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When building up to a brand-new campaign do you...

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When building up to a brand-new campaign do you find that you have accumulated more notes than you thought? :)

I have had a year-long gestating project (that has not even started gaming!), and have started pulling together all my bits and pieces of notes (I tend to type stuff to small documents rather than written notes). Around 6000 words from the bits and pieces already! Lot of work to do, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount I have done so far. Maybe in the next 6 months my psychics campaign will finally kick off! :)

So how do you GM's go about your campaign development?

Very slowly working towards completing my monograph.

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Personally, I'll put all the nuts and bolts to paper. House rules, a starting town/city/village, major civilized areas, leadership of those areas.

Then I'll let the rest unfold through play. My favorite campaign I've ever done was MW, a previously undiscovered Island continent that a noble had built a small town on in hopes of reaping riches in natural resources. The characters were hired to explore and clear certain areas, along with other NPCs with the same mission. They soon find out that the island was once inhabited and is dotted with ruins of towns and (of course) dungeons that are now swallowed by the jungles.

This was fun because they got to help shape the town, they ran into the other NPCs (who were not always friendly) , explore many ruins and find treasure, encounter many strange critters, and eventually they were granted their own piece of the land to raise a castle/stronghold and this gave them influence over politics on the island as well. It's on going and required very little start up work for me, the chronicler. Everything unfolded at a natural pace so I did the extra work when needed, and let them shape quite a bit of it through RP.

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Author QUASAR space opera system: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/459723/QUASAR?affiliate_id=810507

My Magic World projects page: Tooleys Underwhelming Projects

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I always end up writing more than I'll ever use... which is fine.

A new campaign might just mean new PCs... but otherwise in the same area with similar context, nothing all that new... but there is usually some core concept... some motivating element that makes it 'new' vs. being a continuation of some sort from previous games. So that's the grain of sand the pearl (hopefully it's a pearl...) forms around... what makes sets it apart from what's gone before.

I don't think in terms of story so much as places and people... atmosphere and such... themes maybe (building, corruption, exploration, renewal, vengeance, etc.).

Like, my fantasy games have mostly been set in the Eastern coastal areas... forests and grasslands and jungles... of my homebrew. A relatively civilized area with long history and few expanses of true wilderness. PCs have likewise been solid members of society with strong social ties.

But I've been slowly planning out what is over the mountains to the West... who lives there and how centering games there might feel different in some big ways. It's a frontier, relatively lawless but with enough shared history/culture to lull visitors from the East into a false sense of familiarity. The natural elements are a lot less tame there... so more lions, tigers and bears as well. All the reputations and infrastructure the PCs currently rely on don't exist over there.

So if the current PCs journey there, or we start up all new characters for that place, it's going to feel all sorts of different, hopefully.

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