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D&D 3E
This is my first post here. So here's the story: I've been playing… 
26th-Apr-2005 05:43 pm
This is my first post here. So here's the story: I've been playing D&D 3.5 for about a year now, which is exactly as long as I've been dungeon mastering (I was the guy who got picked for the job of dungeon mastering right from the founding of our group). I enjoy it very much, but I have some problems with the process of making up adventures and campaigns. I have not and do not want to use a published campaign setting as I feel that it might compromise my own creativity, but at the same time I'm not confident with my method of world building because I don't know any other dungeon masters, meaning that just about everything I do originates from my own head and the DM guide. So basically, I'm interested in: 1)Other peoples' takes on using campaign settings, and 2)some methods of world building from those who do make up their own worlds and adventures. I would go on the Dungeon Master's Guide, but I don't think it would give me as many perspectives as I could get from veteran players and dungeon masters.

Currently, my method goes as follows: 1)Design the area/s that the players will begin in, 2)let the players have fun with the various lures and adventures I've loosely laid out, 3) plan the next segment or piece of my world according to the players' actions. It's a fairly roleplay intensive style of play that I do as well.

Also, I've been trying to implement history into my world, as I think it creates an entirely new dimension to the world, which makes it more believable. Some takes on that would be interesting too.

Thanks folks.
27th-Apr-2005 01:53 am (UTC)
I am not a veteran DM, but I've created a world or two (two, specifically) and I think you are on the right track. Physical layout + cool little lures are a great start, and giving the place a history makes for a richer, more realistic environment. Here are a few things I learned from my first real DMing experience:

If you have one main adventure hook in mind, make sure there is a real motivation to follow it. I made the mistake of just going "oooh, lookie! isn't that weird! don't you want to go figure out what's going on?" without giving an answer for why this is any of the characters' business in the first place. At a few points, I could tell the players were thinking, "Oh, this must be where Rebecca has planned the adventure, so let's do what she wants." That breaks the feel of the world and forces the players to metagame.

It sounds like the only thing you're missing is a long-term goal. Planting little hooks around and letting them explore the world is great, but planning one or more major running themes and adventures also provide a real sense of "why we are here." Pull ideas from anything you and you're players are interested in: an obscure story from Hindu mythology, using a character taken from your favorite book (though with a touch of that intriguing mental illness you heard about last week) can make for a great game plot. Especially if, as you said, you favor a high role-playing style of game.

A lot of people don't like it, but I would recommend the book Unearthed Arcana. Of course, I don't recommend any D&D book off the shelf. Get it used or from overstock.com . It's basically a whole bunch of variants and house rules tossed together and bound in book form. Even if you don't use the variants, they are useful for getting the creative juices flowing. Oh, and don't underestimate the value of rolling randomly for things. If you roll something that seems nonsensical in your world, trying to explain it and make it fit can give you new ideas and create an interesting, quirky new layer in your world.
27th-Apr-2005 04:15 am (UTC)
One thing I have found helpful is to decide what is happening whether the PC's directly interact with it or not.

Sometimes making a map helps. Then you can ask yourself questions like how did that get there? Why is this here? Where did this place get it's name. Places are organic. A town develops around SOMETHING, then that town has SOME type of relationship with the towns nearby which leads to other things.

I'm going to give you a link to the page I created for the game I'm running now. It is a small part of a world I've created. While you are welcomed to use it, it may be more useful to you to see how a world develops, and the amount of detail you need to run a campaign in a world (which is likely not as much as you think). Check it out, don't mind the under construction parts, then develop your own as you see fit.

Just click the "West End" Link at the bottom when you get there to go to that page. There is a link to running a game in West End which should tell you all you need to know. If you need more specific advice you can feel free to email me.
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