These are a bunch of setting and campaign tools that I have stolen from a bunch of games that I want to use at the start of my next Campaign to make sure all the characters are tied to the world.
One Unique Thing. stolen from 13th Age. A great idea that gives the players a strong influence on the game.
Anchors/ Aspects/ Icons: Stolen from 13th Age and Fate the idea of these is a short phrase that is about your character. Anchors ties that phrase to a person or place. In 13th Age I make each player make up a Face for that relationship, the person in the Icon’s organisation that they are most likely to interact with regularly.
Dime Novels. Stolen from Fate. Each player writes a short paragraph about an adventure they had on the way to the campaign. Then everyone swaps them around and adds a line about how they helped or made it more complicated. Then do it again. This way each Character knows at least 2 others and they have a short shared history. (The fate PDF’s are available as pay what you want at this link they are well worth taking a look at.)
Everyone makes up one other NPC (or rolls one at random) and one place (again the alternative is to roll one). This way everyone starts with at least one contact that they can go and ask for information or a favor, or can be used as an adventure hook.
The where do you come from stuff. I wrote a post of this for my 13th Age game and that post was inspired by this one from Playing Dnd with Pornstars.
Relationship map. Then I take all the NPC’s and places generated by the above ideas and stick them on a map. A but like Noisms post here. Then add a bunch more lines so the people all the characters know might also know each other.
What do you do at the start of a campaign?