28 Questions a DM Should Ask Their Players When Starting a D&D Campaign
When you’re starting a brand new D&D Campaign it important to take the temperature of your group and figure out what kind of story you’re going to tell. Communication is key in Dungeons and Dragons, and not just between the players.
If you’re going to be the best Dungeon Master you can be, you’re going to need some input from your players. You’re not a mind flayer, I mean mind-reader. So what better way than to actually speak to your players and ask them some questions.
This is by no means a complete list of questions to ask, however cherry pick your favourites and comment below with any extras you think we may have missed. We reached out on Twitter for some suggestions.
Source: Pigs with Crayons
You may wish to ask these questions directly to your players, either formally or informally depending on your style. Recently I organised a Google Forms for my players to fill out so their answers could be secret from each other. As you’ll see, it may be fun to keep players in the (under)dark sometimes.
Basic Questions the DM Should Know
These are super basic, but for completeness sake we’ve added them to the top of the list. It’s nice to know ahead of time if everyone wants to be a fighter. There’s nothing too wrong with running an all fighter game, though it lets you have those discussions before you sit down to play.
- Player’s Name
- Character’s Name
- What is a good name for your Adventuring Group?
About Their Character
Now that you have an idea on the party composition it’s time to flesh out some character backstories. This is helpful for filling your world, homebrew or module with story hooks and interesting NPCs for your players to tie to their characters.
- How does the character know the other PCs?
- Why did your character join their current adventuring companions?
- From @Ragramos: What major event propelled your character into the deadly career of an adventurer? No sane person would fight horrors just ’cause.
- From @Litzabronwyn: what is your character’s motivation for adventuring and sticking with the rest of the party?
- What is your secret reason for joining the adventuring party?
- How important is the accumulation of wealth? (For your character) 1-5
- What does your character hate?
- What does your character fear?
- Name someone your character has wronged.
- Name something your character would kill to learn.
- Anything else cool I should know about your character?
What Kind of Story are you After?
You’ve got all sorts of juicy information about your Player’s Characters backstories and their secret desires. As the excellent DM that I know you are, you’ll find ways to sprinkle in details to wow your players.
From here though, what kind of story arcs are you looking at? Even if you’re using a pre-written module, there are certain aspects you can focus on and play up over others. Sometimes your players may be looking for a dungeon crawl, other times they’re more interested in the political intrigue.
These next questions tend to be asked on a scale of 1-5 (With 5 being ‘Super Keen’)
- From @Ragramos: Pick 3 of: Fantasy (elves, magic), Narrative, Discovery, Expression, Challenge, Fellowship, Abnegation (kill stuff), Sensory (dice, minis)
- Dungeon Delving With Traps and Monsters
- Exploration – Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before
- Political Intrigue and Social Subterfuge
- Noir-Like Mysteries With Dames to Die for
- Quest to Save the World from Evil
- How Big Should the Stakes Be if you fail?
- Build a Castle/ Run an Empire / Get a Following
- Wacky Zany Adventures or Dark and Serious
- Accumulate Wealth or Power
- Episodic vs. Arc-Based
- Some other cool story type I haven’t considered? (Maybe a book or movie for reference)
Now You’re Ready To Craft an Amazing Story