3 Rules for Plot Lines in a Long Term Campaign

This blog post is my latest in my 3 Rules series. Check out the others here.

During COVID-19, I’ve been running two D&D 5e games over Fantasy Grounds: one is for my daughter and her cousins, the other is for my wife and a group of adults. Through it all, I have a number of rules that help me tie plot lines together, even when weaving several different modules into a single campaign. These are not exclusive to Dungeons and Dragons or even fantasy games. These work no matter what your game.

1) Don’t Define Everything

When I started off the adult campaign, I had two PCs deliver messages to various NPCs. While the idea for them was to simply get them to go to the location I wanted them, I had absolutely no idea what was in those notes. I’m glad they didn’t look because I would have had to make it up on the spot. In my younger days as a GM, I would have had those notes detailed out; when the PCs didn’t look at them, that would have been work saved for a different day at best or at worst forgotten about when I needed it or simply no longer relevant.

Fast forward several sessions, I needed a way to get the PCs to investigate some orcs as I was transitioning from the Lost Mines of Phandelver to the Forge of Fury from Tales of the Yawning Portal. To help with this, I created a secret love affair between the one of those NPCs sending the note and its recipient, saying their love child (now an adult) that they sent away was coming to visit, and that their child was now missing so the recipient asked the adventurers to find the missing person. That got them to the orcs and worked great, until …

2) Turn Dropped Plot Threads into Plot Hooks

… Until the players got distracted and left that plot thread by the wayside. Part of this was my fault; I failed to leave them enough clues to lead them to their target. By the time I realized this, they were literally heading in the wrong direction to save this person.

In my younger days as a GM, I would have made it impossible for them to proceed until they turned back and saved the person. As a more mature GM, I know to turn this into an opportunity. I left the players an old journal from someone long dead, hoping that some superweapon never gets repaired and turned on again, citing a hope about how one born under a certain sign with various rare characteristics (that just happens to match the missing person) is never born. When they read the note I could hear them all collectively swallow hard, as they realized that the plot line they missed suddenly became very important.

And that is now the catalyst for the new adventure.

3) Leave Some Threads Unresolved

One of my characters in my adult game is seeking the sword of their fallen family member. So I gave him the detail that one vaguely like it was reportedly in a dragon’s treasure pile. Tonight they defeated the dragon, and it wasn’t his family’s sword but one similar. I did that so I could deal with the sword at a future point in time, but leave it for now as we transition from the Forge of Fury to the Tomb of Annihilation. The players raised the questions of why these swords are popping up, and are they being targeted. All of those are perfect to work into a future adventure down the line when the Tomb of Annihilation is in the rear view mirror. But for now, I left that plot thread unresolved. Picking it up later will help it make a more continuous story while still having different chapters within.

Get adventures for your Pathfinder or D&D campaign today at the JBE Shop. You can also find our books at DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.com.

Star Battles: Nebulae and Asteroids Space Map Pack for Fantasy Grounds

This collection of stunning maps includes 12 brand new scenes of space and is ideal for ship fights in your science fiction/science fantasy campaign played over Fantasy Grounds. Each map includes a gridless version, a square grid, and a hex grid so you can use these in any game system.

Star Battles: Nebulae and Asteroids Space Map Pack includes:

  • 5 maps featuring asteroids for your players to dodge
  • 4 starfield maps of beautiful deep space nebulae
  • A stunning planet with a ring and moon
  • A dwarf star in the middle of a solar flare
  • 1 of a planet with a nebula background

Give your game a stunning background for the most epic of battles!

Download today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, the Fantasy Grounds Store, and the Open Gaming Store.

JBE’s Virtual Conversation Schedule 2020

COVID-19 has dramatically changed convention schedules with most bring canceled (for good reason). But people still want to play their games, and everyone at JBE wants to join in on the fun.

Right now we are scheduled to attend three virtual conventions.

We hope that you will join us at these and other online conventions.

