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My First Dungeons and Dragons Campaign: The Song of Best Intentions

Why should you care?

I am a 28-year-old college graduate with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Professional writing. A mother of two young girls, an active member of my church, and practicing ESL teacher, it’s easy to say that I may be a little busy. But that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to craft my own adventure campaign, to show those in similar situations that you can do it, and it will be amazing. Or at least it will be amazing for the dungeon master; your players will have to fight their way to survive (insert evil laugh).

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, crafting stories and worlds from between the lines on the paper. I’ve also played D&D for 12 years on and off. Several times I would get into a game only to move or have a schedule change that prevented me from participating. I’ve always absolutely loved playing, but no one ever wanted to be the Dungeon Master, so our groups wouldn’t play. I joined a D&D Discord server and joined a campaign, then realized you didn’t need to be in the same room, state, or even continent to find players.

Preparation

My campaign is (planning on being) an epic adventure spanning several continents and quests. I started with the end goal and then flipped all the way to the beginning by having it begin with an innocuous little quest that pulls them into the grander storyline. I created a Discord server for my campaign, and we will be playing over voice on there.

The reason I say planning is that it really depends on what my players end up doing. I have the grand plan, but if all they want to do is take down the King of Thieves, I’m going to need to rework my plot a bit to make it more relevant.

I’ve sourced parts of my campaign from various things. I borrowed part of the map of Exandria from Critical Roll for our starting area (Nicodranus), but other than keeping the names, I am completely reworking the world to my specifications. I found encounter ideas on Tumblr, monsters on Pinterest, and purchased the core Dungeon Master’s Guide for 5th Edition. I’ve watched several tips and guides on Youtube for being the best Dungeon Master I can be, and I hope I do not let them down.

There are so many sources one can utilize!

The Premise

Each of these characters, along with several other adventurers, receive a call for aid from the small coastal town of Nicodranus. The call for aid tells that the ghosts of long ago have been wandering around the city and coming from all the way up the mountain, when centuries ago the goddess Melora sealed a great beast away before it destroyed their town. The beast was sealed deep into the mountains that overlook the town itself. The Mayor fears the seals on the beast are becoming weakened or that the beast is breaking its way out of the seal. The players are the fourth group that has attempted this quest, and the half-frozen and terrified bodies of other adventurers lay around the local inn as proof.

Meet the Players

Nia Moonwhisper: A pink-haired half-elf bard that is the eldest of five children and a twin to Lander. Her mother, a well known human wizard, and father, a drow rogue, were part of a great adventuring party that traveled the continents, freeing captives and slaves all around. From the large city of Zadash, she abandoned her parents’ antique and oddity shop to go searching for ancient Dwarven artifacts herself. She also has a peculiar black falcon that has a white beak and white feet. What is she really looking for?

Viscount Manfred Fisar: An aging human warlock who heard music so beautiful it drove him to the edges of his sanity. Manfred hails from his own fief of Fisar, and after disease and a fire that took not only most of his land and workers, but also his wife and three children, Manfred has accepted that he is the last of his line. He has left his fief in the hands of the trusted Rosegroves while he seeks out glory for his house and seeks to chase the patron of the lingering music that leaves him empty. His traveling vassals are the two younger Rosegroves, Misha and Mila. Will he find the source of the lilting tune that haunts him?

Dr. Buer A Wollf: A human alchemist turned field doctor who hails from Novogrod, a city of miners and coal workers, Buer travels the lands in search of medical healing, not including magic, which he is terrible with. He suspects he found disfavor with a god when he began healing the near dead, and Vecna (Goddess of the Undead) has called for his death, not only to cease his healing, but to recruit him into her ranks as a proper necromancer. He travels with a cleric named Janus so he may heal the decidedly unholy patients they come across, but as a Keeper of Sarenrae, Buer knows how to treat any number of ailments with potions rather than spells. How long can he avoid the clan of Vecna?

Molli Lux Howthe: Daughter of the former Mayor of Nicodranus, this half-elf girl has a quick hand and a snotty attitude. She was dropped on her father’s doorstep by an unwanting elven mother and raised in the small seaside town of Nicodranus. Her father showered her with gifts, and she grew up with an attitude issue. The suspected murder of her father shook both her and her brother Larz, and this beautiful and misguided girl turned to thievery. The siblings were brought in by an elven Elder named Dame Edith who loved them and showered them with hard work on her small garden plot and shop. Molli is determined to find who killed her father, led only by a tiny locket found at the crime scene. Will she find the smiling woman in the locket?

