The level of preparation for any given session varies. Sometimes you show up late, or forget your character sheet. Sometimes the adventure isn’t fleshed out. Maybe you haven’t considered what to do about food. These things happen, and to a certain extent are expected. But not today.
When you’re introducing a new player, you want it to look like everyone is on the ball. You want the game to run smoothly. It may be a lie, but you want the newcomer to think that all sessions are as awesome as this one. Let them find out the horrible truth once they’re already addicted. As such, whether as a player or as the Gamemaster, make sure you are prepared.
- Flesh out the adventure. As gamemaster, you’ll be busy trying to make the game fun for the new player. You want to have the adventure completely ready to go, so you don’t have to waste time on it mid-session, and so that it’s easier to modify on the fly, if the need arises.
- Know who is going to explain the game. It might be the gamemaster, but it could well be a player who is good at this sort of thing, or the player that invited the newcomer. Whoever it is should take some time before the session to consider and possibly practice explaining the game, so they aren’t fumbling around when the time comes to perform.
- Have extra dice. Either the gamemaster or a player should have a full set of dice and other gaming gear for the newcomer to use. Pencils, paper, character sheets, miniatures or tokens–make sure you have all of it.
- Show up on time. As a gamemaster, get in contact with all of your players and ask that they make an extra effort to arrive on time. You want them around for the pre-game conversation, and you don’t want the other players or yourself to start the session frustrated. If you are a player, your duty here is simple: be to the session on time, have all of your things (it’s best to keep them all in one place), and be ready to contribute whatever is needed.
- Have a food plan. You want the new player to be excited to come back. Make sure you have a plan for snacks, drinks, and meals. The gamemaster doesn’t have to provide all of this, and in fact it’s best if the players split responsibilities. But don’t require anything of the newcomer this first session. It nothing else, free food has a magical effect, and may win you a convert all on it’s own.
What other kinds of preparation should be done before a session?