MoonHunter Sayeth 20180810


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Smart Prep: Make your prep time more effective.

I am a firm believer is doing some prep just before the session. Everyone (GM or Player) should take some prep time before playing, even if it is just to make sure they have everything they need and have their game face on. Now, if one is doing things "The MoonHunter Way", a bulk of the prep has been in the early days of the Chronicle - if not before Fundamentally, GM's have roughly the same amount of time to prep before their game session. "The Plan" needs to be adjusted for things that did or did not happen in the last session or so, who is showing up, and future needs for the chronicle. This follows MoonHunter's Session Prep. The more prep in terms of mechanics and story work you do ahead of time, the more time you can spend on fine tuning the session and adding bits of chrome to make the session more memorable.

Here are some bullet point bits of advice that can make your prep time more effective.

Smart Prep: Re-Use - Campaigns continue on the same game worlds. There is a good chance that people and things you encountered previously will be something you run into again. Re-using things not only makes it easier, as you don't have work out everything, it will help give your campaign a set of continuity that the left overs of that band of thugs you took out in session 6, makes a comeback against you in session 24 when you are back in that neighborhood again.

Smart Prep: Recycle - Once you have a set of game mechanics for something in your game, keep re-using them. Modify it slightly if you need to, but you have already done the bulk of the work and you know "about how well" it works in the game. Those fast speeders you used one week for a race scene could be used again and again.

Smart Prep: Reskin - To reduce the monotomy of your campaign, recycle mechanics by reskinning them. Different descriptions for the same set of game mechanics makes something appear brand new to the players. So those bandits that did so well with 55% attack, d8 swords, and all that, just became these new cool bear monsters with 55% attack, d8 claws, and all that.

Smart Prep: Recycle and Reskin NPCs: NPCs can be very different from each other, even if they are mechanically the same. Feel free to use what you have already used (or use it as the foundation), add a new personality trait and a quirk, and "boom" you just created someone new (who is just happens to be mechanically similar. ) Rename some skills or tweak mechanics if you must.

Smart Prep: Recycle and Reskin Maps: There are a lot of buildings out there in your games. This process works well for them. What was once a dining area in a fast food place can be a coffee shop or a section of a library. One bank could be another bank, just change the descriptions.

Smart Prep: Danger Zone: You know the most dangerous things in most chronicles? Player characters. Use their character sheets from a while back (before their last big round of improvements). Reskin them, remove any unique items (add something else to them), and you will have a set of NPCs that will give the PCs a run for their money.

Smart Prep: Build up a library: Lots of work on your chronicle early on will free up more time when setting up each session - so you can concentrate on plots and cool details to add to the session. Instead of building opponents, grab you previously made creations, tweak them mechanically if needed, set up new descriptions for them, and save yourself 20-30 minutes.

Smart Prep: Foundation - When running a chronicle do most of your heavy lifting creatively and mechanically early on. This means you will create a number of sets of game mechanics for opponents, animals, and so on. You will work out their skin, their descriptions and such. At the same time figure out ways you can tweak them and reskin then. So you can build one tough animal for one planned encounter, you can figure a reskinned version for another possible encounter later (or stuff it in a dungeon and add scales and longer reach).

Smart Prep: Foundation II: Figure out some ways you can tweak the sets of game mechanics you make to improve them (or make them less effective). Put those in your GM notes where you keep that character. This way you can use the work you have already done and add to it to keep the opposition fresh and challanging to the characters.

Smart Prep: Foundation III - When running a chronicle, it will save you time and effort later if you make some generic opponents with some flairs or variations. Create a really strong minion, a really fast minion, a really skilled minion, the minion who specializes in ranged weapons, the minion that uses exotic weapons, the stealthy minion and so on. When you have an encounter, you can put two strong, one fast, one exotic from your notes for the Guards. In short, you pull out your mechanics, skin them as appropriate (Guards, Bandits, Goblins, what ever), and use them.

Smart Prep: Character Blocks: When using a point build game, build your generic type characters with some unspent points. Build a couple of blocks that spend those points along given lines. Thus you can create characters of a generic type by slapping on a block to the generic characters. If you need something special, create a block to meet that need.

Smart Prep: Descriptive Bits: Cut and paste the descriptions that work best for you. Just remember not to over do this, as then the players roll their eyes about the "reused footage" or start quoting it with you.

Smart Prep: Prep Starts at the End: As the session is wrapping up (or just after) make (brief) notes as to what you think you need for next session in terms of plot lines, scenes, npcs, mechanics, rule sets, and so on. That list becomes one less thing to worry about getting done before the next session, as it focuses your time when you prep again. (You are also aware from the start if you need extra time to do things/ make things.)

Smart Prep: Chronicle Maintenance: Spending a few minutes "in between" sessions to update the chronicle packet, archive paper notes in the GM's Journal, and so on. Five to ten minutes in the days between session can save your an hour or two of headaches when you have to do all of it at once or are looking for a specific something and can not find it. Chronicle Maintenance is really smart preparations as it makes sure everything is right there and easy to find.

Smart Prep: Time Travel: Go back and review chronicle notes for your current chronicle and any older chronicle. You might find useful things for the future hiding in the past. If nothing else, the review of the current chronicle (usually through the GM's Journal) will help set the chronicle firmly in your mind.

Smart Prep: A few steps become many: MoonHunter recommends doing a few minutes of game related work every day, even if it is just reviewing the game rules or the GM's Journal/ Chronicle Packet. A few minutes of riffing on a character or descriptions makes a world of difference in play. Remember: Many little steps over time are easier than a lot of steps when hurried.

See 10 in 10 for similar advice.
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