In the Strangelight Investigators Campaign, the philosophy of the GM & Players is that everything we do revolves around the STORY and the fantastic CHARACTERS that drive it. The creators at Privateer Press have done an outstanding job of creating a world and setting that is so incredibly rich without being overwhelming. It is therefore our job to take our characters and create a story worthy of this work. Investment and ownership of our characters is the first step to doing this. The ultimate goal of each Player is to 'understand' the character they are controlling so well, that no matter what situation or moral dilemma they are faced with, the Player knows with little doubt what his character would do in that situation.
In our campaign, we do this primarily by not just having a 'Session Zero' per se; but having extensive conversations between the GM and the individual Players before even creating a final character. It begins with concept, personality type, theme, background ideas, and stirring questions related to motivations, strengths, and notable quirks or deficiencies of the characters themselves. During character creation, Players were encouraged to divorce themselves from "the numbers", and focus more on using the rules of character creation to make the person they saw in their mind. The results are obvious.
Storytelling is a the last but perhaps most vital component to the entire recipe. Players are given more leeway and say when it comes to affecting the narrative than most GM's would likely be comfortable with. This can be done because of the type of Players we have in our campaign and the level of trust between the Lead Storyteller (the GM) and the other Storytellers (the Players). This will consequently come out in sessions themselves as evidenced by reading The Recaps section of the website. The bottom line is that this is a story about 3 Humans, a Dwarf, a Trollkin, and an Elf that have found enough common ground to work together toward something larger than themselves. Along the way, they are faced with all manner of fascinating discoveries, dilemmas, and opportunities for growth as it relates to who they are destined to be both individually and as an unbreakable team.