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d10 Things You Must Do Between Campaigns

Written by MythicParty - Published on December 12, 2011

My weekly gaming group has recently begun a new campaign- Paizo’’s exciting sandbox-style Kingmaker. (Think Old School Module B2 Keep of the Borderlands).  This comes after having played Curse of the Crimson Throne since early January 2010.  In the process of transitioning from one Adventure Path to the next, we’ve come up with steps for this process.  I called these things ‘Must Do’ because of a  sincere belief that they will sincerely improve games.  Here’s what my group has done, why we did it, and what we’ll do for the next switch.

  1. Have the last night be an event: Every week our adventuring starts with a meal beforehand for fuel and fellowship.  But this particular evening, we all brought more food than usual.  Better food than usual.  Better beer than usual.  While I’d stop short of calling it a feast, the brand quality or better snacks definitely made for good grub.  And that helped kick off the night.  So save a few bucks in advance to treat both your friends as well as yourself.
  2. Take some pictures:  If your group is anything like ours, they’re not exactly the most photogenic bunch.  Get some pictures anyway.  Yes, shots of the table showing off the minis and the BBEG.  But also of the players (we missed doing that).  Consider it a souvenir to look upon in the future.  A portrait of the people behind the heroes.  I have yet to meet someone who has said they wished they took less photographs with their friends.
  3. Make a toast:  This is something we missed yet should have made time for.  At the very end of the night, before everyone heads home, stop.  Officially mark the occasion.  Raise a glass to the DM and fellow players.  Then go around the table sharing your favorite moment from the campaign.  Let the DM go last so they can take it all in.  And then toast, pledging to game again.
  4. Review How the Campaign Went: Useful feedback is critical for improvement.  For that you need (and should want) everyone to be honest.  However this can be hard.  Frankly our group struggles with peer reviewing.  But sharing what people liked along with what people would like to see done differently is in the best interests of every player and every DM.
  5. Setup a Break: This is crucial.  You’ve just gotten out of a multi-month Adventure Path with high-Level characters.  Before you jump right back into another arc, sliding way down to 1st Level, embarking yet again on another multi-month commitment, pause.  Take a breather.  People need to recharge their batteries, particularly DMs.  A few weeks off is a good thing.  The break will get your group excited and eager to return to rolling dice.
  6. Play Other Games: During this mini-vacation from your regular thing, expand your Geek horizons.  Try a game that isn’t like what you’ve been playing.  If your closet is anything like mine there are a bunch of board or card or other RPG titles that haven’t been opened in awhile.  Maybe ever.  Dust those off and see what they’re about.  We broke out a very fun co-operative board game called Shadows Over Camelot and got a reminder of how important it is to work together as a team.  Plus how badly a traitor can mess up a kingdom.  :P
  7. Improve the Way You Play: The most important part.  Just as characters get better after gaining experience, so too should every gamer.  In between Crimson Throne and Kingmaker we made several changes.  Serious changes.  The basement where we have our sessions got a makeover worthy of a television show, complete with home-built furniture pieces.  We signed up for Obsidian Portal, an amazing campaign wiki site, springing for Ascendant membership to get extra maps/a forum as well as to support the service.  We spent more time creating characters to better develop deeper backstories that would help our roleplaying.  And we came back after the self-imposed D&D recess fully ready to follow Rule 0: “Above all else, have fun.”  In short, we’ve Leveled up our game, and leveled up as gamers.

So the next time you’re ready to end a campaign, remember the things you must do because they’ll help make both it and the ones that follow that much better.

What are some suggestions you have for what to do in between campaigns?

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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6 Responses to “d10 Things You Must Do Between Campaigns”
  1. Jack says:

    All great ideas – especially taking photos. I don’t have a single picture of the guys I gamed with in college, and I’m kicking myself now. We were all really close, and we continue to talk to each other, but I have no pictures to look back on from those times :(

  2. LanJemWezz says:

    Agreed. Stellar ideas all around (most of which I’ve done as well, except the toasting–something to consider). Several times in the past, when planning big event sessions with my players, I’ve petitioned them to see if we’d like to pull an overnighter. These are often useful for mid-campaign or finale type sessions, usually played out over a Friday (evening)-Saturday, or Saturday-Sunday format. It works best when you plan a cliffhanger for the end of the first night, then bed down to continue the next day. This builds tension and excitement and the players can strategize and dream in the mean about what they might do on the morrow. It adds a certain something to the mix when you have the session play out in real-time as well, such that the heroes bed down when the players do.

  3. Matt says:

    Great ideas! I do most of these already with my group, and I too struggle with gathering feedback from my players. It’s always easier for them to say what they like than pinpoint the things that need changing. I try my best to guess at these things, but sometimes I fall short. I think someone needs to devise a player survey to aid in feedback.

  4. MythicParty says:

    Hi all. Thanks for the comments. Matt, based upon yours, I’ll do a follow up article.

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