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Road Trip Campaign justifications


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So I'm debating a campaign with a focus on a road trip, a modern urban fantasy game. I like the aesthetics of the road story and it presents an opportunity to use a variety of interesting characters and setting elements.

One thing I am working on is how to justify it. I'm mostly looking for inspiration for reasons why the players are spending time on the road rather than getting on with their lives. Obviously having a goal in a location that necessitates travel is a strong motivator, but it's ultimately temporary, and the goal of the destination can overwhelm the focus on the journey. (Just as in real life, no one wants a campaign where the players are asking "are we there yet?")

Some specific examples of an rpg where this style of campaign is supported would be something like Promethean the Created, where there is both a carrot and stick to prompt continuing movement. (Pilgrimage requires you to continue following signs and omens to become human, while staying in one place risks disquiet and wasteland.) I'm mostly looking for similar concepts and ideas like that.

Craig Oxbrow

Ah, y'know. This guy.
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Mystery, Inc.
The characters are on the road as paranormal investigators, following clues and looking into local legends. For a less episodic setup, maybe they're looking for a common thread in some or all of the mysteries.

The Fugitive
The characters are on the run from someone or something chasing them, probably because of some supernatural effect on them.

The Lost Room
A classic "fetch quest" with multiple items needed to save the world.

Almost Famous
The characters' reason for travelling has nothing (much) to do with the monsters and such. An up-and-coming band on tour keeps getting into monster-related trouble because they can see ghosts (as seen in Dead Last) or the drummer is a Vampire Slayer or...


Registered User
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Mystery Inc. is basically the TV show Supernatural (which draws inspiration from the Scooby Gang as well). Hear about strange events in X town, go there and see if there’s evil that needs to be fought.

The Fugitive concept works really well. The A-Team, the Incredible Hulk (TV show with Bixby), etc. It lets you throw the PCs in a new locale every adventure, and they’re (usually) not going to be familiar with the place so they’re constantly meeting new people and seeing new locations.

The “fetch quest” can be combined with the above, as well. If the bad guys have control of law enforcement, you can run some “Smokey and the Bandit” style adventures. “You have 21 hours to retrieve the Grim Obelisk from Texas and return so we can stop the Gate to the Dark Plane from opening.” *cue Eastbound and Down*

A variant of Almost Famous is Weirdness Magnet...


Twin Son of the Bright Prince
Validated User
The players are hunting someone who is up to no good. Maybe a warlock is creating a gigantic summoning rune by performing black magic rituals at a series of specific sites which the players don't know in advance.

Alternatively, the players could be trying to find someone before the bad guys do. This person doesn't know that the players are trying to help, though, and so it trying to run and hide from them as well.

It could also be an Indiana Jones-type quest, where someone hid an artifact of power many years ago but left clues for the clever and the worthy to follow.


Registered User
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One of the campaign seeds I wrote for the Nephilim game was about an eccentric whacko wandering around the country painting a long, unbroken white line down the center of the highways. Turns out he was trying to create a massive, continent-spanning binding sigil to freeze all the Nephilim within it, and force them back into their stasis objects. The PC Nephilim needed to figure out how to get a step ahead of the guy and stop him before he finished it.

So maybe something like that? Except the PCs could be the ones painting the sigil. Imagine like Sam and Dean Winchester going from one mystery to the next, all while painting a giant pentagram across the USA in order to banish all of the evil things within it once and for all.

Potted Plant

Power Flower
RPGnet Member
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What if being on the road is getting on with their lives? Traveling from place to place could be an integral part of what the characters do for a living.

They could be members of a band, traveling from gig to gig and town to town. (In my ongoing Wicked Pacts campaign the characters met an NPC group. A female band called Las Brujas. The Witches. Most people who knew of the band assumed that all the occult paraphernalia and mystical stuff was just about the band image. Naturally, they were real witches. Or, as one player put it: Heavy metal witches.)

The characters could also work in a traveling circus or carnival. This would allow for recurring supporting NPCs, since they would travel with the PCs.

Or they could be truckers. Perhaps specializing in rather unusual cargo.

Or maybe the characters have their own YouTube channel and they travel around filming content for the channel. The subject of the channel could be anything from spooky stuff to extreme sports.
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Registered User
Validated User
Live Your Cover: The characters have chosen day-jobs that allow them to mask their nomadic investigative activities. One's an insurance claims adjuster, one's a roving sales executive, one's a travelling troubleshooter for a major IT firm, etc. Could be plenty of fun deadpan interplay between their day jobs and their underlying mission. ("Just ignore that loaded Desert Eagle beside the samples. I always like to be well protected on the road...")

The Winnebago Wanderers/Unconventional Conventioneers: The team disguise themselves as a tourist family/fishing party/Independent Order of Oddfellows outing, or whatever else justifies a mixed group on the road.

I am serious and don't call me Shirley: The team are an aircrew on a domestic circuit or executive charter - pilot, co-pilot, engineer, cabin attendant/s, etc., - flying from city to city and somehow always encountering (or hunting) the weird.
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Nicholas Carter

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Validated User
KISS: the characters are, quite literally, on a road trip. A three week vacation to soak up some of that wide open America in the part of the country you're playing in. The B&B being haunted is just another crazy vacation story.
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