D&D 5E Campaign Idea: Very Rare Magic Items at Lv. 1

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
This twist creates capability of drama and invention. There will be frequent flashbacks to the first 10 minutes of the campaign where the players held their magic items, stressing their loss and irreversible absence. It also may be a clue in of itself—say the PCs meet a roguish man who says “there are more amulets of the planes out there”—they’ll be able to deduce he’s a shifty character just saying what they want to hear (the truth being there was only one and now it’s gone and can’t be recreated)
It really doesn't. Players don't have expectations of certain items being in the game, so the loss of the potential to gain an item later doesn't carry a lot of weight.

And honestly, knowing that the DM has already pre-scripted 6 plot twists would be enough to make me walk away from a game. I have HBO Max and Netflix for pre-scripted dramas, I prefer my RPG experiences to be collaborative and improv-style.
 

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Wolfram stout

Adventurer
Supporter
Don't "spring" any of this on them. You do have some interesting ideas, but unless your players are so different from the vast majority here, it will not go over well.

Instead, make it the Campaign premise. Let them chose the very rare magic item knowing that it will be destroyed just prior to the start of the campaign, and that all similar magics are gone from the world. They might really like that. The first leg of the campaign is the same with them hunting down the BBEG. At that point they know the magic that was destroyed is truly gone, so the campaign would have to shift.

Maybe they look for ways to leave this world for another, or build new better magic that what was lost.

But a campaign of fruitless questing......is probably not going to be fun for them or for you in the long run.
 

I’d consider allowing players return as ghosts, holding the broken pieces of their Very Rare magic items as a testament to what they died over, a visible reminder of unfinished business. Ironically, if they kill the BBEG later, he will rest easy, moving to the afterlife since his goal is complete
is there anyway you can run the game WITHOUT being an adversarial DM?
 

Grantypants

Explorer
How about this for a final plot twist: BBEG was right. All magic items are inherently evil and the rest of the campaign is the party tracking magic items down and permanently destroying them. The BBEG was just doing his job until the PCs killed him for taking their stuff.
 


The BBEG is invulnerable during the first combat, as his hand is on the disintegration wand and he makes it clear that not only is he protected by powerful magic, he’ll reduce everyone to ashes if they attack outright.
This is later remedied when the find him around lv 4, fat and happy, no longer interested in adventuring or defense since he’s already accomplished his goal (irreconcilably destroying the objects the party most loved)
Then I wish you and your players to have fun with this introduction.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I’d consider allowing players return as ghosts, holding the broken pieces of their Very Rare magic items as a testament to what they died over, a visible reminder of unfinished business. Ironically, if they kill the BBEG later, he will rest easy, moving to the afterlife since his goal is complete

This again, sounds amusing for the (right) DM. But it sounds like you're actively TRYING to torture the players! It has to be fun for them too!
 

It really doesn't. Players don't have expectations of certain items being in the game, so the loss of the potential to gain an item later doesn't carry a lot of weight.

And honestly, knowing that the DM has already pre-scripted 6 plot twists would be enough to make me walk away from a game. I have HBO Max and Netflix for pre-scripted dramas, I prefer my RPG experiences to be collaborative and improv-style.
I’ve got some bad news for you about every adventure ever written that isn’t a straight up dungeon crawl or open world hex crawl. The dmg painstakingly describes writing campaign arcs—I never said that this is a closed world: in fact, I said there’s plenty of other action (determined as time goes on) it’s just that that action is wholly irrelevant to the item dilemma, which is set and settled from the jump
 


TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
I’ve got some bad news for you about every adventure ever written that isn’t a straight up dungeon crawl or open world hex crawl. The dmg painstakingly describes writing campaign arcs—I never said that this is a closed world: in fact, I said there’s plenty of other action (determined as time goes on) it’s just that that action is wholly irrelevant to the item dilemma, which is set and settled from the jump
Which is precisely why I don't run them.

I mean, if you want to distill the worst excesses of '80s-90s GM-plotted trad RPGs into one scenario, and ignore the last 25 years or so of RPG design, more power to you. But I prefer my games to be oriented around either the players or the setting, not a metaplot. Whenever I see a game starting with "invulnerable NPC delivering exposition to force the PCs into a non-choice", my alarm bells go off.
 

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