Greetings! Welcome to another post on the D&D Beginner Campaign. Last time, we discussed how to run it solo. Now, after several run-throughs with a diverse group of players, I’ve got some ways to improve and expand the campaign!
A few ideas from the novelist and beginner DM.
- At first, stick to the guide, but feel free to improvise with the creatures provided to you. In one of my first mission run throughs, I ran the same mission twice for my brother and fiancee. I added a goblin patrol outside their cave and made it a wolf-mounted patrol. Creatures that are already an appropriate challenge, but done in a new and different way.
- Maneuver encounters in a way to keep the flow going. Orcs respond to ambushes, leaders shout orders. Outnumbered and hurt, even the strongest opponents will retreat and fall back. Respond to what the characters do. Intimidation, Vicious Mockery, Prestidigitation, all of these are considered less powerful tools, but in reality it is scary when the lights flicker or the windows bang open or someone mocks you and pushes you around.
- Be open to other characters, but design them yourself if you want the practice. This last weekend I ran my first game with more than four people (we went up to six). The starter set only runs five characters, and neither of my new players wanted to play a fighter. I’m fairly certain that the reason there isn’t a bard, sorcerer, ranger or druid in the starter set is due to additional complications to their rules, or that they are particularly one element focused, especially at low levels.
Fortunately for my characters, they’ve reached level 3, so both bard and ranger had a few more powers than inspiration and shoot longbow at their disposal. I’ve attached their files here, so that you can use them. One is from Fastcharacter.com after I realized it would take a long time to run up two characters for a short campaign. The other is built from the Player’s book, using the quick build rules and a few modifications.
- Add outside connections and links! (SPOILER FOR STARTER CAMPAIGN AHEAD) When the players encounter orcs at Wyvern Tor (Or in my campaign, on the way to the Old Owl Well, as I wanted to save the Necromancer Encounter for later), they faced several orcs and an Orc War Chieftain, which is a hard battle for six level threes. They managed to wipe out most of the foot soldiers and mortally wound the chieftain. It was a longer encounter, with an ambush, counter ambush, and eventual interrogation. But it ended with the bard charming the war chieftain when he surrendered as the party offered him parley. It was a perfect opportunity to sneak in a hook about a possible impending orc invasion into the story.
- Let the beginner characters make mistakes, but also give them outs. You’re not trying to murderize them (yet), and they probably haven’t turned into the ubiquitous ‘murder hobos’ (which is a word I hate). Our thief decided to try and sneak into the dragon’s tower. He was invisible, but the dragon still recognized he was there. He blew smoke to see him, watched it flow around him, talked to him, then with him, warned him, and finally, exasperated, did his acid breath attack, causing 43 odd points of damage to the halfling rogue. Could I have had the dragon do something different? Sure. But I also wanted my player to realize that, hey, if the dragon tells you to get out and you aren’t prepared to fight, then get out.
So that’s it! Lots of ideas, and I’m excited to see where the campaign goes next. I’m definitely getting more comfortable, which means you get more content! Speaking of which, here’s a google drive link to three characters I’ve made for the Beginner Campaign (courtesy of Fast Character, so these are really just examples)
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