All Choices and No Decisions
Apologies for the decreasing post rate that this blog has been experiencing as of late. Posts usually emerge when I’ve had all my game planning done, but I’m now experiencing my very first DM’s block! Que horror! Que shock!
Of course, the dilemma of trying to lock down plans for a session is common to any DM. Many a message board or blog is devoted to outlining a campaign trajectory. Entire pages in the Dungeon Master’s Guide for 4th Ed are devoted to going beyond designing encounters and towards developing the campaign. Furthermore, between the Internet, movies and books, inspiration is not in short supply.
Perhaps the most daunting task of developing a campaign narrative is not necessarily finding inspiration, but looking at the options you want to present your players and sticking with just a few. Simply put, it’s not that I don’t have any idea what I can do this Saturday. It’s that there are too many things I can do. It’s possible this is because our campaign’s story is only getting started.
The party has defeated a cult devoted to Belashyrra and have journeyed to the eastern side of the Shadow Marches to go dragonshard hunting, where they’ve met another treasure hunter who has beaten them to good find. My intention over the next few weeks is to get them in a dungeon again soon, and at some point, make a pit stop at civilization.
Call it a newbie DM’s – not to be confused with THE NewbieDM – moment of paralytic indecision. Do I push the adventurers towards Droaam or Zarash’ak? What new adventures result from meeting a well-financed relic hunter? How do the aberrant creatures of Khyber and the Gatekeepers who battle them fit into all these other threads?
There are just so many ways to go. Heck, I came up with more than a dozen bad guys and thirty plot ideas from the Tome Show’s review of the Eberron books. The entire WotC archive of 3.5 era Eberron columns is enough to sustain hundreds of campaigns worth of plot. Granted, I could be overthinking this. Corinna, who plays Tyq, has a reputation for being the loot-taking butt-kicker, while Raymz is pretty much happy to be a player for once.
So, my question to you DMs out there is, how do you handle campaign indecision?