LFGM Rating: 3
I got started with D&D 3.5 in my college years, but have played all sorts of RPG and RPG-adjacent games since. I follow some gaming podcasts and hang out with a few indie game developers online. I ran Exalted 3e when it was new in addition to a number of D&D/Pathfinder games.
I love games, and I love literature, and Roleplay gives me what I love about both.
I believe that people come first. Players should fell that they have agency, that their choices matter and have an impact on the story and world around them. Players should feel comfortable, and that means that boundaries have to be set, and expectations managed.
Session Zero is about finding out what everyone wants and getting everyone on roughly congruent pages.
1) What kind of game do we want?
A cheery slice of life with occasional paranormal events to add a little spice? A gritty noir mystery in a dying city where life is cheap and short? A high stakes political intrigue that spins a passionate whirlwind of ambition and betrayal? A loosely held together string of fights (sometimes people just want to sword things)?
2) How much effort do we want to mandate?
Do we expect everyone to have a well developed backstory? Should everyone bring an optimized murderhobo? Should the DM prepare a linear hero vs monster progression of set pieces or track the moves of 4 rival factions who all have their fingers in pies the players are trying to bake? Sometimes you want something relaxing and simple, others you want the full string theory conspiracy board.
3) What our our boundaries? What are our deepest wants?
Discovery is a joy, but hurtful surprises and disappointment can be avoided by setting clear limits and goals. My favorite piece of writing advice is "know what promises you are (implicitly) making to the reader and make sure to fulfill them." With roleplay, the readers get a vote on the promises, so they should never be underwhelming or distasteful.
Safety tools like Lines and Veils and X-Card are vital, but knowing goals the players would like to attain allows for set up for positive surprises as well.
I like spreadsheets and improv theater both. I love emotionally string speeches and meet cutes. I adore clever plot hooks (especially in backstories) and running gags.
I tend to play defensive and supporting roles. I never understood why 80% of everyone is DPS in MMOs- battlefield control always seemed like more fun to me.
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Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese,