July 28, 2009

Burning Question - And We All Met in a Tavern...?

My group will be starting our first 4E campaign soon and campaign openers are still something that I haven't found my niche yet. Other than having each character write a little background about themselves, the second step is usually determining how the party get together which I have been wondering about this these past few days.

So for this week's Burning Question.

During your campaign opener, how do you get the party together?

Do you just handwaive it and say 'You all met in the tavern' and proceed with your first plot hook or do you have a session that plays out how the party gets together, giving them a more underlying purpose other than just happening to share a few rounds of drinks together.

For me, as a DM, I would try to go for the latter (which is what I'm trying to do when the campaign starts) because I want the characters and players to have a real reason to be together. While the 'everyone met in the tavern' is a simple way, I feel that it is a little cheap since the players worked a little on their background.

So what do you do? How would you introduce your party members to each other and bring them together?

I would like to hear your thoughts or stories about your most memorable campaign opener.


Youseph said...

I have been having a lot of luck having my party come together as the result of an event. IE: You are all part of a caravan headed south when an a Giant attacks throwing the entire group of travelers every which way. You (Character 1, 2, 3, and 4) end up behind a rock for cover as you prepare for battle.

At least something like that has always been more realistic then "... you all meet in a tavern... and go!"


Kameron said...

I generally tie hooks/quests in to the PCs' background. I then do some spotlight roleplaying in the first session that establishes how they arrived at the site where the adventure will start (usually the nearby town).

Thasmodious said...

I've done a bit of everything, handwaved it, played it out in excruciating detail, done the standard hired in a tavern, or tavern brawl openings... A couple of favorites -

I started one player at 2nd level as a member of House Cannith in a Eberron game. He was on a mission in a small border town where the other PCs found themselves looking for work and he had gold for hiring help. Interviews in a tavern with the PCs and a few entertaining NPCs followed. It was a nice RP heavy opening.

For my 4e game, I started the group split, one opposite sides of a battle between a small town and a self declared lord and his mercenary army. The cleric and fighter were ordered to take out the other sides wizard, who was protected by a ranger (these all being the PCs) and just as the two groups met across the field (facing some miniony challenges on the way), the battlefield was invaded by a horde of devils, who started slaughtering everyone. The PCs fled and were forced to hole up together and survive, becoming a group in the process. This all ties into some metaplot elements, of course.

One thing to remember when starting a group is that the players are perfectly aware that the goal of whatever scenario you put before them is for them to come together as a party. So don't be afraid to just go for the fun.