Rebooting My Murder Hobos Campaign (And Yours) in Three Easy Steps
Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0745
Rebooting My Murder Hobos Campaign
Let’s talk about a campaign reboot. But before that, let me crack open the champagne and yell Happy Year +1!
Alana and I had a great time visiting her parents in snowy Salmon Arm, B.C. We spent Christmas there, then flew back to ring in the changing of the calendar with dinner out and a movie about Wallstreet corruption.
With 2017 upon me, it’s time for a new campaign reboot of my campaign.
By the end of 2016 I was bored of my campaign. The PCs are dungeon crawling, the plot is empty, and gameplay devolved into endless combats. A friend called me a Creative over the holidays (her capitalization, not mine). She says I’m always brimming with ideas and drawn to do new things.
Boon or curse? Maybe you are so afflicted too.
I want to see Murder Hobos go to 20th level. I also want to take the D&D 5E system for the full tour, see how it plays at higher levels, and see what befalls our chaotic neutral PCs.
I thus choose to eschew the tug of starting a shiny new campaign and instead shall reboot Murder Hobos!
Here’s how I’m doing this, using new techniques I learned in 2016 plus a few of my own.
Step 1. Write a Story Summary
In a short paragraph using Campaign Logger, I outline the campaign played so far.
Brevity is key here because I’m more interested in the future than the past.
I do this as refresher and to help maintain consistency when integrating new ideas in Step 3.
Step 2. Write a One-Page Plot Summary
Looking forward, what are my plans?
I don’t script my campaigns. Instead, I just write a rough outline of:
- The situation (the Story Summary above)
- The major conflicts (Loopy Plots and Fronts)
- The key Factions and Villains
- 1-3 Impending Dooms (adventure possibilities) for each Faction, Villain, Plot
- Campaign Stakes for each PC (mining backstories)
This quick gathering and creating of information gives me a campaign-at-a-glance.
I’m using past ideas and adding new ones.
I also benefit here from refreshing all ideas. A lot happened in the campaign during 2016 and ideas became invalidated.
Step 3. Create My Campaign Bucket List
Ok, here’s my favourite part.
Let’s dream a bit. Using my Encounter Seeds Formula and general brainstorming, what exciting and cool things do I want in my campaign in 2017?
I can add anything to this list, including adventure ideas, villain plots, new NPCs, Impending Dooms, weird locations, plot twists, encounter seeds, magic items. Anything.
I group ideas into Campaign Buckets as I write:
- Cast of Characters (People)
- Gazeteer (Places)
- Quartermaster (Things)
I’m tagging everything as I go in Campaign Logger so all these ideas have names and instant references / web pages / links. Therefore, all ideas are instantly bucketed for me.
As a bonus, Campaign Logger tags and links are sharable with Evernote, MyInfo, OneNote, Scrivener, etc., so any long-form campaign plans can incorporate my reboot easily.
The Bucket list is my favourite part. As a Creative (or just a scatterbrain), it lets me inject new ideas into my campaign regularly. It breaks my current malaise with cool new experiences and story elements.
Those are my three simple steps to a campaign reboot. You can take these steps anytime — right now even — to reboot your flagging campaign and get excited about it again in 2017. If you do, please let me know how it goes.