The Lazy Dungeon Master's Campaign Guide in Yjarth | World Anvil
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The Lazy Dungeon Master's Campaign Guide

From Sly Flourish's Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master by Michael E. Shea.  
"Prepare what benefits your game, and omit what does not."

Character Review

  • Character Creation:
    • Anything officially published in a book by WotC.
    • Standard Array or Point Buy ability scores.
    • Starting equipment:
      • 1st—4th: Normal starting equipment
      • 5th—10th: 500 gp plus 1d10 × 25 gp, one uncommon magic item, normal starting equipment
      • 11th—16th: 5,000 gp plus 1d10 × 50 gp, three uncommon magic items, one rare item, normal starting equipment
      • 17th—20th: 20,000 gp plus 1d10 × 250 gp, three uncommon magic items, two rare items, one very rare item, normal starting equipment
  • Name
    • Background:
      • Character backstory.
    • Motivations:
      • What motivates your character.
    • Desired types of magical items:
      • Either specific or general categories like combat, social, or utility.
    • 4 H's:
      • History: Character backstory.
      • Heartbreak: A moment that might contribute towards a character flaw.
      • Heroes: Personal, such as a parent, guardian, sibling, mentor, or friend.
      • Hopes: What motivates your character.

Campaign Hook

  • Campaign hooks should be simple, straightforward, and direct. This description makes it easy for the players to know what they're supposed to do, and makes it easy for you to keep a clear focus on what to prepare as the campaign moves forward.
  • Here are ten examples:
    • Defeat the sorcerer queen.
    • Stop the rise of the demon prince.
    • Destroy the lich's dark empire.
    • Kill the vampire lord and end her reign of darkness.
    • Recover the six elven blades of power.
    • Restore the displaced king to his throne.
    • Defeat the five dark titans who hold sway over the world.
    • End the war waged by the orc emperor.
    • Slay the betrayer who murdered you fifty years ago.
    • Prevent the resurrection of the dark lord.

Six Truths of the World

  • Helps give the players enough information to build their characters around the campaign. These truths are the facts that separate this campaign from all the other possible campaigns the players might have previously been involved in or might be expecting.
  • Give this list of campaign truths of the player during session zero. They'll then use these truths to build characters that fit the theme of the campaign.
  • Here's an example of six truths:
    • A terrible power lurks beneath the village of Whitesparrow.
    • The lands surrounding Whitesparrow grow ever wilder.
    • Machines of a hellish war lay buried in endless caverns beneath those lands.
    • A powerful devil has its eye fixed on Whitesparrow, the surrounding valley, and the mysteries held there.
    • The ruins of elven guardians from a thousand years ago litter the valley.
    • The borders to the outer planes in the valley are stretched thin.

Campaign Development

  • Build the campaign from the characters' starting location, filling in the details of immediate interest to the characters and players, or those that might come up in the next session.
  • Focus attention on the characters, the locations closest to them, and whatever local concerns connect to their direct interest.
  • As the characters explore the world, your focus on that world spirals outward. Only when they reach the nearby city do you take the time to fill out that city. And even then, you focus only on the locations within the city that the characters are most interested in or most likely to see.

Three Campaign Fronts

  • Fronts (named after weather fronts) represent the big movers of the campaign. Most often, the primary villains of a campaign act as the campaign's fronts, but looming cataclysmic events might also fill this role. Smaller campaigns might have only one or two fronts, and larger campaigns might have as many as six.
    • The Front: Who or what is this actual front?
    • The Goal: What is this front trying to accomplish? Where is it headed? If one or more creatures make up the front, do they think they're justified in their actions? Are they?
    • The Three Grim Portents: What three visible steps show the progress of this front?
  • • Example fronts:
    • Volixus the hobgoblin half-dragon mercenary
      • Goal:
        • Construct the infernal war machine, use it to level Whitesparrow, and then uncover the secrets that lie beneath.
      • Grim Portents:
        • The hobgoblin half-dragon Volixus restores the war machine using ancient fiendish plans and gnome ingenuity.
        • Volixus hunts down the infernal gemstone required to power the war machine.
        • Volixus opens the gates of Grayspire, sending the war machine and his army toward Whitesparrow.
    • Thuron the devil lord
      • Goal:
        • Take over the valley surrounding Whitesparrow and make it a new infernal home.
      • Grim Portents:
        • Servants of Thuron recover the knowledge to open a gate to the devil's realm in the Nine Hells.
        • The servants of Thuron open a gateway between hell and the valley of Whitesparrow.
        • Thuron enters the world.
    • The Cult of Dusk
      • Goal:
        • Bring eternal shadow to the land for their secret master, Thuron.
      • Grim Portents:
        • The Cult of Dusk retrieves ancient arcane lore from a lost library.
        • The Cult of Dusk causes an hour-long solar eclipse using their newfound magic.
        • The Cult of Dusk builds an altar to Thuron, from which they can cause the sun to be eclipsed permanently.

Tie Characters Together

  • Interesting bonds that can easily connect two or more characters in an adventuring party:
    • Sibling of…
    • Saved by…
    • Served with…
    • Protected by…
    • Adventured with…
    • Friendly rival of…
    • Childhood friend of…
    • Magically bound to…
    • Survived with…
    • Escaped with…
    • Apprentice of…
    • Acolyte of…
    • Idolizes…
    • Drinking buddies with…
    • Business associate of…
    • Lost a bet to…
    • Indebted to…
    • Trained by…
    • Dueling partner of…
    • On the run with…
  • Tying characters to a single faction:
    • A guild, a church, an order, a mercenary unit, or some other organization.
    • The characters might all serve the same elven lord.
    • They might be agents of a large and powerful dynasty.
    • Or they might all be agents of a dark network of spies.
  • Guide characters toward cooperative adventure:
    • Build characters with a clear reason to adventure with the rest of the party.
    • Avoid "Why would my character spend time with you jerks?"

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