Dungeons & Dragons: 9 Things to Do During the "Session Zero" | GAME3A

Dungeons & Dragons: 9 Things to Do During the "Session Zero"

Extensive preparation is required for a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Whether it's a multi-year, self-designed campaign or one of the numerous pre-made ...

George Marston Sept 21, 2023
Dungeons & Dragons: 9 Things to Do During the "Session Zero"

Extensive preparation is required for a game of Dungeons & Dragons. Whether it's a multi-year, self-designed campaign or one of the numerous pre-made adventures, there are many things that need to be sorted out.

A significant portion of this preparation can be done during the so-called "Session Zero." This is often the first time the entire group comes together for the game, so there is a lot to discuss. Everything, from the players' preferences, can be addressed during this planning phase. Here are some of the things you'll want to talk about when convening for your very own "Session Zero."

9 Hone Characters

Dungeons & Dragons 9 Things To Do During Session Zero

When everyone gathers for the "Session Zero," your players likely already have an idea of how they want to shape their characters. The "Session Zero" is the right place and time to further refine this.

As the characters learn more about the game and hear from other players, questions they had about their own characters are gradually answered. This is also the time for players to ask questions about their characters, and for the Game Master to review what they have developed so far, ensuring they don't plan anything that the Game Master doesn't want in the game.

8 Get Familiar With The Setting

Dungeons & Dragons 9 Things To Do During Session

While you shouldn't reveal too much, the "Session Zero" is a good place to convey the world in which they find themselves. This is important so that they can develop characters that fit well into this world and to introduce them to the mindset of the things they will encounter.

Nobody wants to create a wizard only to find out in the first game session that it's a magic-free world. This is the time to get them excited for the campaign and reveal just enough to make them eager to play.

7 Get To Know Each Other

Dungeons & Dragons 9 Things To Do During

Whether online or in person, there's a good chance that not everyone at the table knows each other.

That's the fun of the game. You get to meet new people. It's important to get to know each other to ensure that everyone has fun. Nobody wants to dive into a game like D&D with complete strangers. If you already know each other, now is a good time to catch up and see what's new in their lives.

6 Plan A Schedule

Dungeons & Dragons 9 Things To Do

There is no set number of meetings that a group should have to play D&D, but the "Session Zero" is as good a time as any to see how everyone's schedules look.

Regardless of who you're playing with, everyone probably has a busy life, which means it can be difficult to play regularly. You might play once a week, once a month, or simply whenever you all have free time. Whatever works for your group, you should do it. Whether you plan it in advance or decide spontaneously is entirely up to you.

5 Set Expectations

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Dungeons & Dragons is a game that is as diverse as the people who play it. The "Session Zero" is the place where you should come together and figure out what each person expects from the game.

The setting, atmosphere, and overall experience are all important topics for this part of the "Session." This way, you avoid someone showing up to the first game session with plans for a grim and dark fantasy game while someone else wants a cheerful high-fantasy adventure. Ensuring that everyone is on the same page is the true purpose of the "Session Zero," so it is a must.

4 Try Out Voices

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It may not be the most serious element in the game, but knowing how your character will speak is often an overlooked part of role-playing.

Try out different voices with your friends and see how they fit the role, and more importantly, make sure it doesn't bother anyone too much. The "Session Zero" is a good place to clarify this and other role-playing aspects of the game that relate to the characters of all players. It can be distracting if someone is still figuring out their character's quirks during the game.

3 Decide On Alignments

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The alignment chart is an important part of character creation, but over the years, many people have developed their own ideas about this aspect of D&D. Not every alignment works in every campaign.

Your game master may not want a chaotic evil Crondax the Destroyer in their campaign where the goal is to save the world, at least not without a good reason. The "Session Zero" is the place where the game master and players discuss which alignments are not allowed or if any alignment needs to be chosen at all, as some gaming groups completely forego alignment.

2 Decide On Rules, And Exceptions To Rules

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Rules are an important part of any game you play, or maybe not. That's one of the big things you need to discuss in the "Session Zero."

Discuss any house rules you want to introduce, adjustments you want to make to the core rules, or rules you want to completely forego. Additionally, the all-encompassing "Rule of Cool" should also be discussed. Some game masters strictly adhere to the rulebooks, while others are more flexible. Let your group know what they're getting into.

1 Establish Boundaries

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In a campaign, many things can occur that not everyone wants to interact with or embody.

A big part of the D&D community is about making people feel comfortable, and that's what you should strive for at your table. Educate yourself and find out what people don't want to experience in the game. In a game that focuses more on combat, not everyone wants to delve into the darker aspects of combat or the game world.