Creating a D&D home for your players allows the game to be more meaningful. Players have someplace to go back to, and we don’t want our players to be wandering hobos.
Creating a D&D home helps your players and makes sense. It is nice to have a place to go back to, and it can help your game if you do it right.
Creating a home for your players will be a little bit of work, but it is definitely worth it. Instead of saying that it is worth it, let’s describe why it is worth it.
Why you want a home.
When you arrive to a new area the first thing that you want is a place to go to at the end of the day. If you move to a new area, that place is a home. You don’t want to stay in a hotel forever. The same goes for characters.
If your player characters get a home they will feel more comfortable. We oftentimes don’t give players homes and let them continue on a long adventure like Lord of the Rings, but that can backfire.
Creating a D&D home prevents a major affliction that can target weak-willed players. This is the urge to become a murderhobo. We have an article on murderhobos if your party is infected with this disease, but having a home is one of the most assured ways to stop murderhoboism.
Aside from preventing a terrible disease and making your players feel comfortable, it makes them feel attached to a place. This attachment will keep them in an area and always give them a home base to come back to.
This allows for relationships, business, plot-related events, and more to happen. Your players will want to defend the city if it is in peril because that is their home. They don’t want to leave and they will be more invested in the plot if their home is on the line. (not literally, but more as a byproduct.)
Having a home can allow your players to customize it and have them show progress. Players can try new things and have a home base to experiment from, and the home will evolve with the players allowing them to do more sophisticated actions.
Having a home is a great thing for your campaign, but how should you go about it?
In order for your players to even want a home they need to be in a good place. This is where you establish some ties before the concept of a home is introduced.
Creating a D&D home requires your players to know the area a little bit and be able to ask friends for help. These NPCs might give the players information, but the players need to like the NPCs. In order to do so, I suggest reading our article on how to make great NPCs.
Once you have some good characters for the players to get attached to, you need to figure out what they are into. A standard inn will not do. Your players are unique and will want to create something of their own. That is why you need to give the players ownership of an establishment or home before you proceed to the next phase.
Where are your players going to get a home? If they get a bar that is 1 mile outside of the city it won’t be a very good location. Similarly, if they have a bar that is unable to become what the players want, what good is it?
You need to take into account the location and desirability of the home. If players don’t like it, they will not stay. If players don’t get any benefit from their home, they will abandon it.
In addition to this, you need to let the home be malleable. Most places you give the players are not good enough yet. Just like when we move into a place, the players want to make this their own. It can be through re-decorating or a complete overhaul of the place.
A great example is my current campaign. They received a bar from the Dragonheist module and didn’t want it to be just a bar. There was a ghost there after all, so they made it an occult bar to fit the theme of the game.
I gave them the opportunity to redecorate by saying the place needed a little bit of help to be functional. This gave them the green light to do whatever they wanted and I highly suggest that you encourage the players to make the place their own.
Creating a D&D home doesn’t just include the interior.
No one likes dealing with taxes and bookkeeping. We are playing D&D to have fun so don’t make their home cost the players an arm and a leg.
When you go about creating a D&D home, think of how it can be self-sufficient. It can be a business that makes minor coin or a home that was gifted to the party for saving the town. If the place is not a place of business it should not be taxed. Once again, we are playing D&D not real life. Just require their services from time to time or something that will help you get them into the plot.
In addition to this, your players will be gone for long periods of time. They will figure this out the first time they come back to their home. It should be dusty, have complaints, and even maybe a rumor about someone robbing the abandoned home.
This will make your players hire employes. Make good NPCs for your players to boss around, and try to make them useful to the party. This will further invest their interest in the home.
Imagine this. You are in a home with servants. You want to learn something but have a million other things to do. Why not ask your servants to learn about that other thing? Most employes would just do their job, but your players are not standard people. Their employees should also be above the grain, but never able to take the spotlight from the players or do any serious work.
Your players by now will love their home, and that is why you have to abide by this 1 very important rule.
Threatening the home
If you are not comfortable with your DM skills, DO NOT THREATEN THE PLAYER’S HOME!!! Even veteran DMs can turn their players into murderhobos that hate the area if this is done poorly.
Threatening a players home should at most be that. A threat. No one targets the home while the players are inside unless it is planned by the players. If you harm the players home, they might repair it once. Harm it twice, and they will want to abandon it and curse the city for the rest of their days.
Players quickly realize that they are wealthy, powerful, and can just go wherever. Why deal with the hassle of rebuilding and protecting this home again and again? They won’t. It isn’t worth it to them.
If you threaten a home, make it an idle threat. Have no intention to carry through, and at most use this to motivate the party to go after a villain. This should only be done near the end of a story and with the biggest and badest of villains in your game. Anything else tells the players that this might be a constant problem, and the best solution is to ditch the home.
You went about creating a D&D home for a reason, so do not throw that away!
The only other time a home can be threatened is if it isn’t just the home. If, for example, the entire city is in flame the players’ home is expected to be under attack. This is the only time a home can be attacked without your players seriously considering abandonment in the aftermath.
Both of these instances have to be done correctly or you can turn your players off to the idea of ever having a home again.
Your home can also adapt to your game and make it more interesting.
Adapting to your game
In my game the players created an occult bar since they were dealing with other worlds and different realities. They had orphans run the bar (I know that players use orphans in D&D, but this was a little far) and some orphans became obsessed with occult ideas. These orphans were able to help the party in some research by showing them books that were read and 1 even became a warlock!
That is not all. The players made this bar a place where they summoned a demon and tried to integrate themselves into the plot through their customers.
In a different game, my players had an inter-planar castle that was alive and run by the wizard of the party. This was because the planes were unable to use magic and as avatars of their chosen gods, they were granted the ability to use magic and a cool space fortress.
You can adapt your home to your campaign and make it not only reflect the state of the game but be a critical part of it. It depends on how far your players are willing to go with their home, but players will usually go ridiculously far.
You can also make homes interesting side plots.
Making side plots with homes
Have you ever had an evil D&D party? What about a party that was practically evil but just didn’t believe that they were. Orphans are a blight on the world and need to be burned before more poor people are made after all.
If your players think like this or do evil things, they might turn into the actual BBEG (big bad evil guy) of the campaign. Why not let their home be a dungeon at that point to kill other adventurers?
You need to protect your home after all, so you might make this place into a fortress and have your players design a dungeon to give them a taste of being a DM.
Other adventurers will come and try to stop your party, but your players just want to protect their stuff!
This could be a fun twist, and an interesting way to use a home.
Creating a D&D home has almost unlimited potential for wacky things like this. You can create an airship as a home, or more! You do not need to make a standard bar.
Through all of these creative uses side plots sprout up and it makes your game more interesting.
I hope that I have helped you understand the importance of creating a D&D home. It doesn’t have to be standard or even the fanciest thing in the world, but it needs a few things.
Good NPCs, self-sustaining (no taxes), a place that can help the players, and somewhere to rest without fear of attack.
You can make the players home something more and adapt it to the game or create whole side plots from the nature of the players’ home. Just don’t threaten their home and make it a place that they want to live and can customize.
With all this in mind, I hope that I have convinced you to create a D&D home for your players. Even if it is only to make sure that they are not murderhobos!
This has been Wizo and keep rolling!