The Question: When you’re starting up a new campaign, how do you go about creating the first session? I’ve never had a knack for this myself, unfortunately. I don’t think there’s a magical formula for a great first session, but I’d love to be proved wrong!

I usually try to combine three elements: enough setup to carry the party into the next few sessions, enough introductory stuff to give my players a sense of all of the PCs in the party and at least one good action scene, usually fairly early on. This seems to me to be a fairly workmanlike approach — serviceable, but not nearly as good as it could be.

Do you have a formula you’ve used across multiple systems or genres? Do you vary your approach by campaign — and if so, are there any elements you don’t vary?

The PDF: I’d like to do something a bit different with this discussion post: use your answers to create a PDF about different approaches to crafting the first session of a campaign — along the lines of how Have You Ever Kicked Out a Player? led to How to Kick Out a Player and Respect Yourself in the Morning (one of TT’s top 25 posts). Maybe it’ll work, maybe not — but there’s only one way to find out, right?

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