One of my favorite parts of D&D is seeing the kinds of monsters DMs bring to the table to face off against the party. Sometimes, the monsters are foul undead, bent on sucking the life from any mortal they find. Sometimes, the monsters are maddening extraplanar creatures from another world, too alien to understand and too mind-shattering to behold. But, sometimes, it’s just:
If your campaign's story is beginning to take shape before you have even met your Player Characters - You NEED to step back a little.
I just made this mistake myself.
I’m potentially trying to get a monthly game together in the near future - I don’t even know who I’d be playing with yet. I began seeding a few adventure ideas involving a town overrun by bandits… Which, in my excitement, turned all the way into an epic quest to retrieve the sword of the Dwarven King, and return it to it’s rightful owner to lead a revolution in the mountain kingdoms.
Don’t get me wrong, I plan on keeping these leads in my back pocket… but this is how boring railroaded gaming begins.
I need to step back, and think about what stories will effect the characters most.
Whenever an adventure hook is something along the lines of, “YOU MUST STOP THE LORD WRECKYOURSHITICUS FROM BEING RESURRECTED” there’s a substantial part of you that secretly wants the party to fail.
If you succeed, wouldn’t it be the most anticlimactic thing ever? “Yay! We avoided the final boss fight! I guess we go home now. *awkward pause* Why did I even bother acquiring the Sword of Ultimate Sharpness and the Meteor Apocalypse Spell anyway? I never got to use it…”