We are looking to attend more virtual conventions so if you are running an online con, contact us by commenting below or going to Twitter or Facebook and let us know about it.

Traveller 2e: What Is Your Favorite Kind of Ship?

It’s been a while since JBE published some new ships for Traveller. If you haven’t seen our ships for 2e Mongoose Traveller, check them out at DriveThruRPG. I’ll be getting back to creating some new ships shortly. Creating new ships is downright fun, and I’ve missed making them.

So I want to know what is your favorite kind of ship. We have some ideas for ships that we want to build, but I want to know what kinds of ships are your guilty pleasure. Let us know by voting in the poll below and leaving a comment below.

d66: We’re Back With More d66 Goodness

You asked for it. We delivered! Brand new d66 Lists are back and better than ever. We just posted for brand new d66 lists for your over at the JBE Shop. Grab them today.

Not only that, we are adding all of our existing d66 lists to the JBE Shop. The JBE Shop is going to be the new home of all our individual d66 lists. Doing it like this, you can add to your collection all at once from those you have been wanting to pickup and our new ones. If you picked up d66 lists in the past, have no fear. You will still be able to download them at other websites with no issue.

So which ones have been released today? Great question. First up we have d66 Reasons Traffic Control has Denied Take Off Clearance. Traffic control doesn’t always let you leave a star system when you want to. There can be a whole host of reason why they may say no, and d66 Reasons Traffic Control has Denied Take Off Clearance presents you with 36 such reasons. Use them in your game today. Download it at the JBE Shop.

After that, we have a new list of ship names for you: d66 Ships Named After a Breakup/Divorce. Not everyone names a ship after good times or happy memories. Some do it after a major life change. Inside d66 Ships Named After a Breakup/Divorce you’ll find all kinds of ship names that will help you give the ship’s captain or owner some personality. Download this d66 list today at the JBE Shop.

This next one was requested by a fan: d66 Things That Happened While You Were in Jump Space. Quite a bit can happen during that week when you are in jump space. The last you heard, all was fine on the planet and you emerge to food riots, a megacorp announce expansion plans, or perhaps war broke out. Perhaps something happened on your ship while you were away from reality, like a powersurge sending you off course or someone in low berth is suddenly pregnant and the unborn is experiencing rapid gestation. The list d66 Things That Happened While You Were in Jump Space will help you make a unique experience. Download at the JBE Shop.

Last but not least, we bring you d66 Vehicle Manufacturer Names. This d66 list delivers 36 names for vehicle manufacturers. Whether you are looking for a massive, multi-planetary corporation that produces gravcars and much more or a small local specialty company that hand makes flyers and ground cars, this list is here to help. Download at the JBE Shop.

If there is a specific list you would like to see, let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page or on Twitter. We want to hear your thoughts.

Traveller: More d66 Lists?

Hey Traveller fans,

I got a request recently for more d66 lists. Do you want to see more? If so, tell us what additional lists would you like to see? Sure we can do more ship names, more planet names, more robot names, but us that what you are looking for? Or would you rather see more lists like “reasons why your communication/sensors systems are not working” or “robot’s current instructions” where they provide a reason for things happening. Is there any category that is not covered well by existing lists that you want to see done? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below and vote in the poll.

Discover 5 New Careers for your Traveller Game

Even the Emperor of the Imperium has a Past.

Whether it’s someone who pushes the boundaries of known space or an average citizen waiting tables, every Traveller brings different experiences to their adventures. Now you can bring to life new and varied characters for your Traveller game with Foreven Worlds: Careers Beyond the Claw! This supplement adds five new careers perfect for your game, whether in the lawless region past the Imperial border or well within its safer boundaries. Each new career features a D66 list of events, offering more replay value and new surprises.

