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rubycona
2009-11-24, 05:24 AM
I started up a "practice" game 2-3 times a week so I'd be better able to handle the "real" game once a week. All my preparation is for the "real" game (with the whole group), so my practice game is really freeform, entirely improv.

And what I find astounding, is I actually like it more! Having no preparation whatsoever, making up stuff on the fly... it's a blast. I give detailed descriptions on the fly to give me the seconds I need to prepare whatever the party runs into, but the thing is, because I'm not trying to align the world and my party to a plan, I can take Anything the players throw at me. (Except for this one particularly hilarious thing one of them did, and I literally could not resume DMing for a full minute, I was laughing so hard) I never thought D&D could be like that XD I've had more fun in the last week with this silly practice game than I've had in 2 years, as a player and DM both.

Ironically, I'm actually a better DM with no preparation >.> The players feel free to try to stump me, and the world feels larger and more real to them, since I'm paying more attention to them than to details of my notes. Considering I Have no notes. (aside from writing down names as I randomly make them up)

So, I'm curious, other DMs of the world... have you ever played a fully improv-only game? Did you enjoy it as much, or more than a planned game? Was it good for your players?

SilverSheriff
2009-11-24, 05:36 AM
Running Improv seems more natural to me as I'm not much of a fortune-teller, my players are able to adapt to any pre-written situation so it gets a bit infuriating having this epic combat with a Frost Giant set up only to come in with their Strength Improving Magic items and chain the final boss I'd spent 3 hours statting-up to the ground and lay down multiple Coup de grâce, with no chance of my Boss-Fight getting any help because of all the winding passages, with walls that are there for structural integrity, I'd put round the boss-room....


R.I.P Frosty...:smallfrown:

TheCountAlucard
2009-11-24, 05:39 AM
So, I'm curious, other DMs of the world... have you ever played a fully improv-only game?There are times when I come pretty close; it depends on if statblocks count.


Did you enjoy it as much, or more than a planned game? Was it good for your players?We all got a kick out of it, IIRC.

Quietus
2009-11-24, 05:39 AM
There's a distinct difference between the two styles, and most DMs will lean one way or the other, with some amount of gray in between. I personally like something in the middle; I have a long-term plan for what I want the players to encounter, with major points stuck into it like push pins. Fight with white dragon, encounter "rival", learn of certain plans which lead them to particular red dragon, deal with those plans in whatever way they see fit. On a smaller scale, I have a vague idea of what COULD happen over the next couple games; Leaving city, head north around the Veil, through the forest, encounter Orc tribe. Orcs will respond in this way. Moving onward from orcs, toward white dragon plot point, encounter dragon blooded, who respond based on how they got on with the orcs. Further along, on the frozen peaks, encounter either rogue dragon blooded or arctic halflings depending on what party will best respond to, who are hostile. Learn of dragon's lair from here.

As you can see, those planning stages are very loose, and could go any direction. They were ambushed by the orcs, and trounced them solidly; A survivor of that raiding group came back the next morning with the equivalent of a white flag, asking for his fallen comrade's weapons back so they could be buried with their owners. He dropped hints regarding the tribe knowing more about the quest they were on, which the group hooked into, and since things had taken a more civil turn, I had the tribe actually be a not-very-violent one (Small tribe, mindless violence = death); They'd just assumed that since the party was traveling with a dragon-blooded, they were in league with a tribe of dragon-blooded that they had been warring with. It could have very easily turned around and had the entire camp jump on the invaders the moment they got back, whom they outnumbered five to one, but everyone was being more or less civil, so I let it flow naturally into roleplay.

If I'd planned things out specifically - The orcs WILL do this, and ARE hostile, and the players can learn the information they need in THIS specific way - then I'd feel forced to, well, force the situation toward those, because that was what I was prepared for. So in my case, deep planning only results in me trying to railroad my players, and getting lost when they don't stick to the rails. It's a more fun game when I set out general steps along the way, and let the players choose what path they want to take, dropping hints as they go to keep them roughly going in the direction of the story.

Temet Nosce
2009-11-24, 05:42 AM
This is the way I've always DMed, and yeah planning just sets things in stone. Provided you've got a decent ability to wing it, you're going to react better that way. Planning is certainly useful as an introduction to D&D, but once you feel comfortable as a DM working as you go it becomes irrelevant.

Generally speaking, I'll have an idea of the setting and motivations for major NPCs and that's it. The world will go on whether or not the PCs interact with it, and I feel free to work out what's gonna occur in reaction to the PCs as they do it.

The best use of notes I've experienced was to record the setting and what was determined about it as you go.

Katana_Geldar
2009-11-24, 05:42 AM
I have found sometimes I need to do detailed plans, but more inside actual campaigns. The more I plan, the less it gets used. My next campaign I'm only going to have a vague idea of where I want to go and take it from there.

Ashtar
2009-11-24, 05:45 AM
My best and longest standing campaign was basically an improv game. I would "prepare" beforehand a rough idea of where I would like the session to lead to, about 2 lines at most. And have always a steady flow of character sheets prepared with enemies. The rest was always fully improvised. It really allows you to have a living world. Gives you the freedom to mix in new elements completely plot unrelated and see where they lead you.

The only issue I had was that sometimes the party ended up splitting and everyone following up on their own leads or ideas. That does make it sometimes a bit hard to keep track.

The best skill to have when you improvise is the ability to write shorthand notes while talking, so that you never forget a place or name of a character.

Sample session plan:
The dwarven cleric worships Silt but is masquerading as an Earth cleric, he is teaching things that will ruin the crops and land. Basilisk in rocky badlands. Beast headed giants on island ready to parley after last encounter.

