GM Advice Full-time DM, Part-time Prep


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    Full-time DM, Part-time Prep

    I have a friend who has been thinking of building a campaign from the ground up, but he has recently had a baby and gone back to school. He has little time.

    Fortunately, I have been refining a style of DMing (and campaign building) over many years that requires--even encourages--minimal prep. I decided to type up a list of tips for him, and figured I may as well share them here, as well.

    If some of these concepts seem familiar to any of you, I wouldn't be surprised. One of my greatest assets as a DM is my ability to absorb good ideas from other DMs.

    So...

    How to build (and run) a campaign with minimal preparation:

    Lesson 1: Be organized.

    Lesson 2: Know the rules.

    Lesson 3: Reduce the bookkeeping.

    Lesson 4: Get your players to do the work.

    Lesson 5: Every element is an NPC.

    Lesson 6: Don't plot. Hook!

    Lesson 7: Never stat what you don't need.

    Lesson 8: Re-fluff and recycle.

    Lesson 9: Keep notes during play.

    Lesson 10: Don't use weird names.

    Lesson 11: Most battles should be skirmishes.

    Lesson 12: Listen to the players.

    Lesson 13: If the question is, “Can I do [something that's cool],” the answer is “Yes!”

    Lesson 14: Look everywhere for inspiration.

    Lesson 15: Encourage your players to develop background as you go.

    Lesson 16: Always build toward something.

    Lesson 17: Set the pace.

    Lesson 18: Embrace the surreal.

    Lesson 19: Trust your players to solve their own problems.

    Lesson 20: Name the party.

    Lesson 21: Be mysterious.

    Lesson 22: Make it personal.

    Lesson 23: Campaigns mean Change.

    Lesson 24: Monsters may wander, but encounters aren't random.

    Lesson 25: Get the dice to do the work.

    Lesson 26: Use your players' imaginations.

    ...So, this is my list of lessons for full-time DMing with part-time prep. Does anyone else out there have ideas or advice for campaign-building or running games with minimal prep?

    --Edit: Traveon Wyvernspur has attached a PDF of these lessons (current through Lesson 25) in this post, should anyone want a more-easily-printable version.
    Last edited by Rune; Saturday, 2nd November, 2013 at 04:54 AM. Reason: Update.

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