Thursday, March 22, 2012

100 Campaign Starting Adventure Hooks (1-10)

*This article is mostly for dungeon masters and people considering being dungeon masters.

So coming up with a campaign is tough. Really tough.

It's fraught with complications and problems, and overall it just takes so freakin' long! I don't got time for THIS!

If you're like me, you tend to do a great deal of thinking about a campaign world, its NPC denizens, and what kinds of adventures the player characters might have. If you're also like me, you might fret a lot about whether or not your players will enjoy the world of story you're presenting them with.

A good D&D game is one where your players are free to make the characters they want to, and have adventures that are meaningful and related to their character's motivations, backgrounds, and play-styles. However, these kind of games typically aren't the ones that you or your players get to have right away. They usually happen after one or two adventures.

Starting a campaign usually involves an adventure, quest, errand, or skirmish that both introduces the player characters to one another, and gets them to forge a group dynamic or friendship that will hopefully endure follow-up adventures.

A good starting adventure will make players feel good about playing with each other's characters. A great starting adventure will ensure players want to keep adventuring together in the future.

That said, coming up with these kind of adventures is tough. Whole campaign worlds require a lot of thought and preparation, especially if you're making it all up yourself. If you're falling back on a pre-published campaign world (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Dark Sun, Nentir Vale, etc.), don't expect it to be any easier. Pre-published worlds still require a good deal of research, and there's always the possibility you'll have a player who knows that world better than you (which can create narrative issues at the table).

So if you're in a pinch, and need to run a starting adventure without a lot of preperation time, I'm making a d100 table with campaign starting adventures/adventure hooks to get you started. Each is designed to introduce the players to each other and get them working/fighting/thinking.

These first 10 are designed around all of the player characters growing up in the same town:

1. (Shared heritage) The PCs grew up in the same small northern town. It's been a year since they all left to seek their own fortunes. They agree to meet back home after one year in the local tavern to catch up.

2. (Shared Heritage) The PCs grew up in the same small southern town. Their mentor figure (A cross between Obi-Wan and Aragorn) has gone missing.

3. (Shared Heritage) The PCs grew up in the same small eastern town. One PC's mother has been kidnapped by goblins. Said PC (determined by 1d4/1d6 roll) needs the help of the other PCs.

4. (Shared Heritage) The PCs grew up in the same small western town. The town's coal/iron/diamond mine has collapsed, trapping several friends/relatives of the PCs. They must rescue them.

5. (Shared Heritage) The PCs grew up together. They're leaving their home town for the first time, answering the call for sell-swords in a distant western city. The route is fraught with gnoll activity and ambushes.

6. (Shared Heritage) The PCs grew up together. The village/town/hamlet's elder reveals a terrible secret to the PCs about their home's yearly sacrifice to the gods/spirits. He/She urges the PCs to stop the sacrificial ceremony.

7. (Shared Heritage) The PCs grew up together. The town's crotchety, doddering arch-mage has locked himself up in his expansive tower. The mayor requests that the PCs break in and coax/force him out.

8. (Shared Heritage) The PC's grew up together. A mutual friend of the PCs has been acting strangely as of late. In addition, sightings of undead have become more frequent. PCs must venture after the friend, as he might be a necromancer.

9. (Shared Heritage) The PC's grew up together. They return home to find their town in ruins; ravaged by barbarians. Relatives of the PCs (as well as old possessions) have been taken.

10. (Shared Heritage) The PCs grew up together. They return home after a year to find their town has been taken over by a local mercenary group; now operating as tyrants. PCs may choose to liberate their home or side with the mercenaries.

Another 10 of these hooks will be released soon, each 10 of them will focus on a specific theme of introduction. The next theme will be "Wanted: Heroes".


  1. Hope to get another 90 of these hooks...

  2. :O Great!!! When are you posting some more???