3 Ways to Recap Your Last D&D Game

One of the problems that has plagued Game Masters, Referees and Keepers alike is how do you recap the events of an on going campaign? How do you get your players back into the scene after you have been off for a week, a month or even a year?

It is a problem we have faced many times around JADE's table and here are three ways that we like to handle it, with their pros and cons.

1. What do the Players Remember?

Perhaps the easiest way to handle this is to just ask your players what they remember at the start of the game. With some prodding and guidance they will largely work out where they are in the story.

This is great because it is interactive and gets the players involved right off the bat, however it can take a while, and players will often not remember the small pieces of role play that really defined the scene. So, this methods is a bit of a double edged sword: your players get right into the game, but they might forget some of the little things.

But if you are ok with that and want your players quickly involved this is the best method for you.

2. Read out a Recap of Last Game

My preferred method is after each game to record a list of the happenings and then run through that with the players at the start of the next session. Now I don't just include the bare bones events, I also through in some humorous happenings and other things like that to put a smile on everyone's face, and to remind them off the little things.

I have found that this is the best way to recap the last game because players will remember events they otherwise wouldn't have, and it it does capture a pretty complete picture of the last session. The Downsides are that it is a lot of paper work, and that there is a delicate balance between what is too much information, and what is really illuminating for the players.  Too few points, and your recap will be vague and unengaging, too many and your players will stop listening to you.

If you want your players as immersed and informed as possible in the coming scenes, and don't mind the extra work this is a great method to use.

3. Don't Worry About It

For some it simply doesn't matter. The game will go forward regardless and what is important is that the players know where they are immediately what the main goal is. If this is your cup of tea, then creating a short paragraph describing the current location and the main quest well give the party everything they need to get the show on the road.

This is without a doubt the fastest way to handle a game recap: a couple of descriptive sentences about where and why you are playing and then the game begins. Any of the details can come out in game and those that don't weren't important anyways.

The down side here is similar to having your players remember and recount the events. Essentially you will lose some of the details about the last game, and without that setup and info many players will feel disconnected from their character and the campaign. So you unless your party is just interested in murder and loot this method can pull some players out of the scene.

If you just want to get the game and don't mind it quick and dirty then this is the way to go!

So those are three ways that JADE has handled game recaps in the past. Do you guys have trouble remembering what happened last game? How does your table handle it?

Let us know in the comments!

Written by: Andrew Gregory

Image Sources: All images are from the 2nd Ed Dungeon Master's Guide. 
3 Ways to Recap Your Last D&D Game 3 Ways to Recap Your Last D&D Game Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 10/29/2018 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5


  1. I prefer to get the PCs to take turns and recap our adventures. A little bonus XP for the task. And make sure I assign the next recapper at the end of the adventure, so everyone pays attention!

  2. That is a great way to handle it! It gets everyone involved and incentivises them to remember the little things.