This 30-page book for the Traveller Roleplaying Game features the following careers:

  • Athlete—a former sports professional who pushes their limits of physical endurance
  • Customer Service—a dedicated waitstaffer, someone who gets yelled at when the company makes a mistake, or a people pleaser who makes the customer happy no matter what
  • Frontierist—an explorer who goes beyond the edge of civilization to mine and forage, search for ancient ruins, or change a planet’s environment to make it habitable
  • Medical Professional—a person who dedicates their life to performing delicate surgery, nursing the sick and wounded, providing long-term care, or providing physical therapist
  • System Guard—a member of the space military protecting a single solar system, whether they’re part of the line crew, inspectors’ department, or planetary patrol

Play a New Character and Have a New Experience!

Download Foreven Worlds Careers Beyond the Claw today for your Traveller game exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Traveller: Skyride, a TL 16 Gravcar

Typically in Traveller, I work in the independent worlds of the Foreven Sector. The only problem with this region, outside of the Zhodani Consulate the tech level rarely exceeds 10. So much of the cool toys in the Central Supply Catelogue, Vehicle Handbook, High Guard are off limit to me. So now that Mongoose published Behind the Claw, we have many TL 15 systems and even a TL 16 world to play with. So I figured why not create one for it. We figured this one would be a fuel efficient upper class family vehicle that can go anywhere on the planet as well as into orbit. Nothing crazy with this one, just your basic grocery getter.

If you want to see more high tech equipment, vehicles, ships, and more (TL 14+), leave a comment below.

Also be sure to check out all of our 2e Mongoose Traveller products like Foreven Worlds: Ships of the Border Worlds exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

Name Skyride
TL 16
Skill Flyer (grav)
Agility +4
Speed (Cruise) V. Fast
Range (Cruise) 7,500 km
Crew 1
Passengers 4
Cargo 1 ton
Hull 14
Shipping 3.5 tons
Cost Cr. 640,450
Equipment/Traits
Advanced Autopilot, Advanced Communication System, Advanced Control System, Advanced Navigation, Entertainment System, Fuel Efficient, Life Support (short term), Vacuum Protection

Autopilot (skill level) 3
Communications (range) 1,000 km
Navigation (Navigation DM) +4
Sensors (Electronics (sensors) DM) +4, 25 km
Camouflage (Recon DM)
Stealth (Electronics (sensors) DM)

Armour
Front 4
Rear 4
Sides 4

Traveller: Another Branch of Military Service

Not long ago we shared with you two of the five new careers in the upcoming Foreven Worlds: Careers Beyond the Claw. Those careers being Athlete and Medical Professional. Today we sharing with you two more careers in the PDF.

The first is a new branch of military service. The System Guard is similar to the coast guard of a modern military. They handle a mix of law enforcement and issues a full navy must deal with, but with smaller ships and they don’t head out into the deep waters, which in this case is deep space. The three assignments of the System Guard are the Crew/Line, Inspectors, and Planetary Patrol. The crew/line are the officers and enlisted personnel of the ships that make up any system guard. They deal with pirates, poachers, and ship thieves plaguing a star system. The job of the inspectors is to make sure smugglers fail to import or export illegal persons or cargo. The planetary patrol staff the orbital gun platforms, space stations and repair facilities that support the system guard ships. In the Foreven Worlds this branch of the military replaces the navy of the Imperium or Zhodani Consulate. In both of these and other interstellar governments that sport a full navy, the system guard protects the system when the baby is elsewhere and when situations do not require a military response.

The second career we are sharing today is the one that the cover image represents, the Frontierist. Those that pursue such a career to the edge of explored space go where few if any have gone before. Whether you are sifting through the ruins of some lost civilization, hunting mineral wealth where none have looked before, or attempting to change the environment of a world to be more habitable for humanoid or other sentient life forms, your work takes you where few live today. Being well beyond the ragged edge of civilization doesn’t just thrill you; it is where you belong, seeing a location in its untarnished glory, breathing air none have in countless generations, and making off with minerals none new were there before. The three most common Frontierist assignments are Archeologist, Prospector, and Terraformer.

Foreven Worlds: Careers Beyond the Claw will be out in the new year. Download all of our Traveller products exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

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