Campaign Reboot in 3 Easy Steps - Inject New Life Into Your RPG

Rebooting My Murder Hobos Campaign (And Yours) in Three Easy Steps

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)
  • Plots
  • Timeline

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.

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