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All Rules in Gamemastering

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Starting a Campaign

Source PRPG Core Rulebook pg. 396
Before you run a game, you need to know what kind of game you’ll be running. Whether you write out the plans for the coming session in a dozen notebooks, scribble down ideas and key NPC stat blocks on a bunch of sticky notes or your computer, or just have a vague idea of a plot and a few names in your head, you’ll need to prepare parts of your adventure before the game begins. Some GMs enjoy the challenge of presenting a “sandbox” for the players to explore at their whim, but even then you need to know what kind of things are in that sandbox for the PCs to encounter. And as a general rule, everything you can prepare before the game begins will save you time making decisions during the game. Even more important, preparation beforehand allows you to maintain consistency—few things ruin the suspension of disbelief more for a group of discerning players than having the Game Master call the local innkeeper “Radimus” one session and “Penelope” the next. Preparing for your adventure beforehand can help you maintain innkeeper gender identities and so much more!

Of course, the backbone of any campaign is the adventures that comprise it, be they an intricately connected series of plots and storylines or an open-ended sandbox of possibility. But where do these adventures come from? There are, essentially, two sources for adventures. You can build your own from scratch, or you can run a published adventure. Both options have different pros and cons, and you certainly don’t have to limit yourself to only one choice for the duration of a campaign.