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A GM's Guide to Session Prep and Play • 2016 supplement finalist

Ole Peder Giæver •

-- A GM's Guide to Session Prep and Play --

You have characters, setting and system. You’re running a game tomorrow. What do you do?

Pick two (or roll 1d8):

1. Skim character and campaign notes. Note ideas.
2. True dilemmas: sketch situations the characters must react to.
3. Outline 3-5 NPCs. Names and keywords only. Link some to characters or plot (adversaries, helpers, obstacles).
4. Countdowns: events that will unfold unless the characters intervene.
5. Keywords about scenes/locales, groups (with agendas), special items. 
6. Extrapolate ideas from specific character agendas/abilities/backgrounds.
7. Organize some of this info on a mind-map. Keywords will suffice.
8. Detail one element you really dig. Delve into it.

If more time:

* List(s) of names. People, places, items.
* Random-tables: monsters, events, weather, locations, etc. 
* Maps.

(May be recycled in later sessions). 

_GM Principles (during the game)_

Practice two each session (pick or roll 1d8):

1. Ask questions, build on the answers.
2. Accept, and add (go with player ideas).
3. Decline, but offer.
4. Reincorporate elements.
5. Be obvious (say what comes to mind).
6. Discrete scene-framing and cutting.
7. Throw curveballs.
8. Sometimes delegate responsibilities (like NPC control).


* Take breaks.

Author Comments (if any)

Sources: Imagonem, Old Friends, AW, Sorcerer, Håken, Play With Intent. Thanks: You guys.

Judge Comments

This supplement really caught my eye because of the way it chooses to approach session prep. The use of dice to determine small, easily-achievable goals gives the whole process the air of a minigame, and I could see myself using it before running a game. A nice, stress-light way to get stuff done. - Jacqueline Bryk

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