D&D 5E "When Starting Up a New Campaign I Always Have a Session #0" (a poll)

True or False: "When Starting Up a New Campaign I Always Have a Session #0"

  • True.

    Votes: 78 66.7%
  • False.

    Votes: 39 33.3%


Like what some others said, we play with the sane group of players and session 0 only takes about an hour to make PCs and go over anything. Then I like to start with a fight to see how the new PCs act together. Brings everyone back into play-mode.

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He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
Like what some others said, we play with the sane group of players and session 0 only takes about an hour to make PCs and go over anything. Then I like to start with a fight to see how the new PCs act together. Brings everyone back into play-mode.
It's good to leave the insane players aside.

Yes, always. Each campaign is a new event, a new opportunity. It is both unwise and wasteful to presume that that opportunity does not invite new questions and new concerns. (Somehow I missed this poll originally, so I'm voting now.)


For my current campaign, we did extensive 1-on-1 session zeroes where I and a player talked about PC concepts, backgrounds, and how to best integrate their character into the game world. Each of these took 1-2 hours over the course of a few weeks.

It has paid off so wonderfully in spades time and time again that I don't see myself ever not doing it again. So many great character moments because, ultimately, you get some neat ideas when you get a couple people working in tandem on a concept instead of alone.

For my next campaign, we're adding in a whole group session 0 as well where we make some of the broad strokes of the setting together too. It's gonna be great.


Ah you said it first. But pretty much this.

Why let a whole session go to waste without playing?
If the prep of making in-depth characters and the setting together is fun, why cut that short to roll dice?

Also, as a DM, it’s super invaluable for me to have these backstories. Like, hooks they’ll bite every time? Y’all just made the game for me, I just gotta arrange puzzle pieces now.


Deluxe Unhuman
Usually before and after the waning sessions of the current game, and in our group chat thread, there's enough talk about the next game that we don't need a session zero. Naturally, there's some groundwork that needs to be laid in that first session, but most stuff has been worked out by then.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I always do a Session 0 before starting a new campaign. I've even written up what I want to cover to share with DMs I've mentored and FB groups with new DMs asking. It covers the types of things I try to talk about, with some D&D-specific answers in parenthesis.


If a new group
Social rules (respect the host's location; DM authority in game, everyone equal voice out of game; no PvP including stealing loot from the party)

If first time DMing for the group
Quick overview of DMing playstyle (RP heavy, tough encounters but I'm your cheerleader. Give it a try/improvise. Failing forward, and failure just leads to a different branch of the story. Heroic or at least good-adjacent party. Lots of paths – don’t assume you have to follow a hook because I put it there. Don’t assume something is level-appropriate. Mostly serious tone, humor is good but not silly characters. Death is on the table.)
Character creation (Materials available (published WotC books, may have restrictions/expansions based on setting), Point buy, starting level)
Expectations I have for players. (Try to make games, play your character, don’t use metagame knowledge, be respectful, no pvp including stealing and other non-combat )
What expectations players have for me
What expectations from players of other players.
Settling rules disputes (spend reasonable amount of time in-session (reasonable depending on severity), then will make a ruling to move forward we can continue talking about outside of the session)
When we play (every other X night. Will play down one, cancel down two unless it's at the last moment and people are on the way.)

Comfort zones/triggers (no rape; how feel on body horror and gore?)

Overview of setting.
Rules and optional rules for this campaign (Point buy, using all WotC official that’s neutral, for FR, or for setting X, milestone XP, variant skills/abilities, possible variant rest, druids/polymorph do not need to have seen creature)
Death discussion (on the table/off the table/only named NPCs can kill)
Character brainstorming and creation. (Don't need to build every character, but everyone should have an idea of the party and where they fit into it.)
Players should have a discussion of how they want to do loot. (This goes hand in hand with the no PvP.)

Homebrew only
When I'm running a homebrew world, I've only got broad strokes done at session 0, and make the overview very interactive, get ideas of what the players are interested in, where they want their characters to be from and such, so I know where to detail out. I also encourage players to come up with details related to their characters - the knightly order they are part of, who is the beggar-king they trained under, what is the culture of the western dwarves like, etc. Grant some narrative authority with my veto power. Anything they build is something I don't have to, and has automatic buy-in when it comes up in play for the creating player.


I stopped bothering with my regular pool of players (about 20 people). We all have a good idea of one another's preferences and triggers/limits, so that part is unnecessary, and the parts I want to deal with -- making characters as a group mostly -- never happens because everyone comes with a concept in mind and won't budge.


Elder Thing
First the premise:

True or False: "When Starting Up a New Campaign I Always Have a Session #0"

Now there are a couple of things I want to establish before you vote. . .

By "always" I don't mean literally "always" or else I'd be asking if you've ever not had a session #0 for a campaign, and my guess is most of us some time in the past have not had (or even heard of) a Session 0, but I mean since adopting the notion of the session 0.

Though of course, if you have never adopted it at all, the answer is false.

I also don't mean only with new groups or new players - the question is if you begin each new campaign (or AP or whatever) with a Session #0
Not only Always for me, but I even have what I think of as a "Session -1," in which I recruit players by describing the nature of the game/campaign I plan to run. As I tend to be a little off the dial in how I run games, I find this conversation helps prevent people from being unpleasantly surprised at Session 0.

I fell it's very important to set expectations before people are invested enough to drive to the location where we will be playing.

Epic Threats

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