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Farcaster
10-16-2007, 12:58 PM
In my youth, I used to spend hours upon hours crafting sprawling dungeons with accompanying 80-page spiral notebooks full of detailed descriptions and DM notes. Often, I even wrote out the room descriptions just as you might find in the typical module. Even as I became more experienced and toned down my massive dungeon crawls and began to focus more on the story and roleplaying, I still poured as much time into preparing for a game as I did running it.

These days though, my preparation time has been much diminished. Be it because I now have work and a family of my own to take care of; or be it that I spend just a little too much time playing MMPOGs -- or heck, this website! -- whatever the cause, I'm lucky if I spend more than one or two hours preparing for a game. So, I find now that I rely heavily on improvisation. I almost always have a beginning and ending in mind, but the middle I leave to manifest in the moment. And for the most part, it seems to work. Heck, my improvised games are usually more fun than the ones I toiled over for endless hours.

So, I'm curious, when you DM/GM a game, how much time do you usually spend preparing for the game and how much is just off-the-cuff?

rabkala
10-16-2007, 06:10 PM
I only detail major events and let the rest of the pieces fall as they may. I do like to have a good outline and some generic back-up encounters to cover some of those odd eventualities that players always seem to stumble upon. I also spent far more time detailing things in the past. I really hate wasting my time going into great detail on something, only to have a player figure out some bizarre twist to completely avoid it. So, to avoid my desire to railroad them into that awesome 10 pages of detail, I wing it much more. One good thing for me, I usually use the same adventure on 2 or 3 groups making what preparation I do worthwhile.

ronpyatt
10-16-2007, 07:24 PM
Sometimes I have an idea about a major event, a goal, or a basic direction, but it rarely happens that way, and I'm often surprised when pieces of the story come together all on their own.
So, I resign myself to let the winds of change have their way and enjoy the ride.

PhishStyx
10-16-2007, 11:13 PM
I do an outline called "Action Points," which contains usually between 5 and 15 events/scenes that occur during the game session. Some of these I detail much more heavily than others, and I don't usually go through them in the order they're written.


From my original WitchCraft game
1) Ed receives a visit from Bill Wallace, a billionaire collector of cultural artifacts, who wants to hire Ed to investigate an artifact that has come into his possession recently. In their meeting, Wallace opens a large padded case and gingerly extracts an ornately carved gold ankh roughly the length of Billís forearm. It has been attached to a thick gold chain at some point.

What I do lots of are NPC's. Usually I do full stats for most of my NPC's (unless they're very minor) because when I do abbreviated sheets for them I don't get to consider their impact on the game. Moreover, it always seems to be the NPC I didn't do stats for that the players want to fight or con or some such, and that bugs me a lot.

On the other hand, I seldom plan out much more than I really need; in fact, usually, I find that I haven't thought about nearly enough options. Somewhere along the way, there's always the player who wants to blow up the building with the entire group (including himself) in it, which actually happened in our last game session.

Moritz
10-17-2007, 07:39 AM
Sometimes I have an idea about a major event, a goal, or a basic direction, but it rarely happens that way, and I'm often surprised when pieces of the story come together all on their own.
So, I resign myself to let the winds of change have their way and enjoy the ride.

I'm totally with Ron here. I create (or choose from a prior creation) the world before the campaign begins and then like most college campus buildings, just pull stuff out of the aether and let it land where it will. I consider it channeling from another reality, or pulling from the collective unconscious :) - I'm the medium in which to convey the story to the players. Carl Jung would be proud.

MajereNoir
10-17-2007, 10:45 AM
I realize only 9 people have responded to the survey so far, but I'm frankly amazed that the vast majority agree with me that they only detail major things and let the rest fall as it may.

I always kinda thought this made me a lazy DM (hehe) but it seems I'm in good company! I used to try and make up a lot of detail, but I'd never get to use it... as invariably my players throw me for a complete loop (or the party turns evil and decides to kill the captives instead of set them free... I can't tell you how many times something like that has happened).

Alas, now, like PhishStyx there, I just make a boatload of NPCs, a couple of encounter hooks that they can take or leave, and let my players do whatever they want. And I, too, have found that most NPCs need full stats 'cause PCs have essentially got a license to kill and you never know when they're going to strike!

MortonStromgal
10-17-2007, 02:07 PM
Mostly I dont plan much of anything for the whole campaign. I may plan 1-5 events that happen and some major npcs motives, however some systems (like 3.5) I plan a whole lot more just because there is too much stuff for my poor brain to remember. :rolleyes:

PhishStyx
10-17-2007, 02:39 PM
Alas, now, like PhishStyx there, I just make a boatload of NPCs, a couple of encounter hooks that they can take or leave, and let my players do whatever they want. And I, too, have found that most NPCs need full stats 'cause PCs have essentially got a license to kill and you never know when they're going to strike!


Well, there's a big difference in the amount of number crunching that goes into my NPC's and a GURPS or D&D NPC.

Take this guy in Unisystem for instance:
http://www.penandpapergames.com/userpages/showentry.php?e=37

vs. a D&D NPC:
http://www.penandpapergames.com/userpages/showentry.php?e=33&catid=5

I used to play Palladium and that took tons of time and math (addition mostly), and before that 1st edition AD&D, which was nearly as bad.

What's funny is that I'm about to get into a version of Unisystem with even shorter NPC sheets, where I don't actually roll in game for NPC actions. They're all pre-rolled for me. Still not sure if I'm going to like that.

MajereNoir
10-18-2007, 10:25 AM
Well, there's a big difference in the amount of number crunching that goes into my NPC's and a GURPS or D&D NPC.

I've played Unisystem a little and D&D a million times, and really I don't see much difference in time for creating a character (which is much what one is doing when one creates full NPCs). Now, granted, I've never DM'd anything in Unisystem... but I don't see where the math is really more complicated. Where I see it getting time-consuming is that there's such an open plate for picking qualities and skills; it's not just the small list of skills that you pump skill points into with D&D. But then, with the Unisystem, they've got all these fabulous templates you can use to speed the process.


... I don't actually roll in game for NPC actions. They're all pre-rolled for me. Still not sure if I'm going to like that.

My goodness, I think I'd hate that. That's just robbing the DM of all his fun! Where's the random aspect of this? Where's the chance that Bobo the Evil Clown Lord will roll a 1 and accidentally club himself in his huge foot, sending the PCs into a fit of uncontrollable laughter? :eek:

PhishStyx
10-18-2007, 01:12 PM
the small list of skills

Hm, how many skills are in the D&D list?

Unisystem has 66 as I recall, not including various types of a single skill such as different languages.


Where's the random aspect of this?

Well, I'm a diceless game fan, so I may not have quite that issue with it. On the other hand, I'm still not entirely decided; we'll see after I actually run a game.

MajereNoir
10-18-2007, 11:01 PM
Hm, how many skills are in the D&D list?

Unisystem has 66 as I recall, not including various types of a single skill such as different languages.

35 in 3.5 D&D, also not including the various types of a single skill like Knowledge (type).

That makes the Unisystem almost twice as skillful. Dang, I don't think I could remember 66 different skills! But then, they are not all applicable to every setting. There's a set that applies to fantasy settings and some others (like guns and computers) that only apply to modern things.




Well, I'm a diceless game fan

I'm going to show off my ingrained D&D mindset here, but I'm just not sure I get how that would work. I can see it working for skills and social interaction, but how do you resolve combat without dice? Would you just look at how many points you have in your gun skill and the DM makes a call on whether that's enough to hit based on some aspect of the target... and then each weapon would just have a base damage amount that it always does?

ronpyatt
10-19-2007, 12:38 AM
Diceless? Sounds like a topic all on its own. Hmmm....
http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3931

PhishStyx
10-19-2007, 01:58 AM
35 in 3.5 D&D, also not including the various types of a single skill like Knowledge (type).

That makes the Unisystem almost twice as skillful.

It a big deal. You don't have them all listed out on every sheet like D&D has; you pick what you want from the book.

The Cinematic version of Unisystem in Buffy and Angel have a very simplified skill set with only 18 skills.

You can get Cinematic Unisystem versions of the D&D cartoon kids here:
http://www.penandpapergames.com/userpages/showentry.php?e=39


Dang, I don't think I could remember 66 different skills! But then, they are not all applicable to every setting. There's a set that applies to fantasy settings and some others (like guns and computers) that only apply to modern things.

Oh yeah, the modern setting has 3 different computer skills, engineering, and so on.



I'm going to show off my ingrained D&D mindset here, but I'm just not sure I get how that would work. I can see it working for skills and social interaction, but how do you resolve combat without dice?

Depends on the game, the Amber Diceless RPG is comparative between characters and uses a rank system. So for a brief example, if your character has 25 Strength and is wrestling another Amberite with a 10 Strength, you're going to win. Maybe not instantly, but you would eventually win.

There are other options though - Theatrix,


Would you just look at how many points you have in your gun skill and the DM makes a call on whether that's enough to hit based on some aspect of the target... and then each weapon would just have a base damage amount that it always does?

Well in Buffy and Angel's Cinematic Unisystem that isn't exactly what happens although damage is pre-set. The players still roll, it's just the GM that doesn't. NPC's have pre-set "Ability Scores"

Well here's a Quick Sheet:
http://www.geocities.com/mysticalwhoosit/amyquick.jpg

Under Manuevers, "Score" is her pre-rolled result for dodging, etc.

Malruhn
10-20-2007, 03:36 PM
I plan for everything... and ten minutes into playing, nearly every group I have ever been with have strayed from what I had expected - as well as all of the possible OTHER ways I expected them to go (and had prepared for!), and then I wing it.

