I’m trying something new tonight.

I’m trying something new tonight.

I’m trying something new tonight. We’re taking a break from our campaign because 1 of my players is out of town for a couple weeks, and her character is crucial to what’s going on in the story right now. I have 2 players and we’re going to try a variation of a dungeon starter. I call it a campaign starter (I know, not super original lol), but it’s a list of 10 questions (new fewer, no more) that helps set up an entire story arc with a big bad, some stakes considerations, a couple locations, a couple NPC’s and a possible path to take when the dust settles. No custom moves, no items, no predetermined NPC’s. Just 10 questions and some imagination. Tonight I’m trying “Out of the Frying Pan…”

Those of you who have played Skyrim will recognize this as the opening scene of that game with a few minor changes.

Out of the frying pan…

What did each of you do that you are here to be executed with these criminals?

Why is this method of execution generally considered a dishonorable death?

Who is it that has the authority to execute you?

Who is that famous (or infamous) person bound along with you?

Why is that person here to be executed along with the rest of you?

What type of legendary beast interrupted the execution just before you were to die?

What was foretold would happen when this beast resurfaced after so many centuries?

Who was it that freed you from your bonds?

What type of structure or area was nearby that you were lead to for safety?

Where can you go to learn more about this beast?

My goal is to create several of these to be able to draw one from a deck or roll a die to determine which one will be used.

What are your thoughts?

8 thoughts on “I’m trying something new tonight.”

  1. I just want to say a couple quick words before I head to work, then I’ll try to post a summary on my lunch break.

    Mark Tygart, I love Dungeon Starters, and have used your Mountain of Fire for three different groups! I just wanted to try a different approach that still had some direction like a starter, but left more room for the players to build their world.

    The idea came about when one of my players wanted to GM, but “didn’t know what questions to ask”. I gave him The Whisperway (another of Mark’s dungeon starters) and he liked it but asked “Do I have to use all of this, or can I just use it for the questions?” Also, I love Skyrim, and always wanted to play that opening scene at the table, but didn’t want to make it too similar to Skyrim. So rather than building a dungeon starter with Helgen (where the executions took place) and a Dragon and the person who assassinated the Emperor, I decided to just ask a bunch of questions that were inspired by those aspects of that scene, and that’s where Out of the frying pan… came from. Neither of my players last night had played Skyrim, so I got something VERY different.

    I chose 10 questions because that’s a nice round number, but of course each question listed lead to many more.

    Teaser: What type of Legendary Beast interrupted the executions? A Tarrasque… which both excites me and fills me with dread LOL

  2. This is so cool! I can’t wait to hear more. I love how clearly the Skyrim scenes pop into my head and yet with a different answer, it could lead to something completely different.

  3. I like just the questions. That is how I start dungeon world games. I am working on several. If you write specific enough ones then you get some of your ideas in the game, but still have play to find out what happens. I would also probably add in some impressions to draw on. I also usually come with a list of names to use. A few monsters aren’t bad to have on hand, just as long as you don’t force them into the game. That is what I see sometimes with dungeon starters, which are awesome, but they can be too much like a list of what to include in the game without the player input. I just use questions and impressions going back to the chapter on first sessions.

  4. I agree, I like to use leading questions, but since I know the general location because of those questions, I like to have some creatures in mind for that area.

    Also, the Fronts I linked are not “These are fronts I would use with these questions”, they are “These are the Fronts I created for the campaign that came out of the session presented in the Notes link”. Dave and Sean are two of my best players and I wanted to showcase their responses and the Fronts that came about because of those responses.

    I ran the questions past my son and we created a completely different world, which obviously lead to completely different Fronts.

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