A campaign primer (often called a campaign bible) is a document you share with players ahead of a new campaign. It primes them for the setting to support their character creation. But what makes a good campaign primer?

A campaign primer is concise. Keep your campaign primer to one or two pages. Include only the essentials. The players don’t need to know the local vernacular for gold coins. But they might need to know if the gods vanished.

A campaign primer is informative. This isn’t the time to share prose about your setting’s long history. Focus on points that are new to the players, defy core assumptions, or would be useful during character creation.

A campaign primer is fun. Add some flair. Colors, backgrounds, and images make the experience more enjoyable.

Here’s a list of topics you might consider including in your campaign bible:

  • Recent events
  • Important NPCs
  • Important factions
  • Religion
  • Magic
  • Brief description of the setting
  • Map

Your campaign primer is unique to you and your style. So rather than provide a template to use, I wanted to provide an example of something not to use. You can download my first campaign primer below. May it serve as a source of inspiration and an example of how a campaign primer can get out of hand.

Warning: I recognize that some of the legacy content shared here does not reflect the values of PhD20 today. Any depictions of ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. I’ve worked hard and will continue to work to make my products as welcoming and inclusive as possible.

Inspired by Chris Perkins and his Valoreign campaign bible.