Does this count??

(Pssst, Phishstyx, is that an avatar of Amy Lee?)

jisan74
10-21-2007, 12:10 AM
Well i plan some events in my games and the rest i do on the fly.But i change this a lot.The only thing constant is the main story.But i have my players take side adventures not based on the main story to give some flavor and randomness to the game.

I use random encounters off and on.Sometimes these encounters can lead to subplots in my main story or just something different for my pcs to do besides doing the main story all the time.

Farcaster
10-21-2007, 03:28 PM
ten minutes into playing, nearly every group I have ever been with have strayed from what I had expected - as well as all of the possible OTHER ways I expected them to go (and had prepared for!), and then I wing it.

That is definitely the way of things in my games as well. What I do is I plan my encounters and scenarios in a sort of modular fashion. I once watched a novice DM spend an enormous amount of energy trying to steer the players into a particular place, so they could find this graveyard he had planned out. Unfortunately, that made the whole thing feel rather forced. So, my advice to him was instead of planning for the characters to travel to a particular city or place so that they can find a specific graveyard, just make the graveyard modular and ready to drop into where ever the characters might travel. If the characters don't even go to a city, then perhaps they discover a forgotten and remote graveyard in the wilderness. Designing the scenarios this way lets you be ready to adjust the story to accommodate what the players do and maintain the all important illusion of player-choice.

Skunkape
10-22-2007, 06:59 AM
The big problem I've found with heavy planning is the damn PCs decide they don't want to go in that direction, which means I've just wasted hours of time planning out some really fantastic things! That's why I just plan major plot points and let the rest fall as it will like quite few of the other posters have said.

But, I do plan location specific events which will happen whether the PCs are there or not, which makes the world more alive in my opinion.

Moritz
10-22-2007, 11:26 AM
Those damn PC's.! Damn them to hell. They shouldn't ever go against your plans. Ever!.

It's why I draw maps prior to the campaign start. Just to have the world laid out in case they go east when they were originally going west.

Just because East is the 300th level of the Abyss, now that's their choice for going in.

Grungydan
10-23-2007, 09:08 AM
I had to answer differently at the moment than I normally would. I typically run pretty much by the seat of my pants, juggling major events and plot threads while letting character actions and logical world reactions be my guide.

The Shadowrun game I'm running right now is a bit different due to the nature of the story. I'm drawing on so much of the official canon that I find myself spending hours and hours reading OOP sourcebooks and websites to make sure that what I'm doing this time makes at least enough sense to not cause a "wtfbbq" for anyone. Also different is that this time my players are all well versed in the Shadowrun game and world. While I don't let this keep me from changing some canon or introducing new things, I am performing a bit of an experiment in seeing just how much from the "past" I can use, so it's a lot of fun.

HolyDiver
11-23-2007, 08:58 PM
Generally, I'll map out the area (if I need to draw it) and make the npcs and plan out the nights game. But a fair amount of skill in the winging it department is necessary when being a DM because one thing you can't plan on is what your players will try doing. Sure you can assume they'll most likely behave in one of two or three ways, but not always.

PhishStyx
11-23-2007, 09:33 PM
It's been a lo-o-ong time since I made a map.

Digital Arcanist
11-24-2007, 07:51 PM
No stone undrawn and no option unexplored is my motto. As much as my PC's combat evil I have to combat their stupidity.

I still don't understand why players need to touch everything with the tip of their swords.

Malruhn
11-25-2007, 12:07 AM
Hehehehe... touching everything with the tips of their swords, indeed!

I guess I wasn't too clear up above. I now plan each location and all the important people, then determine how they will interact with the players and each other - and then let the players decide if they go in through the front door or through the second floor window.

Drohem
11-27-2007, 02:53 PM
As most already know, PCs never do what you want and find delight in derailing your carefully laid plans. I no longer stick to my guns on adventures, and GM with more fluidity now.

Olothfaern
12-05-2007, 08:12 PM
...I am super zealous on planning are:

...dungeon/stronghold composition and layout, traps defenses in place spell effects ambush points, deadfalls, oh yeah!

...and NPC's/monsters. I couldn't use a vanilla version of a creature if you held a gun to my head, maybe the necromancer trained (ensorceled?) his minions to have different feats, but I tend to swap out the printed feats with whatever tactic fits the space, or with whatever I want to drill my players on (I'm a teaching DM, if you survive my bootcamp you will know how to grapple, turn/rebuke, trip, and bull rush; if I'm feeling froggy, you'll know the advanced shooting into combat soft cover variant)

Stuart Sexton
12-06-2007, 11:28 PM
I usually, but don't always, have a basic idea in mind, but I do very little planning, except maybe in my head. Often, my players will just call and want to get together and play. I've been GMing for 25 years now, and know my players well.

cplmac
02-07-2008, 05:32 PM
Like several others have said, since the PCs seem to always go off in the only direction that you have not planned for, I have the basics of each encounter covered but am flexible to start improvising in the party goes off the beaten path.

Freejack
02-07-2008, 05:55 PM
I like to have the overall plan in mind along with the required encounters detailed to some extent.

At the moment I'm running some canned adventures so I spend the Friday and Saturday prior to Sunday's game preparing. I break out my folding table, set up my gear, and break out the scenario. I read the mission through, then again while making notes relevant to the players. Some of the calculations (such as negotiation + charisma rolls) are done in the margins. I'll even practice some of the phrases so they don't come out wooden.

For example, if I'd winged one comment an Ork made to the team, it wouldn't have worked due to the phrasing. Since I practiced it, and even made a few notes regarding how I wanted to phrase it (slightly different), when I made the statement, it came out just right and the team laughed.

It sounds like a lot of prep, but it's really so I _can_ wing it. I know the general story and what the results should be. Then the team can interact with bar owners, Lone Star, and various other unimportant encounters without losing sight of the goal.

Plus I can prepare props as necessary. Some of the missions called for certain items to be used. I drop the prop on the table and whomever has the prop is the one that physically has it. Then when the hacker gets nabbed and he has the lawyer's fake SIN, the rest of the team knows the SIN is lost and now what do they do? (Besides save the hacker :) )

Plus right now I also refer to the core books because I'm still running in to things that aren't fully memorized yet.

Carl

tesral
02-07-2008, 10:21 PM
You can't plan for everything and even my plans are subject to change. Game prep is so I have the confidence to take it where it goes.

I need my stats and hit points, that is about it. Everything else I can make up.

boulet
02-08-2008, 09:16 AM
I always kinda thought this made me a lazy DM (hehe) but it seems I'm in good company! I used to try and make up a lot of detail, but I'd never get to use it... as invariably my players throw me for a complete loop (or the party turns evil and decides to kill the captives instead of set them free... I can't tell you how many times something like that has happened).

Same feeling of guilt I had, same relief for me to realize that every GM has to become realistic between what he wants to see happen (matters a bit) and what players want to do as lame as it may be (matters more).

Is it me or most active members of the forum are actually GMs ?

Mulsiphix
02-08-2008, 09:03 PM
I just found this thread but my answer is "I only detail major events and let the rest come as it may." I've always got the big stuff planned out but like to leave it up to the players to "wander" into them. Alright maybe not wander but I believe PC's should always have a sense of free will. Yes I'm new to GM'ing but this is my philosophy ;)

nijineko
02-09-2008, 01:37 AM
In my youth, I used to spend hours upon hours crafting sprawling dungeons with accompanying 80-page spiral notebooks full of detailed descriptions and DM notes. Often, I even wrote out the room descriptions just as you might find in the typical module. Even as I became more experienced and toned down my massive dungeon crawls and began to focus more on the story and roleplaying, I still poured as much time into preparing for a game as I did running it.

These days though, my preparation time has been much diminished. Be it because I now have work and a family of my own to take care of... whatever the cause, I'm lucky if I spend more than one or two hours preparing for a game. So, I find now that I rely heavily on improvisation. ....

i've had pretty much the same experience as farcaster, here. massive dungeon crawls with maps and notes, check. module-like formatting, check. dwindling time to prepare and increasing improvisation, check.

however, i must admit that if i have time, i will either make a map and note locations with significant sites and a timeline of significant events for reference purposes as the pc's wander around causing havoc and mayhem. it doesn't feel so much like chaos if i don't have as much planned. ^^

at the very least, i will review the material to see what's likely to be covered. and it's not unknown for me to take a quick 15 or 20 to go off and make up some stuff for when they really manage to get off the map.




