D&D 5E 30 Minutes before a game session, what prep rituals help you DM/play your best games?


As a player I like a bit of Joy Division, or Sisters of Mercy, or anything similarly dark and bleak...... as my main PC is a Necromancer ;)

DMing - a large mug of strong tea.

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I usually have the table all ready first thing -- and I take care of my DM station last. The last 30 minutes is usually filled with whatever I can do to make the game progress faster between encounters/chapters. This is when I am usually sorting through my monster and NPC figures to station them behind the screen for ready use. This is also when I usually discover that I do not have a particular monster figure and start deciding what OTHER monster looks close enough to fit the scene without causing confusion to the players.


Due to my group being far too spread out for pen-n-paper sessions, we have been a strictly Fantasy Grounds game for quite awhile now. My pre-session rituals are pretty consistently:

  • Eat Something - Gotta have food for my body and my brain (which I keep inside my body) so that neither of them get tired during our ~4 hour session..
  • Cup o' Joe- My brain also likes coffee. And pornography. But never at the same time (Important safety tip!)
  • Check My Notes - I tend to have some notes on what happened last session, a few notes on how I want to paint the scene for where the party is at when we go live, and couple more notes on what I think is gonna happen next (and how to make those things fun - if possible).
  • Quiet Reflection - Yes, I literally turn off the TV and/or stereo (why do I have both the TV and the stereo on at the same time? "Cuz I like to party"). I then sit on the couch, drinking my coffee, kinda staring out the window, while I take a few quiet moments to run down how the session is going to start and where I'm think it's gonna go for the next couple hours. I do this for like 20 minutes.
  • D&D Tee - Put on my favorite t-shirt. It helps me take that final step into immersive D&D nerd awesomeness.
  • AFP - Last thing I do is go AFP - Away From Pants. Again; we're on Ventrilo and using Fantasy Grounds, so it's not like my players need to endure seeing me sittin' there in my undies.

Once the pants are off... I'm ready!


First Post
Back in the day, 30 minutes before a session is when I'd start calling people to make sure they were coming, and find out half of them weren't.
...and then trying to figure out how I'm going to alter this, the second half of a two part session, for characters that weren't there for part 1...


30 min before: I meditate, regardless of whether I am playing or DMing. I do the same thing for tests: it helps me clear my head of any distractions.

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