d20 Great Starting Points For Your Next Adventure

Roleplaying Tips Newsletter #0889

This simple prompt in a D&D 5E group caught my interest:

Good starting area besides a tavern?

Short and to the point. I like it.

So I thought I’d share some ideas to maybe inspire your next adventure.

Before I brainstorm d20 starting points, though, a couple of thoughts to pass along.

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Begin As You Would End

This works in three ways.

Prep A Bit First

I’ve learned the hard way you should prep what you can before committing.

I was chatting with RPT Patron Robert Ojamo via Skype and he mentioned how not
prepping in advance made him prep frantically before each session. Very stressful.

My experience is the same. Thus my hiatus on season three of my Murder Hobos campaign
until I’m ready to run.

I predict if you begin organized you have a much greater chance of staying so.

Begin with lots of ideas and notes on villains, plot, and setting, and you’ll have a deep well
to draw from during sessions.

Begin with aids, generators, tables, and tools all bookmarked and queued up, and you’re
armed for repeated contact with the Hobos.

Set Tone

Use first encounters to set theme, mood, and style.

Set the tone right away.

Have your razor in mind to keep you on track when making the million decisions that
reflect genre, plot, and theme.

Forge Ties

Bond your group together. Get over that uncomfortable period of party formation, character
personality, new players meeting everyone.

Log each player’s name, character name, and key character traits so you can use them a lot.

Each time you say a name you give players a chance to remember it and save an awkward
moment of, “Hey you.”

Create a first experience that explains why the PCs are together and why they trust each

Create a first encounter that gives the party clear motivation or next steps into your

Ok, enough rambling. Here’s a quick brainstorm of interesting ways you might start off
next adventure:

d20 Adventure Starts

  1. In the middle of combat. Explain details after the victory.
  2. On a ship in a storm.
  3. In a caravan being attacked.
  4. Stuck in line before the castle gate when villain minions strike.
  5. In the first competitive event of a festival.
  6. In the middle of a kidnapping.
  7. Saving themselves and others during a natural disaster.
  8. In the dungeon of the slave lords.
  9. In jail. (One time I started PCs in nooses on the gallows. Last time they stuck their necks out in that campaign!)
  10. Soldiers of a special unit on patrol or on a mission.
  11. Guards called to a weird situation.
  12. Stranded on an isolated island.
  13. In a crowd watching an event that goes terribly wrong.
  14. Naked, covered in blood, in the forest, just returning to consciousness.
  15. A murder in a mansion during a party.
  16. A family reunion that goes awry.
  17. A guild meeting crashed by the villain.
  18. Mercenaries returning with loot from a victory when something bad happens.
  19. A sink hole opens up carrying the PCs to a strange place.
  20. A tavern plagued by mimics. You laugh, the players laugh, the table laughs, it’sa good time.