Gaming session summaries are a vital tool for any game master running a tabletop campaign. They serve as a record of what happened during the previous session, and can help players recall important details and events that occurred.
Below we have a list of creative ways to bring some pizazz to this important pre-game ritual. Read on for inspiration!
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
The Importance of a Session Summary
It’s an easy thing to just have the Game Master give a quick overview of what happened last time, but I think the way we approach how to recap a D&D session (or any roleplaying session) can impact our game time and further engage our players.
Below are ten creative ways to recap your gaming session. Let’s dive in.
Creative Recap Ideas
One of the most important benefits of session summaries is that they help players to recall important details and events that occurred during the previous session.
This can be especially useful for players who are unable to attend a gaming session, or for those who have difficulty remembering what happened. Even as a Dungeon Master, I often forget some of the smaller details that some of my players found exciting or entertaining. Taking a few minutes to go over the previous session is an easy way to get everyone on the same page.
These are going to vary in their usefulness to you based on your talents, your players’ talents and preferences, and how much time you have to spend on this. I can guarantee you though, that each of these ideas will definitely make your game memorable!
1. Write a Rap
One of my players, who is such an awesome human being, rewrote the song lyrics to Jingle Bells around the holidays about the adventures they had been experiencing and performed it for our table, and it was hilarious! He even sang it for us in character, and it was so, so awesome.
Crafting a song or coming up with a rap AND performing it is a great way to increase engagement and light up everyone at the table.
2. Comic Strip
Have any artists amongst you? Create a comic strip based on the events of the previous session. It would be extra funny if the character made things just a tad biased towards their own character’s opinions.
3. Character Journal
A few days before the game, ask each player to write a brief entry from their character’s perspective summarizing what happened in the previous session. This could be via a text or message group, or on Discord. Review what everyone came up with when the game starts. This could be particularly entertaining if any of your players have emotionally charged characters, or if something major happened.
Bonus: You’re engaging your players a few days before the gaming session starts, getting them excited to play!
4. Illustrated Notes
If you tend to take notes as you play, put them to work! Use visual notes or sketches to capture the key moments and events from the previous session. I’d suggest using a digital interface for this, such as Miro or Canva.
5. Animated Short or Podcast
If you are insanely talented and also have loads of time, you could create an animated video or short podcast to showcase the most exciting parts of the previous session. Also, please play in my game. I would love that!
6. Word Association Game
Start the session with a word association game, where players say the first word that comes to mind when they think about the previous session. This could get ugly or hilarious pretty quickly, based on what happened. You’ve been warned!
7. Flashback Scenes
At the beginning of each D&D session, have players act out short scenes from the previous session to remind everyone what happened. This would be especially well-utilized with a heavy roleplaying group.
Give each player a small memento (e.g., a token or card) that represents a key moment from the previous session. As a game master who loves the tangible aspect, I’m hugely into this one. I wish I had the time to make my players something every week! It’s such an awesome way to boost immersion.
9. Round Robin Storytelling
Ask each player to take turns recounting a part of the previous session, encouraging them to embellish details and bring the story to life. I do this a lot at my table, but I let them go in any order. It works well.
10. NPC Interview
Conduct an “interview” with an important NPC from the previous gaming session, asking them about the events that took place.
Need a great NPC for your campaign? Steal one of mine!
Session summaries are an essential tool for any game master running a TTRPG campaign. They serve as a record of what happened during the previous session, can help players to recall important details and events that occurred, track the progress of the campaign, plan for future sessions, or even serve as a tool for self-reflection.
They keep the players engaged in the campaign and excited for what’s to come. You may want to reward players with an inspiration (called imagination at my table) or other small in-game benefit for participating.
Try not to think of the recap as a chore for your gaming session–make it fun! It’s a great way to hook our players into the game we’re sitting down to play RIGHT NOW. It can even be a way to help guide them to focus on the “right” things, if they’re stumbling through a difficult mystery or puzzle.
Do you have a creative way to recap sessions? Do you prefer to keep it simple? I’d love to read about it in the comments below.
Thanks for reading this today. If you enjoyed your time here, please consider subscribing to our newsletter. You’ll get a free Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition compatible character sheet inspired by the Druid class to download and print out, and a notification in your inbox when we publish a new article. Spammers are fed to the false hydra!