Sunday 9 October 2011

The quest sandwich {Campaigns}

From reading various bits and pieces on the internet, I can see that different people go about structuring their D&D campaigns in a variety of ways. 

Some will go for a more 'adventure of the week' approach where the PCs work their way through individual scenarios that are loosely tied together. Others will have one massive arc spanning from level 1 to 30. There are even those brave few who run sandbox campaigns where the PCs are free to roam and find their own adventures.

Then again, I'm sure others do exactly what I do: the quest sandwich. From the outset I established a few enemies who were tied to an even bigger bad with some world-conquering scheme. Seventeen levels in and the PCs are still following the same arc - but that isn't to say I don't throw the 'adventure of the week' in too.

Essentially, the quest sandwich model is where you have a large over-arching quest (i.e. to stop an evil person from waging war on the world), smaller important quests that are tied to this one (i.e. getting favour from border kings to send their troops against the big bad), and then even smaller quests that serve as an 'adventure of the week' that aren't necessarily tied to the main quest (i.e. to gain favour, the king asks the. PCs to rid local caves of a rogue sorcerer). Of course, when we've zoomed into this tertiary quest, we can assign secondary quests, such as having to bring the sorcerer's stolen magic books back to the university.

I find this interwoven quest method to be more interesting than having a loosely tied adventure of the week, as it offers lots of fuel for further adventures. The DM is able to spark off every one of those tiers, right down to the secondary quests, to give the PCs something more to do.

Anyway, I thought I'd share my campaign model with you and I'd be interested to hear how you guys run a campaign.


  1. I try to sandbox things as much as possible. I set things in motion in the background and advance them if the players show interest or if they can spin off interesting plots.

  2. Being a relatively n00b GM, I try to have an overall arc, but it's not always so easy :P I use canned adventures mixed in with ones I come up with to give me a boost. Seems to work okay so far. I like your idea of a quest "sandwich" though :)