Regardless, this alternation allows me some luxury in terms of prep time: On the odd weeks when I don't run, I get to explore, experiment, and play with ideas. On the weeks that I do run, I knuckle down and generate content. All the while I turn ideas over in my head.
When prepping I try to keep 3 rules in mind:
- Keep it fun
- Don't over prep
- If the players don't see it (or it's effects), it might as well not have happened.
So learning CC3, Dungjinni and The Gimp are fun. But I am only creating what I need to run and only what the players will "See".
When I set up encounters I only create 3-4 of them (that is about all the group will get through in the 2-3 hours of productive play that we have). Though I do keep in mind what might be coming.
For "Grand Plots" I will make notes, but no plot is set in stone until I bring them to the table.
I do this because I am a firm believer in the dual edged quantum nature of plots: If players don't observe a plot it doesn't exist. However, until the players observe the plot it can be anything I want it to be, thus I can change it as I see fit. This allows me the luxury of not having to figure out everything in advance and the adaptability to match step with the players interest.
I have learned the joys of "Filing off the serial numbers" on creatures, especially in 4E where no-one has memorized the Monster Manual. So an Orc, goblin or Hobgoblin becomes a "Wig", Or a Kobold becomes a "Claw Foot". I have grabbed stat blocks off of DDI and renamed as I see fit. So what was a Thuggish Cultist now be came a Wig Devote.
On the previous off week:
I produced some Photo Comps of the Temple and a near by village
Gave thought to the social implications of a Glyph based language, and Mechanically affected Immortality on a small, elite, yet diverse population.
Worked on local maps in CC3 (still trying to get good at that).
During the on week I:
Generated some encounters with Asmor, only 4 of them.
threw together some battle maps in Dunginni.
Made scant notes about how I though things may play out.
Printed chits and maps.
Enough rambling, I need to find a Magic item suitable for a bard...