universe. Knowing that rune gives you power over the dragon."


"Because it is the term reality uses to identify that dragon. Essentially it's true name in the language of the universe just like how magic is made up of runes" (this is tied into how magic works in my world so I have come full circle back to something I've already answered)

"Dragons get smarter/stronger as they age"


"They naturally process ley expended by mortals casting magic back into mana in the same way trees recycle carbon dioxide into oxygen. In doing so, they absorb some of the knowledge/power used by that spellcaster and add it to their own knowledge/power and hence grow smarter/stronger" (again tying into how mana/ley works in the world in regards to magic)

-You will find yourself asking a lot of "Whys". It will force you to answer questions that are, realistically, going to come up at some point in a campaign anyway. Of course, the people in the world need not know all this, but as DM you need to know it because it will allow you to create logically and consistently either beforehand or on the fly. The better you understand your world the more freedom your players have to muck around in it in a meaningful way.

I'll stop there to keep from throwing too much at you just yet.

If you're interested we can talk about divesting yourself of desire afterwards. Or if you have any questions or whatnot just lemme know.

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.


Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?


100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

I also recommend the collaborative approach. They'll probably bring up connections that would never have occurred to you.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Think about this:  you don't have to "create a world" to tie adventures together into a campaign.  Don't do more work than is required.  When you create a setting that is anything other than bare bones, you sometimes limit yourself to what you just created.  Don't paint yourself into a corner.

Instead, consider connecting adventures by being someone that lays down the tracks in front of the train as it goes. 

Also, yes, collaboration is good.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

I like the idea of creating NPC's and thinking up a storyline, then putting together the world to match it.  And being able to build off that world over time, as more and more stories are worked into the campaign.

Think of it as the Earth....  Or even your home and the surrounding 100 mile radius.  How many places have you been to more than once in your entire lifetime?.... Perhaps the school, the city area and the drive-in movie theater?.....  What about the river valley?  What about the old fort?  What about those caves you heard about? etc, etc, etc.

My point is this - if you think about all the places you've never been to in real life, coming up w/ TONS of cool places in D&D doesn't seem as far fetched....

My two cents,

Oh - and I agree - disregard what I'm saying if you don't like it.  This is why D&D is so much fun!  YOU are in charge of the world, sure you have rules to live by, but the world is yours to create and manipulate.         

Everyone has giving you great ideas (like LunarSavage the best)

Especially the 4th one; which I try to do whenever I get to DM.

An Example; 

1)      we had someone playing a warfordged who wanted to RP a wizard made him as a servant and he was happy helping his wizard master till the master went missing.

2)      Another player had his entire family slaughter when she was in her teens be a twisted evil shaman

I just took these two things from their back-story (And a few other players but let’s keep it simple here) and had the party hired to investigate why all the animals in a forest was dying. Turns out it was the evil shaman doing research on a plague for a group of wizards, and what did they find there after they defeated the shaman, the personal tome of the missing warfordges wizard master.

Stuff like this can make for an exciting story filled with all the things DnD players want;  but at the same time make the players feel like the story they made themselves for their characters has real consequences in the world I let them play in.


big thanks guys you all made very good points and it made me think about all of it. I been tossing around some ideas for  a general world setting and then going from there. The idea i have i am sure its not original and i am ok with it just want it to keep players having fun. So basicly my idea is that this evil power hungy necromancer has been raising a army and invadeing city by city and town by town in his effort to take over the world an his reach is spreading farther and farther into the world. Now the players are from this decent size town and there have been people coming thur the town telling everyone that they all need to flee because of whats going on in the world but the players have never been far from the town and have no clue whats going on out there. so they just take it as just random crazy people coming into the town so then the players notice that parts of the forest are dying and things are changing in a odd way around the home they have had for years.
     then im not sure what would work better if i should have some of the necor's dark minons attack the town and force them to join the fight against him or mabey just let their curiousty let them travel and start seeing whats going on. basicly i want to plan it out so as the story unfolds they learn more about whats been going on in the world and more about the lore behind this necromancer leading up to the big battle with him in the end of the campaign. so let me know what you guys think and any suggestions for it other than that thanks so much for the tips defenitly made me think more about my approach to this.
And if the players decide to team up with the necromancer? Laughing

I'm on a journey of enlightenment, learning and self-improvement. A journey towards mastery. A journey that will never end. If you challenge me, prepare to be challenged. If you have something to offer as a fellow student, I will accept it. If you call yourself a master, prepare to be humbled. If you seek me, look to the path. I will be traveling it.


