Now that you’ve spent all this time and effort creating the perfect character and gathering all your necessary tools, you might be asking yourself: “What now? Where do I even start?”. Well, Nooblet, it’s quite simple – you start at 0… session zero.
Your session zero will be your first foray into actual game play and will give you your first real, in-depth glimpse into the world where your story will play off. Although your session zero will differ somewhat from actual game-play, it will offer you a chance to get comfortable with role playing and putting yourself in that mind-space. Here’s what you can expect…
What even is?
Session zero is the warm-up to your workout, the prologue to your epic novel, the cocktail hour before the big event (not literally, but who am I to stop consenting adults from enjoying a few cervezas? Drink responsibly…). Simply put, it’s the introduction to your story.
Session zero will be the opportunity for you and your DM to smooth out some technical details and then jump into your character’s story by role-playing how your character got to be where they are at the start of the first session. This will also be a story-telling of sorts where your DM will introduce you to the world they created (Here’s an article on session zero from a DM’s POV that you can suggest to your DM or peruse for yourself if you would like insight into their perspective). Your DM may have some maps, visual aids & descriptions and handy tips to share with you. It’s important to take notes on your surroundings, place names, cultures, races found in certain territories (depending on whether your character would be knowledgeable about that sort of thing), as well as seasonal changes and temperature.
The infamous “one-on-one”.
Ideally, when you’re a first time player, your DM will sit down with you alone for your session zero. This might not always be the case for every DM or every campaign, but we’ll get into that later.
Your DM will most likely start off by getting some technicalities out of the way. If you haven’t rolled your stats yet, or have been instructed not to, your DM will do that with you. This is the perfect opportunity to pore over your character sheet, fill in all the blanks and make some decisions you haven’t yet. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance with choice options or suggestions on feats and attributes, your DM will have a better sense of what will benefit your character build best based on what you intend to do with your character in the long run.
Once you’re all set, you’ll be eased into the role playing aspect by your DMs story-telling of your world. You’ll notice that they might incorporate certain aspects of your character’s backstory, as this portion of the story will play off with your character alone, and will most likely be the occurrences before your character meets the rest of their future adventuring party. They might set the scene, introduce an NPC, or start a conversation with your character and ask you to make a decision, as your character, or respond to the conversation, which will ultimately lead to the place and circumstance of where and how you meet your party. This is where the fun starts.
Efficiency in numbers
In many instances, the DM may choose to run their session zero with the entire party present. All players will come together to create their character, roll their stats and introduce their characters to one another. If there is any information the DM needs to discuss with a player without the rest of the party being privy to it, they may pull that player aside for quick pow-pow.
This method is very time efficient and easy enough to run if the party consists of mostly experienced players. A first time player might find it difficult to keep up but the good news is that, for the most part, experienced players are always willing to help and answer any questions you may have. This is especially helpful if your DM has their hands full getting everyone set up. Your fellow players are a wealth of knowledge and experience. I’ve always found them to have a lot of helpful tips and hilarious stories that they’re always happy to share.
If you do feel uncertain or confused and think that a combined session zero will be too much for you, you can request that your DM sit down with you for a one-on-one. At the end of the day the DM does this so that everyone can have a good time together and will be more than happy to help you feel comfortable and confident. All you need to do is ask and remember to have fun with it.
If you have any stories of your first session zero or have any thoughts or ideas on making a session zero more fun or efficient, please share them with us, we always appreciate hearing from you.
Role-play responsibly, adventure fans!