Starting a new campaign can always be daunting. Especially with players that might not know you as a DM. Over the past couple of months, I’ve started three official groups. Each one is a little different, but I’m excited for all of them. Something I’ve started using to expose my players to my expectations and the world they’re about to jump into is by using a Player Primer.
What is a Player Primer?
A Player Primer is a document that is provided by the DM to provide some background and expectations for the players. This is helpful in multiple ways like: introducing the world and themes, what to expect as a DM and as a Player, and other things that you might need to tell your players. A primer can be as detailed as your may like, but know that not every player (unless you have an extremely rare and dedicated group) will read through the document entirely.
Here is an example of my primer for my players for the Wild Beyond the Witchlight:
Looking at the document above, you can see that I touched on what I expected from my players and what they might expect of me. I provide points of interest for the players to know when thinking of characters to play during this game that is going to be run. In example, the Wild Beyond the Witchlight is a low level campaign, so players might not want to play a character that would be more fun to play at higher levels. I also give information that their characters would know about the setting that they’re going to be inhabiting.
How do I start?
There’s many places that you can start with a player primer, but a good start is beginning the primer with things outside of the game. This means like what to expect of the participants of the sessions. Then once that is determined jump into what the players need to know about the world in regards to character creation.
Players need to know what they can and cannot do in regards to character creation. Having limits for characters gives a level playing field for the party. It also saves you, as a DM, a lot of research since you won’t be looking up a 100 page document on DMsGuild regarding a class that a player wants to play in your campaign.
Where can I find information to include?
Information is always a plenty, but what should you give your players? After going through some housekeeping regarding your expectations, you’re going to be diving into the information regarding the world of your campaign. Well it’s a given that you can’t give all the information to the players, but definitely a enough to curb their curiosity from researching on google and spoiling information for themselves. Some safe things to include would be:
- Adventure Background
- Information on the setting that is outside of the campaign
- Things that their characters would know through common lore or storytelling
- Information on travel within the setting
- A map
As a DM, you get to decide what your player know and don’t know. It’s important to give them enough that they’re ready to engage with the setting, but not so much that they’re an expert to the world their going to jump into.
How’d you make yours look so nice?
This will be a full post for another day, but I created this document through the Homebrewery.com. It’s a great tool for anyone making anything for DnD. it formats the document to look like it came straight out of a DnD Book. I would highly suggest checking out this site to be able create documents that will bring even more immersion to your table.
It’s a combination of CSS and Markdown work, I know that might sound daunting. Though, once you get the hang of it, you’re going to be using this site a ton! There’s a great how to guide available that I will list in the links below.
The Homebrewery: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/
Homebrewery Formatting Guide: https://homebrewery.naturalcrit.com/share/HJWLQsTwUZ