VIII. Wrap Up

Tips to wrap up the game session with satisfaction. Some light housekeeping after the game will prepare you for the next adventure.

This is part VIII of a guide for running your first Dungeons & Dragons game. Start at the beginning.

Artwork © Dean Spencer

Leave them with a cliffhanger

Leave the players with something to think about and get them excited for the next game. The plot hook in at the end of The Green Blight (in Part 4 - The Return) can provide a clue for the next adventure.

Feel free to come up with your own!

Summarize accomplishments

This is a good thing to do at the end of any encounter, but it's especially important at the end of the game session. Congratulate the players for their accomplishments. List out all the things they accomplished. Shower them with praise, rewards, and XP.

Milestone levelling

An alternative to rewarding experience points is to allow players to level up when they hit milestones.

Milestones are decided by you and can include things like completing a quest, clearing a dungeon, solving a mystery, etc. It can be a simpler approach because it means you no longer have to keep track of XP after every small encounter.

If you want to use this technique, we recommend granting a level after the party completes the encounter in Part 3 of The Green Blight. Levelling up at the end of an adventure gives them a great reason to come back to play another one and show off their new abilities!

Establish the time and place for the next game

If you did not complete The Green Blight, it's ok! It's totally normal for your first game. Pacing is something you can improve at the more you play.

You should establish the time and place for the next game at the end of the session. Do this before everyone moves on to other things. Everyone is in one place so coordinating schedules is much easier at this moment.

If everyone is enthusiastic, we recommend you convert game time to game night.

Talk about the game

Ask your friends what they liked and didn't like. Listening to your players is one of the main ways to improve as a Dungeon Master.

You could ask them what they liked, if there was something they did not fully understand, or if they already have plans of action for the next session?

Take notes about what happened

You can do this after your players have left. Taking your own notes on the game is a good habit to establish. You don't need to write a lot. Focus on the most memorable things that happened and the characters (players and NPCs). You will especially want to keep track of the names of any people or places that you introduced during the session.

You can read over your notes with the group at the start of the next session to remind them of what happened. Your notes will also remind you of important events and help you reflect on your favourite things. If any of your players took notes, ask them to share with everyone.

Reflect on what you enjoyed and what you didn't

Dungeons & Dragons is extremely customizable. There are many ways to spend more time on the things you enjoy, and less time on the things you don't.

The first step is to discover what you enjoy.

Review the notes from the notetaker

If you had a notetaker, you should have a ready-made list of rules to look up. With this approach you can gradually learn the rules you need to run the games you like, rather than spending time and money studying every rule up front.

You shouldn't feel compelled to stick with a table ruling once you discover the actual rule or a house rule that you prefer. Just be clear with your players when things change so everyone is playing with the same ground rules.


This section walked through some final wrap up activities to help you solidify what you learned and improve the game for next time.

  • Leave them with a cliffhanger 🐉
  • Summarize accomplishments 🐉
  • Establish the time and place for the next game
  • Take notes about what happened
  • Reflect on what you might change for next time
  • Review notes for rules you didn’t understand

You have finished reading all of the core content in this guide. You have:

  1. Learned the basics
  2. Established a positive mindset
  3. Prepared for the game
  4. Run your first game for your friends

🏆 Congratulations on completing this guide and running your first game! 🏆

You are hereby officially declared a Dungeon Master.

We sincerely hope you want to do this again. The world needs more Dungeon Masters just like you. Like anything worthwhile, Dungeons & Dragons gets better and better with practice.

If this guide helped you get started, please send us an email and let us know. We want to hear about your magical adventures, mishaps, and ideas to improve this guide.

Continue on to the next section if you are curious about taking your skills further. Recommendations for the future are in Next Steps.

Continue to the next section

IX. Next Steps

You've run your first game and you are ready for more. Here are steps you can take for serious, continued play. It highlights the best resources on the internet for continuing your learning as a Dungeon Master.

4 min read

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