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Getting things Started

    Once you have the players together and they have been given a reason to be in a party, you need to be able to set the initial scene of your adventure or your campaign. This will help set the tone for the rest of the story and will hopefully get the player characters interested in what is happening and pushing them to want to continue.

    This can be combined with the integration of players or used instead of integrating players. Sometimes the opening scenes of an adventure can be difficult to start off. The following are a sample of starting seeds for the adventure:

    In medias res (Latin: into the middle things): What better way to bring together a disparate group of individuals than to throw them into the middle of the mix.

    "The oku horde is at the edge of town and people are either fleeing, cowering or looking to you for help!"

    "The shaldhun barrels into the village swinging its huge maul and smashing everything in sight. People scatter as the monster heads for the center of town."

    "Suddenly the old spellcaster's shop explodes into flames which quickly spread to other buildings. A call for help echoes in the streets."

    "Through out town koh-boru as their fir darrig leaders begin to crawl out of the sewers attacking and dragging people back into the dank underground waterways!"

    There is nothing more immediate and dangerous than a rampaging monster, invaders or even a disaster to suddenly bring together a party. A state of chaos is a very easy way to bring characters together. They do not know each other's capabilities or lack thereof but they will very quickly.

    Escape or else: One of the more often used (other than "You are in a tavern..") is the shared experience of being captured. A great way to bond a new group together is to put them in a shared trauma for their characters. Being captured and escaping allows players to figure out quickly what everyone can do. You may also start the group as part of a slave group where a number of NPC slaves have been killed in front of the players by the slavers to show who is boss and set a stage of fear where they never know when they may be next.

    "You wake up with serious knots on your head and your body badly bruised. You are clothed only in tattered and shredded loincloths and are locked in an iron cage!"

    "You open your only good eye, the other is swollen with bruising. Your hands are chained above you into the walls. As you look around you notice several other species in the same situation."

    "You wake to the whips and cruel shouts of your ogre captors."

    "With the crack of a whip you awake to your bleeding hands, your feet chained to the bottom of a boat and surrounded by dozens of other enslaved oarsmen."

    Mistaken Identity: You have heard it before, "You are a spitting image of.." you shake your head and smile and reply: "I have heard that..." but what would happen if you suddenly found yourself mistaken for the local thief that has been breaking into homes. Or the red cloaked assassin that killed Baron Guthridge. Or that's them the ones that raided the temple the other night. Or that one or more of the players suddenly find themselves the target of an assassins or thieves guild. And suddenly you find yourself defending yourself or fleeing the guards, assassins or the bounty hunters that have come looking for the real perpetrators.

    A part of the Watch: Very few other ways allow you to bring together a party than to be under the service of the local watch or guardsmen of the village or town. Often you can arrange for the players to be on the same watch time. As part of the same group or two separate groups that are suddenly called upon to investigate a murder, break up a tavern brawl or begin the hunt for a group of thieves that have been breaking into local homes recently.

    Locked up! Like the escape or else seed, locked up brings the character's from different backgrounds to be thrown into the local dungeon or jail together, each accused of various crimes ranging from brawling to theft to murder to mistaken identity. While in the jail an old NPC tells them about the lost city of or the last treasure of or....

    The Wreck: While this is mainly attuned for beginnings with no real story arc in place yet, it can be fun for bonding characters and players together with a in media res sort of way. The players were all passengers on a ship either crossing an ocean, an inner sea or traveling down a river when suddenly they are set upon by a storm that causes the ship to wreck. Each of the players wakes up one by one only to find themselves with short term amnesia from being tossed around and while they have memory of their skills, but they are limited. They may even find themselves castaways on a remote island or surrounded by a wartorn area overrun by hordes of monstrous species.

    The Leader: There are times when bringing players together can be done through one of the players themselves. With this seed one of the players is told that they are cursed or that they are the recipient (either accidentally or by giving to) of a cursed item that they must destroy or be killed by more powerful beings to get the item.

    The Caravan: In a similar string of seeds to that of Escape or Else or the Watch, the players are all a part of a caravan arriving into a town or are making their way to a town when they are attacked, they stop to help out another group of travelers that have survived an attack (which might occur again soon) or that they stop as a contingent of riders, knights or guards can be seen blocking the road while soot-covered bodies can be seen on either side of the road while many other guards are running towards a cave with shields and swords drawn. Or perhaps when the caravan stops at a caravansary for the night the players suddenly find themselves in an "escape or else" seed where the entire caravan has been captured and all the travelers are crammed together into iron cages.

    The Undead: Along the lines of in medias res the players suddenly find themselves and the village they are living in invaded by zombies, skeletons or other undead from the local grave sites. They must escape alive in order to stop the undead threat.

    Cosmic Threat: While this is more of a plot hook and bears a resemblance of in medias res, the use of a cosmic threat or horror is a great away for players to bond, to stand against the great threat that the region or village is about to experience. In this seed the players have all come to the village from different backgrounds and suddenly find themselves in the middle of a crisis. This can range from:     

    1) At night a fog appears from out of nowhere to ensnare the region. Purple glowing runes appear on every building within the area and horrid creatures appear out of the darkest corners during this time to attack or drag off victims.    

    2) Once per month on the same day a horrific-shaped Void ship arrives to the town to demand tribute. Beings in metal clockwork body armor invade the town as this tribute is gathered up into the ship.  

    3) A portal opens high above the town or region and the body of a huge figure can be seen falling towards the ground, as it gets closer to the surface it shrinks to the size of a normal humanoid.

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