Monday, March 4, 2013

Musings on the "Prep" Session

A few days ago, my new group got together for the first time and started my new Pathfinder campaign. Like usual, the session mostly consisted of character creation and getting the party started on their first adventure. While it was a good session and I can't wait for the next one, I started to think about other ways to handle the "prep" session.

While I tossed around a few ideas in my head, only one seemed to really stick and get my creative juices flowing. The idea would be an interesting experiment for my next campaign and would give the players a larger role in the creation of the setting and story.

Here is the basic idea:

At the start of the first session of the campaign, the GM places a large poster board on the table with the outline of a continental landmass drawn on it. He then will pull out the game Dawn of Worlds. For those of you unfamiliar with Dawn of Worlds, it is a game where the players create a fantasy setting together. The GM and players will play the game, adding different elements to the setting each turn. While this is happening, the GM does what he can to take notes on this setting. Once the game is over, you now have the setting for this upcoming campaign.

After the setting has been created, everyone moves onto the next step: character creation. However, instead of cracking open the Core Rulebook, you pull out a freshly-made Fiasco play-set and a large amount of d6's instead. The players then play the "Set-Up" stage of Fiasco, using it to develop the relationships between the characters and explain why they are adventuring together in the first place. Heck, you could even go further and use the play-set to help determine the group's major goals, giving you some future adventure hooks in the process.

For some reason, the idea of shared world-building fascinates me and I think it would be a really interesting experiment for a Pathfinder game. It's also make the "Prep" session a game in itself instead of just people messing around with the mechanics of the game.