• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.

Prepping A Game


An Extra Life team asked me to run a streaming D&D campaign this year, and I knew wanted to save time on game prep without running a published adventure. So I decided to give the Lazy Dungeon Master method a try for an all-original story set in my own vaguely-defined game world.

It all went much better than I expected. We're seven sessions in and I've gotten a lot out of good gaming out of far less time preparing than I did back in the old days. I wrote a blog about it, where you can see my thinking, notes, and optionally see how it translated into actual play at the table.

Click here to check it out!


What are your time-saving tricks that you use when getting a game together? (Note: While my game is D&D5E, the basic ideas are system agnostic so I'm posting here in the general discussion forum.)

- Jamie Chambers


Thanks for sharing. Looks like you have a neat project going.

Prep is a big part of my enjoyment of the game. I really enjoy writing things out, making props, creating terrain, painting minis, etc.

However, I realize it's all a framework, no matter how many contingencies I cover ahead of time - the players will head an unexpected direction. I enjoy improv too, so it's no problem. Plus, I'm not too proud to recycle material that was missed the first time in a different context.

To address your question - having lists of names and an encounter chart with stats is really helpful for me. We occasionally create an entire story out of those. I really like the Monster Cards (I think from Gale Force 9) as handy references when things go an unexpected direction.

I will never be a light prep GM on purpose, but's nice to have those tricks in your backpocket - even for an over-preparer like me!


I do enjoy prepping some big setpiece stuff, especially things like dungeon crawls and boss battles. But I'm learning to go light on other stuff so I'm not having to shoehorn things in or waste time.

I saw this meme early this morning, to my amusement.


Darth Solo

I condense my adventures to a simple 1-page document and improv everything not covered.

Great sessions, to the point players want to go on beyond the 4-6 hours we slated.

Getting good at improv is important. Even vital. As GM, you need to be able to *turn on a dime* in a narrative sense.

Think of your setting as a character; if a player does X, the setting produces Y.