Still Yelping in the Dark


I missed last Tuesday, but that was because I was working on my setting, World of Aryn. Anyways, the blog is still going.


I like the “80s toy executive” advice. But a more general comment is that I believe there’s a constant tension between prep and no prep. Granted, there’s always a part of prep that is “wasted” in the sense that it never sees play, and we can seek to limit that in various ways. But other than that, it’s really about allocating work. So if the DM isn’t prepping in advance, they will either scramble between or during sessions, or (implicitly or explicitly) ask the players to do prep-work for them.

If I’m correct, it means that the Zen rules might also require a different degree of buy-in from the players, and in my experience that type of buy-in is often facilitated by DM prep. Basically: it might be easier to add or modify, than to create from scratch. So at least in my group, there seems to be a prep-paradox, where to get rid of it you need to rely on other types of work, which are in turn facilitated by prep.

Would you agree? And if so, do you see a way out of this paradox?


Do the minimum of what you need for the adventure you are going to run. If you state a new truth about your world in the adventure, record it as you go.
Don’t work on the country the players are in unless it features in the game (it might). Don’t start working on the country next door until you are ready to write an adventure in it. Let the adventures dictate what you need.
If you preplan what you will use in the future, you will be less likely to alter it when the adventure requires it or when an unexpected truth comes out in game. Once a thing happens in a game with an audience, it becomes set in stone. Don’t rush to fence yourself in.