Larz Howthe: This blue skinned half-orc barbarian served much the same fate as his sister by being dropped on his father’s doorstep from an unwanting mother. A huge and broad specimen, Larz quickly realized that his barbarian roots would never truly leave him. Shy and quiet most of the time, taking apart watches and putting them back together, Larz hides a deep rage inside of him, always calling him to violence. His sister inspires his good, but what if his call becomes too loud like it had already done one before?

Bran Helder: An Aasimar Paladin of Sarenrae and an honorably discharged soldier from the Tanreath Army, Brand Helder struggles from his own inner demons. The only time he’d dozed on duty resulted in his entire caravan of 40 men being killed and Bran being spared as a thanks from the monster. Bran holds the weight of all his friends and comrades’ deaths heavily inside of him. His kind soul shines through, though something always lingers of sadness on his face. Will he find the beast who killed those he loved?

And it begins!

Our campaign began April 6th and will operate every two weeks on Saturday evenings from 7PM-12AM EST. I will be posting an article every couple weeks with updates! If there is enough interest once we get started, I may livestream the sessions. Things I could use some help with:

Can I get some suggestion names for NPCs?

What about Inn names?

And suggested themes you’d like to see?

Thanks for reading, we hope you enjoyed the article! If you’d like to see some related content, and support Exclusively Games in the process, click on our Amazon Affiliate links listed below to find related products. – EG Staff

Post Comment

  1. Kyle Newman on April 15, 2019 at 10:03 pm said

    So one of the inn names I use is “The lit wick” it had the headless horseman launch his jack-o’-lantern at it’s door buring the face into it. And the other one I usually use is the slaughtered lamb because American werewolf in London is one of my favorite movies

    • I actually love “The Lit Wick” and have the perfect place for it! I was already planning on a Slaughtered Lamb in one if my seedier locations too! Thanks for the comment!

  2. JackofTears on April 16, 2019 at 2:03 am said

    This is a weird article, as it’s mostly just a GM talking about her upcoming campaign. I mean, great – roleplaying is awesome – but I never saw a reason ‘why I should care’ in a way that made sense to publish this as an article instead of talking about your campaign on a forum.

    It’s not my intent to discourage new GMs – far from it, only about 1 in 20 gamers are GMs, so more are always useful – I’m just confused as to the purpose of the article.

    • I can completely see where you’re coming from, but the reason that maybe only 1 in 20 players is a GM is because the task can seem overwhelming. The purpose for this article (and subsequent ones) is to be a tangible source where people can realize that it’s not impossible to GM a fun game even if you are an extremely busy individual with zero GM experience.

      Forums are a great place to go for ideas, but even there they can be inundated with differing opinions, confusing homebrew options, and just a cacophony of confusion rather than helpfulness. Forums are better for GM’s with a bit of experience under their belt who can weed their way through to the information they need.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and if you have any recommendations on how to make it more relevant to you as a reader or player, please let me know! What would you like to see?

      • Ranek Eisenkralle on April 16, 2019 at 8:43 pm said

        I largely agree with JackofTears on this one. A forum might be a better source for GMs of any level of experience. In these articles I would rather give an overview about various roleplaying systems (there are many more than just D&D after all)

        Do note, however, that I do not intend on discouraging you or anything. But a forum is simply more convenient for communicating – which in turn allows more experienced GMs to pass on some of their experience to beginner-level GMs
        (I recently did something like this in the tabletop section of the exclusivelygames forum) and I am going to repeat the most basic point here for you as well: Don’t overdo the planning.
        New GMs tend to try and come up with an abundance of possible solutions which they think the group might take in a given situation.
        However, players are sure to find solutions the GM has not even thought of – therefore wasting a great deal of effort, time, and energy of the GM.
        See the tabletop forum for details, but the basic jist is this: Have a basic framework in place and then improvise on the fly. AND TAKE NOTES!

        This is about all you need as GM. The rest will come with experience.

        Have fun with your campaign -.and good luck on GMing.

