Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Campaign Structure

Basic Structures

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 36
When building your campaign, you can use these structures as a starting point. The Adventure Design section explains various styles of adventures on pages 41–43 that, after creating your basic campaign structure, can be used to inspire the creation of the adventures in your campaign.


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 36
An adventure lasting one session, a one-shot works well for a highly themed adventure using characters or concepts that are novel, but that players might not want to stick with long-term.
Adventures 1, typically a dungeon crawl, horror, intrigue, or mystery
Top Level 1, but often starts at a higher level
Time Frame 1 session

Brief Campaign

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 36
This structure is meant for a brief, self-contained campaign. It can be ideal for introducing new players to Pathfinder, and can be extended to a longer campaign if the group wishes.
Adventures 2, typically one dungeon crawl followed by one high adventure; this format also works well for horror adventures
Top Level 4–5
Time Frame 3 months weekly, 6 months biweekly

Extended Campaign

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 36
An extended campaign works well for a dedicated group that might want to switch to a new campaign or a different game after a year or so. It allows for significant character and plot development but doesn’t reach the higher levels of the game.
Adventures 5, typically with multiple adventures fitting the main theme of the campaign (such as high adventure or gritty adventure), with other adventure styles for variety.
Top Level 11–13
Time Frame 1 year weekly, 1-1/2 years biweekly

Epic Campaign

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 36
An ambitious and complex game, the epic campaign takes PCs all the way to level 20, pitting them against the greatest threats in the world and beyond. This can be challenging in terms of time commitment and complexity, but it lets PCs develop into true legends, and the players will likely remember it for years.
Adventures 6 long adventures, typically starting with high adventure or a dungeon crawl and including military adventure, planar adventure, and romantic adventure
Top Level 20
Time Frame 1-1/2 years weekly, 3 years biweekly