• Justin Handlin

RPG Game Prep and Over Prep



Episode 69: Game Preparation and Over Preparation

Crit Academy is joined Michael, host of the RPG Academy. We go into details of what goings into a good Dungeons and Dragons Game Master preparation and how to avoid the pitfalls of over prepping for your stories and campaigns.


Game Prep Talking Points:

  • Always Outline and bullet points - not a book

  • Homebrew or published adventure?

  • Published - Read the adventure in advance if possible

  • Flip through the adventure. Keeping in mind the length of time you’re going to play in a game session, figure out how likely it is that your players will play each encounter. Prioritize them as: definite, maybe, or unlikely.

  • Homebrew - Know what the quest objectives are in advance

  • Document - a few likely encounters the prioritize them


  • Have a notecard with important NPC’s

  • For an encounter that focuses more on interaction, make notes about the relevant NPCs in the encounter, their motivations and goals.

  • Pick a quirk for each important NPC to help the character stand out in the players’ minds, focus on something that’s easy to play.

  • Starting location - Put important decisions near the end of a session “Where do you want to head next?” is always a great start.

  • Can allow you to focus more on that area - not trying to flesh out 3 areas

  • Monsters

  • Try to have monster stat blocks ready in advance

  • Print them out if you have a scanner or D&D beyond

  • Alternatively can put the blocks on index cards

  • Roll Monster initiatives in advance

  • Document special skills or tactics you want to make sure you use

  • If you spell to have the enemies cast spells write them out in advance.

  • Advance rolls - Make 10 D20 rolls and record them - Then just run down the list as you need a value - saves lots of time


Over Prep: Going to very DM to DM

  • Accept you can’t prep for everything!

  • The nature of DnD means the players have a lot of freedom(unless you railroad)

  • This creates a challenge when prepping

  • They won't always take your hooks.

  • Investing too much time can lead to personal anger if the players bypass it altogether.

  • Being too meticulous

  • Focusing on too many small things