Tomorrow night, my group is picking up our D&D campaign after a couple months on hiatus (due to time commitments, travel and the like). Our GM, Sam, knows his stuff — this isn’t a roundabout way to tell him what to do tomorrow, I just thought it would be an interesting topic to consider.

Whenever you take an extended break from an ongoing game, that first session back should look slightly different than a normal session.

1. Start off with a meatier opening recap than usual. Chances are, at least some of your players have completely forgotten what was going on in your campaign. Don’t take offense — they just need a reminder, and in this case that reminder should be longer and more detailed than normal. (And whatever you do, don’t ask your players to do the recap after a long break.)

2. Account for rustiness. After a lengthy break, your players might be rusty on two things: the rules, and roleplaying their characters. Personally, it usually takes me a little while to get back into my character, and at least one encounter to remember all the stuff my PC can do.

As a general rule, I wouldn’t recommend opening with a critical scene that demands a lot from your players — give them a few minutes to ease into it.

3. Then, get right down to it. After the warm-up period, kick things into high gear: Come out swinging with whatever best represents your campaign — a fast-paced action scene, stumbling into a mystery, a horrific encounter, an NPC ally in danger, etc.

Just ask yourself, “What is this campaign all about?” — and then answer that question in the second scene (the first major scene overall, after the warm-up one).

4. Carry on as normal. After you’ve taken those first three steps, the rest of your session should just be a normal night of gaming. Your players will be back in the saddle, warmed up and pumped about the game.

What techniques do you use when starting up a campaign after an extended break?