I still don't understand why players need to touch everything with the tip of their swords.

i love that habit! i have a whole series of traps built around exploiting that one. =D and then another series of traps for when they switch to the 10 or 11 foot pole. and then another series of traps for when they start chucking copper pieces and so forth. >=D and finally, when they sit there arguing about what to try next, the ceiling starts lowering very, very slowly. spot check to notice. ^^

rabkala
02-09-2008, 02:26 AM
Traps can really slow the players down to a crawl. I think traps should be rather infrequent especially when carefully winging it.

nijineko
02-09-2008, 12:06 PM
oh i use them carefully. it's just that i happen to have a series of traps for dealing with that habit. it mostly causes the players to come up with something i haven't thought of, which is great! i only do it to any one player/group once. ^^ it's usually used on those who suspect a trap behind everything. after all, if that's what they want that's how they'll play it, right? so if that's how they are playing, well then, obviously, that is what they want from the game. ;D

Mulsiphix
02-09-2008, 08:00 PM
Traps are awesome. I agree if overused the game can screech to a halt but when used properly it can really get the players thinking and enthralled with their surroundings. Too much of anything is overkill but if given out and used with the right proportions, the stage is set for true greatness and truly memorable times :)

nijineko
02-10-2008, 01:09 AM
the trick for me, is to envision what the original builders (or later invaders) were trying to protect. and then consider access levels. unless it was an extreme "nobody-gets-this-no-matter-what", then someone is going to want access and not be bothered by too complicated methods of getting in and out. how frequently access is required or desired goes a long way to determining how easy it is to bypass the trap. of course, the easier access is likely to be either on a tight time schedule or non-obvious location.

then i try to place the trap(s) according to the logic of the original designers. were they devious little creeps, or noble yet clever defenders? sadistic voyeurs or fanatic zealots? the list goes on and on. and each psychology yeilds slightly different results for different reasons. some traps were more in the line of tests. others were to keep everyone out... or in. others were designed to filter out the authorized by various means.

once they defeat a trap, finding the scrawled notes of the builder on the inside wall of the trap access hatch, just adds the slight touch of versimilitude that makes a place memorable. nothing says realism like when the players start griping about having to deal with yet another trap built by that 300 year dead devious little (something-or-another) who designed traps for all these different people across the ancient empire....

the beautiful sounds of the players groaning when they find his maker's mark and suddenly know that somewhere nearby there's a trap, just waiting for them... it's music, sweet music to the ears.

BardRougeBabe
02-14-2008, 12:09 PM
my last DM was horrible at map drawing, but wanted us to have them, so he had me draw the maps for him, which was frustrating, because then i wasn't suprised, and had to work at not metagaming, it wasn't fun.

boulet
02-14-2008, 12:11 PM
my last DM was horrible at map drawing, but wanted us to have them, so he had me draw the maps for him, which was frustrating, because then i wasn't suprised, and had to work at not metagaming, it wasn't fun.
Maybe it was a hint for you to take the role of DM ? :D

tesral
02-14-2008, 12:33 PM
The beautiful sounds of the players groaning when they find his maker's mark and suddenly know that somewhere nearby there's a trap, just waiting for them... it's music, sweet music to the ears.

I like this, i'm going to have to steal it. And don't forget the angle of once they get use to finding the mark, have some cheap so-in-so have faked it in his keep. The players go nuts looking for the trap that isn't. Or even the little so-in-so himself sprinkleing an area with false positives. Triple his number of "traps" and further delay any thief in looking for the undetectable.

I once totally confounded a party with magic aura and false trap. they were sure they was getting nailed if they went in there.

Mulsiphix
02-14-2008, 02:14 PM
nijineko and tesral your scheming is music to my ears. You two are quite gifted in instilling passion in others who wish to oppress their players from time to time :p

tesral
02-14-2008, 05:48 PM
nijineko and tesral your scheming is music to my ears. You two are quite gifted in instilling passion in others who wish to oppress their players from time to time :p

I never go straight when I can use a twist. The Purloined Letter is only a start.

spotlight
02-14-2008, 05:57 PM
Ah, the purloined letter bit. My first introduction to Mn. Peorot. And a theme I sneak into almost all my dungeons. To quote, "What were you doing?" "SNEAKING!!!"

TheOtherMonica
02-15-2008, 12:59 AM
Planning... hmmm... Nah... I let the dice and the players provide me with inspiration.

I enjoy DMing far more when I can mostly wing it. Don't have to fight the players that way, just let the NPCs react as they will. Sometimes that means the NPCs are fighting the players, but that's alright. Sometimes I'll realign a situation to chase the players down, but I try to make it seem natural.

tesral
02-15-2008, 04:09 AM
Plan, but be prepared to wing it. Players are unpredictable critters. I find a plan is a great help even if I do wing it. For some reason I get a better game even if the plan is never followed simply by having the plan. Physiological crutch? I don't know, but it works.

cplmac
02-16-2008, 09:36 PM
nijineko and tesral your scheming is music to my ears. You two are quite gifted in instilling passion in others who wish to oppress their players from time to time :p


If you don't make things interesting enough, you run the risk of loosing your players to boredom. Still, you have to find that fine line between too much and not enough oppression at times.

tesral
02-16-2008, 11:29 PM
If you don't make things interesting enough, you run the risk of loosing your players to boredom. Still, you have to find that fine line between too much and not enough oppression at times.

Trying to keep them on their toes. When you have been playing with someone for 20 years, it starts to get harder. I have to reach for things that I don't normally go for. Time Travel. I grouse about time travel all the time, I don't like it. So I threw a time trave switch up into a game. Caught the group totally flat footed. I don't do that kind of thing. Recently they find themselves a Shadowrun version of their own high fantasy world. They are having fun dealing with that.

nijineko
02-17-2008, 01:51 AM
luck, fortune, happenstance, coincidence... they all favor the prepared.

it's much easier to depart from a preplanned path, than to try to blaze one through the wilds of player inventivness, hacking at each leaf and vine of the weight of "i have about 15 seconds to come up with something that i never thought of...."

Jonathan Kwiat
02-19-2008, 12:58 PM
I get to see what people post in reply to them here!

Well, let me see... none of the above!!!

Yeah, roleplaying is like life. Its what's happening when you were planning something else.

Jonathan

8cidx
02-20-2008, 03:43 PM
I do an even mix of both. I happen to be good at thining on the fly. It helps that I am very close friends with everyone in my group so I know how they think. That helps allot when doing off-the-cuff work. If I have time I like to prepare more though.

Pretty good thread. Had almost the exact same one on my own board with a similar argument http://z8.invisionfree.com/rpgxforums/index.php?showtopic=46

I really dig a loosely planned game. I have also written a few articles on the topic. You can check those out at:

http://8xid.blogspot.com/2007/11/getting-most-out-of-your-writing.html

and part 2 at:

http://8xid.blogspot.com/2008/02/getting-most-out-of-your-writing-part-2.html

boulet
02-20-2008, 04:41 PM
http://8xid.blogspot.com/2007/11/getting-most-out-of-your-writing.html

Thanks for sharing this article. Too bad the links to the pdf files are dead (http://www.rpgx.org/Acid_Burn/infected.pdf and http://www.rpgx.org/Acid_Burn/voradin.pdf). The demonstration falls short without them. And it's frustrating, like a power shorting ten minutes before the end of a thriller :)

8cidx
02-21-2008, 10:05 AM
Crap, the files must have gotten deleted out of the folder when I updated my site last... I should have copies at home. Hopefully I will be able to replace them. I'll update the thread when finished.

Jonathan Kwiat
02-22-2008, 07:45 AM
An oxymoron, non-sequitor poll doesn't deserve a second post but this got one from me.

Weird...

I think I just wanted to talk to some of the people posting to this post.

Ah that's why people go to the beach...its were the people are.

rabkala
02-24-2008, 01:07 PM
Just about everyday has been a snow day here in WI.

nijineko
03-07-2008, 01:17 AM
come to think of it... when i'm planning a campaign world, i tend to be obsessive in the extreme as far as details go. but when i run an adventure, i'm very go-with-the-flow and improvise with only general guidelines as to plot and major npcs. =D

tesral
03-07-2008, 06:52 AM
An oxymoron, non-sequitor poll doesn't deserve a second post but this got one from me.

Weird...


What is oxymoronic about it? It's an old dichotomy. Do I plan or do I not? Some people can set at the table with a vague idea and pull off a game. Some people need to plan every last detail. some people (me) plan and only generally follow the guideline.

It's a reasonable question.



come to think of it... when i'm planning a campaign world, i tend to be obsessive in the extreme as far as details go. but when i run an adventure, i'm very go-with-the-flow and improvise with only general guidelines as to plot and major npcs. =D

I haven't done a new world in forever. I can't even say Thindacarulle was planned so much as evolved. I still have vast parts of the whole that are only in my head.

nijineko
03-09-2008, 12:31 AM
that happens to me too. no matter what i plan, i wind up having to stick a country in here or a dungeon in there, or something. usually due to something the players did. ^^

Nasamual
03-10-2008, 07:32 PM
I also used to spend quite a bit of time detailing and writing down every little thing for each adventure. That lasted a few years.
For the last 15 or so years, everything comes about as modular ideas that can fit into various situations, as others have said.
I create a world and general environment, introduce the players into the environment, then let their characters play out whatever they choose. They invariably stumble into a situation where I throw a modular idea/encounter and keep the campaign moving towards it's evolving conclusion.

The best part of having spent so much time preparing in the past is that I still have many ideas locked away somewhere in my head...now if I could only figure out how to get at them again!

tesral
03-11-2008, 02:33 PM
I also used to spend quite a bit of time detailing and writing down every little thing for each adventure. That lasted a few years.
For the last 15 or so years, everything comes about as modular ideas that can fit into various situations, as others have said.
I create a world and general environment, introduce the players into the environment, then let their characters play out whatever they choose. They invariably stumble into a situation where I throw a modular idea/encounter and keep the campaign moving towards it's evolving conclusion.

The best part of having spent so much time preparing in the past is that I still have many ideas locked away somewhere in my head...now if I could only figure out how to get at them again!

Write it down. I lock them away in my computer. Cut and paste are my friends. An unused encounter is a reusable encounter. OK, the PCs didn't go down the left path and encounter the bugbears. I got some bugbears to place elsewhere.

Likewise the players do not know how the adventure is laid out. If I need an encouter they missed and can slide it in front of them and they never know it wasn't there all along.

Be ready and be flexible.

at5115
03-11-2008, 05:32 PM
If I don't explicitly detail what I want to do with a game ... plots start to come out of the woodwork. I start going off on a tangent and then nothing gets finished. I've never had this problem with DnD, always with In Nomine and Gurps based things.

