As a Dungeon Master I try to incorporate specific D&D quest starters and roleplaying opportunities in for characters in my games. But some players like to make generic characters or not give enough material to inspire me. Other times what they give me is not appropriate at all times or where the campaign currently is. This has led me to make D&D quest starters by character class. These are jumping off points and ideas for generic character classes. These D&D quest starters might not be applicable to all characters of a chosen class and some of another class might be useful instead. These are designed to be a short one scene idea that should be complete in 5 or 10 minutes, but have the potential for much more based on how the roleplaying goes or how it is handled. Just because the encounter is overlooked does not mean the story needs to end there.
I decided since we have 12 character classes I am going to break this up into multiple posts doing a character class or two per post. If you like this series, perhaps I can make the same thing based off of background and or race as well. There are lots of possibilities to work with so let me know.
D&D quest starters — barbarian
First up we have barbarian. While it is common for many barbarian characters to dump Intelligence I am not going to assume that is the case. Barbarians are primal and savage. They are not civilized, but typically have a rich and strong culture if you decide to explore it. Are they nomadic by nature or do they have one location where the tribe permanently lives? Are they at war with another tribe? These are all good answers to know where your barbarian is coming from. With that let’s get into some quest starters.
- Contact with another tribe. It could be out in the wilderness or even in town, but you introduce another barbarian from an alternate tribe. Is it one the character has an issue with? Is it someone who helped the character when they were young? Depending on the player you could describe the NPC and allow the player to narrate who they are. This could insert a foil or a long lost friend. Be ready to fill in with ideas if you player does not want to take the agency and run with it.
- Contest of Strength. In D&D it is almost unheard of for a barbarian to not use Strength. It is vital, and a contest of strength is something many barbarians cannot pass up. Whether it is a slugging match where you just take turns punching each other in the face, a log toss or the staple of an arm wrestling contest, feats of strength are routed in tribal culture and barbarians typically love them. So if the characters wander into a village for the first time perhaps there is a competition going on or people are training for an upcoming one. Either way you get to have some roleplaying and maybe a few dice rolls. Maybe another character in the party will want to try as well.
- Ceremony. Civilized society and tribal culture all have certain things in common. There are certain ceremonies that must be done. It could be the time of year, it could be a coming of age or it could be the passing of a person of importance. It could be these or any number of things but what is certain is respect of culture is important. Here you could insert a fellow tribe member asking for the character to take part in an important ceremony. As stated it could be someone who has passed away, it could be a celebration of a first kill or hunt. It is honestly open to any idea you would like to do as a DM that you think the player will enjoy.
- Apprentice. This is one that can be applied to almost every character class. You have a youth who is an admirer and wants to follow in the character’s footsteps. This could start an official apprenticeship in a character class or trade. This would allow a constant source of roleplaying with all characters in the group and a drain on party resources as you have a low hit point NPC that could be trying to be a part of the combat. If you want you could have the apprentice only appear so often, with the character giving the NPC simple character class appropriate quests and to return when the quest is complete.
D&D quest starters — bard
Bards are scholars of a variety of topics. Fifth edition of D&D has presented the best version of bard I have ever seen. Here you have so many options to make your bard. Regardless of which Bard College you wind up going with there are certain things all bards share. They collect a lot of knowledge across a variety of subjects, they have Jack Of All Trades, they are able to perform to some degree, and even if they do not choose to follow that path they get proficiency with three musical instruments. They are social and used to talking to people, they are a Charisma based class. Going off of those topics and things many bards do here are some simple D&D quest starters that you might want to throw at your bard.
- Jealous lover. It is always possible a former companion or social exploit finds the bard and wants to yell and scream at them for past actions. Did the bard sneak out never to be seen or heard from again? is there a child involved? This path is best used if the player is playing up this type of character but do not force an uncomfortable situation upon the player.
- An Avid Fan. As a performer you always risk that you come across someone who loves what you do so much they are unable to control themselves around you. Insert the avid fan. This could be someone who is following the character into dangerous situations just to be around or something as simple as an NPC who comes up to the bard in town and is unwilling to leave them alone until they can find a way out of it. Maybe the bard has to write them a song or perform for them personally, but have fun with it.
- Salesperson. A bard is the closest thing to a rock star that D&D has to offer. This leaves them open to exploitation. The salesperson could be trying to make a name for themselves by making a new instrument or composing a new song or poem. They could be trying to sell such a thing to the bard or asking them to perform with or play the new song. This avenue is a way for the NPC to pay the bard to play an unfamiliar piece or instrument, or the opposite. The salesperson could be trying to get money out of the bard for said piece or idea.
- College member. A person from the bard’s past recognizes them. It could be a former person from the same college where the bard studied. It could be a person showing off their success or a former friend looking for a handout. It could simply be someone just trying to reconnect with a friend. This could easily represent an ally to be used later or just as easily be a foil as they are mad at the bard for their success.
- Apprentice. As stated above you can follow the same direction and have a youth who wants to learn from the bard.
If you really like these ideas please let us know and I can keep this going. After all there are 10 more character classes to figure out D&D quest starters.
Until next time, stay nerdy!