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.