Although I have started loosening up somewhat, considering that my players always pick some random thing to fixate on :rolleyes:. I like to flesh out the game with random things, so I should expect this by now.

Melefresh

Nasamual
03-11-2008, 06:25 PM
Write it down. I lock them away in my computer. Cut and paste are my friends. An unused encounter is a reusable encounter. OK, the PCs didn't go down the left path and encounter the bugbears. I got some bugbears to place elsewhere.

Likewise the players do not know how the adventure is laid out. If I need an encouter they missed and can slide it in front of them and they never know it wasn't there all along.

Be ready and be flexible.

Agreed. That was the essence of my post, actually :)

The only hard part about writing things down is having to remember them to begin with.

I'll definitely get back to GMing once I've gotten into playing again, so it's high time I start unlocking those spots in the ol' cranium.

tesral
03-12-2008, 07:05 AM
Agreed. That was the essence of my post, actually :)

The only hard part about writing things down is having to remember them to begin with.

I'll definitely get back to GMing once I've gotten into playing again, so it's high time I start unlocking those spots in the ol' cranium.


I can claim no virtue there. Vast parts of my world are in my head. There just do not seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all on paper, or electrons as the case is.

nijineko
03-14-2008, 01:39 AM
amen to that.... i currently have around 10-15 major story arcs in several different world settings floating around.

agoraderek
04-27-2008, 04:57 AM
I plan for everything... and ten minutes into playing, nearly every group I have ever been with have strayed from what I had expected - as well as all of the possible OTHER ways I expected them to go (and had prepared for!), and then I wing it.

Does this count??

(Pssst, Phishstyx, is that an avatar of Amy Lee?)

yep. i should make my old players reimburse me for all the graph paper, ink, colored pencils and notebooks that were pretty much worthless because they would just do something insane that blew my plot out of the water (it was awesome, though, they were good players, just very twisted and devious).

on the other hand, it taught me how to wing it with the best, and now if i run a game, i really dont need to put in much prep, just an outline and maybe a map or two, and let the game go where it takes us...:biggrin:

i will say this, though, it was a HECK of a lot easier to wing it with 1st edition, there was so much less effort in conjuring an npc on the fly (no feats or skills to worry about). little trickier with 3.x...

tesral
04-27-2008, 01:33 PM
yep. i should make my old players reimburse me for all the graph paper, ink, colored pencils and notebooks that were pretty much worthless because they would just do something insane that blew my plot out of the water (it was awesome, though, they were good players, just very twisted and devious).


I never throw anything away. Old maps and unused encounters are easily recycled.

agoraderek
04-28-2008, 12:15 AM
I never throw anything away. Old maps and unused encounters are easily recycled.

oh, i never did (ive lost it all since, a detailed campaign world twenty years in the making), and recycled the good bits, but, still, i would die a little inside after spending weeks and weeks gettting an adventure....just...right....just to watch the party (usually maxitolious moonshadow, chaotic greedy grey elf) zig where i wanted a zag...

but i never was a railroader, and was always working on fleshing out the world, so i could roll with it.

someone else said something about moving the location of plot turning encounters (moving an urban cemetary to a rural area, i think). exactly right, never let predetermned geographic locations for important (and easily relocated) encounters dictate the campaing.

tesral
04-28-2008, 09:38 AM
someone else said something about moving the location of plot turning encounters (moving an urban cemetary to a rural area, i think). exactly right, never let predetermned geographic locations for important (and easily relocated) encounters dictate the campaing.

Me again.

Webhead
04-28-2008, 01:05 PM
I tread pretty middle-bound between "planning" and "winging". First of all, I have come to expect that my players will do everything I didn't think of, so I've given up on trying to anticipate what they will do and what off-the-wall plan they will devise to do it. Instead, I just piece together an overall plotline, whip up a handful of potential encounters and then turn them loose. My players have taken one-time, off-the-cuff scene or npc descriptions (descriptions I would just throw in there for color) and woven into entire plot threads! Of course, this is half the fun of roleplaying...watching your game take on a life of its own and going places you never imagined it would go.

But yeah, at any given moment, my players will break the mold, so rather than plan for what I think they might do, I prepare myself for being completely blindsided...because it always happens. :)


someone else said something about moving the location of plot turning encounters (moving an urban cemetary to a rural area, i think). exactly right, never let predetermned geographic locations for important (and easily relocated) encounters dictate the campaing.

I actually tend to handle situations like this in one of two ways.

1) If the encounter is really important to move an element of the story forward or would just be really cool to throw the players into, then I'll make whatever adjustments necessary to make sure that the PCs run into it.

2) However, if I'm feeling inspired or particuarly devious and I want to establish the notion of consequence and a world larger than the PCs, I will sometimes keep things as they were intended and have them running in the background without the PCs' intervention and have it come back to haunt them later. Afterall, they chose not to get involved in favor of other escapades, but that doesn't mean that the world stops turning. Just because the players don't rush off to stop Dr. Megaton from destroying City Hall doesn't mean the villain is suddenly *not* going to go through with his plan! It just means that he is far more likely to succeed and the failure of the PCs to intervene now just means bigger trouble for them later. Needless to say, I only do this when it is very clear exactly where the PCs need to be and what they need to be doing. Thus reminding them of the weight of their inaction.

The PCs should be the center of the story, but not necessarily the center of the World (unless that's the point of your game).

Farcaster
04-30-2008, 05:11 PM
Me again.

Now Tesral .. Taking credit for my post are we?


I once watched a novice DM spend an enormous amount of energy trying to steer the players into a particular place, so they could find this graveyard he had planned out. Unfortunately, that made the whole thing feel rather forced. So, my advice to him was instead of planning for the characters to travel to a particular city or place so that they can find a specific graveyard, just make the graveyard modular and ready to drop into where ever the characters might travel. If the characters don't even go to a city, then perhaps they discover a forgotten and remote graveyard in the wilderness. Designing the scenarios this way lets you be ready to adjust the story to accommodate what the players do and maintain the all important illusion of player-choice.

tesral
04-30-2008, 09:51 PM
Now Tesral .. Taking credit for my post are we?

Every chance I get. :cool:

Well I have said it too. It's just a good thing to rememeber.

nijineko
05-08-2008, 03:32 PM
planning is best. but best plan to be flexible, cause you are surely going to be bent by the storm of player choices. the flexible reed survives the storm by bending with the wind, the mighty oak is unyeilding, and thus is uprooted by the fierce winds. ^^

boulet
05-08-2008, 03:48 PM
Number two, the larch

StarLady98
05-20-2008, 11:29 PM
I found that as soon as I tried to plan things out, my players would throw some kink in the works that killed whatever I had in mind. If I tried to force the plot to go the way I intended, it killed the fun of the game for the players. RPGs stories seem to grow from everyone's mind, not just the GM. It really is a story that all of you create together and enjoy together. I love it when players can surprise and out-guess me. They may be playing in 'my' world, but they control their characters' fates more than I do.

StarLady98
05-20-2008, 11:33 PM
Looking over the other posts just reminded my of one campaign that the players were driving me crazy. They kept going off in such random (to me) directions, I remember being at the point of dropping the 2nd ed Monster Manual on the table, and whatever it fell open to, they were fighting. How's that for a plan?!

tesral
05-20-2008, 11:38 PM
Looking over the other posts just reminded my of one campaign that the players were driving me crazy. They kept going off in such random (to me) directions, I remember being at the point of dropping the 2nd ed Monster Manual on the table, and whatever it fell open to, they were fighting. How's that for a plan?!

It's one way to get a random monster.

cplmac
05-21-2008, 05:43 PM
Looking over the other posts just reminded my of one campaign that the players were driving me crazy. They kept going off in such random (to me) directions, I remember being at the point of dropping the 2nd ed Monster Manual on the table, and whatever it fell open to, they were fighting. How's that for a plan?!


I will have to remember this for sometime that the party uses up all the "prepared" random encounters and I need more for the game session.

nijineko
05-21-2008, 06:38 PM
i suppose that's easier on the surrounding terrain than ripping apart two books of the same monster manual and plastering them to a wall, then tossing a dart over the shoulder backwards at said wall....

Jakabok
05-21-2008, 09:11 PM
I plan a intro to the adventure, and an idea on how I want it to go (I envision a multi session story with each session or two being a chapter). Along the way (chapters) I design a specific plot or detailing to that particular session that allows the gamers to come at it from whichever way they did so. I also keep notes about the session, and do a recap after each game so if it is a elapsed time period when we game again, the players can read over the recap and know whats going on and who they dealt with and where, like a mental refresher for them and me.
Early in my GM'ing I also planned out every detail, but players being the idle fingers of chaos as they are, eventually made me toss the scripted event out and try to run things on the fly.
Also developing NPC's for me assists when I bring them into play, not just some lifeless drones there for filler, but the characters actually like to interact with them and in a sense look after their well-being.
Well that's my two-cents.

Jakabok

Necrite
07-05-2008, 11:21 PM
The proper response, for me at least, is not on the list - A combination of A and F. I prepare for EVERYTHING, hours ahead, and every time, my players finish it or bypass it in very short order, going on to totally unpredicted and unpredictable things.

It makes for a lot of fun, but a lot of time spent cursing their names to the dark gods. Fortunately, once we're in game, those dark gods actually listen to my pleas... heh heh heh...

nijineko
07-07-2008, 03:51 PM
i like to plan for multiple outcomes, and i have backup available in a logical fashion should i need to boost any give encounter. even so, sometimes it is better to be a reed than a tree. there is always the natural consequences of any given party choice, which is usually not what they thought it would be. ^^

michaeljearley
07-14-2008, 01:58 PM
Whenever I've ever GM'd, if I plan too much or too hard, the players almost alwasys end up doing something so oppisite that I planned, I have to scrap my plans anyway.
Part of this is my failing, I admit, but then again, as a GM I focus much less on the rules numbers and much more on the story.

