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  • Writer's pictureW. R. Frady

Where Do I Start?

Updated: Jan 29

The First Gaming Session

Part 2

Welcome back, adventurer, to The Ye Olde Wayfarer's Adventurer's Almanac. I am glad to see you return,

please have a seat and we’ll continue our discussion about the First Gaming Session. As you may recall, in the previous post, I began with what really are the basics of getting a first gaming session together. I know you’re eager to take your Player

Characters on an epic quest across the Dreaded Bleak Forest where the Ruins of Dargonfell reside, but let’s just get you ready to run that first quest, for now. You see, I know what it’s like to have that epic plan for a story that you’re just itching to wow your players with, but let’s be honest. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially for both new Gamemasters and new players. I have had many first game sessions, as no doubt, so will you. It’s just part of the process of being a Gamemaster, one which we will discuss in a later conversation. However, for now, here’s some more advice that I wish that I had known when I was but a starting Gamemaster.

Decide what kind of adventure you want to run-

Will the First Quest be a single standalone adventure that will not only introduce your players to the game but also be wrapped up in a single night, or will it be the beginning of a much bigger story? When it comes to what kind of adventure to play as a first quest, my personal advice for new GMs is to make the first adventure a standalone quest filled with excitement, a good, if brief, story, that can be wrapped up within a couple of hours or by the end of the night. This standalone adventure can be written by you, or if you want to get a feel for how to balance the quest before taking your adventurers into The Lost Mines of Athomar, then you can opt for a ready to run adventure which can often be found in either the core rulebooks, beginner sets, or even a

standalone module from whichever system is being used. After all, this may be your first outing as a GM, and for your players, it might very well be their first experience in Fantasy Roleplay as well. You may be a magnificent storyteller with epic ideas that will make your players feel as though they themselves are taking the One Ring to Mordor, but you want to take this, and maybe even a few more gaming sessions to get a feel for running a game. Not to mention, the players that you start with may not be the group you have a couple of weeks to a couple of months or more down the road.

Decide if whether or not you’re going to use miniatures-

Will you use miniatures for your game, or stick to

imaginative narration? There’s no wrong answer here as every gaming group has their preference. Some prefer the board game-like feel that miniatures offer, while other groups feel limited by them. The use of miniatures offers gamers a visual tool to see what is happening and where during gameplay which can be helpful for new players and Gamemasters alike. This is why many Starter Kits for RPGs come with a generic dungeon map and ready to play miniatures and/or tokens.

On the other hand, you can forego the miniatures and stick to the narrative style of roleplay where the Gamemaster relays all the information of what the characters perceive from behind the screen using the characters senses to briefly describe the scene before them. This allows more freedom for characters to act while focusing on roleplaying and storytelling skills. It also requires less setup time than getting all the battle maps and miniatures sorted and ready to use. In the end, it is up to you, the Gamemaster, to find what works best for both you and your players.

As you are planning your first session, setting up a time and place, and even holding a pre-game session to make characters, you should take these matters into consideration. Doing so will go a long way toward ensuring that your first gaming session or first quest will have a chance of being more successful. These tips and pieces of advice are basically here to help you prepare the game in advance so that when the time comes to play, all you need to do is set up the table, welcome your players, and get started. In the next segment I will cover Character Creation vs Pre-generated Characters, as well as the importance of Familiarizing yourself with the Quest you intend to run. I hope you find this helpful in your journey to becoming a legendary Gamemaster. Thank you for stopping in, my friends. I look forward to your swift return. Till then well met and Happy Adventuring.

W. R. Frady

Disclaimer- All products pictured above are from my collection and are for reference only. Dungeons & Dragons, and Castles & Crusades each belong to their respective companies.

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