D&D 5E Who Picks the Campaign? DMs, Players, and Choice

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Yeah, I'm definitely with you. If it were a heavily improvised one-shot game, I could definitely see letting the table deciding what the game's going to be about. But I cannot imagine that working for anything approaching campaign length. The DM puts in 99.99% of the work...the vast majority of it up front. If the DM isn't heavily invested in running that specific game, then there's no chance it will last.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


soviet

Hero
I've done it this way and it worked out great. Think of it like an iron chef campaign; the players suggest the initial core ingredients but it's still the GM's job to turn it into a meal. That's still a big development process and involves mixing different things things together in particular ways, adding new ingredients and side dishes, etc. The GM will absolutely still have ownership of how that meal turns out and about what happens with it going forward.

The most successful campaign I ever ran derived from a group-suggested world where the PCs were representatives of 4 different elemental races in a world of perpetual night menaced by the unseelie. In my prep I fleshed out the leaders and forces of each faction, a hidden backstory of precursor races who built a flying pyramid that combined the elements, a new revelation of upstart replacement races waiting in the wings, secret agendas, places, enemies, and more. The game started as the fellowship of the ring, became the war of the ring, and ended as the transition to a new age. It worked really well because it took the seeds of what the players already wanted but grew it into something they had never expected.
 

mcmillan

Adventurer
Like Aldarc said, for when I've started a new campaign I've often had couple ideas of in mind, any of which I'd be excited to run. If that's the case I'd rather find out what the players are most interested in before I spend much time developing the details. In the game I'm just starting up the pitch they decided to go with was to use a seed I came up with (rebuilding a city after an epic good vs evil war) and use a round of Microscope RPG to fill in the details. In this case the players came up with some cool setting ideas I probably wouldn't have added on my own that made me even more psyched to run it.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
...I've seen one comment that stuck with me- it was the idea of a DM polling the players to determine what setting to run their campaign in. And I thought to myself, "That is precisely the opposite of what I would do. In fact, if a DM polled my table to determine the campaign setting I would run away faster than if the DM said, 'Hey guys, how would you feel about an all-Bard campaign with the goal of helping the elves take over the world?'"

...

That said, for my personal preference, give me a DM with a point of view any day of the week.

It seems to me that you're assuming that polling the players means the GM will not have a point of view, or be invested, or know the setting. If so, that's a huge mistake.

I don't know about others, but I don't find I have any difficulty in building a thing I am invested in around what the players want. Indeed, I find that my investment and effort is wasted otherwise.
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I only run games that I actually really want to run. D/GMing is a lot of work and I know that I'm only going to have fun if I'm engaged in the game at hand. I also know that if I'm not having fun, it's likely that neither are my players. I'm happy to (and frequently do) solicit some level of player material to add to things, but this is in the form of addendums and details, not larger items about the campaign. WHat that looks like depends largely on the system and the players in question. Beyond the above, I simply am not capable of summoning up the energy to prep and run a game I'm luke-warm on, it's just not gonna happen.
 

soviet

Hero
It seems to me that you're assuming that polling the players means the GM will not have a point of view, or be invested, or know the setting. If so, that's a huge mistake.

I don't know about others, but I don't find I have any difficulty in building a thing I am invested in around what the players want. Indeed, I find that my investment and effort is wasted otherwise.
Yeah, me too. I find it much easier to build on, complicate, and get excited about an idea supplied by others than to go from zero to 60 entirely on my own.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I would be fine creating and running something I had no investment in at all or, indeed, even actively dislike. For example, I wrote a whole scenario based on shopping in D&D just because I hate it so much and took it up as a challenge to see if I could make it fun (and also make fun of it). I ran that about half a dozen times already for different groups to great success.

So I think it would be unlikely or impossible that I will be unable to find something engaging about whatever the players propose. It's just another interesting challenge to me.

Except for anything Forgotten Realms obviously because it sucks out loud.
 

jgsugden

Legend
There are a lot of ways to determine how and what will be run. If anyone tells you the one true way it should be done, they're giving you bad advice. There are too many factors that play into the decision for there to be a best way. It is like telling someone what the best food is.

In some situations I have come to the group and told them, "Hey - I want to run X ... interested in playing?" In others I ask them to tell me what interests them and I build around their desires. In others, people pitch something to me and I decide whether to run with it. In yet others, I step in when a DM quits and I take over something I did not plan where I have no idea where the threads were intended to go.

I've had a lot of fun with all of those approaches, and I've had lesser degrees of success with each of those approaches. There isn't a "right answer".

My best advice: Use whatever process you want to decide on what type of game to run,but at the end, check with your players to find out if they are 1.) Comfortable, 2.) Happy, and 3.) Invested in the choice. If the answer is no to any of those three questions,take feedback and revise either your approach, or your group members, to make sure everyone is comfortable happy and invested.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top