Proudly playing in many wrong ways. I'm not afraid of playing wrong according to the rules. Why are you?


100 Crack Reply of the Yagamifire. You are already wrong.

they with my mighty Dm powers they will be stuck down by a bolt of lightning =)......... lol no i see where you getting at tho
Before you do anything else, meet with your players for Session Zero. This is an opportunity for everyone to get on the same page with regard to the game - the style of the game, the tone and themes, the setting, the role of the adventuring party in the world, what sorts of adventures will be undertaken, and the part each individual character would play in that party (including what bonds they have with each other or history as a team). Setting this framework up and getting consensus in the group is very important. This is also a time to agree upon social contracts.

Come to Session Zero with ideas, like some of those adventures you have, but consider them only ideas until you get the players to buy in. If you're running a game with plots, say so and ask if that's okay. If you're not running a game with a plot, do the same. Players that buy in on what you have planned (or not planned, as the case may be for a more improvisational DM) will help you make it great. Those who do not buy in or are not interested may not, or may actually set about making it bad.

When everyone is on the same page, then go ahead and get the campaign started. Of the options you have for your modules (don't forget to get buy-in), I would recommend you start with a simple dungeon. In my view, the first adventure is all about finding out what future sessions will involve. So be sure to write down things the players find interest in or for things that are left unresolved. That's gold for future games. It helps if you ask a lot of questions to encourage the players to establish details about the world and their characters during their delve. Use what they give you. Look for any interesting facts you can use later. A dungeon is also nice because it's a place of action where things are happening and the players can "make mistakes" without the town guard showing up to punish them. It also allows the players to try out all those cool powers, feats, and skills that they spent time choosing during character creation.

Once the dungeon is completed and the characters are moving on, battered, bruised, and bonded by their ordeal, if you've asked enough questions and made note of what everyone's interested in, you're in a very good position to make it a campaign. These details have a way of creating depth to the world and to the story, whether it's one you're telling or the PCs are telling by way of their deeds. Take a look at your modules and see which modules come close to matching up to what everyone's interested in doing next (or soon), based on what you learned about the party during the dungeon crawl. Suggest the modules that fit and get buy-in. If none of them fit the bill, try your hand at creating your own adventures. With all the details you've gotten, it should be a piece of cake.

Good luck.

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

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ok so i have been running random adventures  that are all just scattered places and situations never anything that ties together. so basicly what im wonder if anyone out there can give me any tips on starting my own Campaign. I have never created my own world before and tried tieing together  adventures for my players. any tips are welcome and much appreciated thanks

I generally start with a basic map of an area that hopefully includes a reasonable forest area, a swamp, hills, some old ruins and possibly the edge of a mountain range.

I then put down a basic outline of what is generally in the area's, however I keep it really simple: For example:

Eastern mountains: Goblins, Orcs, Ogres, Hill Giants, a Red Dragon
Forest: Elves, Eladrin and Goblins
Ruins: Undead, ruined temple of Pelor
Hills: Ogres
Swamp: Trolls, Lizardmen

Then place human villages on the map and give them some names.

Get a map for a town and do something similar to the main map with some basic outlines of common village buildings, e.g Blacksmith, Tavern, General Store and Lords Manor.

Then flesh out some initial key characters, such as the captain of the watch, the innkeep, the Blacksmith.

At that point you could come up with a few important elements of the area that could lead to adventure; A necromancer is building a power base and searching for evil items long lost, he has a few henchmen who could even be searching the town for information on the lost items. The group could have a run in with the henchmen initially along with the necromancers apprentice and his undead servants. Note however to keep things interesting, the henchmen don't know where the Necromancer actually is (the big boss doesnt trust them totally).

An Orc Warlord is starting to build a force of Orc, gobin and Trolls and his warbands are moving into area's that threaten the human inhabitants that can lead to a initial fight with the gobins, moving to combat with orcs, orc shamen, Priest of Gumish.  
There's lots of really good advice here, so I'm likely repeating what people have already stated. To run a campaign there's really only two basic things you need.

