D&D plot ideas

I put on my robe and wizard hat

Actually, I’m not sure where my wizard hat is, and while I do have a robe in my apartment, the idea of wearing a robe over my work clothes seems silly.

Maybe I’ll write more about what I’ve been up to in another post. For now, a few recent Dungeons and Dragons-related ideas, though of course these (mostly) don’t require that specific system (or even genre).

I have had several D&D-inspired story ideas in the last 12 years, and while none of them have exactly resulted in a finished narrative, they’ve usually proven interesting to think about (until being overtaken by the newest idea). Briefly, last fall I had an idea for a story with a non-linear narrative, and a loose plot outline was as far as I had got before, as winter set in, I became interested in “Old Style Revival” games, specifically OSRIC, and reading about AD&D and other older editions.

Personally, I was introduced to D&D in summer 2009 by playing “Revised 3rd Edition”, or 3.5. I’ve never played 4th edition (or, for that matter, 5th edition), but other than 3.5 most of my other D&D experience has actually come in the form of Pathfinder (1st Edition), also known as D&D 3.75.

One recent idea I had was to run the game with different editions at different levels. For example, starting the game with 1st Edition AD&D rules, then after level 5 switching to AD&D 2nd edition or D&D 3rd edition, then after another 5 or so levels continuing to 4th or 5th edition.

I could see where this might be a headache for the players and game master, since it’d probably involve having to do some calculations (never mind spells and other mechanics working differently between editions), but on the other hand, some of the things I’ve read about older-style campaigns fascinate me. For example, instead of your game following only a small group of mercenaries, also having the party accompanied by a coterie of non-player characters to serve as wagon-drivers, guards, or other needed expertise (and, if needed, apprentices and backup characters) seems interesting, particularly after the party has gained several levels and establishes a power center which then needs to be defended, maintained, and potentially expanded.

If your party establishes a stronghold and you want to try a new class, that may be an opportune time (at least in this idea) to retire the old character, maybe allow some time to pass, and then begin a new ‘campaign’ in the same setting. Maybe 30 years have passed, the old adventurers have died, retired, or otherwise left the area, and the children of the heroes of old have to take up the swords (or wands or staves or daggers) of their ancestors and fight back some new threat (goblin invasion, orc warlords, horse-riding nomads, etc.)

At least in 5th edition, I think I’ve read something before about lower level characters (maybe 1-5) being local heroes, levels 5-10 being powerful and notable in a wider region, while level 15+ characters may be well-known over continental or wider distances. Somewhere (maybe in Pathfinder) I’ve also read something about how most people in the world do not achieve high levels in their lifetimes- I think OSRIC or some other book I’ve read mentions that few people are capable of achieving character levels.

Another idea I’ve had is to play with the “traditional” start to a campaign. Instead of the stock “you all meet in a tavern”, I’ve had an idea before where the party has to come up with why they’re all imprisoned at the start of the game. Did they break a sumptuary law and wear the wrong color or fabric, were they in a bar fight, or did they commit grievous crimes against King and Temple and are awaiting their immediate execution at dawn?

“You all meet at the tavern you work at, or at least the smoking crater that used to be the tavern you work at” has amused me as an idea in the past, though it’s been a long time since I’ve run a game. I’m not sure when my next chance to run a game might be, though fortunately, at least, I’ve recently joined a Pathfinder game that is currently planned to start at level 5. Other than playing a human sorceror, I haven’t decided on an alignment, personality, or much about the background, though I think most of my ability scores and equipment have been decided upon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s