D&D General What are you prepping for your next D&D session? (+)

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
In the spirit of ongoing threads like, "HOW WAS YOUR LAST SESSION?" I wanted to start a new one where we share what we have prepped for our imminent D&D session as DM. Not what the big story arc is, not what the campaign is aiming toward (though that might provide context in brief), but literally what are your either planning for, planning around, or perhaps even not able to plan and have to be prepared to improvise a few different things.

You will note the (+) in the thread title. This thread will not be the place for the "how do you know what your players will do? Sounds like railroading!" type arguments. As a DM I prep for what I think is most likely and try to be ready for the unexpected. But generally, by the time it wraps up, the previous session gives a very strong sense of where the next session will go.

Unless of course you are prepping the session I am working on. For the last 8 or so sessions I have been running a long involved module, so while some prep and tweaking was necessary between sessions, mostly everything was in an established framework it was easy to work with or deviate from - but now everything is up in the air!

We're playing this Saturday, and having just completed my remix of N1 - Against the Cult of the Reptile God and achieving 6th level, they are a crossroads (both figuratively and literally). What will they do next? In what order? Where will they go? Will they tarry or will they hurry onward? Will they do something completely unexpected?

This is what I am planning on based on the previous session:
  • The PCs taking up a sidetrek they ignored in favor of the bigger threat that has since progressed in severity in their absence. This involves several possible encounters with trolls (including one very misunderstood fellow who just wants to sing and make friends), a girl fleeing into the swamp, and the jerkface knight her dad wants her to marry. [This could stretch out their stay in this area 1 to 3 more sessions!]
    • As such, I stated out a few different trolls, found a map for their lair, and stated out the knight and his men-at-arms.
  • Wrapping up the logistics of the village they saved, including touching base with NPCs, reuniting people they rescued with family, and dealing with a few loose ends (like the guy who summoned them to help the town is still missing). This may also involve the party getting a couple of followers in the form of the young woman who wants the party gnome to teach her to be a wizard, and an orphan boy who parents were made into zombies and sister was fed to monsters. There is also some potential political stuff they could get involved with if they want. [Should be able to advance time to do this fairly quickly in terms of session time depending on how they want to handle it]
  • Going back to their base. They left Saltmarsh in the process of buying an old noble's hunting lodge on the edge of the marshes to covert into a headquarters. Furthermore, the plot of the final enemy has advanced in their absence - but before that they need to establish their base and deal with a potential haunting/infestation!
    • This last point needs to be set up carefully because it is going to be focus of the rest of the campaign (I think) and leads to a big conclusion. It also involves their returning to find the town preparing for a possible battle/invasion and allies they made along the way in their earlier adventures returning to help out.
    • The "haunting" is a way to make their HQ feel more like their own by setting an adventure in it where they cleanse it and feel like they have done something to claim it (besides go into debt - which they also have). I am not worrying too much about prepping this yet because I figure even if we get that far it will be towards the end of the session and I can wing it to an appropriate cliffhanger.
    • That said, I need to finish the handdrawn battlemap of their lodge and surrounding area before they get back there (I will share a pic when I am done).
  • It is also totally possible they will want to immediately follow up on some of the hooks they caught wind of during this past adventure, in which case - most of the session will be travel, and I can just cook up some potential "random encounters" to tide us over until I have prepped one or more of those.


    So that's it for me for now. . . what are you prepping for your next session?
 

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In our modified West Marches style Curse of Strahd/Ravenloft campaign, I'm prepping for two possible courses of action for the party. I've moved the Wizard's tower, which contains one of the three special items revealed by the Tarokka deck that will help with battling Strahd, to a remote section of the map. Without getting into too much detail for... reasons @el-remmen... I'll just say that at least one of these two possible sessions will be necessary for a party to clear before the actual Wizard's tower session can occur. Of course, the player pool might want to check out some other hook, in which case I'll scramble to ready something else, but at least I'll have these ready for when a group finally does bite on the Wizard's tower quest.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I’m running a West Marches game. So a lot of my prep is front loaded. I have been reading Planegea and loving it so I’m adding in flairs and touches of primal fantasy to the land. I absolutely love the notion (from Planegea) of locations and natural things/cycles simply becoming divine and becoming local gods. Also these are petitioned for boons and favors and can be seen as a kind of magic store or temple. So reflavoring some things the PCs haven‘t heard about yet.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Gonna start a heavily modified Curse of Strahd sandbox game (which seem like popular themes in these first few posts) in mid-November. I’m prepping random encounter tables for the different regions of the map. I want each area to have a unique feel, and for different areas to be tuned to different level ranges.
 

aco175

Legend
I'm in the middle of the Essentials box set and are working on the 3rd set of quest-boards that the PCs can choose from. I basically take the box set 2 pages and expand some on the monsters and treasure and may add a trap or riddle and some NPC interaction. For example, the PCs could take the trade road towards the Dragon Barrow where they are to meet a centaur. I added a merchant with goods the PCs could buy from and rest with for the night and the centaur meeting is when he charges by shouting "Orcs are near, come on!", but in elven. The PCs can help him and fight the orcs or try to find the barrow themselves.

My group already completed the Woodland Manse quest ,but the centaur can point them that way as well as the directions to the barrow.

I am finding that the added things and missions I have from the players are making the final encounter with the dragon look easier than I think it should. I'm going to likely add some levels to it and a few other encounters when I am getting to that point. Although the players chose the other Dwarven Keep quest over finding the dragon-slaying sword, thinking that if they have the sword then the town will want them to attack the dragon. I may need the NPC adventuring party in town get the sword and the townsfolk rejoice for them instead.
 

Musing Mage

Pondering D&D stuff
My 1e group has split into two groups - and Team Evil starts their first session apart from the regular group this weekend...

Each of the members owes a debt to either the Thieves' Guild or the Assassin's guild, so they are basically given a mission to break into a crypt on a Noble's estate to find evidence of Necromancy that can be used against the noble family in question.

We'll see if a group of evils (and one Chaotic Neutral) can come together! :D
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
The party is deed inside a strange dungeon - the FOREBODING FROMAGERIE - They have made contact with Makko, the drowned wizard who nominally controls this facility.

Makko has created a portal to go to the moon. As we all know, the moon is made of cheese, and he wanted to experiment with moon cheese. He found it rather ... terrible tasting (it's chalky) but very good for making golems. However, cheese imps, who live on the moon, have found the portal and made a home inside the facility. Makko closed the portal but he has not destroyed them (he is studying them). The imps are trying to force the portal back open

Makko now believes that the moon cheese-imps are a great danger to the world, and wants to invade the moon to destroy it. The party is recruiting other factions in the dungeon so they can mount an assault on the moon.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Oh! I’m also preparing a player consent survey for sensitive themes in the campaign. I know most of the people who are going to be playing in the group well and feel like I could probably navigate their comfort levels pretty well without it, but I figure better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Also I have one newcomer joining the group, whom I don’t know as well, but I do know recently went through a divorce with an emotionally manipulative spouse, so I want to make extra sure that I know what her boundaries are since emotional manipulation is kind of Strahd’s whole deal.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Oh! I’m also preparing a player consent survey for sensitive themes in the campaign. I know most of the people who are going to be playing in the group well and feel like I could probably navigate their comfort levels pretty well without it, but I figure better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Also I have one newcomer joining the group, whom I don’t know as well, but I do know recently went through a divorce with an emotionally manipulative spouse, so I want to make extra sure that I know what her boundaries are since emotional manipulation is kind of Strahd’s whole deal.
PC: "Where do you want to go to dinner?"
Strahd: "I don't know, you pick."
PC: "..."
 

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