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Why Using a Template for Game Prep is Awesome
Posted By Martin Ralya On December 7, 2010 @ 1:18 am In GMing Advice | 8 Comments
Along with DNAphil, I’ve recently switched to using a template for my session prep. Phil uses a template he created; I’m using the one from the Decipher Star Trek RPG Narrator’s Guide.
The Trek RPG template is really two templates: an outline for the episode (adventure) as a whole, which follows the three-act model common to Star Trek and many, many other TV shows (and movies, and books, and plays, and…), as well as a template for each individual scene.
With five sessions of this campaign under my belt, I’ve got a few observations about why template-driven prep is awesome — provided, of course, that you’re a fan of improvisation.
Why is that a prerequisite? Because one of the real boons of a template is that unless you create or use one that requires huge amounts of information, the template forces you to be sparse on the details. I love that about this GMing tool, but not everyone will.
It can still be hard to find time to prep, but I enjoy that prep. And so far it’s produced sessions that, apart from one misstep, have been a lot of fun. (The misstep wasn’t the template’s fault, it was mine.) Here’s why:
I’ve never had so much fun with game prep as I do using the Trek RPG template, and I wish I’d started using it years ago. If you like three-act adventures, I highly recommend it. If you want a template that you can use with just about any RPG, check out the killer template that DNAphil created.
Are there other RPGs that recommend templated prep? Offhand, Star Trek is the only one I’ve run across that formalizes prep like this, but I’m sure there are others.
And what’s been your experience with using a prep template, if you’ve ever tried it before?
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