I'm running a 3.5 campaign with the ideas and concepts that are at the root of what makes DnD so great. "Let the players do whatever they can think of"
I decided to start with a small group of total freshman, first time playing, because a lot of us have gotten in to some pretty unshakable habits and wouldn't necessarily think to themselves.."hey we should totally stick around this place and take the whole city over, and hire workers to mine in the mountains and blacksmiths to make weapons and build an army"
Thats not typical dungeon crawl...which is exactly what we are going for. something that can go on long term. The beauty of little side things like this that take a phenominal amount of time and role playing is that it slows the game down...many door kickers are screaming right about now, but that works for us. They get to do the crazy things they come up with, and as the DM it makes it easy to communicate with the other DM's..all that is needed is they went to this city and took it over and they are still there...probably will be for a couple weeks while they build a small militia and fortify the walls. Easy peasy! And while there its easy to weave stories of the other teams exploits simply by a well made handout from a courier.
If you are wondering where i got all the stuff from taking over the town, hiring miners and blacksmiths from... I got it STRAIGHT FROM THE NOOBS!!!! I coached them in the begining that they can do whatever they want...there will be logical consequences to each action...and they got to a small town which they saved from a troll and the village praised them...and they said hey i bet we could use our local fame to build our empire...and I as the DM said, "So what's your move then?" Did i say no? Nah dog, lol...but i didnt give them hints or ideas either. In the end they started the construction of a brothel, lol, to attract people to this remote village and keep the soldiers happy. I said sure and literally laughed out loud..some would say a brothel belongs in the book of vile darkness...but they arent actually dealing with the sex part they are just hiring women and checking in on their profits once in a while..brothels are legit for the period setting of dragons and knights and lack of plumbing and hygene we have all come to adore.
I have run the bulk of this campaign of the seat of my pants...that is i generated some npc's and some monsters..decided what little tid bit of the greater story idea i wanted to divulge...and pretty much let them run rampant untill its been long enough that the plot needs to move forward a bit...im doing this all by feel and ive gotten my buddy who made fun of me and his fiancee who rolled on the floor laughing at the idea of DnD and was one of those people whoe pictured a group of dorks dressed up and acting everything out on a stage and looking uber dorky...both completely obsessed that they have worn me out and I need a break from DnD...I hope whoever reads this gets something positive out it.