91 campaign details in an hour

Ironically kicking foresight month off a week late? Absolutely! To help plan ahead for a long running campaign follow my simple process and you'll be ready for anything.

So, you have a theme and a rough idea of what your players want, you know what classes and races you're allowing, but all of that just sets the stage. You need something exciting. You need some lore, some fascinating places and people and things, and you need them quick. Have no fear, for I am with you. Grab a paper, or a word document or a stone slab or whatever you do your DM work on and follow me.

First, make 13 lines. These are going to have groups of the major people, places, and things you want to include in your campaign, and you'll want to rank them in regards to how important they are to your theme. Number 13 is the most important, and number 1 is the least. You can pick anything that will fit these rankings as long as it's some kind of category. For example, if I were running a campaign based on a theme of "War" I might have headings like:

The 13 Great war machines

The 12 Legendary weapons

The 11 greatest battles of history

The 10 great naval ships

The 9 armies

The 8 countries

The 7 arts of killing

The 6 magical kings

The 5 forbidden spells

The 4 sacred swords

The 3 dread secrets

The 2 oceans

The 1 dragon

 

Don't worry too much about what you want to put IN these categories, just worry about picking them. Doing this will help you figure out what kinds of things you want for your campaign. So by looking at my list we can see a setting that favours powerful tools and items of war, a great appreciation for history, for raw military power, and a disapproval of spellcasting and very little presence of dragons. Once you have these categories you can start filling them out. For this you can start anywhere on your list, just follow your inspiration. So let's say I look at my list and I don't immediately think of what dragons or war machines I want, but I know exactly what I want for my four sacred swords. I fill those out, and then from there I might jump to my kings, or anywhere else. As you make your own list you may realize "Ohh, I really want Six swords, so I'll just have four kings" and change them, that's fantastic and you should do it. Or you might say "OH OH, but I want 14 planets in the sky" Beautiful! Adding more never costs anyone anything. And if you think "What if I want six swords AND six kings?" Then do it! This list is just a guideline, a mental construct to help establish some details about the world. And you can either keep this list and gradually let it grow and change, or show it to your players to let them draw excitement and inspiration from it.

One might think "but if I show them I can't change things". Very clever, but I'd rather say, if you show them, changing things becomes more interesting. Because if there were 6 kings and news comes of a 7th king, that's even more exciting if they already knew there were only ever 6. You can do with this list what you will, but hopefully it will help you pen down some major details in no time and help get the creative juices flowing. I'd love to hear about successes or troubles you've had with this method, and I'd be even more excited to see the lists that you readers come up with for your own games!