Today’s question is a really good one. What makes a successful campaign? A number of things need to fall in place for a campaign to be considered a success. All of these involve a good bit of planning no matter if you are running a module or creating your own campaign. One of the reasons why we seek to run a successful campaign is that when you get it right and it all comes together. It is something that you and your players likely will talk about and reflect on for years to come.
Now there is no magic formula, but there are some things you can do to put yourself in a better position to have a successful campaign before the first dice hits the table. The following are some useful tips that may prove helpful in your quest to create a successful campaign
- Come up with a campaign theme.
- Decided the system you will run.
- Decide how long it will take to run the story.
- Elevator pitch the campaign to your players
- Flesh out your campaign
Here are a few tips on what to avoid while in the planning stages of your campaign.
- Avoid reusing themes that you have already run.
- Avoid overplanning, preparation is good but leave room for flexibility and changes
- Avoid on-rails storytelling. At least give the illusion of choice for your players if you must remove decision making or choice in your campaign
- Make sure your players want to play in the game you pitched.
I have been thinking about this for a while myself. The fundemental weakness in my face to face game is that I gave the players almost complete freedom in their character creation and backgrounds but what I didn’t do was build in some overriding reason why the party should be together, work together and put their lives on the line for each other.
As a consequence of this a couple of the party are very self serving and are often inhibiting the party from gelling as a group almost as if the others feel a bit ‘used’ by those that are more out for themselves. This in turn is hampering my plotting freedom as I feel I cannot put the party under as much stress as I normally could for fear it will fall apart.
So I would suggest that in the elevator pitch stage the nature and origins of the party are put out there for discussion.
Excellent suggestion as we have encountered this situation as well since the writing of this post in our group recently.