How long do you spend preparring for a gaming session?
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Thread: How long do you spend preparring for a gaming session?

  1. #1

    Default How long do you spend preparring for a gaming session?

    Just a random thought here but, how long do you spend preparring for a gaming session? I am not just talking about going over notes, do you even keep notes?, but prepping adventures, stalking dungeons, creating baddies...

    Or are you like me and just go with the flow and do most of it on the fly? I just found that I do not have the time or paitence to make fully stocked dungeons. I will usually just have an idea of what I want them to accomplish and ab-lib it from there.

    I do once and a while run a published adventure, right know i am running my party through the Undermountain. :D

  2. #2


    I spend anywhere from a week to 6 months preparing things. The longer time is the planning of an entire campaign, as opposed to a single session.

    I am a creator of worlds for my campaigns, right down to the politics and politicians, just so that there\'s always some sort of background story to go along with the character\'s adventures, which may or may not overlap things.

    For an individual session, I\'ve been doing it for so long that I can design and stock a \'dungeon\' in about 2 hours, before the session starts, and then wing the rest.

  3. #3


    Mostly depends on what I want to do, I would say. I try to put some thought and background beforehand into the world at large (i.e. NPCs, political factions, etc) so when I do run into a session, I usually don\'t have to prep too much.

    Most actual sessions are \"on the fly\", but if there\'s something I have in mind like a crazy dungeon or lots of politics, I\'ll do some more prep work, but other than that I usually just keep general notes in a composition tablet. I find that the general notes like \"bad guy A will try to destroy good guy D\'s base\" works better for me, and I\'ll flesh out the details as we go. Especially since I learned that most of my players will do something I didn\'t think about at all somewhere along the line. :P

  4. #4


    Yeah, i mostly have a general baddie and a hopefull time line, but they hardly ever stay on course... So i try to chase them back onto my line with a baddie... which they

    That and you never know how beat up the PCs will be when they get to certain set points. So maybe a trap will need a lower DC to disarm, or maybe they took too long to get there and the baddie\'s asleep. There\'s tons of ways i fudge a game to help out my PCs... but if they\'re misbehaving or having bad luck, i\'ll stick it to \'em.:D

  5. #5


    It depends. If I\'m planning to run a game at a con, it could take weeks. If I\'m planning for the family\'s epic level characters, it takes a while too, on account of all the modifying that needs to be done to bring monsters up to their speed.

    If it\'s their lower-level guys though, I\'ll just grab a map and wing it. Between past experience, the old 2nd edition Encounter cards, AEG\'s Toolbox, and the Core Rules program on the computer, I can generate all kinds of stuff on the fly...

  6. #6


    I used to pull cards at random for my Gen-con Dragon Storm games back when Gen-con was still where it should be in Milwaukee and be ready to go in under 15 min :) People always told me they had a great time too when the session was over.


  7. #7



    Well, it averages out to be about 2 hours of prep. But I should ammend that. Usually I spend about 5 hours pulling together the next \'chapter\' in the campaign, and then about an hour writing down stats and rooms on the map, before a game. That way I can cover the mercurial nature of my party. I swear that something should take them four game sessions and they knock it out in two, or something that should have take an hour takes three games sessions (like leaving town... they never leave town in anything under three hours hahahah)

    peace :D

  8. #8

    Default Totally varies

    Lets see Sunday night at a party with friends and family. There was drinking, two friends crashed at my place. When we woke up in the morning one of them suggested that since we were still together we should roleplay.

    Prep time that session: about 10 mintues to get the books characters and dice out.

    Running the Enemy Within Campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Battle quite a few years back. Total prep probably about a month before the first session, then about 30-40 hours prep for each session. I used to actually stand infront of a mirror and play NPCs out till I got them right. It was the best series I ever ran and the players still talk about it.

    The usual - about a week after work prep. If a new system longer, if one I know very well less. What prep I do is not the usual. I improvise 90% of my games. The prep lies in coming up with advisaries and locations for scenes and general plot flow. I generally give my players free reign on where to go and what to do, so just plan a few encounters and wing the rest.

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