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Unsure how to start my campaign

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#1 sertaff



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Posted 04 December 2008 - 01:18 PM

I am thinking of running a Grimm campaign along the lines of the old D and D cartoon, kids trapped in a strange land trying to get back home while fighting dark forces along the way.  The primary goal may be in reminding Jack who he is.  Unfortunetly I am at a loss of how to start such a campaign.  I want to do the first story starts as how the kids got to the Grimm lands but I can not think of a way to start this. I would appreceate any advice in this regard.


#2 Bad Dog

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 06:36 PM

Why not let the players do that for you.  Present them with a situation (you have all been locked below deck onboard a pirate ship, you have all taken shelter in a cave from the storm that rages outside, etc), which brings all the characters together; along with any NPCs that you want to introduce at this time.  Then point out that in their current predicament, it will be some time before they will be able to effectively escape the cave/pirate ship/whatever; so while they are waiting for the ship to dock/storm to pass/whatever, they might as well pass the time sharing stories of who they are, and how they came to be here.  You can have one of the NPCs make the suggestion, and offer to go first, providing any relavent facts about their current predicament that the players are going to need to know in order to tell their own stories.  The players then take turns talking about their characters and how they came to be captured/trapped/etc.  This gives each player a opportunity to get into the role of their character, develop bonds of friendship with their fellow captives/fugitives/whatever, and get into the frame of mind for playing a game that is driven more by story plot and co-operation than dice rolling.  Once everyone has told their stories, they will most likely  lead right into strategizing a means of escape/plans for travel/what comes next.  When the time is right, the ship can set anchor/the storm can abate/the story can go on.  This also gives you the advantage of having introduced one or more NPCs that the players have taken into their confidence, for later plot use.

#3 sertaff



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Posted 06 December 2008 - 03:39 PM

I was thinking along the lines of having the first game start in the real world about like the introductury story in the Grimm book.  Take the intro to the old DandD cartoon.  If I were using this as my start I would have the game start when the PCs are standing on the loading dock watching their rollercoaster car pulling up or about an hour earlyer while the PCs were making their way though the park seperatly or together.

My problem is the age of the PCs.  Most parents now a days do not let their 9 to 12 year old childern on their own for very long ( that is if they are good parents).  I do not want to copy the intro to the book but want to do something like it but I am at a loss as to how it should play out.  It would allow the players to really think about the childrens first reactions to being trapped in a strange unkown land.


#4 lynx_child



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Posted 09 December 2008 - 09:51 AM

There are a couple of ways you could do it.

For my Grimm one-shot, none of the characters knew each other and none could remember how they got there or the past day at all, they just appeared at a crossroads in Grimm.  In the end it turned out that the Rotten King had brought them all there and had been using them the entire time.  They all had one thing in common: each character had been seconds away from hitting the ground after a very long fall that would probably kill them. The King had plucked them from the Real World right before impact.  The Rotten King had needed some lackeys, and he had a soft spot for those who had fallen from a great height, being Humpty Dumpty and all.

For my first Grimm campaign, they would go to Grimm in their dreams.

For my upcoming Grimm campaign, they are all exploring a haunted house that belonged to a woman who had become famous for turning fairy tales into poems and publishing them with beautiful illustrations.  Upon her death, her house began to suck children into the dark fairy tale world.


You could have them on a camping trip but they get lost and end up in Grimm, or something could chase them into Grimm.  Or maybe one is telling a fairy tale and it starts to come to life around them.

#5 thehuntercat



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Posted 10 December 2008 - 01:40 PM

I had my game start of with the kids in detention (yeah, even the good kids), and each kid had to tell ME why they were there. I had a creepy Adult stand at the front of the class and just stare at the kids, making strange and often pointless remarks. As the detention went on, the small storm that was going on outside gets worse...the strange guy leaves, and tells the kids to remain in their seats "or ELSE"....

The kids of course get antsy. then realize looking outside that water is slowly rising to the level of the windows...they better leave their seats.

