14 thoughts on “Hey there.”

  1. “*When to Make Fronts*

    You’ll make your campaign front and first adventure fronts after your first session. Your campaign front may not be complete when you first make it—that’s great! Just like blanks on a map, unknown parts of your campaign front are opportunities for future creativity.

    After that first session you’ll also make some adventure fronts. One or two is usually a good number. If you find yourself with more adventure fronts consider leaving some possible fronts as just notes for now.”

  2. I suppose you could theoretically make a campaign Front ahead of time, but it really doesn’t mesh as well with the players if you do.

    What might work fairly alright is to have an Adventure Front, though! It’d be like kicking your game off with a prewritten module.

  3. Don’t sweat it too much, either! I once ran a first session by having people make characters, then turning to the “Dark Woods” section of the bestiary and kicking things off.

  4. I’d leave it until after character creation at least.  You’ll see emergent backstory just from how the players describe their characters and their goals / dreams / regrets / origins.  It’s a lot easier to craft around these than try to shoehorn them in.

    I’d drop them immediately 20%-70% through a single-session adventure.  Like, at the mouth of the cave entrance into the Grass Vampire’s lair, already knowing that the Sydney Twins, nephews to the local Burgomaster, are detained somewhere within.  (Clear objective, clear motivation.)  Or maybe at 3/4th HP and actually in the Grass Vampire’s inner sanctum, surrounded my shattered Skeletal Minions and burning Shrieking Barkers. 

    Start with

    * What “Bonds” do you all have with each other already?  (Include followup questions for clarification!)

    …and throughout the adventure ask a whole bunch of leading questions to specific people, like :

    * You know this (wizard / warlord / baron / kobold shaman / guy / gal) – why and how?

    * They knew you were coming and had time to prepare – what do they know that you’re scared of?  Was this publicly shown, or must they have been spying on you?

    * Uh oh.  You gave someone (that staff / those keys / that crystal ball / whatever) a few weeks back.  Who?  What did they tell you they were going to do with it?  How’d you find it anyway?  Do you want to tell the rest of the party you’ve been accidentally arming your enemies?  (If they don’t run into that ‘someone’ this session, they could easily reappear as part of a Front!)

    If there’s not a convoluted backstory to over half the PCs (and NPCs for that matter) by the end of the session, something is wrong.

    Now put on that evil mastermind hat, and come up with Fronts and Grim Portents that poke your player characters, both where they are strong and where they are weak (aka the things they’ve mentioned interest them) before game night #2.

  5. Building on Sean Fager, don’t forget to ask questions about their class moves! Some are obvious (like “where did you get your signature weapon from?”), some may be harder to fish for information from.

    Ask questions about the players, and start to get ideas from their answers. “Have you been here before?” is a great question for various strange locales. Or “who knows this guy? How?”

    Asking “How did you know X?” is another good one after Spout Lore.

  6. “How do you know X?” <--- YES.

    Every time, until they stop “Spouting Lore” and start “Reflecting on my studies in the Wizard’s School Library” or “Recalling Old Joe One-Eye’s campfire stories” or “Thinking back to that time I astrally projected myself somewhere near here” or …..

  7. And sometimes they bring great narrative hooks, like “that drunk old cleric in the town who talked to us last night”. If it weren’t a one-shot, I totally would’ve followed up on that one!

  8. I would suggest that the most prep to do is to think about the setting you are going to start in, then make a bunch of index cards of monsters, write down their stats, tags, etc. whatever info is important, and put them aside to pick up as need them.  But after that first session, go nuts on prep.  Once you dive in all that nervousness will go away.  HAVE FUN!!!

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