The second part of our conversation with Johannes Paavola about all things gaming prep.Continue reading “Gaming Prep – Part 2”
In this episode we’re joined by Johannes Paavola to talk about all things gaming prep.Continue reading “Gaming Prep – Part 1”
In this episode I discuss some ideas for manual prep and note recording methods going forward for my games:
If you’re interested in the idea of Bullet Journalling you can find out more here:
- The main bullet journal website
- Bullet Journal for RPGs tutorial
- Bullet journals for GMs MeWe community
Shinigami by XTaKeRuX:
Used under creative commons licence:
Last night I ran a game of Dresden Files Accelerated for five great players, it was a one-shot and–to put a bit of a twist on it–I’d decided to set the game in the wild west rather than the more traditional modern setting of the game. Looking for an iconic town I settled on Tombstone, during it’s waning years after the silver mines had dried up:
Using the Wikipedia page I made the following notes:
POTTED TOMBSTONE HISTORY
- Founded in 1979 by Prospector Ed Schiefflin in Arizona.
- Grew in mid-1880s, last of the boom towns.
- Local mines produced $40 to $85 million silver bullion.
- Town established on mesa above the Goodenough Mine.
Had bowling alley, 4 churches, ice house, school, 2 banks,
3 newspapers and an ice cream parlour.
- 110 saloons.
- 14 gambling halls, numerous dance halls and brothels.
All businesses situated amongst and around silver mines.
In mid-1880s the silver mines pentrated the water table.
- Pumps were destroyed by a fire in 1886.
- Unprofitable to re-build the costly pumps.
- City nearby became something of a ghost town.
The players were told about the setting in advance and asked to create characters using the DFAE rules, shortly before the game I posted the following plot-clue to the Facebook event:
Created using an online tool: https://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp
To give you an idea of my prep, below are some of the notes that I made for and during the game.
First of all I started with the main antagonists, a black court vampire by the name of Dillon and his thrall, a young girl with powers of necromancy.
Then I moved onto some of the goon-level flunkies who were going to be acting as muscle for our main villain:
I also made some brief notes of the powers and abilities that these villains had to save me having to look them up during the session:
During the session I also made some notes regarding PC names and incidental NPCs, I also used these index card to keep track of boosts, advantages, etc.
In addition to these note I had a text file with some rough plot ideas outlined, just before we started recording I asked the players for a bit of background and worked to incorporate it into the draft plot that I had written down already, changing it as necessary. The index card method is really useful during a game because it allows me to quickly reference the most needed stats and information without having to flip through the rulebook so much.
If you want to watch the actual play video of the session you can find it here:
One of the aspects of the roleplaying that I really enjoy is producing campaign wikis/blogs, etc that provide more of an insight into currently running games and campaign worlds, it lets me keep my writing-hand in, keeps up my enthusiasm between games and also helps refresh my (unfortunately poor) memory concerning the salient details of the campaign.
Another benefit–and one that I don’t see mentioned all that often–is that doing this work has encouraged me to read information that I might not have looked at before.
My most recent example of this came whilst I was setting up a series of pages on this site for my Rose of Westhaven campaign, particularly the entries concerning the fictional calendar that I have created–using Donjon’s excellent Fantasy Calendar Creator–for the game. Days, months, seasons, moon phases and all those sort of things that go into a calendar are elements that I have often neglected in past game and I’m hoping to bring them more centre-stage to my campaign. While setting up the three moons of my campaign world using the calendar, it occurred to me that I had no idea what the figures in the lunar cycle section of the calendar creator were referring to. A quick search on Google and Wikipedia lead to me reading a wiki-page about the Me tonic cycle and various methods of measuring times used by different cultures throughout history.
All of this was information that I had not even considered before and–even if I only remember a fraction of it–it has still educated me and will hopefully enrich my game in the future. When you’re writing up your session notes in future, if you see something that you don’t know much about whether it be a style of architecture, settlement demographics, religions or whatever, spend a few minutes reading around the subject on the internet, you certainly won’t make anything worse by having more knowledge.
We’ve all been in that position from time to time when you run a game session that you don’t feel is up to your best standards, this could be for any number of reasons, you might be tired or have other things going on that serve to distract you from running the game. Continue reading “What should you do when a session feels a bit flat?”
Okay so you’ve done your prep, got the campaign running and have run your first session, surely that’s it for prep until you start getting ready for the next session right?
Wrong. You certainly could run games like this, however, there’s a few little bits of prep you can do after your session has finished that will make your life easier and improve your campaign in the long run.
The main focus of a lot of peoples prep occurs when getting ready for running an actual session, this post isn’t going to talk about the specifics of writing an adventure or creating a story for a session, but rather what sort of things you should get ready and have to hand when you run it to make your job easier.
We’ve talking about about pre-campaign prep and scheduling your game prep in previous instalments of this series, now it’s time to talk about the sort of things that you should be looking to have prepped for the start of your campaign. Continue reading “GM Tips: Preparing for a Campaign Part 3 – What sort of things should you prep at the start of a campaign?”
Scheduling your prep
I generally try to be organised when it comes to getting my prep done for a campaign, some people prefer a more seat-of-their-pants approach but I like to know what I have left to do and organise it into managable pieces, it helps me get the prep done and also helps relax me at the start of a game session. If I know that I have the necessary prep done I can go into a session confident that I am prepared and ready for whatever the players throw at me.
When I say ready for whatever the players throw at me, I don’t mean that I’ve scripted everything down to nth degree, that would make for a not very entertaining game, I mean that I have enough of my world and campaign prepared so that I feel comfortably able to create consistent details if my players do something unexpected. Continue reading “GM Tips: Preparing for a Campaign Part 2 – Scheduling Prep”