You're about to run D&D for the first time. Awesome!
I've written several other posts explaining in detail the very basic material that you need. This post summarizes all those posts, serving as a checklist for your first session.
What You'll Physically Bring
- A 3-ring binder, paper notebook, or laptop with your notes
- Dice, including all the popular polyhedrals: d20, d12, d10, d8, d6, and d4. It's best if you have one complete set for every player, but if not, you can share one set.
- Paper, twice as many sheets as the number of players
- Pencils, at least 1 per player
- The D&D rules, digitally or physically
What's In Your Notes
The Starting Tavern
The first session will start in a tavern. You need a sheet of paper that includes the following:
- The tavern's name
- Who runs it (his/her name and one unusual thing about him/her)
- Where it is (the name of the town it's in)
- How big it is (small, medium, or large)
- What cool advantage it can give the player-characters (an interesting drink, a powerful patron, etc.)
The Enemy Faction
You'll have one sheet of paper dedicated to the enemy of session one. For that, you need to identify:
- The faction's name
- Its leader's name and identity (this should be very basic, like "Artrax, an egomaniacal priest with a stutter")
- The faction's type (bandits, goblins, zombies, cult, etc.)
- The faction's goals (how specifically it wants the world to be different in the future)
- The faction's current resources (people, artifacts, weapons, secret knowledge, money, influence, etc.)
- What the faction is currently doing in the world
- A calendar so you can track how many days the party's traveled, when's the next full moon, etc.
- A list of NPC names so you can name the people that the PCs randomly encounter
- Maps of typical adventuring locations
The next posts in this series will walk you through that first session in detail.