Mead
07-14-2008, 04:20 PM
Sometimes I'd get an idea for a neat encounter, and I'd generally keep a couple of familiar modules and custom dungeon maps handy, but for the most part, I didn't ever really plan anything. Hell, sometimes I didn't even have to wing it, the players would get caught up in telling their own stories and getting into their own trouble, and I'd just sit back and switch from active GM to passive rules referee/tour guide.

Stormhound
07-14-2008, 08:00 PM
With the most successful campaign I ever ran, I basically had this large framework of a world with some overarching plotlines, and just kept asking the players what they were interested in doing. Thus forewarned, I'd make plans for something interesting in the direction they were going, along with some contingencies. I could tie things to the plotlines pretty much as I chose, so I was happy; the players felt like they had complete freedom to act (except when they had to respond to the world's responses to their actions), so they were happy.

Ramzei
07-29-2008, 06:02 PM
My last GM used to always say "Whatever I plan you guys royally (insert expletive) up." He went from very detail oriented to having an outline. ;)

bltzkrg242
08-03-2008, 11:08 AM
I used to detail it all out but found that doing so funneled the players too much so I went fully off the cuff with a few NPC's and encounters planned. A few detailed area are available for the players to stumble upon but for the most part I spend maybe an hour a wek in prep.
I have an over-arching storyline that I am looking at and many NPC's might give hints that lead there but there are also one off pieces as well or parts that have nothing to do with the main story just for a change.

Ghoulsick
08-06-2008, 12:06 PM
I'm just sitting here laughing as everyone recounts the countless times, that the players forsake the stuff a GM has set out for them. I always got so mad when that happened. So my notes became a map on which I had bullet point notes. I almost leave it all up to chance save the main plot and some things they HAVE to do to get on with it.

You can come up with a major month long game in twenty minutes if you just see it all in your head well enough. Add a couple of notes to keep you in the game. It is imagination. Let's keep it that way

nijineko
08-08-2008, 03:00 PM
wandering bards play a large part of my world. stuff is layed out geographically, and the players stumble across plot hooks as they wander. they decide to leave on plot midstream and move on, and they will hear about what happened as a result from some bard in some inn later on. such actions also can adjust their reputation/infamy scores for a local region accordingly. and it's not always a bad outcome either. so they will hear stories of their prowess in one location, and stories of how they destroyed some peoples lives in another. ^^

cigamnogard
03-04-2009, 08:05 PM
I have spent countless hours preparing fopr a single event that the players avoided with one quick on the fly idea. Now, this hasn't happened all the time but frequently it has so instead of penalizing the players I have given them kudos and moved on.

tesral
03-04-2009, 11:32 PM
Carefully plan to wing it.

Soft Serve
03-08-2009, 05:11 AM
I downloaded AutoREALM and have only used it to map continents and keep track of towns, sites, and cities the players have been too. If I plan a game there will be 45 other directions the players want to go. At this point I'm scared to point out any NPC with any detail extra then the others because I'll then have to produce a character sheet for him because the characters will either kill him, interrogate him, mug him, steal from him, recruit him, fight him, or piss him off in some way...:laugh:

KERMlT
03-08-2009, 12:49 PM
I have seen a whole campaign that was meticulously planned for 4 full days go up in smoke when the party decided to burn the spelljammer ship because of some neogi (and a mind flayer) were on it. Wasn't my campaign but the DM nearly cried, ripped up the notes and stuff he jotted down the days before, and we all got $h!T-faced.

I just wing it myself. There are too many variables in my groups to consider to plan for everything. Spells, explosives (Modern), roleplaying, technology (Modern again), etc.

How can you plan for one character to stealthfully climb a tall tree next to the cabin, having the mage cast a spell that weakens the tree on the side facing the cabin and the ogre fighter pushing the tree over. The tree broke through the roof, the thief gained entry and surprise, etc. Sure the DM can be a prick and say it doesn't work but you gotta give them credit for being creative.

Soft Serve
03-08-2009, 01:17 PM
It's so great with parties like that! You can't plan anything further then they can see or everything becomes a sea of flames.

cigamnogard
03-09-2009, 06:29 PM
Working on a campaign - PBP - and have already run it face to face so I am quite interested how it will go online...In case you are interetsed here is the link:

http://groups.google.com/group/empires-of-earth-and-stone-for-dungeons-and-dragons-3035e

cpljarhead
03-21-2009, 07:26 PM
i tend to plan most of the major encounters but usually there is one that doesn't get played as they players find away around it or a way to defeat it i forgot about before it happens. i fly by the seat of my pants quite often. i do however plan side plots adding to the enjoyment of the game but these sub plots most often just put the players back on the path i originally intended but only further along to the point that they have to almost backtrack. i try to make each subplot geared toward a specific character so that an individual is spotlighted and the players sometimes like it when they appear the hero is certain sitautions.

LordPwntar
03-24-2009, 12:35 PM
I usually take a two-part approach to the whole thing. Specific villyuns, encounters, that sort of thing--those I plan in a fair amount of detail. (Unless you want to do random encounters, there's really no way around it.)

In terms of plot, though, I find it helps to make a flow chart of possibilities. What happens in the world at large if the party kills the BBEG before he unleashes his whatever? What if they kill him after? What if they try and fail? What if they choose to ignore him? Switch sides?

I usually make a little chart of the possibilities which ends up looking like a family tree. It looks complex, but it's easy and quick to make--I used to just make them when I got bored in chemistry or something.

Once that's done, I just tell the story and hope the party picks an option I planned for!

a-parsons
03-27-2009, 09:03 AM
i only play when i'm in game workshop stores, so i never really know what terrain i will have around, so, instead of spending countless hours designing a game, i look at the characters i am using, find motives for the fight, and then plan the actual senario within about 10 minutes of the game begining, when i know what i have to hand. I plan out the start, and tell the players their objectives, and i remind them what their character's background say they SHOULD do (because i have been having problems with people playing in "god mode", where they decide to "go on overwatch on that door where that assassin is about to come through" even though their character has no idea that there is an assassin there, and their character is in the midde of doing something else). I then plan a few suprises for my players, such as trip mines hidden across certain doorways, or a few bits of flooring on the 5th level of a building being very weak, and i make a note of any little bits of terrain that might be used for some imaginative actions - a mini fussion generator which may be used as an explosive, a crashed land speeder that might contain a dying pilot with a plasma pistol, a little hatch in the ground that might lead to an underground tunnel etc.

then i just let the game fly. i dislike the idea of forcing players to do things they don't want to, so i instead control my games by making stupid actions like cutting apart a door with a meltagun very risky - maybe that door is rigged with exploisives, or maybe it is already unlocked (and they often don't think to check that) and there is a man with a lasgun behind it, defending the building. by coming up with things like this on the fly, i take out the possibility to do stupid actions to avoid the best of my plot devices. before i started doing this (i used to like things very structured) i once set up the game so that on of the characters REALLY needed to be rescued by the others, as he was unarmed and unarmoured, in captivity, and a number of enemies were advancing on his position. i had a big story planned for what happened when he got rescued, but instead, by some very lucky rolling, he disarmed and knocked out his captor, took his shotgun, and single handedly beat up 2 enemies, my taking them by suprise with a shotgun, then slamming it into one of their faces when the 2 shots had been expended.

cigamnogard
03-30-2009, 08:12 PM
Awesome, in my play by post site a few times the charcters have come up some amazing saves. However, a few times they have done stuff that was completely unessasary. One character was splashed with water - what does she do - she screams. Hey, it's cold and stagnant. The male hero reads that she screams and dives to save her. Meanwhile, instead of saving her he knocks her into the water completely dunking her and himself instead.

Goreaddict
03-30-2009, 08:44 PM
from what small experience i have, i have found that just planning the situation and letting the rest be unfolded by the characters of a group, that is more sociable, is usually more interesting and generally more fun vs. strict linear story with exact paths branching off throughout the game, but i guess its based mostly on the groups level of involvement.

cpljarhead
03-31-2009, 07:56 AM
goreaddict your right strict linear is bad thats why i try to pattern my campaigns after the modular form. there is a specific goal but lots of things to do otherwise to keep the game enjoying for the players and they can eventually find their way back to the storyline an complete the intended goal.

Goreaddict
03-31-2009, 08:39 PM
Mostly though i think its up to group. Casual gamers tend to do less and expect most of the game to be handed to them, where as hardcore role players well pick up the story and run with it. Also my favorite thing to do is throw in options that will benefit a single player but cost most of the others helps build (good) drama. Either way is ok by me though, but i prefer winging it still.

cpljarhead
04-01-2009, 07:22 AM
Mostly though i think its up to group. Casual gamers tend to do less and expect most of the game to be handed to them, where as hardcore role players well pick up the story and run with it. Also my favorite thing to do is throw in options that will benefit a single player but cost most of the others helps build (good) drama. Either way is ok by me though, but i prefer winging it still.


i wing it a lot but do plan the major story line and subplots after i see characters. the subplots are geared towards them so they are more involved in game than normal especially if they are not very experienced.

Goreaddict
04-01-2009, 11:03 AM
i wing it a lot but do plan the major story line and subplots after i see characters. the subplots are geared towards them so they are more involved in game than normal especially if they are not very experienced.That's probably a better style, but its hard to gear it toward the players characters because no matter how its formed the group tends to play as themselves rather than their character -_-

cpljarhead
04-02-2009, 07:19 AM
that only matters if you dont know the players, when u do it easier to plan accordingly. if new players gear towards the character and wing it.