(1) A map of the world.
(2) A single sentence stating the PC's adventure goal. This could change over time, so consider this in flux.

I've been using the method iserith has suggested, it works very nicely. I have two campaign goals, but I don't know what the players will finally run with and it has changed over the year. One campaign goal is my creation and the other is a player idea.
Alright, this is a basic thing.  It builds off of generic expectations.  As you gain more exposure to running games in worlds, feel free to get creative.  As usual, this is a quick and dirty guide.  I did not give a campaign goal.  That's different than making a world.  And when you have a full fleshed out world, goals will be plentiful.

The way I do it is to think up a name.  Then I put a couple paragraphs about that person's history as if I was making a quick level 1 character.
Then a second name.
Then a third.
When I have 10 or so, I give myself a break.
Then I think of a style of government, single leader or council or something similar.
Then I break down the names of the important ranks in the city(council leaders, captain and second in command of city guard, name of two or three kinds of trade).
Then I match the names to the ranks.
The kinds of trade I typed become the city's main export.

Next, I make 10 or so more names.
Write down names of 10 or so businesses in town(blacksmith, general goods, an inn or two, a farmer or two, wizard merchant, maybe a criminal boss).
Match up the names.

City Map:
Then, I make sure I have 5 or so extra names for that town.
Build a map and put letters for places of interest.
Assign all the npcs to the letters.
Remember an open area or two for people to relax in.
Name the city after one of my spare npcs.
That spare npc becomes the founder of the city, and is usually dead unless it's an elf, dwarf, or new city.

Done.  Now do this two more times.

After you have your three cities, it's time to build locations.
Think of 15 names for locations(lady bird johnson grove, perser's peak, saltwater lagoon).
Think of 10 names for magical locations(circle of night, alter of [somegod], cursed island).
Think of 5 additional names(magical or not) for extras.

Continent Map:
Build an outline(just the outside edges) of a single continent.
Put in terrain details(forests, valleys, et cetera).

Forests have lakes and small streams going through them.  Rivers can be inside as well, but not many.
Hills have valleys.  These valleys are usually formed by rivers.  Make sure to put rivers and a couple small streams.  Only one or two lakes, and those need to be sunken a bit.
Plains are usually grassy, with gentle(low) hills.  They can touch any terrain type.  Can be used as filler.
Swamps are wet places.  Make sure there's lots of moisture places surrounding a swamp.  Lots of lakes, and less rivers(the less running water the better).
Deserts are dry.  Forests cannot go naturally next to them(exceptions happen).  Don't forget to put small lakes in.  A desert lake can be called an oasis.  Avoid small streams.  Rivers must be huge.
Volcanic areas will have burned anything near them, so a forest can only be near one that has not be active recently.  Water inside will need to be like a desert, but less of them(especially if active).
River valleys are slightly less wet than swamps.  Have lots of running water, and make sure lakes have more than one river touching it.  Where there isn't a river, consider a stream.  Some sheer cliffs near the fastest rivers will look good here.

Now throw your locations into the mix with letters or symbols.  I used runes after awhile because it looked more foreign.

Make up 10 or village names.
Place most of them scattered throughout the continent.
Any place that does not have an obvious route can be considered backwater and isolationist.

Place some lines and section the continent into two or three pieces.
These are now countries or counties.
A country is usually named after it's capitol city.  If not, you can grab an extra name from the village name list.
Determine which section likes the others, and hates the others.  It's ok to go all war or all peace.  Or even just peace in trade.

World Map:
Last step is to take a blank piece of paper.  Add the continent to it, but make sure it's only about a fifth of the size of the paper. 
As you continue gaming, start making a second continent(Take your time so you don't burn out).  Don't draw the second continent onto the world map until it's done.
Try to think in terms of trade.  It's ok to use the sectioned continent rules for relations, but trade is going to be a bigger factor since there is now distance between borders.
Small continents may be under control of a larger one.
Small continents may team up against a larger one.

With all that, you will now have a workable continent to start running a campaign.  Have your players type up backstories, and add their locations to your continent where it will best fit in.  Keep extra names handy for when you need them.  Eventually, you will want to make more continents.  Until you finish each one, don't draw it in to your world map.
Again, this is not a full guide.  This is just a basic step by step process.  If you want great worlds, there is a much bigger list for that.  And I'm not going to sit here all night. ;)
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