GMs, what is your favourite way of starting off an adventuring group, without the old “you meet in a tavern…”…

GMs, what is your favourite way of starting off an adventuring group, without the old “you meet in a tavern…”…

GMs, what is your favourite way of starting off an adventuring group, without the old “you meet in a tavern…” trope?

17 thoughts on “GMs, what is your favourite way of starting off an adventuring group, without the old “you meet in a tavern…”…”

  1. It doesn’t always work quite right, but I do enjoy starting with a flash-forward scenario.  Start the game mid-fight or with some other situation rife with action.  Once they either conquer that, or at some other strong point, we jump back to ‘earlier that week…’ or the like.

  2. Personally I’ve started off my players 1) on the road, 2) at local event like a fair or carnival, 3) working at a stronghold, or 4) unconscious and just recovering from an ambush 😉

  3. Two different ways:

    “So, you are a group, you have already had a couple adventures together, so… what was your last one, in two words?”

    “Whe had to investigate the Huan Cult for the Elvish God!”

    “It was a necromancer cult!”

    “Excellent. You are still there, spying the sacred rites of the Cult…”

    The other one:

    “You. You are dangling from a window, fifty meters high in a tower. A storm is raging around you, deafening you with thunder and making the stones slipper. Wy are you there and what do you do?”

    Never use the tavern thing, unless it’s a tavern of adventure! Start in media res, kicking with the exciting action right away! No time to loose!

  4. Yeah DW taught me to start an adventure in the middle of the action and ask questions from there and Ive basically done it ever since.

    A cool action scene or a tense you are about to be dressed down by someone important is a great start I feel. Will never go back to the tavern again

  5. “You are all gathered in a tavern. It is on fire. You can see flames spreading forth from the kitchen. Also, goblins are pouring in form the windows, and one of them is about to take a very large knife to the innkeeper’s cat. What do you do?”

  6. I often do a question per player, off the cuff.

    Why did you double cross the Mercury Lords?

    How did you convince everyone to follow you to the Great Wood?

    What vision did your God show you last night?

    Where did your grandfather hide the stolen dwarven gold?

    Why must you kill the queen of the wood elves?

    Then one for everyone, right now, like:

    How will you deal with the goblins spying on you from atop the ridge?

  7. The bonds pretty much establish that the characters have some history, so I tend to have them already setting off. As a general rule I like modelling adventures on films – start with a good exciting hook, pause to catch breath at certain points so players can get their bearings, then back into the action. At the very least lining up a situation where a character will have to make a Move gets the characters straight into the action.

  8. 1. In the middle of the action, ignoring however they got together.

    2. “Okay, you just got back from your first job together. Roll to find out how that job went.”

  9. “One of you is below a rope on a cliff. One of you is above. The rest of you are on the rope. You hear goblins in the distance, are you going up or down?”

  10. I’m going to quote myself from the last time this subject came up:

    Ask a ton of questions. Use the answers to some of those questions to frame the opening scene, in the middle of the action.

    Don’t just start in a tavern. Start in a tavern that is on fire, and being swallowed from below by a summoned purple worm while the city walls are being torn down and overrun by the lich’s monster army!

  11. Well, with Dungeon World, you’d never start in a tavern, of course.

    Lately, I did a campaign losely inspired by Druaga. So, the whole “world” is in a f**king big tower. People often never leave “their” level, the level where the were born. True heroes try to gain levels of the tower, struggling with monsters and weird levels… No one never arrived at the top floor, where “a god” or “a huge dragon” live.

    So, my players thought they started from a “city on the frontier” about the 11th level. But…

    Suddenly they find teleported at the top level.

    Started a fantastic session, with a big awe, and twisted expectations! 

  12. Andrea Parducci​ Just watched the two Druaga series, so that really resonates with me. Thank you. What happened or what was your plan with sending them straight to Druaga?

  13. Just used the huge Tower idea. Absolutely no “copied” from Druaga lore.

    The idea was to immediately find the “god”, here a small boy that can become a huge dragon at will, and go loose. I was especting that they would pose questions, or try to trick him, or ask for help.

    They went with the crazy idea of dethrone him 😀

    During a daring combat they found his weaknesses, and robbed from his source of power. When one of them became the new God, he found one of the “secrets”: their whole world was this tower, but an alien voice communicated that he want to meet the new God: there are other micro-world out there, and the Dragon was hyper paranoid.

    But is the new alien voice a friendly one, or is it the beginning of a bigger conflict? :D

  14. Some version of:

    1. Where are you right now? (or provide a starting location)

    2. Why are you there?

    3. What there is important to you?

    4. What’s just happened/gone wrong?

  15. You’ve met in a tavern to gather information for your quest.  It is now on fire with you in it.

    1. What are you questing for?

    2. Which one of you angered the locals?  Why?

    3. Which one of you started the fire?

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