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Session Zero is a term we throw around left and right, but what is it actually?
This week on our RPG Podcast we have Martin and Daniel as guests, both weathered GMs with very different ways of storytelling and running a campaign. Together with Chris and Toby, they ruminate on what is essential for a session zero.
They touch upon many different aspects of Player and GM interaction; character creation, NPCs, player agency, player character development and inter-character conflict. Your character has a flaw that you think would make for good RP? Tell your GM! Your campaign is supposed to be about some farmers leaving their old homes behind to become heroes? Tell your players!
How do you, as a group, create a cohesive narrative? Is it necessary? And how can you make it an enjoyable experience? How do you take advantage of the PC’s background in building the story and how can players build their own story by learning more about the other PCs? About the NPCs? This kind of network-building helps create a strong, coherent story that helps immense the Players into the game and allows for richer and more varied plots!
A tried and tested tool for character development is a questionnaire. Martin goes into detail about how to, and how not to, write some questions to post to your players before the game properly start, as well as some advice on how to answer these questionnaires too.
Chris also goes into the surprisingly deep well of roleplaying opportunities in Deathwatch, and how even a game that is centered so much on action-focused gameplay still offers several different ways to develope your character in surprising directions.
And what would one of our podcasts be without some D&D bashing? Chris mentions the rather shallow background system for D&D (which, of course, still serve as a foundation for character development) and compares it to games like World of Darkness that counts NPCs and other forms of abstract character networks as actual resources.
There’s also talk about NPC creation in general. How to build a stable of supportive characters that exist not necessarily to progress the storyline, but to add to the depths and believability of the setting as a whole.
Overall this a conversation going deeply into the Meta of RPGs. Our systems are probably not the best, and there’s some banter about it, but if you’re a fledgling GM looking for aide in making your first campaign, or even a seasoned Game Master looking for some fresh inspiration, this might be the Podcast for you.
We’re all passionate about Roleplaying Games and we hope you feel like this at least entertained you, if it wasn’t educational. If you have any suggestions or pointers, feel free to let us know in the comments below!
Come shoot the shit! Have fun! Do some memes!
And as usual, thanks to the Scouts of Sweden for letting us use their offices for our recordings!