The Outcast busts into the teachers desk, and grabs some of the contraband items theirin (a cell phone, a swiss army knife, and a copy of the book "The Marvelous Wizard of Oz"...which was banned in the school, due to its occult references...this is America after all...)..

The kids skedaddle and enter the schools main hallway, which is flooded with water. Notebooks and school materials floating atop.

The kids eventually follow the hallway which turns into a ocean cave. Meanwhlie, the creepy adult trails them issuing threats on the childrens lives for leaving  their seats.

That is how my game started.

#6 Jaegerpenguin



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Posted 28 December 2008 - 10:32 AM

My game started with three players besides me, the Narrator.  I used a similar insertion to the example at the start of the book.  The children were enticed to steal the contents of a cabinte, only to find a long stairwell which lead them to a cave where they were abducted.  They later escape, meet a rock dwarf who, after major convincing, takes them to the forest.

  The problem I had then was inserting new PCs.  I decided to use my second idea.  I created a mysterious entity called "The Sandman" who leads children to the Grimmlands through their dreams.  One new PC fell asleep, and had a wonderful dream that he was being carried through the air by a beautiful angel, however, he was jarred awake, and found that the beautiful arms were actually ugly talons of one of the Sandman's servants.  He struggled and managed to break free, plunmmeting to the ground.  Surviving the fall, he meets with the original PCs and they exchange stores, goals, and then begin moving together.

  There are also three NPC kids who have been taken away, but not yet eliminated.  Each of them is a possible PC start point.

#7 thehive



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Posted 02 January 2009 - 07:30 AM

I have decided, when I do get around to running this, to run a dark Christmas story. As soon as I worked out the general details for what was going on, how to start the game came right to me: the characters are all involved (either on stage, in the orchestra, or as stage crew) in a school play - A Christmas Carol. When the curtains are drawn back, it will suddenly become very cold and they will really be in an old-world village ... somewhere in the Grimm Lands.

My first recommendation, school function (either at the school or maybe on a field trip). A trip to a strange museum. A birthday party. Camping out in the back yard in the family tent when summer begins. All good places to start. I just try to think of the things I did and places I went as a kid where there was adult supervision, but one could easily slip away into another world should the occasion arise.

I hope that helps!

#8 Sartredes



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Posted 05 February 2009 - 10:32 AM

This RPG has caught my interest. I was actually pondering the same question about how to start a one-shot/campaign. Some of the ideas here are pretty good. The one I thought of before reading this thread was the group of children were left by their parents in the children's book wing of the local library for storytime while they are off doing something else in the library. Either during the reading, the children are lulled to sleep and wake up in the land of Grimm, or storytime ends and as they walk down the aisles of books they enter the lands of Grimm (similar to the wardrobe in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe). I like the detention starter a lot too.

#9 BigBadQDaddy



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Posted 09 February 2009 - 05:38 PM

One way I kind of just thought up would be to have the kids all going down one of those tubular covered playground slides. When it dawns on them that they should have reached the bottom after a few seconds but havn't yet the tension and alien-ness of the situation could be a good intro. Of course after a while the slide eventually ends and opens up into the Grimm lands, but not without delivering a few scares on the way down.

#10 Marred_Bard



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Posted 17 February 2009 - 09:53 PM

I personally really like the option which places the children in a predicament and then focuses on storytelling - we've never tried something like that, and I think along with all the other amazing elements of Grimm that make it more of a 'role-playing' game than a 'roll-playing' game, this really puts the players in the midst of the aciton.

We'll have to see how it turnst out!

#11 RhinoBarbarian



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Posted 16 April 2009 - 07:07 AM

One of the ways I plan on starting a game(I am still looking for players) is to have it start in a children's wing at a hospital. All the kids are there and they are very sick. In fact, they are dying but the doctors have no idea why. At some point in time, a mysterious stranger visits each one of them and tells them that if they come with him/her/it(haven't decided who or what the visiter is yet) to the Grimm Lands and defeat The Rotten King, he/she/it will cure them of their disease.