Rook
05-24-2009, 09:57 PM
I'm majorly anal-retentive when it comes to planning. Probably one of the main reasons I took such a long hiatus from gaming. I'm hoping to start a new epic campaign but don't plan to kick-it-off until after summer so that I'll have a few months to plan it out.

cigamnogard
05-25-2009, 04:58 PM
I have only made it to Epic once and the next game the DM intentionally TPK'd us...or at leasst did his level best within the rules to TPK. Irregardless he succeeded.

GoddessGood
05-26-2009, 07:25 AM
Decided to do my next story arc module-style. I've already written up the first encounter, but hit a writer's block after that :(

cigamnogard
05-26-2009, 07:39 PM
Decided to do my next story arc module-style. I've already written up the first encounter, but hit a writer's block after that :(

Let us help - where are you at so far?

dementedwombat
05-26-2009, 08:23 PM
A motto of mine is "I design worlds for fun". I think that's what got me into the whole RPG thing in the first place.

At present I've got at least 5 separate universes complete with all relevant history, people, and places chronicled in binders that have been stuffed in my closet. I've also designed approximately 3 complete game systems (depending on your definition of complete). Too bad all the "revolutionary mechanics" I invent have already been done. I think at least one was marketable.

In short, I spend countless hours. My motto is, "No detail left behind!"

Panthro82
05-26-2009, 08:33 PM
I have always been a fly by the seat of my ace kind of guy. In school(including college) I was the kid all my friends could not stand because I could stay out all night partying, never study, never do homework, start working on/completing term papers on the morning they were due and still ace it all. I remember in senior year of high school, my buddy(who is on this site also) and I had this public speaking class. We often thought it hilarious to just go up there when it was our time to do a speech(which would be the equivalent grade of a major test or term paper) and we would just wing it off of the top of our heads. The challenge was to see who did better. The teacher often gave us weeks to prepare for these speeches, and some of our classmates had pages upon pages of notes. We both finished toward the very top in that class and we nailed pretty much every single speech! I tend to play/DM like that. If/when I get the chance to DM in one campaign I have this elaborate storyline drawn out that will consume 3 sessions (there is no way around it for the players, I look forward to this one). Any other time I DM, like in my upcoming group I am running on here, I will have a basic outline, and just wing it. Let the players tell the story through their actions. Flying by the seat of your ace with virtually zero preparation is soooo much fun! You'll never feel more alive. I highly suggest it!

tesral
05-26-2009, 09:51 PM
Decided to do my next story arc module-style. I've already written up the first encounter, but hit a writer's block after that :(

I'm all too familiar with that beast.

I am a firm believer in being prepared, but not be married to the plan. Players will take the game in interesting directions you have not planned for.

cigamnogard
05-27-2009, 07:13 PM
I'm all too familiar with that beast.

I am a firm believer in being prepared, but not be married to the plan. Players will take the game in interesting directions you have not planned for.

After my battletech/mechwarriour group - I am almsot prepared for any player bizare idea.

Baldwin Stonewood
05-27-2009, 09:56 PM
I plan out most scenes and encounters and fill in the rest on-the-fly.

I enjoy sitting down and thinking of ways to torment, umm - I mean, challenge my players. I try to plan out a beginning, middle and anticipated ending to overall story arc for the campaign. But this is also a fluid situation depending on what the players choose to do. Some of my story arcs are complex and tend to reflect opposing conflicts and nature.

I do plan out the major encounters and I, always, have a dozen or so random encounters in the notebook in case an unusual twist occurs. I, also, have several variations of alternative story lines depending on which way the players choose to go.
I do use my planning to look for new challenges, different monsters, unusual traps and so forth.

Panthro82
05-27-2009, 10:58 PM
The only planning beyond an outline I might do is to create a said number of baddies and have them just floating around in the general area the players are. If they go in a certain direction, they wind up encountering one of them...

RoryN
06-04-2009, 03:32 PM
I usually do quite a bit of planning...detailing encounters/creatures/NPCs, etc. But early on I found out that a group of people is almost always going to think of an option that you didn't...and then do it, so I learned to improvise as needed. I let my players have a lot of leeway on where they go and what they do, but I still like to have the details worked out ahead of time for when they get there.

Frobozz
08-17-2009, 07:40 AM
I've been GMing so long, it seems I can sew even major plot points and events together in my head and have studied architecture and city/building/dungeon/cave design to the point I can dictate locations from my head to my players and if they were mapped out, they'd be accurate and correct without overlapping geometry.

The only preparedness I do these days is to make up a monster-sheet with the vital numbers of encounters I'd like to run and a player sheet with my player's current vitals so I know when I'm being too rough or too easy with them.

I'm not the last category of planning because I do a lot of planning before a game, the difference is, I can do it all in my head now. I know where I want to steer my game, I know the time allotment for the night, I know how far I want to get my group and I can adjust my game and encounters as needed.

Many times though, I let my players open-endedly choose what they want to do between encounter points, which has lead to some amazing brainstorms and some awesome gaming and storyline. It seems I can take nearly anything and weave it into a story. Maybe I'm just old. :)

drewshi
08-17-2009, 07:57 AM
There is nothing worse than taking so much time to create such detail that never gets used by the players. Also, by creating such a structure, you limit the choices the players have. I detail the major events and then let the players take the story where it's going to go and then react and detail as needed.

After a year of DMing for the first time in years, I asked the players what they felt needed to be worked on the most and one of them complained that the game went where I said it would go and not where their players wanted it to go. She felt it was hard for her to role play when her destiny was already determined.

I have since learned to relax and adapt. I'd forgotten how to do that.

Ayleron
08-18-2009, 03:29 PM
I like to do a mix of the two. When I was running a M&M game I would make a small national inquirer rip off called "The Sherlock Report" for each game." It would have some of the after effects of the last game detailed in it as well as multiple hooks for different story arcs that the players would then choose which one they wanted to follow up on. Sometimes, and by that I mean most of the time, they would start in the direction that I wanted them to go in and then would run off to Antarctica while I wasn't looking so I had to be ready on the fly.

Jallorn
08-24-2009, 08:40 PM
IMHO, it seems that many DMs come to the game expecting to tell a story to their players. As I player, my interpretation was always that the point of the game was for the players to shape the world somehow, even if it's a minor shaping, like saving a small town from a group of goblins, butterfly effect and all that. Therefore, my DM appraoch is to create the world and the basic plot devices (villain, cause, etc.), and then throw the players in, and simply play the NPCs like real people, reacting to what the players do (though being pro-active when they think of it). My games are a journey for me and my players because neither of us really know where it's gonna go.

tesral
08-24-2009, 10:55 PM
IMHO, it seems that many DMs come to the game expecting to tell a story to their players.

I've always seen it as telling a story with my players.

WhiteTiger
08-25-2009, 08:33 AM
I plan out the major themes and areas of adventure and the big encounters but the players usually like to have side adventures which sometimes I have to improvise.

outrider
08-25-2009, 11:40 AM
I let my players have in general free rein in their decisions as to what to do. I present opportunities for the players and let them chose. After they have chosen and between games I try to account for as many options as possible for them. Of course most of the the time they go in an unexpected way so I have to improvise at that point.

michael
08-27-2009, 12:21 PM
Wow, this is a lively thread. I am posting my reply before I read it all.

I like to spend a lot of time before the campaign gets off the ground.

My preps start from a two-axis scale:
1: I define the scope and scale if the campaign.
2: I follow that up with a decision about how much influence the characters will to impact the scope and scale at the start of the campaign and throughout the campaign.

I build the campaign around these 2 axes and allow the characters to define the other axes of the campaign.

I build the environment - things like culture, NPC motivation, SES of community members and so on. I usually make a bunch of NPC character sheets at this time.

Then I rough out a big map and then detail several smaller environments. Now I design several maps where early skirmishes will take place. Then I design other maps where skirmishes will be likely to take place later, but I do not label them to any particular point on the map. I let the PCs decide where they want to go and then I pull a map from my "map library" to fit the environment. the map then gets the label for that place henceforth.

Well anyway, I could write a novel here, but that would be annoying. This post is long enough.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

Recently they find themselves a Shadowrun version of their own high fantasy world. They are having fun dealing with that.

I love that concept in the right dose.

templeorder
08-28-2009, 09:08 AM
Well, i find the time that i spend gets less and less. I've had so many splinter sessions and groups that its impossible to keep a well prepared set of scenarios and comprehensive back stories for them. Because all are set in a single world though, its a living world - it changes and i adapt the repercussions from one story set as news and change for others. That makes it easy to give the appearance of a dynamic setting to the player groups without having to put in a lot of extra work in back plots and story arcs.

That said, as things get more complex, time ramps up in oversight to make sure it all makes sense as the threads get woven together. Somewhere a balance gets achieved where things can be put on auto pilot and your GM brain just easily manipulates all that hard work into a machine to churn out world news, events, progress, and story arcs.

I've hit that point where its easy for me in preparation... the hardest part is dealing with my desire to document it all... "for posterity's sake".

-Crash-
08-28-2009, 06:03 PM
I think having a well planned out Campaign can make the experience more streamlined. That way you don't need to make all the enemies during the session and cut into game time. What I do is plan for a lot of scenarios, that will eventually lead to the same ending. So yeah, my vote goes for careful planning, besides, I have fun just coming up with all the differant things that could or might happen.

On a side note, in terms of forcing the PC's into an adventure...

