D&D 5E First Encounter of a New Campaign: Thoughts

aco175

Legend
Sounds like a lot going on. You want to show the world and the races and the psionics- I get it. The initial 'wake up in jail' vibe for the first exposure to the world followed by running away instead of getting to use your cool class and racial abilities in a fight you can win does set up the world, but maybe not in the way you want. Players may feel less than enthused by the world and the rules for it.

I had a good set-up before by having some NPCs get wiped out by the BBEG in a sequence. This showed off some of the baddness and evil going on and allowed the players to use NPCs to have a TPC and not their real PCs.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Sounds like a lot going on. You want to show the world and the races and the psionics- I get it. The initial 'wake up in jail' vibe for the first exposure to the world followed by running away instead of getting to use your cool class and racial abilities in a fight you can win does set up the world, but maybe not in the way you want. Players may feel less than enthused by the world and the rules for it.

I had a good set-up before by having some NPCs get wiped out by the BBEG in a sequence. This showed off some of the baddness and evil going on and allowed the players to use NPCs to have a TPC and not their real PCs.
You’ve hit the nail on the head. That’s pretty much exactly what this is. Except instead of just the BBEG… everything in Dark Sun needs treating with respect. Because everything and anything could be the thing that kills ya.

… though I don’t expect the PCs to run away. I expect them to have to use those cool abilities carefully and with good tactics. Poisonous plants, psionic creatures, potion fruit. If not they will learn the hard way and get their asses handed to them. Don’t worry these are 20+ year experience players. We all just need an attitude adjustment that not everything can be charged and slain.

Essentially it’s two compulsory combat encounters and 4 NPC encounters. About right for a 5 hour face to face session I think. I’m a show not tell kind of guy so by interacting with these NPCs they should get a feel for what I want. Powerful creatures, Dwarven focus (and it’s consequences), Elf run, Halfling hunters. Etc.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
All of that really cool stuff in the OP should be the second encounter.

To honour the fine (if unintentional!) tradition started by Sunless Citadel in 3e, the first encounter of any campaign - no matter what the circumstances or whether it fits in any way into the rest of the campaign - should be with four hostile Twig Blights. :)
 

TheSword

Legend
Thanks for all the feedback folks. I’m going to start writing my notes out etc.

May well do something similar for the second part - “Travelling to Tyr and the Iron Square Riots.”
 

Stalker0

Legend
I will reecho the notes about making 100% sure the party does not think they can fight the creature.

There are two big problems with starting a campaign with a "deadly challenge"

  • The players haven't gotten used to their characters yet. So while on paper they might do ok, their lack of competanace with their own sheet may let things go south quickly.
  • The DM doesn't know how the players roleplay the new characters yet. A DM may know a player from the last campaign and think "yeah they will get the message". Then in the new campaign they play a bloodthirsty barbarian with a low wisdom that doesn't listen to reason, and suddenly they are throwing hands, suicide or not.
So I personally never do what you are aspiring to do. I always start softball, it lets the players build some confidence, get used to their characters, lets me as a DM see how the party works together, their strengths and weaknesses, etc.

I wish you good luck, but yeah I would be a bit nervous starting the game with such a possibly deadly throw down
 

TheSword

Legend
I will reecho the notes about making 100% sure the party does not think they can fight the creature.

There are two big problems with starting a campaign with a "deadly challenge"

  • The players haven't gotten used to their characters yet. So while on paper they might do ok, their lack of competanace with their own sheet may let things go south quickly.
  • The DM doesn't know how the players roleplay the new characters yet. A DM may know a player from the last campaign and think "yeah they will get the message". Then in the new campaign they play a bloodthirsty barbarian with a low wisdom that doesn't listen to reason, and suddenly they are throwing hands, suicide or not.
So I personally never do what you are aspiring to do. I always start softball, it lets the players build some confidence, get used to their characters, lets me as a DM see how the party works together, their strengths and weaknesses, etc.

I wish you good luck, but yeah I would be a bit nervous starting the game with such a possibly deadly throw down
I don’t think it’s for every campaign, but for Dark Sun, and a group of experienced players. I think it should achieve what I want it to. One way or another.

The signposting is going to be critical.
 

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