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  • Writer's pictureDanny McKeever

Starting Strong: Leveling Up Your D&D Openings: Creative Ways to Begin Your Game


Starting Strong: Leveling Up Your D&D Openings: Creative Ways to Begin Your Game

Having a strong start to a Dungeons and Dragons session is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it sets the tone for the entire game and can greatly impact player engagement and enthusiasm. A lackluster or confusing beginning can leave players feeling disinterested or unsure of what's happening, which can be difficult to recover from. Conversely, a memorable and engaging start can hook players in and get them invested in the game from the very beginning. Additionally, a strong start can help establish the story, introduce key NPCs or plot points, and create a sense of urgency or importance around the adventure.

  • Recap the Previous Session: At the beginning of each session, take a few minutes to recap what happened in the previous game. This helps the players get back into the mindset of their characters and reminds them of any important plot points or clues they may have missed. A recap can also set the tone for the upcoming session, giving players a sense of what to expect.

  • Introduce a Mystery or Puzzle: Starting the session with a mystery or puzzle can grab the players' attention and get them invested in the story. This can be something as simple as a strange symbol scrawled on a wall or a riddle left behind by a mysterious stranger. Introducing a mystery or puzzle can set the stage for the players to explore and investigate, driving the story forward.

  • Start with a Flashback or Dream Sequence: Flashbacks or dream sequences can be a great way to introduce backstory or add depth to the characters. This can be especially effective if there was a cliffhanger in the previous session, giving players a chance to explore what led up to that moment. A flashback or dream sequence can also introduce new characters or provide clues to upcoming events.

  • Set the Scene with Descriptive Language: Descriptive language can be used to set the scene and immerse the players in the world. The DM can describe the sights, sounds, and smells of the environment, using evocative language to paint a vivid picture. This can be especially effective if the scene is particularly dramatic or atmospheric, such as a stormy night or a creepy abandoned mansion.

  • Introduce a New NPC: A new NPC can be introduced at the beginning of the session, giving the players someone new to interact with. This can be a friend or ally of one of the characters, or a stranger who needs the party's help. The new NPC can provide a quest, a clue, or just some new information about the world.

  • Start with a Minor Encounter: Starting the session with a minor encounter can get the players immediately engaged and excited to play. This can be a brief skirmish with a group of goblins, a chase through the city with a pickpocket, or a negotiation with a tricky merchant. A minor encounter can also set the tone for the upcoming session, giving players a sense of what challenges they might face.

  • Create a Cliffhanger: Ending the previous session with a cliffhanger can be a great way to start the next one. The players will be eager to see what happens next and find out how the situation resolves. This could be something as simple as the party being ambushed by an unknown enemy, or as complex as a plot twist that changes everything the players thought they knew.

  • Start with a Shared Dream: Starting the session with a shared dream can create an eerie and memorable atmosphere. The DM can describe a strange and surreal dreamscape, where the characters encounter visions of their past, present, or future. This can be used to introduce new plot points, or to delve deeper into the characters' motivations and fears. A shared dream can also create a sense of unity among the party, as they realize they are all experiencing the same thing.

  • Start with a Flash-forward: Instead of starting where the previous session left off, start with a glimpse of the future. The players can be shown a scene that takes place later in the story, perhaps one that reveals a major plot point or a dangerous new foe. This can be a great way to build suspense and anticipation for the coming game, as the players will be eager to find out how they get from where they are to where they saw themselves.

  • Introduce a New Element to the Setting: Starting the session by introducing a new element to the setting can shake things up and get the players thinking creatively. This could be a sudden storm that washes ashore strange and unusual creatures, or the appearance of a powerful magical artifact that sends ripples throughout the land. This can be a great way to keep the players on their toes and introduce new challenges and obstacles to overcome.


Starting a Dungeons and Dragons session in a memorable way can make a big difference in the player's enjoyment of the game. By recapping the previous session, introducing a mystery or puzzle, starting with a flashback or dream sequence, setting the scene with descriptive language, or introducing a new NPC, a DM can grab the players' attention and get them invested in the story. By using these techniques, the DM can create a strong beginning that sets the stage for a great game.


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