Every good campaign begins with a situation. Sometimes called a kicker, the situation isn't just a general premise for the campaign, it's a specific event or circumstance that thrusts the story into action. The situation is where the GM gets to make their voice heard in the shape of the game to come, even giving the players a solid starting point from which to write their drives.
The situation inevitably springs from the premise, but any given premise could spawn a theoretically infinite number of situations.
Premise: The PCs are all important figures in a revolution to bring down a theocratic regime. For the good of the empire, the chains of the false god-emperor must be shattered and the man exposed for the pretender he is.
Situation: At the revolution's climax, revolutionary forces stormed the palace and with the help of a strange old priest slew the emperor. It was only in the howling, screaming, chittering aftermath that they realized without question and beyond dispute -- the emperor was a god... and they have killed him.
Premise: The PCs are members of and connected to one of the five most powerful noble houses in the kingdom. For generations, they have had a blood feud with a rival house that goes beyond any hope of reconciliation.
Situation: After the most recent clash between the houses threatened to engulf the kingdom in a civil war, the King himself has put his foot down and demand the two houses put a stop to this madness. The two houses were forced to enter a peace accord, swearing an oath that neither shall seek harm against the other or break the kings peace on pain of death and the stripping of title and lands from every member of the house responsible. No more than a week after the accords are signed, the former head of the PC's household dies mysteriously on a boar hunt. The house physician strongly suspects that the wine was poisoned with some form of sedative.
Have you been kicking around any ideas for your Scoundrel campaign?Premise: The PCs are members of prestigious Musketeers of the military household of the King of France -- or, more colloquially, the King's Musketeers. Swashbuckling adventure will ensue.
Situation: After an evening of carefree drinking and gambling in a lower-class tavern, they are set upon in an alleyway by armed men. The target? One of the PCs. One of the assassins? A Spaniard. No one knows why.