How to Start a DnD Campaign in 2023

Recently updated on January 2nd, 2023 at 10:56 pm

If you’re new to Dungeons and Dragons, starting a campaign can seem like a daunting task. How do you choose your players? What kind of world should you create? How do you even begin the game? In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to have a great start to your DnD campaign. We’ll cover everything from choosing your players to creating your world and beginning the game. So whether you’re a first-time Dungeon Master or just looking for some tips on how to improve your game, read on!

Step 1: Choose your players carefully

One of the most important things to do when starting a DnD campaign is to choose your players carefully. You want a group of people who are compatible and will work well together. It’s also important to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding expectations for the game.

For example, if you’re looking for a light-hearted game with lots of humor, make sure all of your players are okay with that. And if no one has any experience playing the game yet, that’s fine! Here’s a quick guide on how to write a DnD character backstory that will give you some interesting places to start. Once you’ve got your group assembled, it’s time to start creating your world.

Step 2: Brainstorming your world

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating your world. First, what kind of setting do you want? A high fantasy world full of magic and dragons? A gritty urban environment where anything goes?

Once you’ve decided on the basic feel of your world, you’ll need to start fleshing it out. How do the people in your world live? What kind of governments are there? What’s the history of your world? What languages are spoken in the area? These are all important questions to answer before you start playing.

Suggested –> How to write a DnD module

Step 3: Consider the major plot points

When it comes to DnD, the players have the power to do, basically, whatever they want! But the DM always has major plot points in mind. 

How will your campaign start? How will it end? What are the major challenges your players will face along the way? It’s important to have a general idea of these things before you start playing, otherwise your campaign may feel aimless.

Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start planning your first adventure! Think about what kind of story you want to tell and what kind of challenges your players will face. If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, there are lots of great resources out there to help you get started. Once you’ve got an outline for your adventure, it’s time to start prepping!

Prepping for a new campaign can be a bit daunting, click here to read about some interesting D&D adventure ideas.

Step 4: Who are the important NPCs?

DnD wouldn’t exist without NPCs. Think through and write down who the most important players are in your world. Is it a simple, dark tale of a scatted group of nomads in a desolate world? Or is it an aristocratic nation with kings, queens, magistrates and more? Once you have an idea of the kind of world your players will explore, as well as the types of people they’ll encounter, start jotting down specific names of NPCs in the world. Be as detailed as possible here; the more detail, the more real they’ll feel (and the easier it will be to both remember them during a session and act as the character).

Don’t forget to include a mix of races, genders, and personalities in your NPCs. You want there to be someone for everyone to interact with, whether they’re trying to save them or kill them. This is also a good time to start thinking about any plot hooks you want to introduce in your campaign. If there’s someone specific you want the PCs to meet or a particular location you want them to visit, make note of it here. The more planning you do now, the smoother (and more enjoyable) your game will be later on!

Specifically, who are the campaign’s villains. Who will be the main antagonist? How do they tie into the story? What motivates them?

Building a well-rounded villain is just as important as building strong heroes, so take your time and come up with someone (or something) that will pose a challenge for the characters. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, try looking at classic literature or movies for inspiration.

With the basics of worldbuilding and story in place, it’s time to start putting together your first session. This can be a daunting task, but there are plenty of resources available to help you get started. The most  important thing is to have fun and let your creativity shine through.

Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics of worldbuilding and NPCs, it’s time to start fleshing out your campaign’s story.

Step 5: Start off small

Is this your first time running a DnD campaign? If so, come up with a handful of beginning sessions to get the characters in the same place and focused on a simple mission. Approaching the start of the campaign this way will be helpful to introduce the players to the overarching theme of your campaign, and will make for a natural transition into the world. You don’t need to buy a ton of miniatures, or even D&D miniature cases. Starting off small, with a little theatre of mind, will be plenty.

And that’s it! In no time, you’ll be adding D&D to your resume!

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