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0

In my current game, I went with the cliche "a group of strangers will work together as a team in life and death situations", but I added a couple of touches to it to make it a bit more likely. First, I gave each character a fairly in-depth backstory to explain how they all ended up in the same spot at the same time. You can try to get the players to write ...


1

I think you need to ask yourself some more questions (in addition to what other good answers say): Is it important for your story for the characters to know/not know each other? Are motivations for adventuring and backstories important for the players or your story? What’s the beginning of the story? I think the more you need PC backgrounds and ...


5

Lately I mostly play one-off games at conventions and such. In that context, characters who don't know each other at the beginning are pretty common. I think what's more important is that you have players who are willing to cooperate with each other. I have a friend who I don't game with anymore, because he obstructs the story and annoys everyone else under ...


18

There's no definite one way to go, though I prefer to have characters know each other. Here's some options and what you get of it: Total Strangers How well does this work? Well that depends on whether your players are all willing to buy into "a group of strangers will work together as a team in life and death situations". It's a trope that makes up a ...


7

It’s purely up to you and your players; there is no “should” here. Many campaigns start with a “session 0” where people discuss their characters, and whether or not any of them know any of the others. Typically DMs merely set a time and place, and tell players “make sure your character has a good reason to be here when the story starts,” or something along ...


8

Fate Core, and other Fate-based systems, seem to do exactly what you're asking for. Since you're asking specifically about character backgrounds, I'll skip the part about collaborative game-world creation, which is also present in these games, and skip straight to the characters. Chapter 3: Character Creation (FC30) opens with the header "Character Creation ...


0

Technoir immediately sprang to my mind. The core scenario mechanic involves a list of 6 contacts, places, objects, organisations, something I can't remember and threats which are randomly combined with the GM inventing the reasons for their connections. This could probably be modified to do what you want.


8

Microscope works fine for this. The two problems you note aren't actually problems Microscope itself brings to the table: Microscope focuses on historical events and questions. This is the usual focus of Microscope, but it's an effect of the type of history the group has chosen, not the game itself. Choosing the history of a group of people will result in ...


4

As far as 5E published material goes, there are really only three - Lost Mine of Phandelver (in the STarter Set), Hoard of the Dragon Queen/Rise of Tiamat, and Princes of lemental Evil. Lost Mine of Phandelver has a well-described village, Phandelin, that will make a good base of operations. Phandelin is a frontier town at the beginning of a gold rush, ...


9

There are no published 5e Forgotten Realms supplements as of yet, and they have changed the Realms a good bit with each new edition. If you don't care about "keeping up with the new timeline," the most supported classic starting location is far and away: Shadowdale Sourcebook and Adventure Coverage This town in the Dalelands is given some detail in the ...


5

Player knowledge is based on the fact that once you put the book for Cthulu on the table, people will expect this adventure to be about Cthulu. Surprise them. Play adventures that on the outside seem to be mysterious but turn out to be normal life. Play adventures that look like normal life but have horror right where they don't expect it. Now, to do ...


5

Experiment It's a bit like cooking. If you want to serve a new meal and you don't have any new ingredients, try different mixtures or techniques to change the flavour. Have the characters explore new, unprecedented combinations of monsters. Maybe the Elder Ones decided to ally themselves with Nyarlathotep? You can also change the pace and genre of the game ...


3

I think you think you have a problem you don't actually have. Pretty much any genre can be boiled down in the same manner you boiled down CoC. (e.g. Fantasy ends with "kill the baddie, get the reward".) Just because something is iterative doesn't mean that it also can't be varied. That said, let's try and work with practical advise to vary up the feel of ...


2

If you are running a one-shot (which may run over two or three sessions), then I am afraid the only practical outcomes are success or failure: the fortunate Investigators return to their former lives, sadder and wiser and with a few stories to tell to the few who may believe them. But a long-term campaign needs to touch on the wide scope of the evil ...


3

You should definitely check out http://orbis.stanford.edu/ You can figure travel speeds between real roman places, and come up with an analogue in your world, or just use their travel speeds. And they have a whole section on river travel speeds in the "Building" tab on the introductory popup page. In the "civilian" mode, the most common downriver ...



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