How long does it take to generally take to set a campaign up - Page 3
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  1. #21
    My group was in the early stages (6 sessions) of a 2E campaign but due to low player count (4) we decided to return to 5E. We play every Sunday and we made this decision on Tuesday. That night I ordered Ghosts of Saltmarsh and it arrived Thursday. Friday I spent an hour or so reading through the Town of Salmarsh section and the Sinister Secret (1st adventure). Friday I picked up the Essentials Kit and skimmed over Dragon of Icespire Keep which is very non-linear, almost like a sandbox. Placing Saltmarsh in Forgotten Realms puts it near Phandalin so I will be combining both adventures, scaling the Icespire one as needed.

    Today is session 0 and one of our 4 players is on a safari in Africa so I don't want to start them right into the adventure, so I am going to run a short level 1 encounter that will bring them from Waterdeep to Saltmarsh and set the stage. I probably spent about 2 hours working on that. I ran this group through Dragonheist and probably 60% of that campaign was homebrew content I added. Most of it is done on the fly depending on my player's actions. We did a lot of roleplay and they loved it. I expect that there will be quite a bit of that again. I have enough between making characters and this small encounter to fill our 5 hour session 0. In the next week I will spend a few hours rewriting the Town of Saltmarsh chapter changing details from Greyhawk setting to Forgotten Realms, 3D printing minis/terrain for the campaign, and just odd prep stuff. All told I think with less than 6 hours prep I have enough material right now for about 6 sessions (30 hours).

    Now that said, I do have quite a bit of downtime at work and I frequently spend that reading all types of materials. While I am not counting that, it's most definitely part of my prep.

  2. #22
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    Pit Fiend (Lvl 26)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Bixby View Post
    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.
    Spend $10 on DMs Guild to pick up this wonderful D&D sourcebook:

    HR1 Vikings Campaign Sourcebook

    Yes it was written for 2nd edition... but I'm pretty sure everything in there about running D&D in the historical northmen era will still be applicable for you using 5E rules. I haven't read it myself personally... but since its a Vikings sourcebook I'd be fairly confident it'd give you everything you need to run a campaign there. This will save you lots of time since everything you might need to know about Vikings will be written from a D&D gaming perspective and it'll be all in one place.

  3. #23
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    I would suggest that once you have a basic idea of what type of world you want get the players started on making characters. They will come up with ideas for what they want and you can see how they mesh with your world idea. So I would go with 5 mins. Once you have some characters you can decide on some more things.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Bixby View Post
    My question here is for all the DM's out there that create their campaigns from scratch using the current edition that is available.
    To create an entire campaign from scratch can take months. To get it together enough to start playing? A week, tops.

  5. #25
    Immortal Sun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    Holy cow, that's way more prep than I would ever put in. It's 2-3 hours per session for me. I sketch out what's going on with the plot, whip up some encounters and obstacles, and wing the rest.

    As far as prepping the campaign/setting in the first place... I don't know, maybe 10-15 hours total, spread over a few weeks. Also, I don't do campaigns back-to-back. When I wrap up a campaign, I hand off the DM screen to someone else to run the next one. Thus, when I'm prepping a new campaign, I've had a nice long break from DMing, and I also have plenty of time to work out my ideas while the other guy is wrapping up.
    Maybe it's just me. I tend to have players who like to "go left" at any given opportunity and I like to be prepared for that.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    Maybe it's just me. I tend to have players who like to "go left" at any given opportunity and I like to be prepared for that.
    Mine do the same thing, but I've given up on being prepared for it. I just try to have enough raw material ready that I can throw something together on the fly.
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  7. #27
    Immortal Sun
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    Mine do the same thing, but I've given up on being prepared for it. I just try to have enough raw material ready that I can throw something together on the fly.
    My entirely "this is just a me thing" problem with doing things on the fly is that I have a terrible time remembering what I did after the session! If I've got a campaign going that ya know, has plots and stuff, that's pretty bad for next time.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal Sun View Post
    My entirely "this is just a me thing" problem with doing things on the fly is that I have a terrible time remembering what I did after the session! If I've got a campaign going that ya know, has plots and stuff, that's pretty bad for next time.
    Yeah, that can be a challenge. My solution is to take notes during the session and/or immediately after, so I remember what the situation is, who did what, and what weird twists I threw in off the cuff.

    Basically, I trade prep time for extra work during the session itself.
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  9. #29
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    Another idea is to take a regular adventure that is pre-made and convert it to a viking theme by changing location and names and such. I also would take the gods from Forgotten Realms or 3e and just convert the stats and such with norse gods. You can also find some good maps online for towns and dungeons and even kingdoms to make things easier.

    Gather info, but plan for the players and their PCs. Some with have cool ideas on background and what their PC wants to encounter, while others show up and just go with whatever is there. Be prepared to change things and remember you only need to stay a week ahead of the group.

  10. #30
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    It seems to me that once you have the broad strokes of the campaign world sketched in: what are the playable races/classes and what generally is the setting: hot/cold/temperate (helps when choosing monsters), what the major threat is (loki wanting some powerful item in your case) and where they start (where/how does the party come together), then you have enough to start rolling. You really dont want the whole campaign figured out before you go. And really if you want less prep Id avoid running a published campaign. I find those to be more work as their rigidity works against the actions of the players and you end up doing a bunch of patchwork to keep it somewhat connected. (and theres the extra mental effort of trying to keep that other designers game plan/logic in your head!)

    Start small with your finale in mind and grow the campaign towards it (and of course if the game wants to go in another direction you can easily conjure a new Big Bad for the finale.

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