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Campaign Prep Rules: How Much is Too Much?

A topic by ErikTheBearik created 53 days ago Views: 183 Replies: 5
Viewing posts 1 to 4
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Recently, writing up rules / guidelines on how to prep a campaign or even a session seems to have kind of fallen out of vogue, and I'm starting to wonder if this is because people don't expect / don't want to be told how to prep a game session. In designing my own stuff, I've taken the position that prep rules are still good to have, even if people don't use them, but I've started to wonder lately if I've been going overboard. 

As a practical example, here's some rules I wrote up on how a GM could run a "GM Turn" between sessions of a Forged in the Dark game. I wanted to be thorough, designing it as a sort of mini-board game, but now I'm wondering if having so many rules devoted to the "lonely fun" of preparing a campaign will turn potential GMs off. As usual, any feedback / criticism is welcome, though they're mostly included to illustrate my larger point about Prep.

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This is lovely, and reminds me of my faction game rules along similar lines (which I mention not as a plug, but in the hope you can mine some useful nuggets from it).

Is the basic idea that this is a way to handle direct antagonism towards the PCs? Or is there any way that Vampire Lords plot against each other?

Thank you! Something led me to check out your rules before I wrote these, and I took some inspiration, namely in the idea of discreet "actions" for the faction and special abilities tied into them.

These rules are intended to represent the directed antagonism against the PCs, rather than a vampire-on-vampire conflict, as to keep it "scoped down" a bit.

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Makes sense - I do like the feel of it, and in that case maybe some method to make this all more transparent to the players. I mean, in fact, why not just play this turn out in front of them? The stuff about supply lines and things like wanted posters all make this seem like it's just creating opportunities for them, and there could be nice tension seeing this unfold, especially since you indicate this should be after they reach a higher Tier anyway. At that point they would conceivably have the resources and connections to learn about some of the vampire's actions as they unfold.

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I like have ways to do stuff spelled out (I made up my own 'GM turn' for Blades that is less detailed than this), so I like the idea and would have fun with this. I can see it turning some people off though, so emphasizing that it's optional and making sure it doesn't get in the way of running a session sounds good.

I like the idea that this turn can be done in front of the players (I like mystery and hidden info, but if it's explicitly part of the session similar to Downtime, that might make it feel less out of place or like homework for some GMs?)

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Too much prep is when you're causing yourself stress over the prep.