Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Full Use Prep

Full Use Prep  
When I think about my games, there are certain ideas I get excited about. They are the images in my head that I can’t wait to explore with my players. But sometimes these ideas are pushed to the side by too little or too much preparation.
In response, heavyly impacted by DungeonWorld, this is my way to use just the right amount of preparation to make a game awesome. By using GM moves and the idea of scenes I hope to prepare just the right amount of content and use 90-100% of my preparation every time. (Still untested)

The Steps
  1. Write the Core Idea.
    • It is important that what you write for this step excites you.
    • It could be anything from a showdown to the perfect clue.
    • Example:
      1. One day I saw storm clouds and thought “Storm Serpents”. How cool would it be to have an aerial battle between the heroes on a flying ship and giant fear sucking, lightning breathing, flying snakes.
  2. Necessary elements
    • Make a list of the things that must be present for the scene to be as cool as you imagined it. Try to keep it short. Each item on this list can become a shackle that holds you to a limited and unimaginative game.
    • Example:
      1. I needed the players to be somewhere they could see the clouds
      2. I needed the storm to roll in and catch their notice
      3. I needed the players to have access to their flying ship
  3. Prepare for “The three times”
    • There are three times during the game that you should consider, and various responses to each of them that will help you.
      1. When everyone looks to you to find out what happens, ask leading questions. This will often come at the very beginning of the game, after that, the players should have a pretty good idea of what they want to do. Either way, have a few questions ready so that if they all look to you, you don’t have to make up something and convince them it is awesome. Rather you’ll have a question ready that leads them into providing buy in, which will automatically be more awesome for them.
        1. Example:
          1. For my storm serpent idea I came up with the following leading questions: What about the approaching storm seems more dangerous than others you've experienced?
            1. One player said that it wasn’t storm season
            2. One said the color of the lightning varied in color each time it struck.
            3. One said the storm made his tattoo (that he got from death herself) ache.
      2. When the players give you a golden opportunity, do something cool. These are the core ideas you come up with. Slide them in when the time seems right. This will give your players the sense of a perpetually moving adventure that keeps getting better.
        1. The cool things I wanted to see were as follows:
          1. Someone jumping off the ship onto (riding?) a storm serpent
          2. Someone grabbing someone before they fell off the ship.
          3. The ship being riddled with Lightning bolts
          4. Teamwork, distribution of tasks
          5. Storm Serpents entangling the ship
      3. When they roll a 6 or less, turn up the heat. I was going to say “punish them” but that has the wrong focus. Instead think of ways that the situation can get really bad and write those down.
        1. The ways I thought I could turn up the heat were:
          1. Have a character lose their balance
          2. Have a character hit by lightning
          3. Have a character on a dead/dying serpent as it falls from the sky
          4. Have an important NPC or PC get killed
          5. Have more serpents than expected be there.
  4. Build quick stats
    • For people and monsters include:
      1. HP
      2. Armor
      3. Damage
      4. Instinct
      5. Treasure
    • For places include:
      1. Important names and then refer back to the people :)

As always I welcome feedback. Let me know what you think!