This is the beginning of what I hope to be my masterpiece campaign as a dungeon master. I’ve been DMing for over 30 years and I always strive to be better.
Here’s how I roll and why:
Campaign as TV season:
My first degree is in writing and I was fortunate to learn under a dean who wrote mystery novels. I structure campaigns as TV seasons with story arcs and episodes that focus on individual characters. At the end of each “season” you can vote to cancel, renew, or have a finale “movie.
To that effect, I have numerous campaign pitches which can be found right here. Players need to read and then decide on which one they would like to try.
- Here are the campaign pitches again
Super Interesting Characters:
I set up character creation for that you will have connections with the other PCs AND you can have as interesting a character as you want. A list of possible cool character concepts is right here for examples.
- Cool Character Concepts for your perusal
Combat as feature piece:
I try for one cinematic combat sequence per session. Instead of many little combats that are part of the wallpaper, each combat should be a memorable scene.
Destiny Dice system:
I have created a system called Destiny Dice that I use to encourage and guide roleplay. That system is here. Please check it out.
Alternate Rewards are different rewards than just treasure and magic items. I include special abilities that come about as a result of gameplay.
- A player brilliantly decides to charm the villains mother into revealing his weak spot, he gains a bonus to Bluff and Diplomacy vs the opposite gender for now on.
- A thief uses her torch to burn the webbing that holds her in place. She gains a bonus to saves vs. immobility
- You move the mystic obelisk into the portal causing a dimensional rift. You gain the ability to teleport up to three squares every encounter.
- You drank from the Mystic pool and survived, gaining a bonus to your Wisdom based abilities. etc.
Examples are given in the link.
Yes, I use fourth edition and if that’s a deal breaker I will shed many tears as you run off to whatever Pathfinder game you’d rather play, enjoy confirming your crits and distributing skill points. My reasons are manifold:
- Fourth edition gives players the most options. This was a common complaint about 4E, that it gave players too much power. I consider it a strength. Between race, class, and theme 4E gives us the best set of tools for playing the character you want to play outside of a point buy system.
- Fourth edition is the most DM friendly edition. By specifying monster roles, using XP budgets, having many templates and modular hazards, etc I have a full DM toolbox. It lets me stat up an adventures challenges in minutes, letting me concentrate my time on making cool puzzles, props, clues, etc.
- Fourth edition Is the best edition for DM improv. Good DMing mean letting players depart the ordained path and never letting them know they did that. If they want to investigate the little village instead of the Dungeon of Gloom, you let them without trying to coerce them back.
- Fourth edition has the most fun combat system. I don’t actually like running D&D combats in other editions, they’re boring versions of PCs surrounding a monster and beating it to death. 4E is literally all over the map in combat. As a guy with miniatures and terrain, this is awesome. 4E PC do MUCH more interesting things every turn than other editions do. 4E combat is usually a bit of a grind, I do a supercharged version that goes much quicker.
- Magic is magical in 4E. Between use of rituals (underused by original ruleset) and every magic item having special abilities magic feels much more magical for EVERYONE in 4E.
- Character abilities as treasure. The 4E rules touched on this, I homebrew the hell out of it. Instead of getting lots of lots of magic items, players can get rewards for reasons related directly to game narrative. Several forms are listed here for Alternate Rewards
- Simplicity, strategy, creature variants, and cost, all outlined in this article here