How to Exaggerate Everyday Life Into a D&D Campaign Idea

It’s time to prep for your next game session. You’ve got books of monsters. You’ve got rulebooks on your shelf that you’ll keep on those shelves while you’re looking up those same rules online. You’ve even got your favorite drink. Everything is in place. Except for one thing.

The adventure itself.

Your blank document wants to win this staring contest, but trust me, you’ve got this. Because you’re already sitting on your next adventure.

Photo of a d20, D&D notebook, and card from The Story Engine Deck of prompts

I’m serious. Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to take something that happened to you, today, and turn it into a story.

BUT WHAT’S AN ADVENTURE, ANYWAY?

Before we get started, we should know what an adventure is, at its core. It’s the story of someone’s needs and what they must overcome to get it. That’s the basis of every story from The Little Mermaid to The Lord of The Rings. Whether it’s the safety of the people of Middle-Earth or freedom from the aquatic Patriarchy, it’s all tied to that basic premise. 

So, let’s get back to you. Feel free to keep reading, or even better, start writing with me. We really are going to take something that happened today and turn it into an adventure. 

FINDING INSPIRATION IN THE EVERYDAY

Take a second and think of something that happened today. It honestly could be anything. Did you lose your keys? Did you have to make breakfast? Were you trying to find something to watch on YouTube? Honestly. Pick any one moment from your day today.

I’m going to offer my own day. Today, I had to write a blog about writing adventures. But I was tired. So I told myself I had to get a coffee first from Dunkin’ Donuts before I could reach the caffeinated muses of my soul.

So let’s write what I’ll call my story sentence: I need to write a blog, and I’ll get a coffee if that’s what it takes to complete this task. How the hell is my procrastination going to be an adventure? Here’s the secret.

Ready?

Exaggeration. *cue magical sound effects and sparkles*

By taking your mundane moment and exaggerating it, you can take your simple struggle and bring it closer and closer to what you need. Exaggerate a part of your story sentence, and if you don’t have what you need, keep turning up the exaggeration.

THESE STAKES GO UP TO 11

Let’s begin.

“I need to write a blog my memoir, and I’ll get a coffee if that’s what it takes to complete this task.”

A cup of coffee on a notebook

No. This isn’t ready. We must go bigger.

“I need to write my memoir, and I’ll get a coffee but I need an elixir to give me the strength to finish it before I die.”

This isn’t bad. But. Can we go further?

“I need to write my memoir, but I need an elixir to give me the strength to finish it but I sold my memories in the form of an elixir. I need that elixir in order to leave behind my true legacy before I die.”

I like this. I could work with this. But let’s make it personal. Let’s go as far as we can.

“I, the Last of the First Historians, sold my memories for the gift of The Sight of the World. At the end of my life, I realize that I want to remember, and to be remembered as much as my writings. I want to be able to look back at my life, and share myself with my family. My friends. I need my memories, which exist as an elixir, if I am to leave behind my legacy before I die. And I am dying, I assure you.”

That’s a pretty far exaggeration from Cold Brew coffee, eh? 

You’ll need to throw in some details, of course. You can take your idea anywhere from a one-shot adventure for a night of fun to a full-blown campaign! 

NOW KEEP GOING

In a perfect world, we would follow the advice of the great writers. We would enrich ourselves with cultures, experiences and writings from across the globe. We would taste the air of a distant mountain, walk with the people of an unfamiliar culture, and wrap ourselves in the vastness of the infinite inspiration of this beautiful existence we call home.

But it’s getting cold out. And everything out there is crazy anyway. Plus, we’ve seen everything we want to watch on Netflix. 

That’s why I wanted to write this. To let you know that I get it. It’s difficult right now, and sometimes it’s hard to be inspired when our days blend and our walls become too familiar. That’s why these games are so important, and it’s why I want to help you know that you’ve always got a story to tell. Even if your adventure about the Howling Hounds of The Outer Walls is just based on the fact your dog won’t sleep at night.

And hey, if you need some more inspiration, you’ve always got The Story Engine Deck, which will help you add to your story by helping you with fleshing out concepts, creating antagonists, side quests, or any number of extensions to your already-amazing adventure. We've already given away 1,700 free PDF decks as free activities for families in quarantine, and you can sign up for a free print-at-home demo right now at this link.

Share your stories, friends. The world is better for it.

Get a free demo of The Story Engine Deck of writing prompts and D&D campaign ideas


This was guest blog was written by Pedro Galicia!

Pedro Galicia is a GM with over 20+ years of experience building worlds and running games. He is the creator and GM of the World Walkers D&D podcast. He is also an Emmy Award winning father and husband, which can be confirmed by referencing his bio.

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