N S T I W
About the Concept
The “No Shit, There I Was” idea came from a desire to create an episodic campaign which still suggested an ongoing narrative. At this time I’m not sure I have enough to create a complete story, but I know that if I hand out the bits and pieces I do have, my players will respond to them and in so doing inspire me to find the things which are missing – meaning my next (and second-ever) campaign could actually be an ongoing narrative. =)
I also think this sort of campaign structure will be valuable to folks who are new to the gaming system – I would even go so far as to say it could be adapted to introduce new players to any gaming system. In addition to allowing players to switch characters between sessions, I also plan to make it so characters gain levels very quickly, at least through the heroic tier – the purpose being to get players used to the level advancement process and to see how their characters evolve.
I don’t recommend a N S T I W campaign for anyone who complains about D&D 4th edition being too much like a video game, since the disjointed structure and rapid advancement will only vindicate their disgust. If for some reason I felt insistent about courting a hater, I would probably say something to the effect of “and I believe that a good DM and good players can make a good story regardless of the rule system – once you actually bother to learn this system, I’ll show you”.
One modification I intend to allow to the rules as written is to give players the opportunity to earn roll bonuses or re-rolls. Especially when the underlying premise of the campaign is that the characters are boasting of their deeds after the fact, it feels right to give them extra chances to make themselves look good. I have not yet come up with anything solid for this, but I do know I will insist they be used to help themselves, not to interfere with others. You look more heroic when the enemy is strong but you’re stronger, and if folks want to mess with each other they can go play Munchkin instead.