TT reader Joaquim Ball-llosera (Quim in the comments), co-founder of the Spanish indie RPG company Maqui Edicions, emailed me this nifty idea. He was gracious enough to let me share it with you — thanks, Quim!
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While designing my new Rifts campaign, I came up with an idea for introducing PCs. I call it the Campaign Prequel.

My players are reluctant to create PCs with a lot of background information. They say that the PCs’ histories before the game are not important, as they forge their own “legend” during the campaign. Besides, if a PC dies, there isn’t work/time “lost.”

As Rifts is a “complex” world never played before by my players, I have designed one mini-adventure for each PC where he is the main character, and where the other players role-play the other members of the group. These other members will be then re-usable as NPCs in the campaign.

These prequel adventures serve us with a triple purpose:

  • Introduction to a new setting.
  • Introduction of the PCs, and as a way to establish some background info for the PCs while playing them.
  • Let the players “try” other setting classes/profession/races through the secondary PCs, and let them adapt the main PCs as they see how the game systems works.

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What I really dig about Joaquim’s idea is that it takes White Wolf’s prelude concept — a mechanic that’s already easy to drift into other RPGs — and expands it without losing that portability.

It also tackles two issues that a lot of GMs run into: players who’ve been burned in the past on creating PC backgrounds that never got used, and players who don’t give you usable background material without some prodding.

What do you think of Joaquim’s campaign prequel idea?