The First Gaming Session
Ah! Hello, and welcome back, my friends and fellow adventurers, to The Ye Olde Wayfarer’s Adventurer’s Almanac. Here, we talk about the fantasy gaming hobby, from Fantasy Roleplay to world building, inspiration, and more. Pull up a chair and grab a mug of your favorite beverage as we continue the topic of preparing for your first gaming session. In the previous posts, we covered the basic responsibilities of the Gamemaster that needed to be addressed in the week(s) prior to the game night. For a quick refresher here’s a short list.
Secure a place and time for the game.
Decide whether the adventure is a standalone quest or the beginning of a campaign.
Set up a pre-game session to discuss rules, create characters, etc.
Decide whether or not to use miniatures.
Decide between Character Creation, or Pre-generated Characters.
Familiarize yourself with the adventure being run.
As stated previously, these steps listed above need to be taken before the night of the game. Now when it comes to the night of the game, there are some things that, if done, will increase the chances of your first game being more successful. “What are they,” you ask? Well, my friends, that’s what we’re here to talk about. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get right into it.
Let your players know what to expect at this point in the game-
Let’s just rip this bandage off quick. Low-level characters die… a lot. Think about the Video Game, Dark Souls and how often you die as you’re first playing the game. This is common throughout the first few levels you play as your character and can still happen as you
advance. Players should be made aware of this before the game starts. Players who know and understand that low-level character death is common, and that it is okay, will be more apt to shrug it off as they have to take a new character or build one. Whereas a player who doesn’t understand this may become frustrated and be more reluctant to play as his or her character meets multiple unfortunate ends.
Narrator, Storyteller, but not Nemesis-
It should be explained that as the Gamemaster, you are not the Player Character’s enemy. It’s not you against them; rather, you are their gateway to the world they are exploring, a narrator. Yes, you are the enemies they encounter, but you are also the merchants they buy from, the townsfolk they meet, the king who sends them on a mighty quest for riches and glory. You are their connection to the fantasy world, and together you shape the story into an epic adventure.
Treat the First Quest like the Pilot Episode of a TV Show-
Just as the pilot episode of a TV show introduces the characters, their nemesis, and sets the tone for the show; the first quest should introduce the characters and establish what the game is about. Even if it is a single standalone quest, it should offer adventure, danger, rewards, and enough suspense to make the players want to come back for the next game. It doesn’t have to go into some great detail about a future story, it just has to be enough fun for the players to stay involved. Allow them to explore what their characters can do, even if it fails miserably. This will show them that they are free to do as they will, but not without consequence.
While the First Quest is the most stressful for both Gamemasters and Players alike; knowing how to successfully approach that first quest can make the difference in whether Players return for a second quest or opt to stay with video games. While the steps mentioned above are purely optional, they will, if followed, improve the chances of you having a majority of your players ready to come back for a second quest.
Well, this is about all the time we have for this visit. When next we meet, we will continue this discussion about the how to approach the First Quest. Thank you once again for stopping in. May you have a good journey before you and may the road rise to meet you with new opportunity. Until next time, my friends, happy adventuring.
W. R. Frady