For me, what I plan the PC's usually do anyway with out me intervening. I don't need to really worry about dumb or random things the PC's might or might not do. I just throw small hints at the players and they pick up on the queue.

Example: "There hasn't been any word from the neighboring village to the North in some time."

That usually draws them to the next village. I never tell them, "Go North." I don't really need to. I never force or railroad the players into a storyline, things just kinda work out for me the way I plan it. :biggrin: Guess I'm lucky in that regard, I've heard many DM's lament over a long planned adventure that never comes to fruition.

Richard Littles
09-24-2009, 02:17 AM
When I GM I use a rough outline of where I want the story to go and will wing the entire session. I'm prepared enough to have NPCs, possible encounters, and major plot points set up. Then I utilize what the players bring to the table and work in what I want with what they want. This often leads to very memorable moments in the game since I took their ideas, emotions, and role playing into account. The great thing about winging it is that any of the elements of the story can be placed anywhere in the game world since I use a modular approach. This way the entire adventure feels tailor made to that group which I guess you could say it was. I could take the same basic adventure and run it 15-20 times with each time being different due to the players.

kkriegg
10-09-2009, 01:19 AM
As time goes by, I find myself being pointed in one direction: Structured "Winging it."

I make a world/setting, fill it with some interesting major NPCs, have a turn of events... then get an idea in my head how things are going to go down if the players don't do anything at all. Then it's game time.

Takes alot of prep before the campaign starts, but between-session prep is very slim.

tesral
10-09-2009, 01:20 AM
That is the direction most games go.

templeorder
10-09-2009, 09:32 AM
Yea, i wish i could get everything down on paper before i started. Strangely enough i find myself parting from my "fire from the hip" days as a GM. I'm wanting to write more and more. So i thought about why and thought i would share my results. In those days i never knew what to expect and i was less concerned about continuity - serial adventures were just fine.

I've been a GM for the group i am in for over a decade. People come and go, but the world and campaign are more developed now. I think i am actually spending more time detailing and recording things because there's a certain amount of me trusting the PC's to do things. With a stable group, i get less and less surprises from players - you learn their quirks and habits, and that makes it easier to provide details for multiple scenarios. Familiarity breeds more recorded information. I've not seen it yet, but GM's should watch out for this - because i'm sure there is a certain amount of complacency in this and i got caught flat footed once a year or so back, but that was the only time in about a decade.

Nord_drache
10-10-2009, 08:57 PM
I too once poured great amounts of info into dungeons and the like. I love detail and creativity (I'm probably a suppressed writer ...)

These days details go into the actual world setting and the PCs and I try to give myself as much detail as possible, and now 60% of the time I'm winging it because of lack of prep time, characters decide to go off on a tangent etc. But since the game world is firmly entrenched between my ears I seem to be able to pull it off.

Friends have always loved the detail of the worlds they play in and the memorable NPC's.

Jim

templeorder
10-11-2009, 09:33 AM
I thought i would follow up and share an interesting thing that happened to me this weekend. In my role as a GM, along with the detail to the same as Nord_drache (places and npc's that all the players say are memorable) there comes a certain expectation from the players. I usually run campaign mode scenarios - convoluted plots, politics, intrigue that span players, npcs, and events across an entire game world. Its a long haul approach and the players are wary and immersed in it.

This weekend we did a bunch of Munchkin and a one-off 'episodic' type game. Two paragraphs from my adventure notes provided the first 2 hours of gaming. It really was just as obvious as it was supposed to be, but the players - used to the detail and peeling back the layers of information stayed in that same mode. What was supposed to be a 4 hour event took about 8 and when it was over i had to apologize to them because i felt i should have warned them. New characters and all just had the same expectations of style, even when i perceived the session as just a one-off and only put a couple hours of thought into it. The players ended up a little angry at themselves when it was done and it turned out everything WAS just as obvious as i had made it - that was all due to me switching styles. Normally thats fine, but the whole flavor of the weekend was supposed to be loose and easy, not the intense campaigning we normally follow, so this time i felt it was my fault. I awarded a little extra to each character (not that we're likely to use them again) and everyone seemed to be happy. Two of the players asked if they could keep their characters and use in another game (i knew the GM there) and i said sure...

So, GM's out there, this is just a lesson in setting expectations correctly to maximize the fun.

Swordnboard
12-14-2009, 09:28 AM
I just discovered this thread, and despite its age I decided to add my two cents to the pot (sorry, I know it's old)...

What I do is (like many here) a mix of planned resources and on-the-fly. I do spend a lot of time creating a world, geography and demographics at least, culture, religions and politics if I'm more motivated. Once the world is created, I more or less run the game sandbox style, with plenty of plot hooks thrown in. The PCs never have to go anywhere (but they tend to follow the hooks anyways). As far as encounters go, I use a mix of environmental (random) encounters with modular-style planned encounters. I avoid completely fleshing out NPCs (feats, ability scores, etc) where I can, and just ad-lib it to fit the situation.

World: Lots of planning and detail
Encounters: Modular approach with some randomness. Details on specific big plot encounters.
Plot: Story hooks and arcs with major lines only, allow for lots of flexibility.

Lareth
12-31-2009, 06:00 PM
i do a campaign out line as well with only major and several minor events hashed out with several paths to lead tot eh main plot points. i let teh players descide how they get things done.

experiance has tought me not to plan to much out or you'll waste allot of time.

templeorder
01-01-2010, 01:19 PM
Conversely i would say that without any planning, things get easily slowed down and players can get the feeling the GM is not prepared - but that follows most of the threads here.

I'm back to campaign play and i like it much better. I have to work harder as a GM with all the ploy hooks and planning (about 2 hours for each 4 of game time) to set things up initially... then as play scenarios unfold over qa few sessions, only a few more hours in between to adjust as npc's and plots react.

Nord_drache
01-02-2010, 12:35 AM
Conversely i would say that without any planning, things get easily slowed down and players can get the feeling the GM is not prepared - but that follows most of the threads here.

I'm back to campaign play and i like it much better. I have to work harder as a GM with all the ploy hooks and planning (about 2 hours for each 4 of game time) to set things up initially... then as play scenarios unfold over qa few sessions, only a few more hours in between to adjust as npc's and plots react.

This just goes to back up that in gaming the rewards for the work we put into it pays off. The better prepared in whatever fashion means the game goes smoother, one can be a little looser with thing and often goes quicker all of which can amp up the involvent of the players and the suspension of disbelief.

Jim

Soft Serve
01-02-2010, 01:16 AM
I feel bad for the 3 people who spend countless hours detailing things...

Dusty
01-02-2010, 03:47 AM
I really like to make my games as indepth as possible. When players make wierd decisions, i wing it. But it still works out well

templeorder
01-02-2010, 06:26 AM
When i do plan its noticeable though - i can tell the difference. I get a lot of compliments when i plan in depth - making back drop settings as flavorful with NPC's and places gets me straight out more compliments than great fight stories.

And reflecting on one of my previous posts... when i use "Bob" as a name, the characters just no there's not a lot of prep behind it and thats usually not worth wasting your time on - so my usual careful planning can actually reveal information to the players when i lack it,

tesral
01-02-2010, 11:12 AM
The baby name book is a vital resource for spur of the moment NPCs. No matter how well you plan you can't plan for everything.

Soft Serve
01-02-2010, 11:57 AM
The baby name book is a vital resource for spur of the moment NPCs. No matter how well you plan you can't plan for everything.

I'd like to laugh at that but I've used the Baby Name Book myself. And sometimes have gone so far as to go to baby naming sites that differentiate based on location. (Common UK names, Common Irish names, etc.)

The Irish names help to name Dwarves. :biggrin:

templeorder
01-03-2010, 10:05 AM
I've never used a name generator before, i'll try it with today's group.

Dytrrnikl
01-03-2010, 10:58 AM
I have always run by the seat of my pants, except on rare occassions. Those few times I do plan things always ended up in frustration for me...as every time, without fail, no matter for whom I was running, they'd always make choices that would basically make my planning pointless...either choosing to take things in a direction I had not anticipated or finding some creative solution that would allow them to bypass everything and get to the climax of the nights adventure. SO I say phooey on planning.

tesral
01-03-2010, 04:09 PM
The Irish names help to name Dwarves. :biggrin:

I prefer Scandinavian names myself.

Mead
01-03-2010, 07:47 PM
I've never used a name generator before, i'll try it with today's group.

Take a look at the Everchanging Book of Names.

tesral
01-03-2010, 10:32 PM
Any good source. It's a good idea to have a few genre appropriate names of all major genders on hand.

Soft Serve
01-04-2010, 01:31 AM
all major genders on hand.


There are more than two?

Sascha
01-04-2010, 02:41 AM
There are more than two?
Depending on culture, yes.

tesral
01-04-2010, 10:53 AM
Depending on culture, yes.

Culture Hell, in a fantasy or SF game depending on species.

Soft Serve
01-04-2010, 05:17 PM
I feel like the entire talk about the birds and the bees needs to differentiate according to whether or not this child is going to play RPGs at some point in his life.

tesral
01-05-2010, 10:26 AM
Assume yes and totally confuse the kid.

cplmac
01-05-2010, 12:43 PM
Assume yes and totally confuse the kid.


LOL:lol:


Actually folks, I will be looking for a good Drow Elf (2E) leader for the group of 10 adventurers to be going up against. I prefer to have all major events planned out fully, or at least as fully as possible. I even keep a group of random encounters ready to plug in where or when needed so as to not have to slow game play during the sessions. Keep in mind that the adventuring party is made up of the following characters:

Level 10 Thief
Level 9 Mage / Level 6 Fighter
Level 8 Fighter
Level 5 Fighter / Level 5 Mage / Level 6 Thief (soon to be level 6 in all)
Level 8 Mage (soon to be level 9)
Level 7 Fighter
Level 8 Cleric
Level 7 Ranger
Level 7 Cleric
Level 5 Cleric (new character that will be joining the party)

Unfortunately, since all the members of my tabletop group are members here, I can't go into specific details at all. If anyone is interested, PM me and I can give you more information.