My ideas for who the visiter are one or both of the Brothers Grimm. Or someone who opposes The Rotten King but only because he wants to rule the Grimm Lands so he is going to use the children to defeat The Rotten King and take the crow for himself. In case of the second option, the children could go back after they learn the truth and fight that character as well.

#12 The Alchemist

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 01:51 AM

I did "The Mystery Play" to my players. They actually got scared. As in, the real players. In real life. I felt so good. It was like tham telling me in the most sincere way possible that I was a good narrator.

Anyway they all started hearing voices or having weird dreams or stuff. Then they all started falling into mirrors(One actually fall into a pond. An extreamly deep pond).

They all ended up next to various broken mirrors in the Grimmlands. Except the guy who had to climb out of the well. 

#13 AlfaGirl



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Posted 26 February 2010 - 07:43 AM

Well, this is gonna be my first time as GM (or Narrator, I should say), I've only got experience as a player so far (and admittedly not a whole lot at that), but I'm totally happy about going for it. I know how I'm gonna start - at Summer Camp :) The plan is that there is this Summer Camp 'where you're kids are gonna learn some real social skills and teamwork', only then it's in the middle of nowhere with some really weird old woman as the Camp Leader (she's gonna be a Grimm person, in the end) and some kids wander off and come across this really odd crossroads in the hills/meadows just outside camp... And when they start walking the Road, they enter the Grimm Lands... So that at least I've got covered, I think.

I'm lucky in that I got together a group of very experienced players (not Grimm though, so it should be fun exploring a new system together) and they've promised to give this greenhorn GM a relatively easy time of it ;-) So far I'm still learning the system (the book is very nice and detailed and clear, but I'm still glad this forum seems active so that I can find some help if needed...) but I really like the outset. I've even picked up two different translations of the old Grimm tales to do my research - first session in a month's time :)

That being said, I'd still appreciate any tips and/or pointers experienced players have for me - does anyone see any immediate flaws with respect to my starting point...? I do realize from reading the previous posts here that I need to give them a chance to pick up some Keepsakes - hmm, maybe they'll be on an excursion out of the camp, and therefore carrying some stuff...

#14 fallenram



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Posted 01 March 2010 - 02:12 PM

I just kicked off a campaign the other night and the players had a blast.  Here's how I started them off:

Living in Oregon I played on the old Goonies locale of Astoria as I know the coast quite well.  I started the kids off on a rainy, school day in Feb. This allowed for them to not necessarily like each other. The Nerd who took home-schooled, finally convinced his parents to let him attend public school. Of course his first day is a field trip. The kids travel to a coastal maritime museum/fort. They get bothered by the class Bully (NPC) and got a chance to throw dice a couple times to steal things or cause some mischief. ( a nice intro to the L6 system) Then when the PE teacher leaves them a lone to go flirt with one of the other teachers the bully starts a fight with a jock (NPC) when he steals the Popular Kids (PC) new iPhone. The Juvie outcast (PC) sneaked behind the Bully and tied his laces. The Jock pushes the bully who falls, hitting his head and KO'ing him. The group spurred on by the Popular kid hed off to find the phone which fell down a grate.  The kids find a cargo elevator and after a little juvie teamwork they got the lock picked and ride the lift down.  Once in the tunnels below the fort the elevator collapsed trapping them.  They find the cell phone, and a tunnel leading out to the coast. As they travel the concrete turns to cave. After taking a fork in the tunnel the floor below them collapsed and they fell into a sea-cave. Lit only by the light from a single cave enterance they dried their clothes and found an ornate boat tied to a small pier. They decided to take the boat and try to float out.  Once aboard and an the mooring is untied the boat takes off on it own. Eventually the boat exits the cave after a short flume ride and starts heading out to sea. The dreamer swore the figure head was grinning the further the boat got from shore. Eventually the boat stops when land was no longer in sight.  The boat floats for a bit giving the PC's a chance to kibitz about their situation. A fog starts to roll in towards them. The coast guard shows up after introducing them to the despair rules and having them role a quick pluck check.  As the rescue diver prepares to jump in and the helicopter hovers above a dark object bust out of the sea on all sides of them, so big it blocked out the sky and the rescue chopper. They all get tossed out of the boat and some nearly drown. After waking and finding everyone they decide they may just be in the belly of a whale.  The rolling hills beneath their feet was fleshy, the air was warm and musty, smelled like rotten fish, and a small moon-like dot illuminated a pitch black starless sky. They quickly start to assume they were swallowed by a whale. "I think I saw this on Pinnochio", said the Popular girl.

