How long does it take to generally take to set a campaign up
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  1. #1
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    How long does it take to generally take to set a campaign up

    My question here is for all the DM's out there that create their campaigns from scratch using the current edition that is available. How long do you usually take to get a campaign ready for your players. my players are rushing me to finish the campaign that i have started and I have not been able to get as far on it as i have wanted to be at his point. I do work 40 hours a week and have children so it is understandable that i haven't been able to get further on the campaign than i have at this point. I want to get a bit further with it but at the same time i need to spend time with my family especially my kids that i only get to see every other weekend. Please all dm's out there with kids in your lives please help me to find a good balance point because one of my players is my wife and she is getting very impatient with all of this.

  2. #2
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    I don't have kids, but in general I've found that 8 hours a week of "campaign work" tends to be about the right about of time to flesh out what's going to happen in next week's session. And this is under the assumption you already have the general setting for the campaign built.

    Also: tell your players to sit their butts down and take a chill pill. Wife included.
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  3. #3
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    Four kids here, although we are quickly heading to empty nest. I like to work on campaigns a long time - so I am the wrong person to ask.

    However, if I had a few players biting at the bit I would start immediately with some published stuff. Grab a couple of adventures off DM guild, keep the background stuff vague and just run the game. A campaign is just a bunch of connected adventures anyway.

    You care about internal world consistency, history of your campaign location, geographic concerns, overall politics of the world, and world political considerations, BUT, your players do not care about any of this stuff. Really, not at all. They just want to play.

    Don't sweat the campaign background and just run the game. Make your wife happy - "If mama ain't happy, nobody is happy!"
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  4. #4
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    My normal suggestion for this is 3-4 hours of prep work per 1 hour of session. However, this is a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of thing, because I spent over a year preparing my current campaign.

    I do not suggest doing that.

    Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post
    Four kids here, although we are quickly heading to empty nest. I like to work on campaigns a long time - so I am the wrong person to ask.
    Quote Originally Posted by pogre View Post

    However, if I had a few players biting at the bit I would start immediately with some published stuff. Grab a couple of adventures off DM guild, keep the background stuff vague and just run the game. A campaign is just a bunch of connected adventures anyway.

    You care about internal world consistency, history of your campaign location, geographic concerns, overall politics of the world, and world political considerations, BUT, your players do not care about any of this stuff. Really, not at all. They just want to play.

    Don't sweat the campaign background and just run the game. Make your wife happy - "If mama ain't happy, nobody is happy!"


    I would caveat that there are times when you'll have a player or players who get lots of enjoyment out of the little details, so it helps also to know your players quite well. If you need those details, they can be easily stolen from the many dozens of campaign settings that are out there.
    Last edited by Inchoroi; Saturday, 22nd June, 2019 at 07:37 PM.

  5. #5
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    I do not have children, but I think that a 'from scratch' campaign setting should take around 12-20 hours to be ready to run, and with just 4 hours a week of further fleshing out as they go as well as preparing for the you can have a top notch campaign.

    However, giving you simply that time frame without at least pointing you towards methods and tools for being able to put something together within that time frame is...kinda useless. I would suggest that you begin by listing 5-7 Major Powers/Players in your world, and how they relate to each other. Has any gone through major changes in the recent past? Has their relations with another nation wildly swung in one direction or another? Then start placing those powers on a simple sketched map, and then give some really brief thought into the surrounding locales of each power.

    Then, place a few parts of your world which have no 'major powers', some wilderness or wasteland or something. Add some secrets/histories to those places. Again, you don't need depth at this point, you need just seeds of ideas here. Rough outlines.

    Add more powers and areas to taste. Through this process you probably have gotten some neat ideas for interesting interactions between the powers...some thoughts of ways an adventuring party would Hook into these should be given. The last bit you need to focus on is a 'starting locale'...do the same process but on a micro scale. Who are the major players and powers in the local area? Instead of nations or kingdoms or gods, it should probably be individuals and small groups. What are some areas nearby that no one has influence over? What sort of secrets lie there? Note where there is potential conflict between the local powers. Think of ways that an adventuring party might be drawn into their shenanigans.

    Again, this won't take terribly long...though it might the first time around. The trick is not to let yourself dive down any rabbit holes and start listing the entire 10,000 year lineage of the King of the Fancy Elves or something. With practice, you can have a world set and ready to go in a weekend. The first time will take longer, around 20 hours.

    Good luck!
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  6. #6
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    I spent maybe 4 to 6 hours on my last campaign.
    Have a look at sly flourish's lazy DM. He has a lot of good advice for DM like us.
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  7. #7
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    You can (and many do) spend hours and hours prepping. I used to. Probably 10 hours for every session. But, that's not needed and I don't spend nearly that amount of time any more.

    Help yourself out by being less specific in your prep. With some experience, and change in expectations, you can get down to a hour of less prep for a full gaming session. It's about improvisation and having generalized tools/assets that you are familiar enough to use at a moments notice.

    And, remember the one key rule; the players don't know. They don't know what the map should look like. They don't know what's supposed to happen next. They don't know what's behind the door. Because they are ignorant, you can make up (almost) anything on the fly.

    Read these;
    https://thealexandrian.net/wordpress...ont-prep-plots
    http://slyflourish.com/lazydm/
    https://geekdad.com/2016/02/easy-dun...r-preparation/

    And then take a look this this other post of mine, lots of links to various things that can help. https://www.fantasygrounds.com/forum...6014-GM-Advice
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  8. #8
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    I want it basically set in old Norse era and i intend on having Loki behind the whole works as a wizard that hired the players to recover the mask of Loki from some "thieves" in reality Loki is trying to get the mask back for his own purposes to try to take control over all of midgar. I was thinking of throwing in Thor and Odin as well to give it more of a family squabble that Loki was so keen on providing according to the old Norse legends in that aspect.

  9. #9
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    I want it basically set in old Norse era and i intend on having Loki behind the whole works as a wizard that hired the players to recover the mask of Loki from some "thieves" in reality Loki is trying to get the mask back for his own purposes to try to take control over all of midgar. I was thinking of throwing in Thor and Odin as well to give it more of a family squabble that Loki was so keen on providing according to the old Norse legends in that aspect.

  10. #10
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    Although I don't have kids I do have a job and a wife and other hobbies so I do understand the sort of time-pressures you might be encountering.

    For my current campaign I reused stuff from a previous campaign (that my current players weren't part of), designed the overall 'arc' of what I wanted to do and then modified some pre-written modules to get the players started. That probably took about 20 hours to assemble.

    Additionally I drew the world map and detailed some areas that I wanted the group to know more about. I built a game world wiki to answer questions on specifics and wrote up a "player's intro" document. That was probably another 20 hours.

    I now spend about 4 hours a week (usually one evening a week) working on the next session and game-world design. We play once a fortnight for about 5 hours so this seems pretty reasonable to me.

    You can totally overdo campaign creation (and I have done in the past when I had a load more spare time) but mostly your players wont care as long as your games are fun. I hope this helps and good luck with you campaign!

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