Galen's Final Session Zero is Near

Tomorrow, I’ll be running Caught in Galen’s final session zero. It’s an altogether session during which me and the players will establish certain rules about the world and the game, build sections of Galen that are wholly unknown, and flesh out aspects of the campaign they want to see. Between the last Tales of Galen article and now, I finished a year and a half long D&D campaign, the Karlith Straits, and ran multiple session zeros, some one-on-one, one other an experimental session that took place entirely in a dream.

The campaign hasn’t officially started, but I already know it’s going to be great.

The preparation has slowed down as it draws nearer and nearer. I have the opening moments of the first session prepared, as well as a broad layout of the campaign and its villain ready-to-go, but that’s it.

Those three things are incredibly important to have for a campaign’s start: the opening scene, a broad layout, and an idea of the primary villain.

You really want to grab your players during the kickoff of the campaign. That’s something I’ll be exploring very soon.

You want to know how the campaign might play out. What would happen if the characters weren’t there? Now that they’re going to be joining in, what might happen? How do their backstories relate to the main plot? Are they the main plot? With Caught in Galen, I’m really trying to incorporate the backgrounds of the player characters into the high level story we’ll be telling. I hope it goes well — I really think it will.

You need to know, generally, who or what the villain will be. Are they a singular entity? Are they a cult? A mercenary group? A god? How do they relate to each of the characters? How can I foreshadow them in the campaign’s opening moments? Lots can change between the first session and the campaign’s conclusion, but conjuring an image of the antagonist is important. It can help you set a tone for the first few sessions, the first threat, and make you look like a genius when all the pieces are placed together perfectly. It doesn’t matter if the pieces started out that way or were made along the way. All you need is that initial segment of the puzzle to build on. That’s what the antagonist should be.

Hopping over to the experimental session was amazing. Me and three players went through it and they all had a blast. Their characters met in a dreamscape, brought together by some unknown entity, and braved extreme environments. And, of course, they met an important individual, the catalyst of the entire campaign, the human who was assassinated: Calastis Starcloak. What are the implications of that?

Well, we’ll have to see.

I’m excited for the final session zero tomorrow and the awesome first moments next Thursday. Caught in Galen, I’m certain, will be my greatest campaign yet.

Until next time, stay creative!

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Check out Villain Backgrounds Volume I, a supplement that crafts compelling villains.

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