Begin before the beginning, end before the end

It is, I understand, a commonplace of advice to hopeful novelists that one ought to begin before the initiating incident of the story, so as to establish the status quo of the protagonist and setting. Similarly, novelists to be are advised to get out of a scene and a story as soon as the outcome of its conflict is determined, and not to fade into anticlimax by narrating their way to the exit.

  • To what extent is that good advice for an RPG campaign, adventure, or scene? To what extent do session-zero work, character generation, and so forth discharge its function in establishing the status quo?

  • O sages of High Wycombe, what is your experience of this in RPG?