Monday, October 25, 2010

GM Mentoring: New Campaigns Demand New Stories...

Good Evening:

Sometimes, when you want to come up with a new idea for an adventure or a campaign story arc, you find yourself locked into the same story lines you've been repeating for the last few years (or even decades). You look back at those scenarios that have effectively become cliches to your gaming group, and want to relive the cherished memories you created or desire to capture some element of a scenario that eluded you every time you implemented that storyline before. Whatever attracted you to a given storyline held some importance to you, and there's a good chance that it still does, if you can't get it out of your head.

However, let's face it, if you've tried it more than once, or if your first run of a given storyline was an outstanding success, the kind that's talked about months and even years afterward, then your players are likely to be ready for this scenario. Chances are, they will not react as openly to a repeat performance. In order to continue to build on your already solid reputation, you have to step up your game, so to speak. There's nothing like an original idea to help keep things fresh.

So, what do you do when the ideas don't come? You can always check out Eureka, the book of plot summaries by the crew from Gnome Stew. You can also read through old Dragon and Dungeon magazines, or review old D&D modules (or even new D&D modules) looking for adventure ideas that are new to you but still sound like fun to run. You can read some fantasy fiction (or even better, some non-fantasy fiction) and adopt the plot from the book as an adventure or campaign story arc. Watch the news, and translate each news story into a plot. Think about your two favorite television episodes you watched this last week, and see if you can blend elements of the plots of the two episodes together to come up with something that is new and definitely yours. Think about your favorite movie, or at least a movie you know very well, and translate that into a campaign storyline for your party's future adventures. (I think Star Wars: A New Hope would make a great swashbuckling adventure.) Build a random table or two, and see what comes of that.

There are always means to move beyond the cliches that maintain their grip on you. While the suggestions given above offer a number of options for you, don't be afraid to try other things as well. You never know when the next great adventure idea will come to you, nor how you'll end up getting it. If you have any suggestions on other avenues one could pursue, please feel free to post them in the comments below.

With Regards,

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Love your posts. Keep them coming.