Want to hook your players before the game even begins? Here's the place to start:
The first step to making sure everyone at the table will have fun no matter what system you’re running is to create a campaign pitch.
A campaign pitch is a document, anywhere from half a page to a couple pages long, that outlines the core aspects of the campaign you want to run. The beautiful thing about these pitches are that I find the shorter they are the better for both you and the players! Minimal work and high reward.
So, what should your pitch include?
1- A Short Description
Your pitch should start with a simple two to five sentences outlining the main issue(s) in your campaign. A small bit about the world may also be included here but try to focus on the main ideas behind the campaign and what the overarching issue or quest is likely to be.
Give your campaign a difficulty or ‘lethality’ rating based on how you plan to run combat and dungeons, is it highly likely for the pcs to die in any combat, or is it more of a laid back adventure?
Is your campaign steeped in the conventions of a certain genre? Maybe more than one? List them out.
4- Roleplay vs Combat Amount
Players tend to have a preference for one of these aspects of play, even if they ultimately enjoy both. Let your players know if they’ll be expected to talk and delve deep into their characters psyche or if they're welcome to take a more hack-and-slash your way through life approach.
5- Dungeon Delving Expectations
You can often leave this category out, but if you plan to build a ‘dungeon’ heavy or an infinite dungeon style campaign then it’s important to put this on the list or add it to your opening description.
6- System and Landscape
You'll already be approaching players telling them what system you’ll be using, but in addition you should let them know what books from that system might be included and how much, if any, homebrew material will be mixed in. In addition to this let your players know the kind of landscape the campaign will take place within, will it be a dense cityscape or a trek through a wooded landscape surrounded by mountains?
7- Required Player Buy-In
This is the absolute most important category on the list!
Include a simple sentence or two describing what the players need to be interested in and/or accept in order for the campaign to take place. Their reaction to this section will be the most telling for you and them to know if they'll be a good fit for your campaign.
8- Character Creation Guidelines
This can be sent later and separately from the pitch, but if you know what guidelines your players will have for character creation it doesn't hurt to tack them onto the pitch itself. In this section you can include books/systems being used, starting level, starting equipment rules, and any restrictions your game has for character creation.
Want a quick reminder of what to include in your pitch? Use our free custom Campaign Pitch and Character Guideline template: Download Here
I like to have two approaches to presenting campaign pitches:
If you only have one campaign that you really want to run and are gathering people together for it, pitch only that campaign to them individually, if someone isn’t really interested just let them know you’ll reach out next time you’re running a different campaign.
If you instead have a set group you really want to be your players consider pitching multiple campaign options you’d have fun running and let the popular vote decide.
Whichever approach you take, introducing your players to your campaign through a pitch will set you all up on the same page as the game starts, everyone’s expectations will be in similar places which reduces potential disappointments and conflicts down the road. It'll have the added benefit of getting your players set and excited to start on the character creation process as well!