How Do You Eat a Tarrasque?


My latest book just released! It’s called Tiny Prep, and was co-written by Che Webster from roleplayrescue.com.

You can buy our Tiny Prep book through this link to get a discount.

Tiny Prep will transform your GMing with tiny tools that garner you big swings at the game table.

Our book will:

  • Streamline your preparation process and make prep fun.
  • Focus on the essential prep activities so you’re ready to run your next game.
  • Fit into any schedule, even if you’re like me with two jobs (the day job and Roleplaying Tips) and other hobbies.
  • Give you quick, fun, and creative exercises so you can start cranking out all the cool ideas.
  • Provide templates you can easily customize for your genre, game system, and GMing style.
  • Target your storytelling with enough detail to support improvisation at the game table.
  • Start with a d6 roll! (This is explained in the book).

It’s the perfect aid for busy GMs across all TTRPG systems who quest to deliver epic sessions without the epic prep time.

To celebrate the launch of the book this week, click here to get a 33% discount on the book.

Before you checkout, please ensure the coupon has been applied to your total.

In today’s tips, I’d like to share how I think about preparation. I carve it up into manageable categories so it’s not overwhelming, and helps me focus on what’s needed in the moment.

How do you eat a tarrasque?

One bite at a time.

I think in terms of Agile GMing. And I try to prep one thing efficiently at a time, with clear purpose and focus, so I can get back behind the screen at the earliest possible moment:

  • Create World Foundations. From cosmology to currency, what essential ingredients do I need to run a Session #0 or #1?
  • Craft Campaign Foundations. Likewise, what’s my Minimum Viable Campaign that I need to develop to support character creation and the first adventure?
  • Brew Session Situations. 5 Room Dungeons, Back Pocket Encounters, random tables, and generators so I am Prepared to Improvise.

I do all this in Campaign Logger. And now, by using Tiny Prep methods, so I can make daily progress even when I’m crazy busy.

Once I’ve launched my homebrew world and campaign, and both have survived contact with my players in the first session, then I spend time between sessions prepping this:

  1. People
    • Update NPCs based on details I added during the game in my Campaign Logger Session Log.
    • Create new NPCs I think will be introduced next session using the Tiny NPCs template from Tiny Prep.
    • Create “mannequin” or template NPCs, with crunch, for easy cloning in Campaign Logger and reskinning. For example, Fairehill Farmer, Ravenstaag Guard.
  2. Places
    • Update locations based on session notes in my CL Session Log. For example, “Inn burned down”, lol.
    • Create new locations using the Tiny Locations template. Draw maps if needed.
    • Update world map, sandbox map, and hex maps if needed.
  3. Prizes
    • Update my Treasure Table.
    • Create new treasure and magic items based on the Tiny Items template.
    • Create non-tangible rewards.
    • Update my Character Dossiers with any updated attributes, special items, and so on.
  4. Plots
    • Update my Plotline and Story So Far, using my Session Log, based on consequences of player choices and character actions.
    • Plot new 5 Room Dungeons.
    • Refresh Back Pocket Encounters.
    • Refresh my Wandering Encounter tables.
    • Refresh my Tiny Prep tables as per the book.
  5. Predicaments
    • Update my sandbox with outcomes of encounters played using my Session Log for ideas.
    • Trigger or roll for World Events.
    • Update or create new Campaign Logger Generators.
    • Update Campaign Logger with rules clarifications and details for any rules frictions that came up last session.

Note that, as I’m updating and adding stuff from each step, my world gets more detailed. You might know this as Spiral World Building, though nowadays I think of it more like Ziggy Zaggy.

I let my world and campaign evolve through gameplay. What we improvise during sessions gets mined for new stuff to build out. What I prep for next session builds my setting up over time. I stay agile with my plot and respond to the players. I keep the setting alive and dynamic via events and consequences of sessions.

So that’s my prep checklist in a nutshell.

  • I do one thing at a time to avoid overwhelm and provide clarity on what I should be prepping.
  • I use Tiny Prep to accumulate session material easily in 5 minutes a day.
  • Everything goes in Campaign Logger: Session Log, world details, campaign plans, dossiers, generators, and Tiny Prep tables.

It becomes a fun factory once I’ve got everything set up. I just follow the steps and use my tools.

Cheers,
Johnn
roleplayingtips.com
https://discord.gg/6MxTRAqQ76
Have more fun at every game!

P.S. Don’t forget to get Tiny Prep this week at a 33% discount.

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