Preparing for my first session

I’m planning to start a session for my kids (9 and 11) and possibly a couple of my fellow D&D friends (40s).

First, I created a reference for things I could see myself checking frequently (either to remind players of or to myself to do):

It still needs work, but I think it covers most of the rules. I’ll still have to use the book for town, weather, skills, and creatures details. I don’t want to over-prepare, but I want to be comfortable while GMing in an impromptu way. And I think the cheat sheet will help keep the game moving briskly, especially for the kids.

Second, I’ve read a lot of threads about conducting sessions and getting started. I’ve played a modified Star Wars RPG (using SW minis) so my kids already have the basics of tabletop RPG. But I want to get started quickly and demo the game while playing. But I think a 5-10 minute intro is still needed. This is what I’m considering. I want to highlight checks so that they are aware of them in the GM turn, during which I’ll also remind them again.

[li]A game focused on role playing
[li]Beliefs, instincts, and goals (just a quick overview and refer to the character sheets)
[li]2 parts of the game
[li]GM Turn where I beat your characters up with obstacles and tests
[/li][li]Players Turn where you take control to heal, to finish up tasks, to find characters, etc.
[li]How the dice work
[/li][li]Checks: How to earn them and how to use them (a quick definition and example)
[li]Not just about winning every test
[/li][li]Have to fail to level skills
[/li][li]Fail to do things later in Players’ Turn (like heal)

Any feedback? Thanks!

Good outline. I’d add using Traits beneficially either to #1 or to #4. In my experience, however, the best introduction to the game is playing it. Are you planning to run one of the sample missions with the characters included in the book?

Yes, I am. As much as I’d like to do my own, I think one of the samples will be better. I can always modify with the twists and such.

I like play by learning, too, but I think even a 5-minute intro can work and set the basics. When we play complex games like Pandemic, I take a similar approach with the kids.

Also, I like KibyG’s test flowchart. I had something like that in mind after I made my various notes. He did an excellent job. I’m considering something similar with conflicts. I know there’s a sheet for conflicts already, but I like a flowchart better.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to dissuade you from doing an introduction; they never stick for me. (But that’s my learning style.)

With a new group, I try to have an initial session where the rules are introduced and we play a sample mission with provided characters. Following that, sometimes we do recruitment and begin our own campaign and sometimes we keep rolling with the sample characters based on the events of the first mission.

Good luck with your first session. Be sure to report back to us.

I’ve posted my[-First-game-with-my-kids"] observations and a summary of our first session]([MG). I think it went well. As it regards the prep, I think I did just the right amount. One thing I did was have them read their goals, beliefs, and instincts after I introduced the mission, and I asked them what each meant, what it would require them to do. I think this was good, especially for my daughter who was a little confused about Sadie’s belief.

Also, I realized that I don’t need a conflict-specific flowchart: between the back of the character sheets and the skill tests flowchart, it worked pretty well.