Due to the nature of tabletop RPGs, a campaign will often start with a random group of strangers. Here are some ways to get them adventuring together, without resorting to the old Tavern trope.
From beyond through veils sublime
Pass ghostly, o umbral shine
Illuminate in shadow, fade colors, so fallow
Dark dreaming does bidding thine
In a bar not too far off the road, a man walks in. his boots clattering on the wooden floor. The bar is noticeably empty with only a few guys still around either drinking or chatting. Not too surprising since it is already the evening and they probably went home. The smell of smoke and liquor still hangs in the air like a fly caught in a web. The man in the trench coat pulls himself on a stool near the counter. His face covered by a bandanna and the brim of his hat obscuring the view of his eyes. The bartender, who had been cleaning a beer glass, looks up.
"So what'll it be, stranger?"
The man responds in a gruff and tired voice. "Dark and Stormy."
"A demonic plant? Don't be daft, go research something useful to society."
"But-but the p-plant! It's evil! It must be destroyed!"
"Now the flowers bloom all year round thanks to the most holy Spirit of Urban flora. It just takes a little blood."
It was just any other day, another testament to the mundane dreary lives of the living. No one was prepared for their coming, how could they be? They entered the bodies of the living, transforming them into blood thirsty monsters, all in an instant.
Trapped in a dream, chained by a net of magic, Deneus Betherim, arch mage of Cormalth bleeds magical essence from his fingers, fueling a rift in the fabric of existence; an essence conduit to the realm of elemental earth.
Earth, sand, mud, rocks and clay travel through the rift, and a mountain is being born beneath the feet of the ensorcelled conjuror.
Deneus is the blood of the mountain, fueling the portal, but who is the mastermind behind it all?
When the Caliph-Emperor of the Dunes hear about his son's heart attack at the northern front, his rage is unstoppable. For his son was only nineteen years old, and a trained athlete. Grief stricken as only a parent bereft of their child can be, the Emperor finally rouses the Empire into action.
So, when reinforcements finally arrive to the beleaguered veterans at the front, they are accompanied by the the Imperial Necromancers in their gold laced red silken robes, as well as the three old triplet hags of Devananon, seers and prophets who use narcotics to enhance their trance visions.
As the Prince's corpse is carted to the Spires of Devananon, where the necromancers and the triplets will work their magic, the PCs will have to conjure a plan of their own. For they are to blame for the Prince's death.
This plot is set five months after the happenings of "A Dark Moon over Sagranz", but could be adapted by any GM to fit his setting and need.
How hard is it to despatch a troublesome swan? A lot harder then you might think.
The players; survivors of an elite squad of mercenaries, are assigned to an assassination mission. Their task; to penetrate enemy lines during night, enter the fortified Holzberg Monastery where Sagranz has his command, and kill the elderly Hexenjaeger in his sleep.
If only it was so easy...
More annoying than fairy fire ever was. And much more deadly.
In the chosen families, the son was always more dangerous than the father.
Food, fun, and a mummy!
PCs are hired to assassinate a local Count. Designed as the opening mission of a war-based campaign.
You’ll never eat in this town again.
What happens when the PCs run into a girl that they failed to rescue once a second time?
A well-meaning mage has banished darkness from the area, not realizing the downsides of this event.
These magical boots empower the wearer with several abilities at once. Wondrous leaping, water-walking, and even flying! Yet the boots possess an insidious curse upon them as well. A deep and almost unfathomable (by others) feeling of listlessness, boredom, and even apathy affects the boots' wearer at all times whenever they are donned. Magic will not dispel the effects.
And so while the wearer of the boots can perform great feats of action during combat or at other opportune times and key moments, they'll never really want to do so, complaining "Meh, what's the point of it all anyway?" or "I would fly up and save us all guys, but sigh, maybe uhm, soonish, mkay? Bit bored by this whole burning tower at the moment."
Naturally the boots wearer's fellow PCs will grow quickly frustrated with this arrangement. There have been numerous occasions when one angry PC literally tears off the boots from his companion's feet in anger, and dons them in turn, only to immediately suffer from the same effects.
The solution lies in constantly "motivating" the boots' wearer with successful rolls, involving threats, flattery, fiery speeches, or even bribery.