Laurel refused to draw a yellow exclamation point over the wizard’s head.

Who doesn’t love a good, smelly tavern? Countless quests have started in the grog shops of Greyhawk, the bars of Baldur’s Gate, and the unsavory lounges of Lankhmar. Anybody at all could walk through the door, and a bar fight or a years-long campaign might follow.

That said, taverns are just a tad overused. The official name of the trope is you all meet in an inn, and it’s basically shorthand for “you’re about to start on a fantasy adventure.” To illustrate the point, take a look at the opening sequence of The Desolation of Smaug. Now does that remind you of anything? It’s adventure writing on easy mode, and directors and GMs alike appreciate some easy mode.

If you’d rather spice up your adventure with something new, there are plenty of cool resources out there just a Google away. For my part though, I particularly recommend a shared back story. The Dresden Files RPG is famous for doing this well. Check out the ‘What was your first adventure?’ section here to see what I’m on about. If you served in the Royal Artillary with the party wizard, ran with the rogue’s gang once upon a time, or are simply the barbarian’s blood brother, you’ve suddenly got hooks to tie yourself to the adventure. And if you’re going to hang out with a motley band of ragtag ruffians, it pays to have a better reason than some weird scruffy guy told me to.