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Instant Campaign Builder VII: Planting

Written by Expy - Published on September 7, 2007
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Instant Campaign Builder Part VII: Planting

This article is part of the Instant Campaign Builder Project.

Planting makes everything better

So you’ve been preparing a brand new campaign. You have an outline, you drew up a few interesting scenes, and you might even have a cool prop for an upcoming game. What now? Well, it’s time to plant some information, clues and hints.

Going over the scenes that are likely to be played first and adding information that the characters will need later in the campaign is called planting, and it can make good games great, or great games unforgettable.

Why is planting great?

  • Your players will feel that you have everything planned and under control.
  • Your scenes will be rich and detailed.
  • Your players will feel good about themselves when they work their way out of a tough situation or solve a puzzling enigma thanks to some “random” item, or clue they found 5 games earlier.

How do I plant?

I think there are 2 main elements to planting effectively.

  • First of all I try to plant a lot of information the PCs might use, but none they have to use. A lot of time might pass between games and I don’t want them to die horribly because of an out-of-game factor (time).
  • I try to plant some information, items, or clues that are useless. Sometimes the PCs actually find a way to use them! Sometimes it remains what it what meant to be: just a diversion so the actual clues don’t stand out too much.

The positive side effects of planting

The planting phase of the campaign planning is one of my favorite. I usually think of dozens of cool scenes or events as I go back over the scenes I have already designed and add details.

Have fun planting and I hope you wow your players thanks to this technique.

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Written by Expy

Meet Expy The Red Dragon

Expy is the mascot for DungeonMastering.com and the real mastermind behind Expy Games. He likes to hoard treasure, terrorize neighbors, burn down villages, and tell white dragon jokes..

No matter how fearful the legends claim dragons are, they always end up being defeated in 5 rounds by adventuring parties they encounter. That’s what dragons are – experience points for the heroes in your Dungeons & Dragon party. And this mascot is no different, hence the name Expy.

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 Comments

9 Responses to “Instant Campaign Builder VII: Planting”
  1. Phil says:

    Hot Damn Yax are you spying on my gaming room?

    Yesterday night, just before I wrapped off my game prep for tonight, I put up ‘Rumors & News’ on my gaming whiteboard where I outlined 3 near-future secondary plot lines !!!!

    I like the way you think man!

  2. Yax says:

    DMs are omniscient! But one DM’s omniscience stops where another DM’s omniscience begins! Does that make sense?

  3. Phil says:

    No but it impresses the chicks!

  4. Pal Mercy says:

    Ladies man, eh? That’s why I play RPG’s too.

  5. Vanir says:

    Based on this conversation, it is quite clear that I played in the wrong D&D games in high school.

  6. Yax says:

    High school was so great. I miss picking on the jocks with my nerd posse.

  7. Vanir says:

    DEFINITELY went to the wrong high school. :)

  8. Phil says:

    Schools in Quebec are very French Vanir. Very French :)

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