Friday, June 14, 2013

Discussion: Your Prep to Winging It Proportion

Everyone has a different level of comfort when it comes to running their games. Personally, I love being fully prepared for a game session. If I have the time to get everything set up I find that things run a lot better. Unfortunately, I don't always have the time and end up having to wing things.

Today I want to discuss just how much you like - or can get by with - having planned versus how much you like to wing it. Now, both have their advantages. Winging it shines when the players go off the plan and end up going in new directions. Preparation shines when the players dig into something and find that there is a lot of meat on the plot's bones.

So, how much do you like of either?

Like I said, I prefer having a lot planned, but generally I can get by with the broad strokes being planned and winging some of the linking stuff. I dislike having to wing the entire session - though I can and often do for the first few sessions of a game or arc to get  afeel for what is going on. How about yourself?


  1. I do a lot of preparation as far as NPCs are concerned. The story gets attention as far as story hooks and reasons for the players to follow it and of course places they will likely see (including maps or some reference photos to get an idea of how to describe stuff).
    But after that, it takes care of itself. I have players who bring a lot of ideas to the table and I rely on that.

    For my so far only Shadowrun game, I planned how I would have done the run to make sure it's even possible (it was a fairly complicated con), but usually I don't worry all that much about solutions, I know my players come up with their own.

    Right now I'm playing Lady Blackbird, where you ask your players questions that can have a lot of influence on the story and it's nearly impossible to plan anything. That suits me well. You just need a good deal of spontaneity and players who love to create their own story.

  2. I can work either way, and am perfectly able to wing just about everything. However with more complex plot lines, and interweaving stories I have to make sure I'm not losing threads which means prep time. My method is mostly have NPCs, have what's going on in the world if the PCs do nothing, and have how I intend to attract their interest. The more moving parts the more time it takes.

  3. Like yourself, I prefer having a lot planned. I aspire at being better, if not good, at managing unprepared player choices on-the-fly.

    Interestingly, I find that I'm better at preparing for the broader campaign story/details/etc. than I am at session preparation.

    Very much want to get session prep down cold for my bi-weekly game for consistently good sessions and little stress.