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Am I overthinking this?


Registered User
Validated User
So, I've "officially" been planning to run a role-playing game campaign at some undefined point in the future; something I've always wanted to do, but never done. It's been over a year since I contacted friends about the idea, and I think I'm procrastinating. A major personal goal in this whole process is to confront my anxieties about creativity -- and procrastinating is just the sort of thing I've tended to do.

I've got a game system picked out (Stars Without Number); I've gone through the published materials, and reread the core book several times. I've got pages of notes on aspects of the setting, on a central theme and other themes to explore, on the key worlds in the sector, and ideas about conflicts between factions in the setting that should provide adventure hooks down the road. I've got a general idea for an initial adventure. (I'd use a pre-written scenario, except I'm not happy with any I've seen.) My plan is to have a sort of Session -1, an initial adventure, and then a proper Session 0 where we discuss how that first adventure went and how we'd like to conduct the rest of the campaign. I've got a few general ideas to propose, but I don't want to pre-empt the players too much. I've been in occasional touch with three potential players, and I've got some idea of their interests in general, though I've not been able to get a lot of feedback from them; I think I'd need one or two more players, and then try a game and see what happens.

I could spend any amount of time adding more detail to the setting, going over the rules again, drawing up an adventure and possible future adventures, reading advice on how to GM, learning to use software tools for assistance, preparing a website, any number of things. While any of these could be helpful, and some of them maybe necessary, any of them could also be an excuse to procrastinate. One of the bits of advice I received was to bear in mind that the first session will, inevitably, be messy and imperfect.

So the advice I need is, how much should I actually prepare for a first session? What do I actually need to complete, before I should email people and set up a time?


Viral Marketing Shill?
Validated User
If you have to ask, you probably are overthinking it. Your players will end up creating a significant portion of your setting and campaign during play. So, trying to get everything down to specifics is not required. Make sure you know how to apply the rules and that you have a general outline of what you want to happen in your campaign and then just jump in and go for it.

Sure you can have some specific encounters/events that you will want to run but linking them all together is best done by reacting to the players.

Remember, everyone should be having fun including you so if you have gotten to the point where you are obsessing and not having fun, get on with it. :)


Registered User
Validated User
Yeah. "Nike" that sucker -- Just Do It.


Take what you've got.

Put it together in whatever form you would use for at-the-table play (setting aside the longer-term campaign elements; you don't need them for Session -1).

What (if anything) is missing? What are you likely to need? Not a "cover every contingency, no matter how remote," but likely. After all, the players (being players) aren't likely to hit even half of your prepp'ed material; but they ARE likely to go off the rails in directions you'd never have planned; so don't worry about that stuff!

If your "needed for session -1" material is incomplete, consider taking a pre-published module and modding it to your taste, or just ripping the guts out and using the bits (NPC stat-blocks, deck-plans, whatever) in your own module / plotline. Othewise, make a bullet-list and do all future prep to fill that list, until you have filled it.

Gather your extra players, and schedule that Session -1. Consider (strongly, IMHO!) offering pregen's for Session -1, allowing them afterwards to keep&play if desired, modifyplay if desired, or abandon to create a new PC from scratch at Session 0 if desired.


Registered User
Validated User
You're more than covered here - you know the system (and every reread past the first was unnecessary, though helpful), you have a general understanding of your setting (which can hit playable in about fifteen minutes, so you're more than covered), and you already have multiple adventures ready (where having the first five minutes of an adventure roughly understood is often more than enough). Go forth and GM.
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