D&D General How do the characters in your campaign decide which adventure hooks to follow?

BookTenTiger

He / Him
Every once in a while in my campaigns, the adventurers come to a village in need, a job board, or a busy tavern and suddenly have a bunch of adventure hooks pulling them in various directions.

There's an ogre eating all the pumpkins in the farmer's fields!

A thieves guild is holding a contest with a magical prize!

The paladin's long-lost evil twin is converting travelers to his cult!

When this happened, it's usually takes my players a whole to decide which adventure hooks they want to follow first. Sometimes it would make narrative sense for the characters to split, but the players don't want to split the party. Sometimes they get overwhelmed by analysis paralysis!

So, how do the players (and their characters) choose which adventure hooks to follow in your campaigns?
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Every once in a while in my campaigns, the adventurers come to a village in need, a job board, or a busy tavern and suddenly have a bunch of adventure hooks pulling them in various directions.

There's an ogre eating all the pumpkins in the farmer's fields!

A thieves guild is holding a contest with a magical prize!

The paladin's long-lost evil twin is converting travelers to his cult!

When this happened, it's usually takes my players a whole to decide which adventure hooks they want to follow first. Sometimes it would make narrative sense for the characters to split, but the players don't want to split the party. Sometimes they get overwhelmed by analysis paralysis!

So, how do the players (and their characters) choose which adventure hooks to follow in your campaigns?
My players talk about it and try to persuade one another. Usually, they all agree fairly quickly. When they don't, though, it can take most of the night for them to come to a decision.

P.S. I think you're missing a word after the word "whole" in the second to last paragraph. :)
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
My players talk about it and try to persuade one another. Usually, they all agree fairly quickly. When they don't, though, it can take most of the night for them to come to a decision.

P.S. I think you're missing a word after the word "whole" in the second to last paragraph. :)
Ha ha, I meant to write "while" but I like the mystery.

A whole hour? A whole day? A whole week? A whole year?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So, how do the players (and their characters) choose which adventure hooks to follow in your campaigns?

I don't tend to present the party with several hooks all at once, unless I specifically want to put them under time pressure, or want to make the choice of which hook to follow the real meaningful question. And I will usually only do that if the hooks are really the results of their own actions.

Because for the GM to set up several hooks, and arbitrarily say that bad things will happen to the ones the group doesn't pick, is kind of a no-win situation for the party. I try to avoid those unless the party has created that situation for themselves.

Otherwise, I don't present the hooks simultaneously - I do it in series rather than parallel.
 

Cruentus

Adventurer
When I've offered multiple hooks, the players (or should I say one player who always spotlight hogs), drags the party after whichever hook offers either 1) the most power, 2) magic items, 3) chance for the most magic items, or 4) most coin. Usually in that order. unfortunately the party always follows.

I learned my lesson that if I'm going to offer lots of hooks, then make them small, doable side quests, but drop a heavier hook (or greater reward) for the "main quest". Now, I say that, but I like to run sandbox/open games, which allows the players to follow whatever they wish, so it takes some balancing on my part to be sure I'm ready for a "right turn at Albuquerque" moment.
 

payn

Legend
So, how do the players (and their characters) choose which adventure hooks to follow in your campaigns?
Really depends on the style of campaign. Adventure paths usually have a pretty solid direction and goal in mind. In these types of games the players will typically choose what they believe is the most pressing and rewarding hook and work their way down from there. In a open world sandbox, its up to whatever catches their fancy. This tends to be more difficult for the average gamer because it requires a bit of proactivity that isnt suited to everybody.
 

Plot hooks are usually delivered via rumors overheard in taverns. The players usually pick whichever one seems the most interesting, which usually leaves some plot hooks unresolved.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Each group is different, with different priorities and responses. In the end, I set the pins up, but I make sure the PCs are free to knock down the ones they want to tackle and can ignore the ones they want to ignore - but once I set those hooks in play, they do play out, even if the PCs do not get involved. This helps achieve a world that feels like it is living and breathing around them.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I try to set it up so that the party finds out about their current choices near the end of a session so players can use between session time to jump on discord, email, or text chain to discuss the possibilities.

In one of my current games, the PCs have been presented with a choice, a) undertake a mission that is meant to help the town they've been living in prepare for potential assault from the sea by clearing out a cult from an island that would make a good spot for a garrison and lighthouse. Helping the town set up for defense is something they have mentioned wanting to do. Or b) look into a worker uprising in a nearby city for one of their (dwarven) patrons, the same city where an apostate of two of the PCs religion might be causing trouble. I have no idea which one they will choose.
 

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