My players, thankfully, are deviously clever bastards who can whip up amazing stories on the fly, and who once had an in-character argument carry on for over two hours over morality, in-universe politics, and terms of employment. I am a very lucky DM.
Unless it involves coming up with how their characters meet. Then suddenly they shut up and wait for me to come up with something. Infuriating!
On topic: I like starting off with a fight. Players are imprisoned and need to lead a slave revolt. They enter an inn for the night only to walk in on a Shoggoth invasion. Make everyone roll a drinking check and let the drunkest one get into some wacky shenanigans. Ninjas attack!
>>44638993 >>44638993 I had a few 3 players owned a merchant ship (captian, firstmate, chef respectively) 1 player rented out to use to move his merchant goods 1 was a stowaway
A hilarious one was the two monks of the party were midwives for the local temple but after 2 years of work never sucessfully delivered a child alive, so they were kicked out and meet up with a group of actors which player 3 and 4 were hired to protect on the road
My group likes to weave the story together before playing the first quest, it helps to roleplay the characters in a neutral environment before introducing the first quest
>>44639801 I think this one is actually worse than the tavern, mostly due to bad memories of some really, really bad GMs I had as a kid. The weird thing though is that the "you all wake up in a prison" cliche is also really common in videogames (both Bioware and Bethesda fucking loves it) and published RPG campaigns (the Harlock Legacy campaign in Dark Heresy begins this way, for example), and doesn't have a bad rep like the tavern one.
In Shadowrun, the standard is "you all meet at a Stuffer Shack".
>>44639801 It's not awful. You want a beginning to give a immediate reason for people, even very different people, to work together. Being in a situation where it's time to work together or die can be good, and figuring out how they got there gives a good question to ask.
Once the characters are established and have worked together it's easy to justify them doing more together.
>You wait in the shadows cast by the tall bookshelves in the back of the library. Surrounded by the warm smells of old books well cared for and beeswax polish used on the floor with weapons held in your hands as you wait in ambush for the beast that hunts you.
>Impact with the water wakes you up and you fight to the surface as the storm rages overhead, a flare of lightning revealing a distant shore. Nearby a man struggles into a life raft that a woman clings to, bleeding from a long cut on her cheek into the black nighttime water.
>>44638993 The PC's are all passangers on a river barge that is going to take a day or two to get to the destination. They have a chance to get to know each other, then throw a random encounter at them.
>>44638993 >Insurance Fraud Starting plot hook, still needs a meeting place though. https://www.reddit.com/r/rpg/comments/135921/insurance_fraud_a_quick_easy_adventure_hook_that/
>Random Starting character connections >(Advises to have two relationship ties to two other pcs, and those relationship ties both have either a location, or a desire / need associated with them.) https://rpgcharacters.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/totally-not-a-dnd-fiasco.pdf
>Feat the Boot group template questionnaire http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/wp-content/uploads/resources/2_GroupTemplateQuestionnaire.pdf >Example version http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/wp-content/uploads/resources/2_GroupTemplateQuestionnaire_Example.pdf >FTB Resources master page http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/index.php/resources
Some alternate ideas to: "You all meet in a tavern." >Have the PCs meet at a temple. Each has come separately seeking some sort of service (prayers for good fortune, healing potion for sick parent, marriage license, blessing for the crops, etc.), and the priest needs something done in return that the PCs must cooperate to accomplish.
>Near a crossroads in the wilderness. The PCs all arrive separately near sundown, and this is the only good campsite available. They start by figuring out if they can trust each other, and the DM can spring an event on them in the middle of the night that leads into a more extensive cooperation.
> In jail. The PCs have to cooperate to escape, and the circumstances of the escape (or the imprisonment) lead them to keep working together. Maybe they've all been connected to a crime they didn't commit, and they need to turn up evidence to clear their names. Maybe one of the PCs knows the whereabouts of a treasure trove, and promises to share equally if the other PCs help him escape.
>>44638993 >>44643243 >Shipmates. The PCs all end up together on the same ship/conveyance of DM's choice. Originally, they are planning on going their separate ways, but fate intervenes--something happens that forces them to cooperate to ensure their common survival or gives them a common purpose (shipwreck, mutiny, piracy, ship runs out of or loses something important and captain sends the PCs to secure it, etc.)
>Their bosses are important figures in the power structure of the city or village or kingdom, and these bosses decide to cooperate on a project or mission of some sort, assigning the PCs to work together and represent their boss/guild/organization's interests in the affair.
> The PCs are minor members of a traveling circus or troup of jongleurs. Their troup is set upon by a mob or bandits and wiped out, except for the PCs, who have to figure out how to make enough money to get back home. Recent events lead the PCs to believe that adventuring probably isn't much more dangerous than acting, and the rewards are potentially much greater. (Different classes with no obvious performer roles can have different roles--the fighter starts out as the bouncer or gatekeeper, the cleric as the troup's healer, druid is the animal keeper or horse-handler, etc.)
>>44638993 >>44643259 >In feudal Japan, at the border of each daimyo's feifdom there were governmental border patrol checkpoints. Nobles got right through, samurai had to show some papers, commoners got the bureaucratic runaround. They had to hang around there while "their papers were checked out." The adventurers could meet under similar circumstances, cloistered at the border while the attendants there sent for a divinatory spellcaster to "figure out what they're up to." This could take hours, days, as long as the gamemaster needs it to be, or as long as they are enjoying it. A similar setup at the gate to a walled city--the characters have to wait around in a "guest room" with multiple other travelers for a few hours. >Alternatively for a modern or sci-fi campaign, due to their background checks / owned equipment, the party is taken out of the line at an Airport / Spaceport, and while delayed, an event occurs which draws the party together.
>Foreign Legion idea: each PC has done something or is believed to have done something (built into the character design by the player) that requires that they make a new start, with new identities. They are invited to join (via messenger) the “foreign legion” of the empire (or whatever). It’s their only out. Put in 6 years, get out with official new start, all crimes forgiven. Alternate take to a prison campaign, works as a good introduction to a military-centric campaign, requires a fair bit of planning, as you'll want to create at least a light adventure module around basic training, but if done well: it quickly introduces them to the primary factions of the world, and gives them an understanding into the political conflicts occurring in the world as they adventure along the countryside
Party was working under the same employer as accountants and salesmen and whatnot. So they're on a space yacht to celebrate the acquisition of a rival company's assets when a terrorist attack occurs. Being one of the few members on board who knew how to fire guns, the players naturally gravitated towards each other.
Several PCs had been independently tracking down the local branch of an evil cult and they all simultaneously burst into the cult's headquarters in the middle of an evil ritual of some kind. One or more PCs had been captured earlier and were about to be sacrificed as part of said ritual.
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