      • JackofTears on April 17, 2019 at 3:13 am said

        Not for me, directly, but for would-be GMs, I’d like to see you talk about lessons you learn while going through the process. What you discover works and what you find to be a waste of time, effort, or otherwise gets in your way. There is a lot an aspiring GM could learn from watching someone else go through the process, but I feel like it only works if you’re honest about all the pitfalls and challenges as well.

        • JackofTears on April 17, 2019 at 3:16 am said

          I might also like to see quotes from some of your players, talking about the things they have come to realize, or personal gaming obstacles they overcome, in the course of your game. Maybe a ‘lesson of the week’ or somesuch.

  3. I’ve played D&D once and I think it would have been boring if I wasn’t playing the game with you. You have a great, contagious energy and I bet you will be a very good dungeon master. I really want to play now. Characters sound interesting. Good intro into the campaign. It will be fun seeing where the characters end up. 🙂

  4. This is an advertisement?.? I’m confused and what was all that intro about you being a super creative experienced writer followed by, oh i stole/borrowed a bunch of stuff from different places online including the most popular DnD campaign. Not to say DMs can’t or shouldn’t take ideas and inspiration from any and all sources, just that you don’t come off as an impressive imaginary when you do that. My biggest regret is actually watching crit role as now when i hear a character has pink hair i immediately think how unoriginal that idea is, so maybe you are an amazing creative imaginary and impressive DM GL on your campaign

    Also Sirus/Cyrus or Sirius(serious) I always find to be interesting NPC names maybe just me but I always associates that name with a vampire or someone who had an amazing secret, prolly just me tho.

    • Nope no advertisement! And I’ve only gotten through half of the first episode on Critical Role (the one where they go to Kraghammer). I actually stumbled across their wiki while researching D&D gods and liked their story line, then loved their map. I have no idea what actually happens other than some fanart I’ve seen or who has pink hair. Also, there’s a very interesting reason she has pink hair. It’s not naturally pink. I don’t believe that player has watched Critical Role either.

      With two young daughters and a bunch of other stuff going on, I can’t really dedicate time to more than Matt Mercers DM Tips on YouTube. (Matt Mercer also said anyone may use his stuff. So nothing is stolen. )

      I’ll craft a lovely NPC just for you. I appreciate your feedback!

      • JackofTears on April 17, 2019 at 3:10 am said

        Honeslty, that’s all you should do. Not suggesting Matt isn’t a good GM, his style is different from mine (he seems like more of a simulationist than a narrativist), but he does a solid job. The thing is, one should strive to achieve their own voice and their own flavor – learn with, talk with, and share with others, but be wary of falling into the trap of trying to replicate another GM’s style.

        He does give good advice, however, as does Matthew Colville, a co-creator of 5E who gives a lot of very practical and honest advice, not only advising GMs on rules, or how people imagine a game should be run, but the realistic nitty-gritty of running an rpg. I highly recommend checking Colville out on Youtube.

  5. Guilherme on April 16, 2019 at 7:52 pm said

    Go for it, hope to read more about your sessions.

  6. Jew Goldstein on April 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm said

    I wish I had enough friends to play pen and paper RPGs :/ I absolutely love them

  7. cool

  8. LowSanity on April 19, 2019 at 2:03 pm said

    I love my pen and paper RPGs. I played Warhammer second edition, D&D 3.5 and 4. One of Ice and fire/Game of Thrones rpg sadly i don’t recall the name. Afterbomb Madness, Call of Cthulhu. If you have a group with good chemistry, some fun ideas for the story that can survive the players(you can never predict what player will do) then it will be great fun doesn’t matter the quarks and features and flavour of your game system.

  9. CYATGreySpectre on May 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm said

    Ah, Dungeons and Dragons(or rather tabletop D20 in general), the single best multiplayer gaming experience one can engage in. I’m super stoked to read this series of yours, as it will probably give me ideas for the table which I DM for. You can never have enough sources of inspiration.

  10. I like this series of articles. Yes, it’s just one DM and one campaign out there in the world full of DnD & other RPG campaigns, but it’s still entertaining and potentially helpful: The world, story & characters seem interesting. If that isn’t enough to keep you reading, how about as inspiration for your own games, DMs and players… Something that a player did in this campaign may inspire you as a player, or you might ask your DM to incorporate something you read here that you thought was cool. Please continue sharing.

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