Friday, August 6, 2010

D&D Homework - Collaborative Storytelling

Thadeous over at posted an interesting article today called "Giving Up Some Power" that got me thinking about the current campaign I am running.

The party has been based out of the town of Everlund and has purchased a guild hall there. This town is supposed to be a moderately-sized trading town with streets setup like spokes on a wagon wheel, making it easy to move goods in and out of town from any direction. The party has only visited the guard barracks, purchased their guild hall where they stay, and went to a few nearby shops. They have yet to truly explore what the town has to offer. So, I sent my players the following email:

Hey guys,

I have a little bit of homework I want you each to do over the next 2 weeks.

Since Kron came in to town, the party took a little break and has spent 2 weeks shopping, hanging out, and exploring the town. Everlund is a good sized trading town but still has that "everybody knows your name" atmosphere about it. The party has only seen a few shops, the guild hall, and the guard barracks (so far, according to the story).

#1 - I want each of you to come up with 2 places that exist in the town. These can be as simple as a fletcher's shop in the market district (described in very little detail) or as elaborate as an underground sewer system (detailing the exit points throughout the town).

#2 - With each of the 2 places, create at least 2 (but no more than 4) unique NPCs that live/work/whatever in these new places. Give them a little backstory...why are they there?

#3 - Decide how/why your character has visited these places and met these NPCs over the last 2 weeks.

DO NOT share these places or NPCs with each other. Send me the information (if I have to DM-veto anything, I'll let you know) and let me know if you have any questions.


We'll see what they come up with! I'm looking forward to it and hope this opens the door for more collaborative storytelling and world design.

Have you ever been involved in a collaborative creation of people and places for a campaign you've played in? What were some of the pros and cons to what you or the players brought to the gaming table?


Here was my favorite immediate response:
oh goody, this should be fun :)


  1. Awesome! I'm glad to see others running with the collaborative story ideas. I know I didn't come up with it but I'm gonna tell as many people about it as I can.

    Please keep us updates on how it works with your party!

  2. I'll do another full post about it once I get all the information back from my players and do a few things with it. I've already gotten all kinds of cool things, including an enchanted shop advertisement that will lead you to the store from wherever you are in the town!

    Thadeous - thanks for getting the juices flowing!