Over the past few months I've noticed a ton of questions - particularly in and - which are answered in part by suggesting that the GM have a session 0 (a pregame session where the ground rules of the campaign are laid out).

I feel that a community Q/A detailing resources, strategies, and topics of discussion that facilitate a productive session 0 would be of great benefit. When a session 0 is suggested, we could link to this question to help guide the asker in the right direction while they are tailoring a session 0 for their campaign.

The obvious problem with such a question is that it veers almost immediately into "primarily opinion-based" territory. Could it be asked in a way that is on-topic, or is that impossible given our format? What about creating something akin to our page of forum suggestions?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I have noticed this as well, and agree that such a resource would be useful. Even if the questions themselves are off topic, having a place to point to for when the questions are on topic and the answer is "have a session 0" would be immensely helpful \$\endgroup\$ – B. S. Morganstein Aug 2 '17 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ We wouldn't put such a resource on Meta (like the forum links one) though — it wouldn't be on-topic back here because it's not about site management issues. It would have to be on Main and pass muster as a normal question there. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 2 '17 at 19:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ What about a rephrase such as "What is a session 0?", This would somewhat broaden the scope, but definitely make it less opinion based, while still likely resulting the in same "Correct" answers expected by the question "What makes a good session 0?" \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Gorman Aug 4 '17 at 18:20

I'm going to disagree very slightly and say that it's not so much that "what's a good session 0?" is too opinion-based, it's that it's too broad. The point of session 0 is to establish expectations for your game; thus, how to do that well will depend strongly on what expectations you're trying to convey.

"What should every session 0 contain?" might be answerable, but even there you'd probably have to be system-specific; a session 0 for DND is going to look very different from a session 0 for Burning Wheel. Sticking to one system, though, there are probably some things that every (say) DND session 0 would do well to mention - do we care about encumbrance, what level are we starting at, how important are backgrounds, is this game using Inspiration/feats, etc.

On the other hand, if you're looking for a starting point, a terminology question might be appropriate. "I keep hearing people say I should do a Session 0 - what is that, and why is it important?" could probably have a best expert answer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A good point - I might prep by reviewing some of the questions to look for common threads that can be drawn together concisely. \$\endgroup\$ – Conduit Aug 2 '17 at 20:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah people like to treat "good" like it's a bad word, but it's really not a problem when it's clear and it clearly mean "optimal" in this case, and optimizing the quality of the RPG that follows at that. As long as you are sufficiently specific these questions are fine. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Aug 2 '17 at 23:15

The trick to asking and answering a techniques question here is to have:

  1. Clear criteria in the question
  2. Clear experience in the answer

What's a "good" session 0 is too broad/opinion based and will be closed. "How do I run a session 0 to prepare my players for the heavy resource management aspect to my campaign" is a good question - inasmuch as the answers aren't people spitballing what they "think" would be good and instead sharing what they've seen work for that use case.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think I can work with this... I'll give it a shot, at least \$\endgroup\$ – Conduit Aug 2 '17 at 20:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ Aye. Specific situation question >> general help question. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Aug 2 '17 at 20:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 because I think the idea of a one-size-fits-all "session zero" is pretty much meaningless, but "how to get your specific kind of game off the ground" has proven to be a pretty rich and productive topic in RPG forums and such \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Aug 6 '17 at 8:04

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