My Game Prep

I am blessed to be a part of a consistent gaming group that has a bounty of GM's (no less than 4), so we frequently alternated between two different games: Currently we are going between a GURPS adaptation of Mass Effect and my 4E intro; Previously it was 3.5 D&D using classic modules ; Everquest; A home brewed 3.5 setting (soon to be published) ; Starwars and so on. 

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: 
  1. Keep it fun
  2. Don't over prep
  3. 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...

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