How do you do "intros"?

I’m curious, what’s your approach?

At the time I’m running an online game of The Veil

  1. before the session I’ll write a few lines to read as intro an set the mood. Some weird ambiguous thing that I can incorporate however the session goes.
  2. I go back and forth with asking and giving summaries of the previous session.
    — I prefer the players giving it, but they’ll rarely offer to.
    — I’ll give the summary if a player missed a session, and so I feel they “need” specific information I feed to the players. But it feels like I’m retconning the narrative instead of letting the players interpret whatever happened
  3. I read the intro. I find that reading it, instead of “inventing” it at the moment helps me convey the emotion of the setting
  4. Sometimes I’ll play a “theme song” after the intro, but music quality over discord is not reliable

So. Do you do an intro? How do you do it?

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Across my group we do a concise recap of the previous session by a volunteer player, but if none of them are willing I don’t think you’re commandeering the narrative by doing it yourself. The GM is a player too.

One of my friends does his intros very cinematically, down to actual saying things like “then the camera switches to X” to create an oral montage.I personally think the verbiage could be edited to flow better but it sets the scene with brutalist efficiency.

I usually describe the setting/tone/atmosphere on session zero, and then for session 1 I ask each player to describe a quick cut in of what their character is doing before the initiating event of play. I find asking what someone is doing is easier to conceptualize than asking for abstracts like attitude or history.

I have an unreasonable obsession with crafting soundtracks for my games/sessions; which I’m sure my players don’t even notice. In person it’s easy to have a playlist running in the background, but for online games there are Discord bots you can set up. They jump on voice chat as a separate user and just play music, could be a bit finnicky to set up but it’s an option.

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I do the camera thing. My intro for today read “the camera dollys forward trough a hallway…” I also do that during gameplay, I agree it’s efficient.

Besides getting everyone (or maybe just me?) in the mood, players are now trying to incorporate elements from the intro, it works as a big leading question I think

I’ll definitely try a bot for the music.

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Are you recording, or just playing at the table?

No, we are not recording our sessions. I’ve thought of it, but mostly to “watch my self” do it and iterate over that

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I tend to get the players to introduce their characters either with one cool thing they did in the previous session or if we’re at the start of a new story then some kind of opening action which we’d see over the starting credits. If we’re doing a recap and they each add an element then I might throw in something else if there’s anything important they missed, but the hope is that they didn’t.

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Where this kind of thing is needed/desired, I like to ask players to give us a ‘last time on…’ intro. That could be a general summary, or a specific scene or whatever. That this is what the player remembers, sticks in their mind as important etc. is all we probably need.
If there’s a big thing that I as GM want to make sure we remember, I might do something similar for that too.

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One trick I’ve found to help encourage my players take on the role of recappers, is I tell them that they’re investigating a mystery, and I can’t remember what clues they’ve found, so I’m worried about accidentally dropping a spoiler if they make me do the recap myself.

This is usually total hogwash. I know exactly what clues they’ve found. But it helps them buy into doing the recap. I should also note my main campaign has a rotating cast of players, so there’s almost always somebody who needs the refresher.

Other times, I’ll start with a rule refresher of something that is likely to come up. Like maybe they’re going shopping, and I remind them about different types of armor, then slip into describing the marketplace they’re in or having them role play.

I guess I might be encouraging a softer boundary between “hey friends, good to see you!” and “okay now let’s play imagination!” than other people who’ve posted here.

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