Call to Adventure

This is a handout I’ve lovingly researched and prepared for my players in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign I’ll be starting soon.


While we’re waiting for the first session, I thought I’d share a few of the inspirational materials that made me want to run D&D this year.

Game Night by Jonny Nexus

Game Night is a book I found at random in my girlfriend’s grandparent’s AirBnB’s bookshelf. It’s nothing like what they’d read, so it must have been left by a previous guest. The god of gods, a Zeus analogue, is running a roleplaying game with his children gods. The gods themselves portray the archetypes, and control real people in the All-father’s creation in their game. It’s a hilarious take on role playing games and an interesting story at the same time.

Stranger Things (Netflix)

The opening scene has the protagonists playing D&D, battling a famous ‘big bad evil guy’ demon Demogorgon. The series uses D&D monsters and scenarios as metaphors for what’s happening to the characters. It’s a great show, very suspenseful. It’s probably the biggest reason that Dungeons and Dragons has exploded in popularity in the past year or two, though others will claim Critical Role has a bigger part. I doubt it.

The Adventure Zone podcast

One of my favorite movies just ended. It was roughly 80 hours of audio from start to finish, with no visual components whatsoever. It's coincidentally also one of my favorite books, and not only is it not on paper, it was largely improvised.

Into The Adventure Zone With Griffin McElroy in the Austin Chronicle by Rosalind Faires

The Adventure Zone started as three brothers and their dad doing a filler episode for their other podcast. A friend of my tweeted about it ending. That piqued my interest well enough to try the first episode. I was hooked and listened to the entire thing over a couple of months. It really put off my reading goal this year, since I spent all my free time on that. It’s an incredible introduction to the game by a family who’s never played before but has experience with improv and theater. If you listen, be aware that it begins with some minor spoilers for something y’all may do at the start of your game. I think it’s worth it.

Other inspiration

Rolling Characters

We’ll do this together, but here’s the method we’ll be using to roll characters:

This is designed to let us discover our characters, rather than bringing them to the table. I’m hoping this will be more interesting than playing into some of the tropes we’ve probably heard of.

More on rolling characters with this method (YouTube)

Don’t worry about building a “balanced party” with a melee, magic, healer, and dexterity character necessarily. Play what you want to and what will be fun. We’ll make it work. Even if you all play the same class, you’ll have that nice backstory that you all met in the monastery, are members of the same knightly order, or have studied magic together from a young age.

Character Names

Part of your campaign style has to do with naming characters. It's a good idea to establish some ground rules with your players at the start of a new campaign. In a group consisting of Sithis, Travok, Anastrianna, and Kairon, the human fighter named Bob II sticks out, especially when he's identical to Bob I, who was killed by kobolds. If everyone takes a lighthearted approach to names, that's fine. If the group would rather take the characters and their names a little more seriously, urge Bob's player to come up with a more appropriate name.

Player character names should match each other in flavor or concept, and they should also match the flavor of your campaign world-so should the nonplayer characters' names and place names you create. Travok and Kairon don't want to undertake a quest for Lord Cupcake, visit Gumdrop Island, or take down a crazy wizard named Ray.

From the DMG page 36