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Most Important Questions to Ask at Session 0

Herne'sSon

Villager
The two most important questions I find, after settling on a genre and system are:

What sort of things do you want to do?
What do you absolutely not want to do?

The second question has helped me more often than the first, TBH. So many times the answer to the first question is vague, like "Oh, adventures and stuff." But people tend to be more passionate about what they don't want.

"Absolutely no pirates" is one that came about when the first Pirates of the Caribbean film was popular a few years ago. Which was great to know, because I'd been thinking about running a pirate-adjacent game for that group when I asked, and was able to pivot easily.
 

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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I have what I call my core three:

1. Are you at this time, or ever have you been, an enormous suckhole at the gaming table?
2. Has anyone ever refused to play your 'balanced' homebrew rules and did you shout at them about it?
3. Have you ever knowingly employed an egregious fallacy on a message board just because you're a gatekeeping, elitist, dickbag?


I start there and then tend to back off and talk about, you know, rules and expectations.
 

Can we say 2.5? (Punting the last GM, who doesn't want to do it - and no one else wants to either.)


Well, that might be, but I still want buy-in. I'm not going to agree to run something I don't want to run, but I want to have them on board.
I'd really want to run WFRPG's Enemy Within - but I don't think that group is cut out for it given the circumstances. I'd rather put time and energy into making a good, light-hearted adventure they'll enjoy than wearing myself out with a deep, immersive campaign that I'm just going to be frustrated with.
You already know the group so half of Session 0 is not needed so much. If no one wants to run and no one knows what they want to do I'd pick a few things you like the look of then give them the choice, and I'd make them things that would be a joy to run. And when they choose different options they take some ownership.

@Fenris77 if anyone answers "no I've never been a suckhole" to question 1 and they've been playing since they were a teenager I'd assume either that they were lying or that they didn't know themselves at all.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
1. Who are you?
2. What do you want?
.....
3. I killed an elf in Reno just to watch him die, and when I saw his lifeless eyes close, I didn't even cry. You have a problem with that?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
1. Who are you?
2. What do you want?
.....
3. I killed an elf in Reno just to watch him die, and when I saw his lifeless eyes close, I didn't even cry. You have a problem with that?
When Snarf was just a baby, his mama told him, son
always be a good boy, and shoot those elves with guns
 

ccs

41st lv DM
I always start by asking the group:

1) What type of game do we want to play? Fantasy, sci-fi, etc.

2) Now that we've chosen the genre, what system do we want to use?
And I have a list of the systems for each genre that I'm willing to use as well as a few that I'm not willing to run. If it's not on one of those lists? I'm open to considering it.

3) What do you want in the chosen game?
4) Is there anything you don't want?

Once these questions are sorted we can cover more specific topics like character creation methods, campaign details, house rules, etc.


The answers I got to this the other week were:
*Fantasy
*"D&D" - the choice of system - 1e, 5e, or PF - has yet to be decided. Though I doubt it'll be 1e. :(
*What do you want: "Something Greek", "A pirates campaign", and the other two players were fairly non-comital....
*What don't you want: Evil PCs, Undead PCs, Dragonborn,
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
When Snarf was just a baby, his mama told him, son
always be a good boy, and shoot those elves with guns

I bet there's high elves drinking in a fancy upscale bar
They're probably quaffin' cocktails and smoking big cigars
Well I know those elves had it coming, I'll have to kill two or three
But there's always more elves out there
And that's what tortures me
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I bet there's high elves drinking in a fancy upscale bar
They're probably quaffin' cocktails and smoking big cigars
Well I know those elves had it coming, I'll have to kill two or three
But there's always more elves out there
And that's what tortures me
If I freed them from their prisons
If I shuffled their mortal coils
I think I'd feel fantastic, somewhat more than fine
Some elves just need a killin', and that's where I draw the line.
 
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What do you find the most fun?
What do you find less fun but still want included?
What interferes with your fun?
Expanding on the above, what are your lines and veils?
What is expected table behaviour and unexpected table behavious?
How do you want to handle snacks and food?
How do you want to handle technology at the table?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
If I freed them from their prisons
If I shuffled their mortal coils
I think I'd feel fantastic, somewhat more than fine
Some elves just need a kilin', and that's where I draw the line.

Far from Elvish forests, that's where I want to stay
But when I see those soulless elves my sword just needs to slay
 


What do you want to do?
What gets veiled/faded to black?
What's totally off-limits/lined-out?

Most other things are game dependent...

For Star Trek, for example...
Ship, Station, or Special Team?
Which Trek Universe? (SFU, TOS/TAS/TMovie only, TNG/DS9/Voy & TNG Movies only, All broadcast Trek, Kelvinverse, CBS streaming?
ENT, Early Years, Disco S1-2, Pike/Cage, TOS, TOSMovie, Missing Years, TNG era, DS9/dominion war, Post DS9 & TNG Movies, between time, Picard? (I won't run Disco S3/S4...)
Peacetime, Wartime, high tension non-wartime?
 


^ This. It is important to establish some bounderies. Are there topics any of your players are not okay with? Is there adult content, and if so, how will you handle it?
Ironically, the thing most often veiled by my players isn't adult content... it's shoppy-store. they want to just buy the stuff at list price and not interact with the merchants.
 

Ironically, the thing most often veiled by my players isn't adult content... it's shoppy-store. they want to just buy the stuff at list price and not interact with the merchants.

I wish.

My guys will burn half a session on shopping when they hit a sizeable city with money in hand..
 


Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Epic
  • Type of game you want to play? Sci-fi, Fantasy (high/low), pulp, mix, Dark, Deadly, etc...
  • Find out what is off limits in game - sex, drug use, S&M, etc...
  • When to play or not to play - do you have a full party or is Bob not feeling well?
  • Provide General Knowledge to the players - What is to the north, south, east and west, who is the bad guys, House Rules, when to side bar, etc...
  • Players tell the GM about the characters family - just questions people should know.
  • Have the players tell you why they are adventures.
  • Have the players tell you how the characters met.
 

hopeless

Adventurer
How would your characters react when they confront a Fey who flees back to what they call their Refuge and pursuing them they find themselves aboard an ancient spaceship lying on the surface of the moon that orbits their world and their foe walking through an ancient druids grove in essence the only part of the ship that remains habitable where every tree represents the gravestone of a Fey and their foe is the last surviving member of this community.
Killing this Fey dooms your group to a slow painful death as they have no means of returning and the only way to safely return requires they agree to not harm this Fey so it can return them.
And they need to keep this pledge as if this grove dies so does eventually all life on the world below as its existance is dependant on that grove flourishing meaning one day that Fey will seek a replacement guardian the whole reason for their actions on their world.
Sorry all this talk got me thinking.
How would you react if THIS came up in a Session Zero?
 

How would your characters react when they confront a Fey who flees back to what they call their Refuge and pursuing them they find themselves aboard an ancient spaceship lying on the surface of the moon that orbits their world and their foe walking through an ancient druids grove in essence the only part of the ship that remains habitable where every tree represents the gravestone of a Fey and their foe is the last surviving member of this community.
Killing this Fey dooms your group to a slow painful death as they have no means of returning and the only way to safely return requires they agree to not harm this Fey so it can return them.
And they need to keep this pledge as if this grove dies so does eventually all life on the world below as its existance is dependant on that grove flourishing meaning one day that Fey will seek a replacement guardian the whole reason for their actions on their world.
Sorry all this talk got me thinking.
How would you react if THIS came up in a Session Zero?
Walk away, as the GM has control and "I've got a story" issues.
 

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