Groups templates, I had heard of them for awhile now, but only recently have I used one. I was starting a home brew Dungeons and Dragons 4E campaign and decided to use "Return to Northmoor" as a basis for it. http://northmoor.spookyouthouse.com/ is/was an amazing podcast where the DM goes through the material he will be presenting his players, then a bit of actual play, with the DM commenting on how it really went down. Pdf's of the gaming material, notes and monster stats where needed, means you have everything you need to run a session. The pdf pertinent to this post is found in http://northmoor.spookyouthouse.com/dnd/podcast/adventure/return-to-northmoor-episode-1-materials/ under Group Items and Character Requirements. Since I was not following the main plot of RtN, then my first task was to adapt these to meet my needs.
Another place I heard about group templates was Fear the Boot (http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/index.php/archives/14) who have blank templates on their resource page. FotB is all class and walks you through the process, though not in a straight line ;).
The thing I love about having a group template is the players are giving me story hooks, ideas I can use to draw them in. I have (and still do) come up with npc's and events that ties them to the world I have created. Instead of limiting the possibilities, it has opened them up.
So, give it a shot and let me know how it went. I would love to hear how it went, especially if you have already used them, whether you are a player or you are the one in charge. See ya later, guys.