They then start searching for the missing Jock (NPC).  Smelling smoke they follow their noses to an overturned sailing ship being used as a house.  They search the house and find no-one at home. There was a pot of fish-stew boiling over a fire, some jars with gross stuff in them (eyes balls, entrails, etc.). The only weird thing was everything was slightly larger than adult size. Their look out hears something and the scramble to hide around the room. Tina the Sea Hag (GL 7) enters dragging the seeming unconscious Jock.  Before they can react the Hag plops him on the table, lops of a leg and tosses it in the pot. I pounded on the table when she cut the leg off and everyone jumped it was classic. The group then gets caught.  The popular kid cons her into letting them cook for her as "kids from where they're from are poisonous unless they are cooked just right". They strike a deal, she figures they have nowhere to go in the whale anyway so she leaves them to cook as she goes to make sure there aren't any more kids running around her whale. So they poison the stew. And quickly learn that Home Ec could be more useful than scrap. Problems ensue. They ended up trapping her leg under a large shelf they pushed on her and then lighting her and the entire house on fire.  After the hag is dispatched they start to make plans on how to exit the whale when a voice interrupts them.  Its the whale he thanks them for killing the Hag that has been upsetting his tummy for some time and offer to help them out.  Before they can ask or direct his aid he spits them out.  They fly for sometime eventually landing in the ocean near a dinghey that was also spit out. As they started to wonder what next a sail appeared on the horizon.  This is where we left it....

But I am sure that the sail on the horizon belongs to slavers....


It was a blast and a few of the players are totally hooked.

#15 GameBearOR



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Posted 03 March 2010 - 09:31 AM

Hey Fallenram, I'm in Portland! Very nice...


Wow, there are some really excellent ideas on here. I borrowed huntercat's detention idea and it worked out fabulously (you can read about the start of my kid's adventures in other areas of this forum).  Alfagirl, as far as the Keepsake's go, at character creation I asked my players to think of one thing that their child would NEVER be without - some item (like Linus' blanket) that they carry everywhere. I didn;t tell them why I was asking, I just used it as a character development idea. My Bully said his baseball cap (which has now become a boomerang like weapon), my Dreamer chose a notebook that she is constantly drawing and writing in (which now speaks to her by writing on it's pages and giving her prophetic hints), my Jock chose a backpack (which became a bottomless one, until they screwed up and broke it - and it is now her mission to get it repaired), and my Outcast indeed chose a blanket (which became an invisible one like Harry Potter's cloak, but only small enough to hide under, not large enough to sneak around in).


One thing I did insist on at character creation though is that there only be on of each archetype in the story. Not two Bullies or two Jocks, etc. That way good character mix and tension would be there.

#16 The Gremlin

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 12:22 PM

Really? I palyed in a game with two identical twin Outcasts. It was a lot of fun, especially when we used an old trick of theirs to fool the witch.


I find that the best games start out in the GaAF. It makes the story easy: You're in the forest. Don't leave the path. Don't take the advice of the big, creepy wolf. Don't drink the water. Have fun!

I played a game at PaizoCon where we were suppsoed to take a basket  of goodies to 'Grandmother's" house. The Jock ate a cookie, though (which the narrator represented with real coconut macaroonsa genius trick!), and soon we found ourselves struggling to survive.


Overall, the biggest pitfall is running it like a D&D campaign. Comabt should never be the focus. And never try to make a D&D style 'horror' game. Don't do 'grown-up' stuff like evil clowns and stuff. Or you can. But you have to keep things twisted. Spiders won't do it (sorry, attercops!). You have to take young stories and warp them.


