Poll your players to see what kind of campaign they want to play in.
This probably seems like both the most brilliant and yet the dumbest thing ever, because I bet most of you have done this yet half-assed it like I have.
I'm certain we've all asked a player or two a pointed question about what type of game to run, but the information collected was tainted or just generic. Asking in a group setting introduces bias and influence and even the act of asking a verbal question can muddle the waters.
My buddy took it s step further and created an actual survey for the players to fill out and then he worked up his campaign based on what the document responses were. What he got surprised him but he ended up being able to focus his efforts and put together quite the memorable campaign.
Actually, I know he's done this a few times and the resulting themes have been interesting:
- An Icelandic Saga campaign
- A campaign set on the eve of the fall of Constantinople
- A campaign of wizards proceeding through magic school (like in Harry Potter)
Here is a link to one of the questionnaires he has used. Undoubtedly you will have to tweak it to fit your needs.....
I think you'll find a little effort to effectively poll your group will pay HUGE dividends down the road....and don't forget to fill one out for yourself.