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I Over Prep?

Never Unprepared is a concise guide to game prep. For those unfamiliar with (or overwhelmed by) brainstorming and the critical steps beyond just coming up with ideas, this book would be a valuable resource.

I personally think I’ve pretty much got the whole game prep thing down. I’ve been doing it for almost 35 years, and I’ve made enough mistakes along the way that I’ve learned some pretty valuable lessons.

What this book made me realize is that I am very likely¬†over-preparing for my games. “Too much prep?” Yup. Too much.

I generally write out my scenes as if someone else was going to GM the game. I sometimes do this with an eye of publishing the adventure some day, but I’ve gotten into the habit of doing it all the time. For a four hour adventure, I could write 8-12 pages of material.

I took a step back from my old method (after reading this book) as I prepared a game to run on Saturday. I got out a little hipster notebook and on the first page I listed the storyline in scenes (I’ve organized my games like this for years). Over the next several pages I detailed out the who, what and where of each scene, and I detailed out a couple of possible plot twists.

I’m fairly confident at this point that I will be able to run the game from my little hipster notebook (with a couple of stats and equipment for my bad guys).

Written by

Stu Venable is the producer of Happy Jacks RPG Podcast and writer and editor of He is founder and director of the Poxy Boggards and a member of Celtic Squall. He holds a degree in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Long Beach. He is a husband and a father. He hates puppies.

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4 Responses to "I Over Prep?"

  1. shortymonsterNo Gravatar says:

    I’m thinking about actually writing up a game I ran a year or so ago as an adventure that other people could run if the mood took them. My problem is the reverse; very note I took for that game – which ran for almost a year with only a week off for Christmas – was taken on half a dozen sides of A4lined notepaper. Trying to write in such a way that other people could run it is the next challenge. i do have a handy little bit of advice for creating NPCs for the GM in a hurry at the moment too, if it’s any help to you.

  2. JimToNo Gravatar says:

    I’m going to allow the little hipster notebook, but if you get a Vespa I’m coming back out there to take you out.

  3. StuNo Gravatar says:

    I looked at the little booklet I was writing in — and noted that I own two fountain pens. Then I hung my head in shame.

  4. tentagilNo Gravatar says:

    I’m likely the far other end of the scenario. I prep almost nothing. Part of that is because I used to do major over prepping which usually ended up being a waste as my players ignored all the work I’d spent hours on. Alot of it though I thikn stems from the fact that in almost three years of gaming I have gotten so comfortable with this group that I know I can spin a great story on the fly and this group with run with it.

    My notes for an average four hour session at this point could, and often do, fit on a single side of a standard 4X5 index card.

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