• Justin Handlin

Prep or Die! Encounter Building Challenge


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Dungeon Master prep work can be tough. But that doesn't mean it can't be fun!


When it comes to preparing for a Dungeons & Dragons game as a Dungeon Master the preparation can be the most time-consuming part of it. It also can end up being one of the most fun and creative aspects of the entire game. While some people see this as just another task to be done. Others find great joy in it. In my personal experience, I have found that the game prep part of it can sometimes become monotonous. Don't get me wrong. I love it! But sometimes it's worth changing up the way we do things as the DM. I'm not saying the way we do it is wrong. But sometimes change can bring a new and refreshing look at the way we do things.


I've discussed more than once how much I love the Dawn of Worlds game. This takes world-building to a whole new level by making into a group game you can play and world build with friends. This approach will not only be extremely fun but will produce an entire world with history and lore by the end of the night. While this is a completely different approach that what I would do for simple adventures and encounters. It does give us a new lens through which to view our game prep through.


We are super excited to explore a unique adventure-building strategy with the Prep or Die team this week on 12/15/21! We will be going live on their twitch channel at 8:30 pm Eastern. This has me really excited because I've not done something like this before. Keep in mind, my understanding is limited. So I'll try to explain it the best way I can.


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The way I understand it is that each of the team members will be presented with some random artwork or images. Within a strict time limit, we are supposed to build an entire one-shot Dungeons & Dragons adventure using these art pieces as inspiration. This is really exciting for a few reasons.


First, it means I have to think on my feet and design something fun and engaging with little inspiration. This will certainly take me out of my comfort zone as someone who plans meticulously when it comes to story and combat. I take inspiration from every aspect of my life. The books I read, the movies, and the anime I watch. Hell, even stupid product ads that I see. So to have to build off of just a few images certainly has me excited to delve into something new.


Secondly, the time restraint means lots of tension. As someone who changes their mind or makes changes extremely often. This has me worried that I will just have to make quick and rash decisions. I'm curious as to how this will affect the final outcome of my adventure. I tend to be the type of DM who constantly changes what I was going to do. Anyone who is a Patron is well aware of this. For example, when I design monsters for the show. By the time I'm ready to do the layout and lore, I already think of additional changes or features to add or remove from the monster stat block. lol.


Related Article: 5 Tips for Worldbuilding Factions in D&D

Lastly, being able to openly discuss what type of adventures each person came up with seems like it will be fun. Everyone's mind is so different and it changes our approach to world-building and adventure design. I'm excited to see just how different our themes and concepts will be given the same image sources. An open discussion will let us glean into the mind of other experienced Dungeon Masters as they explain their thought process on a particular decision.


I'm really excited for this experience and hope you all will join us live this Wednesday 12/15/21 @ 8:30 pm Eastern on Prep or Die. Who knows, maybe I'll make a complete fool of myself for your amusement. :)


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