Tales of a Newbie DM

Prep Part Two

So I’m back with the end of my article about prep.

So yesterday we talked about my original and flawed process that led to the downfall of many of my games. So today I will talk about my current process, and how much better it works for me, Like I said before, prep is a very personal process, what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

So to start with let’s talk about what the parts of the process actually mean.

When I say I read a lot of different sources, I usually grab all the source books published for the setting I intend to run, and take a flick through them, There’s no point reading everything in them, most things won’t apply to me, so I read about the area I’m going to start my game.  Then I go into a little more detail on each of the surrounding areas.

It’s important to know where the players might move to, I do run very free roam games, I don’t put a big overarching storyline in place straight away, I like to see what the players will do, I like to put important NPC’s and Important Characters in that the players might meet and see where they go from there.

Then from there I start to read all the information I can online as well, and combine it with what I have already learned to get a more personalized setting, it’s not important to be 100% accurate, it’s very important however to have something fun to play with…

Then I grab a few notepads from the store. For the next few weeks I continue to read books about the system I’m running, or information about pre-generated monsters. Throughout this phase I write down every idea I have, no matter how stupid it seems. I write it down and forget about it.

Now at this point it’s probably been around two weeks, I’ll have a notepad full of information page numbers and ideas. So I flick through it and grab all the good ideas, and write them down separately. Write down all the page numbers I need, and then I start to generate NPC’s.

Some people like the run their NPC’s of the cuff, I like to have people that I can draw on, and people who can recur who are planned ahead of time. So I generate them, mostly just a few notes of a personality, a description and a name, Ok so normally I forget to put a name… but I have been getting better.

Ok so I have my NPC’s, I have my setting, I have my system, now it’s time to get the players to make their characters. For this step I find it important for me to know the setting very well, It’s important to know what restrictions I want to put on character creation, sometimes a specific race isn’t aloud, I only ever allow books I own, things like this make it easier for me, and a lot better for new players.

It might limit the players but it also lets you have other things to use as rewards later, you shouldn’t feel you only have exp as a reward, when there is always other options, only recently in my WtF game did I allow my players to look into other books and actually use them.

Next week I will explain how I run my first session. Until then feel free to chuck some feed back in the comments below or PM me via the forum.

Check this page tomorrow for my first review.

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