Personal Prep Series #4: Organization & Being Ready

Preparing for a game session can sound like a lot of work, but I have learned that if you treat it like work then that is exactly what it becomes. Of course prep always takes time, just look at all the things you may need for the session: maps, monsters, NPCs, locations. The list goes on and on for what you need to be ready for, but that doesn’t have to be tackled every single time you get ready for a session. Continue reading Personal Prep Series #4: Organization & Being Ready

Personal Prep Series #3: Pens, Docs, and Whiskey

The Essentials

I’m still figuring out what works best for me in terms of prep. Ten years ago I mostly winged it or ran packaged modules, and I’ve only recently come back to the hobby. Mostly I start planning and generating ideas using good old pen and paper. I’ve settled on the unique notebook from Code and Quill pictured above, which gives me a dot grid layout in the left-hand page and lined on the right. Decent pencils for drawing and a fountain pen for writing. Good quality tools are just more satisfying to use for me but your mileage may vary. I use a well organized series of Google Docs for my final work and long-term notes. As with many things in life I find moderate doses of responsibly consumed alcohol really lubes up the gears of inspiration.

Continue reading Personal Prep Series #3: Pens, Docs, and Whiskey

Personal Prep Series #2 : Spreadsheets and Dice

My DM dice on the players' home base map.

Prepping the Game: What’s That?

In a broad sense, that means preparing for your game, yes. But what does that really mean for you? Do you run test combat to see if it is too difficult? Are you practicing voices for your NPCs, or comparing words to find the best one for your descriptions? Do you just use a name generator and wing it? In this article I take the baton as it is passed down by fellow DM Nicholas (from Nat One and The Notebook GM, as well as our first article in this series) and write about my preparation for a game with my players. The goal is to show existing and new DMs that there is no one way to prep. And that it is neither as scary nor as difficult as you might think. Continue reading Personal Prep Series #2 : Spreadsheets and Dice

Personal Prep Series #1: Notebooks and Wine

Notebooks and Wine

Good Articles (And Good Sessions) Have Introductions

Prep is something that few GM’s discuss openly for some reason. Partially I think that this has to do with the DM’s predilection for secrecy. It is much easier to err on the side of the clandestine if it is going to preserve some mechanic, stat block, story beat, or plot twist that might encourage “metagaming” or ruin immersion during the session. Here at the DMSG we decided that it was something we should get to chatting about—because that’s what we are here for, as a resource to DMs Continue reading Personal Prep Series #1: Notebooks and Wine