After I whip up a good adventure by following a recipe, I like to hand out recipes for players to enjoy Dungeons and Dragons. You will find below a nice template to further thrive as a player while creating stories around the table with your friends and family. Here are a few ingredients you should add to your adventure sessions to fashion a satisfying session of Dungeons and Dragons!
- Title: It’s important to give your session a title, because this crystalizes the focus. For example, “The Breaking of the Fellowship”
- Find a great line to quote before you play to get you in the mood. For example, “I begin this game assuming I’m already having fun”.
- Describe the party make up and especially describe how your player relates to each other player character, or fellow sojourners. For example,
Gimli – taller than me, thick brown beard, drinking buddies
Legolas – clothing glistens in the moonlight, we went to the academy together
Aragorn – smells strongly of tobacco and earth, I respect him, but fear him at the same time, worried he will turn on me.
- Write 1-3 sentences of what transpired last session. This can help your character remember to bring up important details to other characters. After separating, we discovered that Frodo and Sam travel to Mount Doom alone. Aragorn inspires us to chase after the Uruk Hai to find Merry and Pippin. With the breaking of the fellowship, I hope to restore my faith in Aragorn.
- Party goals: answer the question of why adventure now? This makes the adventure feel more real than simply passing time playing a game. Keep it simple, for example: Find the two hobbits alive
- My character goals: of course, besides the party goal, your own character should have a reason to get out of bed in the morning after that long rest. An example could be, learn elvish from Legolas, question Aragorn about our plans after we find the hobbits, I wonder about Legolas’ history in this part of the world and hope to chat with him later on, I want to try out my new alchemical set when we get a breather and impress Gimli with my ale recipe.
- Contacts: just jot down a few names of people you met and why you find them important. Drunk townmaster named Phillipe who wants to leave town with us and Fairy named Glitter who wants to learn how to cook
- Discoveries: you may not find one of these every session, but this can help you roleplay instead of asking the Dungeon Master what your character remembers. Highlighting the discoveries can help you as a player feel like you are playing a game, and winning! Legolas keeps having visions of a white wizard stalking our steps and Aragorn finds a trinket left behind by Pippin
- Rewards – keep a short list of social boons, magic items and treasure you have acquired. I suggest this so again, you can measure your adventuring progress to closely align with the party goals. If the goal is to rebuild a city, and you have inherited a fortune from your wicked uncle, perhaps you could tie in the reward with the goal. I learned about the athelas plant and it’s curative properties and I found an orcish dagger +2 in the littered bodies
- Highlights and Hopes: I first heard this idea from a one shot podcast where the Dungeon Master called for a star moment in the game as well as a wish, or something the player would like to see in the next session. I have found this to completely revolutionize the endings of my sessions and help me and the players “feel” closure from the session. Also, I get honest and real time feedback on the session so I’m not worrying about how well I performed. It finally gives me a way to tie in player’s desires into the future sessions. If you do a session 0, think of Highlights and Hopes as a mini Session 0 between games.
What about you? What are some essential ingredients you incorporate for a satisfying game session?