Content of the article: "How to homebrew a campaign in six hours"
I wrote this guide for myself, based upon my experience homebrewing a couple of campaigns in the past. I am posting it here for other people, because I think it will be useful for them as well.
The main goal of this guide is to mitigate two problems that I have seen frequently in homebrew D&D: campaigns that never get started because of DMs that overprepare, and campaigns with plots that unravel and never come to a conclusion.
Start with a really cool premise. Maybe rip off a movie if you have no ideas.
Pick a setting. Do not do any world building. Players don't care about this, and it takes too long. Just make sure the setting facilitates the premise, and sharpens its conflict.
Pick stat blocks for big bad guys to fight at levels 7, 5, and 3, from highest to lowest. Each bad guy is a minion of the one higher than him. Describe what each wants. Their desires must oppose those of the PCs.
These three bad guys are part of a faction that has relations with other factions: one friendly, one neutral, and one enemy. Write two sentences that describe each faction, and what they desire.
Come up with just the seed of an idea for three dungeons. Each one must be linked to the conflict in some way, because they are strongholds of the bad guys, or because of a quest. Pick terrain around each dungeon that presents a progressively increasing level of environmental hazard for the party.
This should take no more than six hours. Resist the temptation to do any other work on anything that will not be visible within the next 1 – 2 sessions. Odds are that the PCs will derail the plot or even die, rendering that work useless.
Finally, come up with a plan for session 1 with a good mix of Combat, Social, and Skill Challenges. Make sure the party come into conflict with the level 3 bad guy within the first session. As long as this conflict is strong, the campaign plot will arise organically from player actions, and your game will stay on track.
- Fellow DMs who only have a session once every several weeks/once a month, how do you keep yourself motivated?
- I’m a hella nervous first time homebrew dm. Do I have all the right elements for a campaign?
- How to acquire land in an underhanded but still technically legal way? Also how to defend squishy villains and make your players hate them?
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