In other words, pirates probably won't do it. They aren't fairy tale-ish, they existed in real life...they can't be the villains. The villains have to be inhumane monsters, like witches and wolves.


Sorry, this isn't coming out very clear, and I'm probably getting lots of typos. The point is...don't treat the PCs like adults. And don't treat them like kids. Treat them like victims.

#17 The Gremlin

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 12:38 PM

Reading back over my last post, it comes out as gibberish. Shame there's no Edit option. Please, just ignore that post. Maybe I'll make a decent one later.

#18 krypto



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Posted 25 June 2010 - 01:11 AM

I've just planned to start a little saga for Grimm. It starts during a summercamp, located at a clearing in the woods. After dinner, there is a short break and naturally the characters wander off in the woods. The nerd to spend some time with his books or gameconsole; the bully in search for the nerd; the outcast to get away from the crowd and so on. Using a little Alice, they all fall down in a rabbit hole, or perhaps they are lured there. When the the last crawls out, he finds the others in a very strange and dark forest indeed. It will be night when they finally make it out of the forest. In the distance they see seven small lights and they hear multiple voices singing: he-sho, he-sho. With a little luck the pc's will make a link with the seven dwarfs. When they approach them and speak to the figures, the last one will turn about. But only once one of the characters is in grasping distance. He reveals a set of grinning  teeth that look very sharp, two small yellow slitted eyes and a green face with a pointy nose and large ears in the dim lamplight. The creature answers: "Yess tassty morsshel" and tries to grasp the nearest pc. The other goblins also gather near, ready to claim a meal for themselves, saliva dripping from their mouths.

My saga is going to be about 8 challenges (temptation, imagination, negotiation, ...), after each challenge (each a story) they go up a grade. In the end they are going to face the rotten king, who took advantage of the turmoil the characters left behind to spread his influence further. Here they learn what happened to the lands where they played 'hero'.

The first challenge for example is about a king  who was tricked. The king simply loves to hunt. A Goblin broker challenged the king to hunt down a deer that is impossible to catch. As long as the king didn't catch the deer, the kingdom was going to belong to the goblin. The goblin is now king, his kingdom filled with fellow goblin's and all the human's in cells, ready for the pot. When the pc's arrive, they learn about this traggic situation from the king (who is desperate, hungry, fatigued, ...) himself. But if they put this king back on his throne, is he going to be a better king? Or will the rotten king simply take advantage of him, to claim the lands in exchange for the ,already bored with ruling,  king to be able to hunt again?

I'll probably use 'the kingdom without clothes' as the imagination challenge. On the way they can encounter smaller challenges like the Gingerbread house or Rapunzel's tower.

This is what I've got so far, I'll wonder how it all will work out.

Counting down to tomorrow, ...



#19 The Gremlin

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Posted 25 June 2010 - 04:42 AM

My game starts out in the Great and Awful Forest, but there's a small prologue:

You're in a dark tunnel, led by a hurried gnome. "Come on, come on!" *Waving stick* Everybody in! Eeeeeeverybody in! Come now, come now!" He sits you all down in something that resembles a cramped mining cart. *At the gaming table, actually arrange their seats like this* He pulls a lever, and steam gushes from beneath the cart. You start moving rapidly over the tracks.

"So!" *Shouting over the noise* "I know who each of you are, but you don't know each other!" *Freakishly large smile as you turn to face them* "How about a round of introductions?"
*A time to go over archetypes and all. If anybody does not want to introduce themselves, the gnome's face becomes full of rage. He starts mouthing words in fury, doing so for a few minutes. Finally, he calms down. The massive smile returns*

"I am sorry children. If you do not want to introduce yourselves, that's fine by me." He turns back to the controls.

*Now, the introduction to the Grimm lands, something I wrote that basically explains who the gnome is and suchwhat*

Suddenly, the cart starts screeching. "It's out of control!" the gnome shouts. He struggles with the mine cart. "We're going to hit the wall!"

The cart stops right at the exit. The gnome smiles disturbingly. "Last stop, the Great and Awful Forest! Now, about my payment..."

Welcome to the Grimm lands.

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