Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide

Chapter 1: Gamemastery Basics / Campaign Structure

Starting The Campaign

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 39
Before your first session begins, communicate back and forth with the players about the following details to make sure you’ve planned your campaign to fit their preferences, then recap and communicate your final decisions.
  • Establish the expected schedule and generally how long you expect the campaign to last. It’s okay if you don’t know the total length for sure, but you should still give an estimate.
  • Inform the players when and where the first session will take place, what they should prepare in advance, and what materials to bring. If you’re running a session zero to create characters first, let them know. You might also need to tell them whether to bring food, drinks, and other supplies beyond what they’ll use for the game itself.
  • Let the players know any restrictions or extra options for character building. Even if you plan to run a session zero, give them a heads-up before the session starts.
  • Tell the players where in the game world the first session will take place.
  • Give the players a basic idea of the genre or theme.

At the First Session

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 39
If you’re running a session zero, read the Session Zero section for advice on your first session. For the first time you play through an adventure, follow these bits of advice.
  • Recap the basics of the campaign you established earlier, particularly where it starts and any themes you feel will be important for the players to understand as they roleplay.
  • Have the players introduce their characters. If they have detailed backstories, it’s usually best that they start out just describing what the other PCs could learn with first impressions. If they want to go deeper into their backstory during play, they can do so later.
  • Ask questions about the characters. Note down anything you think will be significant, so you can adjust your plans for later sessions. You’ll want to keep doing this throughout play.
  • Begin the adventure, using the Starting a Session steps on page 490 of the Core Rulebook. For your first adventure, find a good place for the PCs to meet and a reason for them to be together.

Starting at a Higher Level

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 39
A typical campaign starts at 1st level, but you can start at a higher level if you choose. This can be especially satisfying for a one-shot or short campaign, or if your group wants to play a specific adventure made for higher-level groups. The PCs should start at the same level. They simply make a 1st-level character, then level it up the number of times needed to reach the starting level.

The Character Wealth table on page 511 of the Core Rulebook indicates how much currency and what common items of various levels the character should start with. Let the players choose their own items and spend their currency on common items as well if they choose. This table gives them fewer items than they might have had if they had gained items through adventuring, balancing the fact that they can choose what items they want.

Table 10-10: Character Wealth

LevelPermanent ItemsCurrencyLump Sum
1-15 gp15 gp
21st: 120 gp30 gp
32nd: 1, 1st: 225 gp75 gp
43rd: 1, 2nd: 2, 1st: 130 gp140 gp
54th: 1, 3rd: 2, 2nd: 1, 1st: 250 gp270 gp
65th: 1, 4th: 2, 3rd: 1, 2nd: 280 gp450 gp
76th: 1, 5th: 2, 4th: 1, 3rd: 2125 gp720 gp
87th: 1, 6th: 2, 5th: 1, 4th: 2180 gp1,100 gp
98th: 1, 7th: 2, 6th: 1, 5th: 2250 gp1,600 gp
109th: 1, 8th: 2, 7th: 1, 6th: 2350 gp2,300 gp
1110th: 1, 9th: 2, 8th: 1, 7th: 2500 gp3,200 gp
1211th: 1, 10th: 2, 9th: 1, 8th: 2700 gp4,500 gp
1312th: 1, 11th: 2, 10th: 1, 9th: 21,000 gp6,400 gp
1413th: 1, 12th: 2, 11th: 1, 10th: 21,500 gp9,300 gp
1514th: 1, 13th: 2, 12th: 1, 11th: 22,250 gp13,500 gp
1615th: 1, 14th: 2, 13th: 1, 12th: 23,250 gp20,000 gp
1716th: 1, 15th: 2, 14th: 1, 13th: 25,000 gp30,000 gp
1817th: 1, 16th: 2, 15th: 1, 14th: 27,500 gp45,000 gp
1918th: 1, 17th: 2, 16th: 1, 15th: 212,000 gp69,000 gp
2019th: 1, 18th: 2, 17th: 1, 16th: 220,000 gp112,000 gp