D&D General Advice on Writing Players Guide/Hook

Zardnaar

Legend
Probably gonna run a new game this Sunday gonna advertise for a new player or two.

Gonna be using Zobeck midgard as campaign start. Vs the undead gonna be a major theme specifically Midguard ghouls and vampires.

Zobeck has gearforged might just use Warforged as they're better mechanically.
Any ideas ENworld?
 

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Yora

Legend
The information that players need is things they need to know to make fitting characters for the campaign.

Which races will be populating the region in which the campaign takes place? What kind of environments will the campaign mostly take place in. How high levels might characters potentially reach throughout the campaign?
What are XP rules and what kinds and amounts of treasure could be expected?
 

fba827

Adventurer
My player guides tend to run three pages

Page 1: setting stuff
A four sentence max “elevator pitch” to grab attention, sprinkle the themes of the starting arc(s)/setting - basically your move trailer.

Then a couple paragraphs at history, the first paragraph giving some older history that describes some major points that define the setting ( war, great schisms, etc) and the second paragraph starts bleeding to more recent events that might tie indirectly to the first story arc.

a sentence or four about religion if needed ( my players always ask) even if that is to say ‘ most major religions are there’ keeping it a bit open ended for players to pick a deity they want and refine the list through play emergence.

Page2: character generation specific rules , such as house rules or calling attention to the rules for new players, ‘starting ability scores: generate as normal; classes: regular available though if picking a cleric can only choose from x/y/z domains. Races: note only using the standard human not the optional one for this campaign. Starting equipment as normal plus one extra healing potion. Available books for this campaign: Tasha’s plus core phb. And so on,

Page 3
Any general game optional rules that you are going to use this campaign, the stuff not specific to character generation but every day play. Such as this campaign will use (this) for critical hits and this is a critical failure table being used for this campaign




That’s just my general lay out, add or subtract as needed. Do you want an additional page for a region map? Do you want an additional page of history? Are you not using any real optional rules and just sticking with core standard . Maybe a page just on major factions/churches/guilds
Etc etc. regardless a page of history ( fluff) and a page on rules related stuff ( crunch) at minimum even if each page is half blank, keep it separate. And at max 5 pages grand total is my personal max, if I go over that I know I need to trim down and find ways to translate some of that in to in game ‘show’ rather than document ‘tell’

But for your own benefit use spacing, headers, bullet lists, and so on. And no more than two pages of history text is about my players’ limit and 5 page total max , but your group can/will vary.
 
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aco175

Legend
I never played Zobeck or Midgard so something telling me how that differs from a 'normal' D&D game would be welcome, maybe just a paragraph though. A paragraph on the theme of the campaign to help PC choices. You listed undead being a large part. There can also be a small section on race/class differences from the PHB such as no dwarves or no druids and such.

Players new to the D&D game or RPGs in general may need more, but likely just need some handholding from the other players in choosing things. They likely will not know much and the handout is nothing to them.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I never played Zobeck or Midgard so something telling me how that differs from a 'normal' D&D game would be welcome, maybe just a paragraph though. A paragraph on the theme of the campaign to help PC choices. You listed undead being a large part. There can also be a small section on race/class differences from the PHB such as no dwarves or no druids and such.

Players new to the D&D game or RPGs in general may need more, but likely just need some handholding from the other players in choosing things. They likely will not know much and the handout is nothing to them.

Kinda like FR but more eastern Europe/Near east focus with a heavy fae and shadow elf presence.
 

Keep it simple. This is one I struggle with a lot. I forced myself into extremely limited, focused statements in order to help my players keep a handle on...all the stuff. Because the world grows and changes and I want it to still make sense, even if it's not completely in memory.

Keep it open. I admit, some of this just comes from me liking the DW "draw maps, leave blanks" principle, but I think there's useful wisdom for every campaign in that. Don't be too precise with what all is present in the world. Let it be a discovery process for you, too.

Keep it focused. The players aren't going to care about massive political conspiracies and faraway courtly intrigue. It's okay for you to know that stuff like that is happening even if the players don't--but focus on the things they really need for the here-and-now.

Keep it appropriate. I mean this in more a tone/theme sense, since I'm sure you're tactful enough to make it appropriate to your audience. Think about what ways someone could interpret the tone based on the things you've said, to help encourage players into the right mood.

Guess you could call it the SOFA rule (I swear I didn't plan that.) Simple, open, focused, appropriate. Give your players a SOFA intro and they'll be comfortable going forward.
 

Honestly, it depends a bit on what sort of campaign you're planning to run.

Midgard lore, politics, history etc is dense, and a lot of the published Kobold Press material is tied tightly to it, and a lot of the factions, history etc weight heavily on the sort of motivations, backgrounds etc you can expect PCs to have.

Having said that, KP has a tendency to give away the big secrets of the setting in the regular text of their campaign books (bring back the 'secrets of ...' bit at the back of the book that old TSR stuff used to have, I say!) so it's probably not as easy as just given the players a copy of the relevant bit of the setting book...
 

I haven't seen "Session Zero" mentioned in this thread yet. But even for a really short campaign, a Session Zero is important.

Having a Session Zero means asking your players about their backgrounds. Then forcing them to find a common ground why they would cooperate as a team. And once this has been discussed, you almost certainly will understand a great plot hook to get the story going! That first plot hook seem (initially) unrelated to the main storyline, but maybe you can rewrite the main story to involve it.

The other way around also works: During Session Zero you tell the players that no matter what, their characters are already part of something (e.g. enlisted in the guards). Now they must make a character that doesn't look out of place in that setting. If you know what they will be a part of, making a plot hook that makes sense is easy.
 

I agree with short. I would also make sure to mention the expected player tone of the game. i.e. are players expected to be cooperative with each other? is PvP or inter party conflict allowed? Or are characters only allowed to have conflict with each other if both players agree to it beforehand? Should players focus their characters on roleplaying or combat optimization?

Any of those things can eat at a group very quickly if players are diametrically opposed. (i.e the optimizer who gets upset when the bard acts cowardly in combat.)
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Probably gonna run a new game this Sunday gonna advertise for a new player or two.

Gonna be using Zobeck midgard as campaign start. Vs the undead gonna be a major theme specifically Midguard ghouls and vampires.

Zobeck has gearforged might just use Warforged as they're better mechanically.
Any ideas ENworld?
A fun premise / hook / way to connect the PCs is this question: "Who do you know that has turned undead? And why isn't just killing them the best solution for you?"
 

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