I sent a questionnaire to my players regarding our upcoming campaign, which I’d planned to set about 20 years after the end of our last campaign. The big bad would be an NPC they encountered briefly near the end of that campaign, who had spent the last 20 years gaining and consolidating her power. After reading their responses to my questions I’m going to have to switch gears.
Two out of my three players stated (in different ways) that they wanted to play a “less epic game”. One said he didn’t want to save the world from Sauron, he just wanted to play a guy that lived in a different world, and got to do things he can’t do in real life. The second said she only wanted to play and didn’t care about “doing epic s***”.
I guess I hadn’t thought about roleplaying that way. I’ve always thought about “how can we save the world THIS time”.
So I had a few ideas for a less epic game:
1) (From a trinket in the D&D5e PHB) Recover the missing pages of a Diary. This could be a campaign long goal, and still allows for lots of player input to flesh out.
2) (From a Shadows of the Demon Lord heritage (race) option): One character is an automaton, one of three (or whatever) created at the same time, and he’s searching for the others. Again, can be pretty long and lends itself to player input.
3) Build an airship and flee from this tyrannical continent.
None of these are about “Saving the World” or “Defeating the Big Bad”, but they could lead to that if the players wanted to go in that direction.
Which would you be most interested in if you wanted a “less epic game”?
EDIT: (Because this should have been included to begin with) – The theme idea that came out of the initial and follow-up questionaires is that the players want to “survive or escape” the big bad, rather than trying to save the world.