Hello again everyone!
Its your friendly, neighborhood dungeon master here! Today I will be discussing how we are playing our Pathfinder campaign in more detail in hopes that it may help you guys run your own games with a higher rate of success.
From my own experiences, I find that there are a plethora of difficulties that arise whenever you try to host a game online. In fact, it was difficult for me to get everything prepared for our podcast (I will get into that some other time). For now, I will try to split things up into a nice neat guide.
Step 1: Campaign Prep
To begin with, most people who are planning on running a campaign usually have some ideas in mind for what kind of world or story they want their players to interact with. I find this to be vital. The idea that you can run a campaign without this step is like putting the cart before the horse. If you don’t have an idea, now is the time to come up with something. There is no harm in borrowing ideas from other sources either. Use novels that you may have read, movies you have viewed, or T.V. shows that may have caught your eye. These things will act as the “seed” for your world as its very rare for your players to stick on any storyline that you have prepared for them.
In regards to that, when you’re fleshing out your story & world, you want to simplify situations down to their most basic choices. For example:
The party exits the house and sees that there is a fight breaking out in a nearby alleyway. A young woman, dressed in worn leather, is fending off 2 cloaked figures that seem to be men based on their relative figures. What do you do?
In the scenario above there are an infinite number of things that could potentially happen; however, it boils down to only 3 simple ideas.
- Help the woman.
- Help the 2 cloaked men.
- Not get involved.
Each of these carries most of the possible scenarios that can take place. So if the party wants to try to talk to the woman, that counts as helping her. Of course you should prepare what the woman would say to someone who would help her. If the party goes in to subdue her and ask for gold, that counts as helping the cloaked men. Etc. In reality you are only 1 person (in most cases) and your party has multiple. Of course they will come up with more ideas than you so it is more important for you to be fluid and general and then improvise the stuff in between.
Summed up, your preparations should be “sketches” not “finished art”. The more effort you put into your details, the more frustration you will feel when it is ignored or ruined by your players. This can build up. I promise you.
Continued in the next part.