Your Top Tip(s) for Prepping a Published Adventure

R_J_K75

Adventurer
Review your players' character sheets (if you have access to them). Read up on every spell and ability they have, so you know how they work.
Some of the onus needs to fall on the players to run their own characters. Depending on the party makeup reviewing them could take quite a long time. So heres my prep tip: Make sure the players know they are responsible to have a basic understanding of their characters.
 
Some of the onus needs to fall on the players to run their own characters. Depending on the party makeup reviewing them could take quite a long time. So heres my prep tip: Make sure the players know they are responsible to have a basic understanding of their characters.
Agreed. I don't have time to see what spells my players can do. I'm too busy on mine (small enough group that I have to run one too) and on prepping for the next session.
 

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
Some of the onus needs to fall on the players to run their own characters. Depending on the party makeup reviewing them could take quite a long time. So heres my prep tip: Make sure the players know they are responsible to have a basic understanding of their characters.
You don't review their character sheets to help them utilize their abilities better.

You review their character sheets so you're better prepared to have your NPCs kick their backsides if they don't utilize their abilities effectively. :)
 
You don't review their character sheets to help them utilize their abilities better.

You review their character sheets so you're better prepared to have your NPCs kick their backsides if they don't utilize their abilities effectively. :)
I still don't have time for that. As it is, I don't feel prepared enough for what I AM trying to prep for. Being a new DM at the same time as I am learning the game is hard enough as it is. Plus, I am not sure that is necessary. The mobs aren't going to know what they PC's should or should not be able to do, especially the low-level mobs.
 

R_J_K75

Adventurer
You don't review their character sheets to help them utilize their abilities better.

You review their character sheets so you're better prepared to have your NPCs kick their backsides if they don't utilize their abilities effectively. :)
I review them from time to time so I have a cursory understanding of what they are capable of doing but I dont memorize them by any means. I do help them out alot.
 
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R_J_K75

Adventurer
Do you have any tips to help people paraphrase? Do you do anything special with highlighting or note-taking that helps you paraphrase?
I usually use a few short bullet points. Paraphrase one to the group, theyll usually discuss it a few seconds, enough time for you to read another and paraphrase again until youve conveyed all the info. Seems to work for me and flows more natural. The key is feed the info over 2 or 3 minutes in a DM/PC back and forth instead of one large dump.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
Do you have any tips to help people paraphrase? Do you do anything special with highlighting or note-taking that helps you paraphrase?
When preparing, identify what is an important info (a clue in a description, anything that will resurface later, in a description, any element allowing assessment of the threat level of the NPC. These elements must be communicated clearly to the players, so highlight them. The rest is color, and you can alter it/deliver it over an exchange with the players, and only as much as they want it. Reading imho breaks the flow as players will just be passive and possibly miss information, while their attention level will stay high if they can act in the description (including asking more detail). If there is a railing in the room, it is an important information in the prospect of a fight. When players will want to jump on the railing, they will ask how high it is, so it can be kept for later.
 
This seems obvious, but you wouldn't believe how many DMs expect modules to run themselves without prep and have barely skimmed the material before jumping in.

Don't be that guy.
Or don't run that module.

If it takes more time to prepare a published module than to homebrew a mostly equivalent adventure, consider the latter option.
 

Coroc

Adventurer
I use one spread sheet for the party containing all their stats and magic items. I use this for my to hit rolls, but also to trace their silver and XP.
Per session I also do a spread sheet of the mobs. Also with their stats any special attacks legendary actions etc. For caster types I select 3 or four spells which they most likely will use. I also use this to track XP gained and money found. I also write down HP like this : 3d8+6 9-30 17. I will use 17 for that mob if it is single.
If there are four of them they will have e.g. 12, 14, 17,21 or so. When combat occurs I take another blank sheet of paper and note e.g.
12:
14:
17:
21:

I make vertical slashes to count down their HP. It helps me to track them no matter if Theatre of the mind or minis.

For the plot I do a whole reading of the purchased material, and then I note down some bullets, what is likely to happen in which order and what is not to be missed e.g. major clues NPC names etc.
Then I do a rereading to see if this matches with my take on the official stuff which for sure made me leave or add stuff.
This second reading is of utter importance, more than once I discovered logical fallacies which hi could correct but would have been embarrassing if I would not have found the m upfront.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
Have a sheet of pre-rolled d20s and cross them off as you go. Maintain lists of all the PCs' magic items. Then, when they get hit with some mass effect you can quickly check off saves for each item as you go.
 

3catcircus

Adventurer
Cut out at least half the combats.

Make the secret doors not secret

Cut all but one (or maybe two traps)
How does that help prepping? Unless you are converting prior edition modules, that won't affect how long it takes to prep - in fact - going through and changing these during your read through will increase prep time.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
My rule of thumb that has helped me out quite a bit goes along with reading the module: If you try to read the module and it becomes so boring that you stop... the module usually isn't worth running in the first place. There are plenty of adventures out there-- find the ones where the authors were so good at writing that they could make reading the adventure interesting and compelling. Because that usually means running it will be so as well.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
..... Long story short the players wouldn't take the hook and ended up scrapping the module.....
Arrguaw Arrguaw PET PEEVE ALERT PET PEEVE ALERT ALL CASUALS TAKE COVER THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
I am gamist DM. If the players know I running module x and don't want to take the hook, I can always pull out Uno, or just cancel the game 20 minutes after show time.
 

Talltomwright

Villager
I've just finished DMing Princes of the Apocalypse and I'm really glad that Past Me took the time to make a spreadsheet of who was in which room of the megadungeon. It meant I could, at a glance, figure out who might hear a battle and come running, and it meant that if the characters took a long rest I could immediately re-deploy the cultists to retake the areas the players had cleared out. It helped it to feel like a living place, with intelligent enemies who didn't just wait in their designated room until they got slaughtered.
 

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
Or don't run that module.

If it takes more time to prepare a published module than to homebrew a mostly equivalent adventure, consider the latter option.
I've never in my life seen a module for which this was true, at least if you insist on the level of detail that I do (which is to say, the equivalent of a published module).
 

R_J_K75

Adventurer
Arrguaw Arrguaw PET PEEVE ALERT PET PEEVE ALERT ALL CASUALS TAKE COVER THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
I am gamist DM. If the players know I running module x and don't want to take the hook, I can always pull out Uno, or just cancel the game 20 minutes after show time.
I didnt run too many modules back then and they didnt know I was that night let alone which one. In all honesty some of their reasoning why they didnt take the bait was pretty solid. It was more my fault for trying to shoehorn in that adventure into the campaign at a random spot.
 

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