View Full Version : What questions to ask at first session?

2007-12-28, 06:55 PM
Good day, folks!

This is my first thread in here and I didn't find another thread about this topic.

Tomorrow my new gaming group will gather for the first time! Chances are that I'll be the GM.

Now I had the idea that it'd be good to ask certain questions before our first session. Questions like "Would you like many fights?" or "Is a high magic setting that what you are looking for?".

Now.. I have no idea what questions would be relevant. Could you help me out?

Maybe the questions should be in form of a scale. i.e. "How much magic on a scale from 1 to 7 would want? 1 being next to nothing besides eventual magical PC and 7 being Bob the dirt farmer casting Gate in the morning to get the waste from his resthouse to the plane of fire."

What do you think?

2007-12-28, 07:13 PM
If you're going to be the GM, I'd ask about the Social:Combat encounter ratio they want first off. Take a copy of your house rules with everything from character creation to allowed books to banned feats/spells with you and discuss them - and if anyone wants to use something from somewhere else make it clear it's either a case you want to see it first and evaluate it or it's just a no. From there I'd probably ask if they're wanting a low magic, normal or everyone gets a few cantrips kind of thing. Try to get an idea of the types of character everyone likes - if nothing else to try and design encounters to really test a few weeks in advance! ;) Or if you're not the GM, to try and work out who'll be good at what and if anything's missing from the group.

But I'd say the most important things are the Social:Combat ratio and discussion of the house rules you use and available sources.

2007-12-29, 04:42 AM
How silly or serious do they want the game?
How weird?
How multicutural is acceptable? (some people don't like Ninja's in their game. Hats off to you if can manage to fit in some of the ones that don't generally make it)
How much inter party conflict? (No one wants to suddenly get attacked when they were under the impression there wasn't going to be any attacking each other. Some people are alright with backstabbing sneakiness)
Too open ended to be very much help likely, but...
Is there anything in particular you'd like in this game?

Miles Invictus
2007-12-29, 06:04 AM
Keep in mind that your players are new to the game and thus don't know what to expect. A short, highly-detailed questionnaire will probably help you out more than something that's lengthy but not terribly specific.

For example, asking them to rate the desired level of magic on a one-to-seven scale isn't going to give you useful information, since no one is likely to agree on what a "2" or a "3" is. You'll have a lot more to work with if you phrase the question like this:

How much magic would you like to see in the world?
1) As little magic as possible.
2) Very little magic. Major, world-changing artifacts are the only magic items that exist.
3) Some magic, but not very much. Nobles and legendary heroes have access to magic, but few others do.
4) An "average" level of magic. Accomplished adventurers generally have one or two magic items, if not more.
5) Magic is well-known, if not commonplace. Anyone with higher education will know a few cantrips.
6) Magic is commonplace. Workers use it to ply their trade, and anyone with more than a few years of education will know a useful spell or two.
7) Magic is the equivalent of modern technology and extremely widespread. Even the poorest commoner will have at least a few magical trinkets.

I think a lot of questions can be answered by looking at your players' character sheets and biographies. General rule: If a player puts a lot of effort into something, it's important to them, and should be catered to from time to time.

2007-12-29, 06:53 PM
Personally, I think the idea of the dirt-farmer casting gate world is absolutely hilarious and I would sign up immediately.

2007-12-29, 07:29 PM
- Do you want it to be in the woods, in a dungeon, in a city, on the ocean, or in the mountains?

2007-12-29, 09:31 PM
Personally, I think the idea of the dirt-farmer casting gate world is absolutely hilarious and I would sign up immediately.

I want a game where there are dirt farmers and so much magic that the average beggar wouldn't even bow over to pick up anything less than, say, a Philosopher's Stone. Bob Dirtfarmer the dirt farmer in the seventh generation casts quickened, maximized and whatnot Cloudkills to kill the rabbits invading his dirt fields. Which Polymorph into dragons. That are on fire. With disintegration rays. Epic magic battle ensues!

Maybe there could be an one-shot adventure via internet.. Anyone wanna GM? Anyone wanna play?

Didn't become DM. Actual DM not wants to play in Forgotten Realms. Let's us not buy bags of holding or similar stuff and somehow seems to not like me crafting the stuff. Eh. Maybe I'll start another thread with a cry for help with designing my cleric of.. Ogmah? The God of Knowledge and Papery Stuff. Who doesn't even have a piece of armour. Or more than a staff and a dagger. For cutting cheese. Which is why I'd be asking in this Forum. Ba-dum-psh!
.. Sorry.

Still, interesting answers and many thanks to you all. Should I DM I'll Speak With Dead with this thread.

2007-12-29, 10:55 PM
I think a good place if you are going to talk about magic prevalence is Uncle Figgy's guide to Magic. It talks about seven types of magic based on the prevalence and power as separate axis.

IE Very powerful, Very Rare
Very Powerful, Common
Very powerful, Everyone has it.
Very Weak, Very Rare
Very Weak, Common
Very Weak, Everyone has it.
And of course, Average Power + all that other stuff.

The difference between how important and influential a Wizard is to the world is based on how rare each one is, not on how powerful.

So the thing about D&D is that it really doesn't give you much choice on how powerful the magic is, only how rare.

2008-01-01, 08:18 AM
I'm a bit late to the thread, but this thread (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=471897) might be useful to anyone looking for more tips along this line.