Thanks in advance, and I will give credit to those who provide ideas.

Soft Serve
01-09-2010, 12:43 AM
LOL:lol:


Actually folks, I will be looking for a good Drow Elf (2E) leader for the group of 10 adventurers to be going up against. I prefer to have all major events planned out fully, or at least as fully as possible. I even keep a group of random encounters ready to plug in where or when needed so as to not have to slow game play during the sessions. Keep in mind that the adventuring party is made up of the following characters:

Level 10 Thief
Level 9 Mage / Level 6 Fighter
Level 8 Fighter
Level 5 Fighter / Level 5 Mage / Level 6 Thief (soon to be level 6 in all)
Level 8 Mage (soon to be level 9)
Level 7 Fighter
Level 8 Cleric
Level 7 Ranger
Level 7 Cleric
Level 5 Cleric (new character that will be joining the party)

Unfortunately, since all the members of my tabletop group are members here, I can't go into specific details at all. If anyone is interested, PM me and I can give you more information.

Thanks in advance, and I will give credit to those who provide ideas.


Looks difficult.

tesral
01-09-2010, 01:47 AM
I never plan a character out to that degree.

templeorder
01-09-2010, 01:29 PM
Its a good topic, and i feel somewhat like i'm beating a dead horse, but i'll add some more here from recent observations. I tend to mix a lot of planning but be ready to wing it. One thing i do notice though is that while i always provide a way out, most of the players never take it. Its very rare that the proverbial monkey wrench is thrown into the works, as most of the PC's are vested in moving things forward down the path i've planned because the story is interesting and they want to participate.

I have had groups (and still a couple players) that lean more to the "chaotic" side of things, acting more on whim. The rest of the group usually guides them along, but occasionally they will take things in a totally unplanned direction and i have to make up everything. 99% of the time, they will return to the main story line, but a year ago i had to shut down my main campaign because the characters had deviated just enough where things were feeling forced. I game them the option of continuing with the characters down a different path or bridging the story line with new characters. They decided the completely do neither - new characters, same general locale, no plot at all per se - the classic "adventurers". So now i've run a few months of adventuring where the characters have no home, are seen as trouble everywhere they go and a challenge to local power (i run realistic vs. high fantasy), have to pay for everything themselves, and go "find" adventure - basically the classic kill + loot scenarios. They've had to endure reprisal raids and the bad press with that, local law after them, and other things they never thought of and now we are coming back to fighting for a cause (they where the local Earl's bannermen before).

Kill and loot scenarios are easy to just wing, its connecting them together that difficult. There's only so much of that to be done, its suited more to epic high fantasy i think where there's many targets for such things. Now, in anticipation of a switch back to a path for a cause (and here i've left it open - peace and justice - the "good" guys OR oppression and power - the "bad" guys. Their characters can go either way, but now i'm putting in 4-5 times the amount of planning. Rewards in my campaign switch from monetary to goods, lands, titles, services - these too are more difficult to balance out...

Gareque
01-22-2010, 07:46 PM
I find that no matter how much planning you put in, you will miss some small detail.

That one detail is precisely the one the players will take... Meaning you spend hours for nothing, then have to wing it anyway lol.

Such things as players picking up the gnome caster and spider climbing up a wall to get past an obstacle.

But, it's these moments that make the game so enjoyable :)

Warrior22
04-06-2010, 03:05 PM
I've GM'd for many years and find that the best plan is to do somewhat detailed, but definitly long term camplaaing planning. I outline 3, 4, or more adventures/missions all tied together. Outline the towns, events and people the party will encounter. This gives everything context and leads to more motivation for the players (and characters). They know what they are doing and why, where they are headed next and the background. Ideally, I include a key nemisis that the party encounters early on, but is not ready to overcome. Then, later, they can "take revenge". Talk about motivation! Now they are not just going through dungeon hacking, but actually heading somewhere with goals in mind.

As for the actual adventures/missions, I try to plan those in detail, but know that there will be a lot of improv as we go. So I'm prepared for that, and ensure that the bigger campaign stays on track.

Warrior22
http://warriorsandwisemen.com/

tesral
04-06-2010, 03:11 PM
Last Saturday the group went on Vacation. Not the players the PCs. Yea, Vacation! How do you plan for that?

I'm all in favor of detailed campaign planing. World building is always useful. If not this week then latter.

cplmac
04-06-2010, 05:59 PM
Last Saturday the group went on Vacation. Not the players the PCs. Yea, Vacation! How do you plan for that? ...


So where did they go on vacation? And did they have enough frequent flyer miles to cover the cost?

Soft Serve
04-06-2010, 09:50 PM
You have them get attacked by the Home-Sick monster.

UURich
04-08-2010, 03:39 PM
I took one of my best friend's advice and created a tiddlywiki (link) (http://www.tiddlywiki.com) for each campaign world that I ran. It gave me the ability to create all of the big items such as continents, factions and NPC's. The tiddlywiki allowed me to then drill down and build additional tiddlers for every additional item. This worked like a website because I could make links between items, NPC's or events and then just keep my netbook PC on my gaming table when I GM'd. It's also possible to print out all of your material and drive on if you needed to. Granted, this works best if you're building something pretty big but you could use it for smaller functions as well.

It allows you to build on a little bit at a time and just print out what you can. It's effective for brainstorming and runs on IE and Firefox. You can build those contained subject containers and work your transitions in as you please. I think it works well for what I do.

tesral
04-08-2010, 04:21 PM
I find the one file structure worrisome. All your eggs in one basket if you will.

UURich
04-08-2010, 04:35 PM
Sure it is but the back-up system is exceptionally incremental. A new save file is made every time the button is clicked so even though they are all in one basket and the file size is small to compensate for that.

There is a way to link through http (relationally or absolutely) between documents so can decentralize it if you want. I don't practice that but it would diffuse that concern and mitigate that risk if regular backups by the coding and physical back-ups of your files don't do enough.

tesral
04-08-2010, 08:28 PM
For me, it's never enough. I'm an admitted loon when it comes to backups.

UURich
04-08-2010, 09:06 PM
In that way, you can only lose so much in a single file structure as it is presented with that file. It works for me and the style that I generally like to GM. There are three of us that rotate our games in the same circle of friends but we're a teeny-tiny collective amongst the many other styles that are out there.

wbrandel
04-09-2010, 10:17 AM
What I plan out are the major events in a session, usually 2-4. Some sessions have more some less, it just depends on where the players are in the campaign and what is occurring around them in the world. In the events that are planned out I normally go detail only about half of them, which ever ones are truly important. The others I have planned for any skill challenges or creatures they might face as well as various ways they can win without combat. Everything else is made up as they go along.

Foolamancer
11-23-2010, 03:33 PM
I voted for "I plan out most scenes and encounters and fill in the rest on-the-fly", even though that isn't strictly true.

What I do greatly depends on the medium that I'm running the game in, the system that we're using, the feel that I'm going for, the amount of detail necessary for the game's story, and what the players prefer. For example, in your average tabletop session of All Flesh Must Be Eaten, I'll make the zombies and come up with the basic scenario beforehand, then let the players run wild, filling in the details as I go along. Everyone goes into it expecting manic zombie-blasting action, and that's exactly what they get. Good times are had by all with a minimum of planning on my part.

On the other hand, if I'm running AFMBE on a play-by-post site, with an eye towards horror rather than action, I'll plan out the major events of the game before I start recruiting players. PbP games require a greater level of detail on the GM's part, and horror demands a delicate balance of action and role-playing that just doesn't happen in an improvised game. I'll create the fine details while the game is running - play-by-post moves very slowly, so I can create later adventures while still running the current one - but most of it is pre-planned.

The final case is that I'm running a heavy intrigue game in real life. In that case, I have to plan out everything beforehand. I have to know exactly what will happen if X occurs, what villain Y will do if Z is killed before five days have passed, and so on. The villains I run in games like that have incredible intelligence and Machiavellian cunning. Pre-plotting everything that they might do is the only way that I can run the characters convincingly.

But "I plan out most scenes and encounters and fill in the rest on-the-fly" is the closest to the average, so.. yeah. I went with that.

tesral
11-09-2013, 02:06 PM
No plan ever survives contact with the Enemy. - Murphy's Rules of War

Ergo; plan as you will, you are going to have to wing something. Flexibility is the mark of the good GM. Knowing this I don't plan too carefully. I present problems, never solutions. the players will invent the solution.

nijineko
11-11-2013, 02:29 PM
i generally plan the macro-view, and a few alternates i think likely, but i leave the details up to the pcs, as they will change anything i plan on a micro level anyway. ^^ makes it fun and a bit of a surprise for everyone. =D

Malruhn
11-17-2013, 09:51 PM
This is one of the reasons I love to play with female gamers. I'm a guy - and I know how guys think. I come up with the plot and several MALE-BASED contingencies, and if I'm gaming with all guys, everything usually goes as planned. BUT, add bewbs to the mix and even though I've got three contingencies for every encounter, they will invariably go for option Green... or F... or pterodactyl. Female gamers keep me on my toes, and I feel that most of my most memorable gaming sessions have involved women at the other end of the table.

tesral
11-18-2013, 03:04 AM
I married a female gamer.