Be Prepared (Just Not Too Much)

This weekend I’m going to be running the first adventure in my new campaign setting of Icena. So today I decided I’d write about what you need to prepare for your adventure. Here’s what you’ll need to make your adventure a memorable experience.


Names, Names, and More Names:

When I say, ‘prepare’, you should read it, ‘prepare to improvise’. D&D is based largely on chance and player choice. You could plan a huge, flowing, meaningful epic, only to have it ruined when your players decide to go the opposite way. So, you need to be prepared to improvise, and one of the things that will help is a names list. The purpose of the names list is to give you a quick way to name your NPCs. The best way to use a names list is to write down a list of first names and surnames, and then cross them out when you use them. This prevents repetition, and makes it seem like you’ve actually gone through and named all your NPCs.


Cast Of Characters:

The cast of characters list should be used to keep track of your PC’s names. You can also write down a brief description of their race and class. This way you never have to ask, “What was your name again?”


Important NPCs List:

The Important NPCs List is a list of, well, important NPCs. You should try to keep the list short, and only include NPCs that either: 1) Have a big impact on the adventure 2)Or appear in at least three scenes. You should include a brief description of them and their name, so that you don’t forget and accidentally contradict yourself.


Adventure Summary and Outline:

Nine out of ten times, your adventure will not go as planned. Even then, it still helps to write out a brief outline of how you expect the adventure to go. Then you at least thought out one way the story could unfold.


In Conclusion:

Most of the preparation for an adventure should be preparation for improvisation. You should make a names list, a character list, an important NPC list, and an adventure summary. If you have that, you should have all you need to improvise a good adventure.

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