Friday Night D&D- A New Life
One of the most common tropes for D&D, and I am not even sure how it started is that you wake up in a dungeon, no gear, and no memory of how you got there. This is used to kick off campaigns somewhat often because it allows you to get a group of PC’s (player characters) working together for a common goal, getting out of the dungeon and figuring out what happened, really fast.
And for a lot of reasons I think that works very well if you want something a little more focused on just getting the story going and a little less player agency at the start. I think especially if you have newer players it can work really well because they might not create the best adventuring party off the bat, or be able to as easily come up with reasons why the group would be together.
But, let’s look at turning it into a whole campaign.
So the PC’s wake up in a dungeon, no gear, no memory of what has happened, and things not looking great. A guard comes by and tells them that their pathetic plan didn’t work, that they are too lowly to have thought to defeat the grand and magnificent Azahaza and then leaves them unguarded and not chained up.
The first session is going to be about the players escaping from this dungeon. Getting out of the prison part shouldn’t be that difficult. The Druid can wild shape into a rat and get some keys, the barbarian could break down the door, whatever idea the group comes up with works. What’s trickier is actually getting out of the dungeon. And the way out is that they’ll find a machine that is set for the last day that they remember, which is 6 months in the past. The players will then need to go into the past, level up and eventually take on this mysterious Azahaza again.
The important thing is that the players remember nothing of the past six months. And when asking around, as I’m sure they will, no one should have heard of Azahaza. Create this situation where the players are back before whatever has happened hasn’t started yet or isn’t in the public eye.
The rest of the game is going to be the players trying to figure out who Azahaza is, what Azahaza’s plan was, and how to stop Azahaza before it’s too late. I’m going to say, dealers choice as to what Azahaza’s scheme is, probably something earth shattering.
One thing that I’d definitely do is that there isn’t an Azahaza at all when the players start inquiring. There’s someone who becomes Azahaza and they have a plan they’re already working on, but the reason that the NPC’s have never heard of Azahaza is that the PC’s are the ones who create the name and persona.
Finally, boss fight at the end, make it a hard fight, make Azahaza over powered, but while doing that, make is so that the PC’s will have had a chance to figure out what the attacks are or the biggest thing s to be worried about in the fight and so that they can figure out ways to combat them as well. This will make the fight tough, but also make is so the odds aren’t totally stacked against the players so it feels like an epic boss fight. And if they fail, put them back in prison and have them break free again.
I think there are some fun bits of deja vu you could throw in where you can narrate that it feels like a PC has done this before, but I wouldn’t ever give them back their memories. Just have some fun with it and with the fact that they don’t know what has happened.
So, would you run this game? Does it work well with the trope of waking up in a dungeon with no idea who you are?
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