Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 104: Pitch Session/ Session Zero
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Main Topic

What is a pitch session and what is a session zero? Are they the same or are they different? Sometimes it is good to do them as separate sessions and other times it is ok to do them together. GaM’s definitely prefers to separate them out and to have them serve different functions.  Pitch Sessions look at deciding on the game and setting to play, but not necessarily a Session Zero of character creation and setting the groundwork.  Look back at the Choosing a System series in Episodes 64, 65, and 66 for more of that context to this discussion! 

Pitch Sessions can help set the tone and the themes for the players and the GM, so when you run a pitch session, this should be the focus – large scale set ups and selling of the campaign.  Session Zero lets everyone dig into making characters and building connections between them – providing you the GM with more of a handle on how to motivate the game that the Pitch Session shaped. 

Things to take into account:
  • How familiar is everyone with the game?
  • Do you intend to use this as a one shot or ongoing campaign?
  • Are you planning on running this in perpetuity or do you expect to hand the steering wheel off to someone else
  • Are there quickstart rules/modules?
  • Do you need fleshed out character concepts?  Or is there a RNG (Random Number Generator) type of character creation?
  • How long does character creation usually take (for veterans and N00bs).  Take into account mental exhaustion for you and your players.
  • Do you, as the GM, have an idea for the game or does it depend on what your players create? 
  • Is jumping into the game’s mindset easy or does it take a bit to ease into it?
  • Sometimes when your players create characters, you can start to see possible plots/stories/macguffins take shape.  Take notes of this.  Cause dollars to doughnuts your players won’t lock all of that down
  • Would the game/world/mechanics take a lot of time for your table to get comfortable?  (Think RIFTS (crazy amount of time on rules but easy on concepts) vs Deadlands (RNG character generator plus playing cards and poker chips) vs Dungeons and Dragons (Roll 3d6 drop the lowest)
  • How much stuff can you send to your players to read beforehand (and how readable is it)? Is this something you can do between a Pitch Session and Session Zero? 

Stat Blocks

Zendead

The Monks of Destan

The sting of incense burned the eyes and the nose. It was hard to see in this dimly lit room when you added the clouds of incense on top of it. In the back of the room is a shadow, it seems to be a robed figure. Of course it is you think. I can do this you tell yourself. No one will be able to stop me. You go to close the distance and each step forward appears to make the distance greater. As each step makes this seem more like it is going to be impossible to close the distance. Running is a short lived exercise in futility. Then as you stop the distance seems to become fluid and you are just inside the tent.

How do you close the distance? The monks said something stupid about looking back the way you had come. That is not a real answer on how to do anything. But at this point what have you got to lose? So you look back the way you have come. The flap to the tent is right there. You can not see the marks on the ground that you took to get into the tent. Taking a step toward the flaps and you feel the distance grow. You reach out to grab them and there is nothing to grab but air. As you traveled in just the blink of an eye the distance of a league or more. 

How to Use The Monks of Destan in Game:

They could be a secret order of monks that meddle in time and space relations. Or possibly they are wizards that want to trap the gullible. 

Guard-a-Manger

Legendary Battery of Tunaki

These things are supposed to be chrome, right? Shiny and minimalist with sharp angles and bright lights? It’s called a battery of immense power from the South Pacific, attributed to the legendary Tunaki Islands … but what is it really that you have found? It’s hard to know what to do with this baroque creation : no edge exists – instead rounded planes meet with ornamentation and embellishments across the entire face of the device.  Some kind of ‘capacitor’ as it was described, several of the … nodules are warm to the touch, and glow a light purple when the sun is down and the moon is up.  It is silent. Not just itself – as you draw near every other sound seems to melt away and you grow slightly chilled. You run your hands across the expertly worked surface and ask yourself how could you open this battery? 

How to Use the Legendary Battery of Tunaki in Game:

An unusual artifact, and one that should make your players ask some deeper questions about their own expectations, the Legendary Battery of Tunaki may bear some relationship to the Legendary Antillian Torus in Episode 96.  The Battery should evoke mystery and perhaps a quest to unlock it, but what sort of power is held inside should be scarcely controllable if at all. . . 

Lexicon

Threshold noun thresh·​old | \ ˈthresh-ˌhōld  , ˈthre-ˌshōld \

Definition of threshold

1: the plank, stone, or piece of timber that lies under a door : SILL

2a: GATE, DOOR

 b(1): END, BOUNDARY

specifically : the end of a runway

  (2): the place or point of entering or beginning : OUTSET

3a: the point at which a physiological or psychological effect begins to be produced

has a high threshold for pain

 b: a level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not

History and Etymology for threshold

Middle English thresshold, from Old English threscwald; akin to Old Norse threskjǫldr threshold, Old English threscan to thresh

First Known Use of threshold

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Look-up Popularity

Top 10% of words

Closing remarks 

Zendead – The show Grimm. It is fun to look at myth and folklore with some new lenses from time to time. This show does it. Lots of fun.

Joules – Batman Beyond.  Passing Of the torch done right.  Honestly shows how certain villains react to the hero with a new face.  

Guard-a-Manger – Brimstone.  An underrated late 90s show that was gone too soon.  While the idea of souls escaping hell and the Devil enlisting someone to recapture them in exchange for freedom has been done often, the cast shined including an unforgettable John Glover as the Devil and Lori Petty in supporting roles with some really interesting episodes especially for the late 90s. If you happen to have a copy of it, contact the show so I can buy it from you. 

Music is courtesy of Sim on Twitter you can find him at @TheSimulacrae

Find us

 

Author Pages with all of our contact info

Zendead 

Joules 

Guard-a-manger

And Thanks to Merriam-Webster  and Online Etymology Dictionary for our Lexicon segment

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