How many games of Dungeons and Dragons have you played in that have started with? “So you look around and find yourself in a tavern.” My guess is to many, but who’s fault is it?
Is it the Dungeon Master’s fault? Is there something the players could do to fix this? Do we need the gods themselves to come down and put an end to this trope? Yes, yes, and no is the answer. See for the longest time I believed it was my job as the DM to bring the adventuring party together. It took me years to open my eyes and realize it’s the players game as well and they are every bit as responsible for the fun at the table as the Dungeon Master.
After all role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons are supposed to be cooperative story telling between DM and players. So why is it one guy or gal has figure out why all the other guys and gals are together in adventuring party to begin with? Then it finally occurred to me. The DM doesn’t have to. The players can do it themselves.
Why are we Adventuring Together- Making of the Adventuring Party
No Party like a D&D Party!
Session Zero is the perfect place to start letting the players fit these puzzle pieces together. Of course the DM can build the bridges where necessary. Even if all of the adventuring party doesn’t start out together having them in groups still helps. Or maybe you don’t even need it to be explain in the beginning. Through the course of the campaign it could come out how everyone met.
The D&D party knowing each other can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be. Simple everyone knows each other as either friends or acquaintances and it never gets explained. Complex is everyone has a different story how they know each individual character in the party that could amount to pages of back story notes for everyone. In the end that part doesn’t matter nearly as much as what those characters are all going to do now that they are together. That is when and where the game starts.
Ideas for the party being together for DMs and Players
- Last survivors of a town, city, caravan, war
- Ship wrecked together
- Prisoners together are or were
- Serve in an army or militia together
- Members of a merchant guild
- Childhood friends
- All summoned by the king/queen
- All sought out by a mysterious wizard
- Each receives a invitation to a diner party
- Each posses a piece of an object that come together to form a whole. Their search for the other pieces have lead them to each other.
- They all respond to the same job listing
- They all belong to the same crime gang
- Characters could all be related
- Priest of a powerful church has had a vision involving all of the players
- Traveling together by ship or caravan
- Players all have the same patron
- Players all have the same enemy
Not only will these suggestions bring the party together if they are suggested by the players the DM can use that for plot hooks later in the campaign. Any of those events could be in the near or even distant past. They don’t even have to be elaborated on immediately. Again things can come out during the game. Dungeon Masters don’t be afraid to tell your players it’s their job to figure out how they all know each other.
Or the other method is as the Dungeon Master you need all the players in a certain location at a certain time. Just tell them what you need and let them make up the reasons and motivations for how and why they got there. You may very well end up with surprise plot hooks and adventure material from what they come up with.
Remember the responsibility for the fun at the table belongs to everyone playing not just the Dungeon Master.
Until Next time “Stay Nerdy”
My name is Dave Friant I’ve been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it’s always been a part of my life I’ve kept secret and hidden away. I’ve always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth.
Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I’m gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life.
Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG’s.