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Thread: Full-time DM, Part-time Prep
Monday, 9th January, 2012, 03:26 AM #1
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
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.
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.
Lesson 27: Set nothing in stone.
Lesson 28: Always leave an out.
Lesson 29: Make mistakes.
...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.
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