That would usually be sufficient for a 6 or more hour session.

rubycona
2009-11-24, 05:46 AM
If I'd planned things out specifically - The orcs WILL do this, and ARE hostile, and the players can learn the information they need in THIS specific way - then I'd feel forced to, well, force the situation toward those, because that was what I was prepared for. So in my case, deep planning only results in me trying to railroad my players, and getting lost when they don't stick to the rails. It's a more fun game when I set out general steps along the way, and let the players choose what path they want to take, dropping hints as they go to keep them roughly going in the direction of the story.

*nods* Yeah, planning can lead to railroading. And... it drives me nuts, when I've got this plan, and then... they do something completely, utterly different than I had in mind. I'm like... whaaaa? But... plan! It's pretty, and shiny, and... well, useless now >.>

One of my players looooves doing the unexpected. And he's good at being unpredictable even though we expect it of him. He just screws up my plans horribly. But in this practice game, oh, how well it's going! He's loving the freedom, and I'm loving the fact that I'm not sputtering and glaring at him every time he does something odd XD Sure, as a level 2 cleric, go ahead and attack the level 5 rogue who laughed at your antics in the bar. Let's just see how this ends, won't we? (They ended up casting Obscuring Mist and bailing, haha, then getting fined for damaging the bar :D)

Edit: I don't really consider having pre-made character sheets as "planning," but damn, are they useful! And yeah, I'll jot down the stuff they "learn" as they go along, like names and stuff. Amusingly, it's my own mistakes that lend the most potential. For instance, I accidentally made the small, local Temple of Tyr too ornate for the town... so, I decided, let there be an imposter running the show, who's taking advantage of the local government (selling Zones of Truth and the like for criminal investigations), and, getting careless, decking out the inside of the temple. Yay for random idea :D They'll even think I planned it :P

Emmerask
2009-11-24, 05:50 AM
I also prefer the middle ground having a detailed overarching storyline with everything that is important written down in advance (and rewritten based on pc actions)
but with lots of improv or even complete improv adventures if the players do other things then expected.

Some things though I really dislike to improv detective adventures for example I would never improv completly you just end up with more plot holes then actual plot if the story is a bit more complex which wouldn´t be satisfying for me at all.

IonDragon
2009-11-24, 05:58 AM
Some of my best DM work has been improv.

One time, when I first introduced the BBEG in a zompocalypse setting, I forgot to have a reason he was where he was or contents for the building he came out of. If I'd had the entire thing set up I would have missed crucial details that the party was looking for, and probably missed the tells when they were looking for details.

Aside from that, I did once have an extremely small dungeon mapped out very well complete with DM notes, and check result DCs and hi-lighted areas to read out loud when the PC entered rooms etc. I ran it once, and everything went flawlessly. I feel that this is the statistical outlier however.

AslanCross
2009-11-24, 06:28 AM
I find that my dialogue is much better improv. Many other things like encounters (and the contingent tactics), treasure, and numerical bookkeeping-heavy things always have to be prepared way in advance.

dsmiles
2009-11-24, 06:55 AM
@OP:
I use primarily improv, with sketchy notes about plot and likely encounters. It turns the game into more of a sandbox situation.

PairO'Dice Lost
2009-11-24, 07:30 AM
Depends on the kind of game. If it's more plot-based, I generally improv everything, with two exceptions: One, I stat things ahead of time because I'm always statting things when I'm bored. Two, I plan the general course of the first session to introduce the world and plot, and plan what the endgame should be, so that when I improv I have a direction in mind for the plot to take. Otherwise, I wing everything to good effect.

If it's a setting-based game (explore this dungeon, defend this country, etc.) I plan everything ahead of time, from minor NPCs to features to traps and so on--not because I really need to, but because I find statting up dungeons like that to be fun.

Kurald Galain
2009-11-24, 07:33 AM
So, I'm curious, other DMs of the world... have you ever played a fully improv-only game? Did you enjoy it as much, or more than a planned game? Was it good for your players?

Sure, I do it all the time. Reactions have generally been positive.

shadow_archmagi
2009-11-24, 07:37 AM
I have...

say...

6 hours or so until my first session with a new group. Most of that time will be spent in class.

I've *just* about managed to secure a copy of the DMG and PHB and dice so that the session can actually run.

I am proud of myself for preparing that much in advance.

SpikeFightwicky
2009-11-24, 07:41 AM
I typically go improv. Even if I'm running a canned adventure from an adventure module, I'll read through it and improv any 'read text to the players' sections, because they always find a way to make those text sections sound odd in context.

My best game was thought up as the players were creating their characters (since I had multiple ideas, but which one would work depended on the kind of characters the players made). Ironic part is, the players said that they loved how it seemed very realistic (it was an AFMBE game, so present day) so it kept their suspension of disbelief very intact and made it easy to get into.

I've often played with DMs who plan, and oftentimes the players (as they tend to do) do something 'not covered in the plans' and the DM seems to unravel. Tends to lead to railroading, depending on how little the DM wants to improv.

valadil
2009-11-24, 10:15 AM
My best work is improvised too. On the other hand my worst GMing is also improvised.

I try to limit my planning to one session ahead of the PCs. Any more than that and I get tempted to railroad. I also try to make sure that I'm not setting a course for them, but predicting where they'll end up and planning around that. If I guess incorrectly, I go to improv. If I guessed well, we go with the plan.

Cyanic
2009-11-24, 10:45 AM
I am certainly in the improv group, most of the time my BBEGs dont even have stat blocks.

I generally just draw a map of the world/plane and let em run. Sometimes if the game session ends at like the entrance of some ancient ruins or something I might to up a dungeon map too, but thats about it.

TheLaughingLich
2009-11-24, 10:57 AM
Several months back, I ran three fully improvised sessions and three thoroughly planned sessions with my usual group. I didn't tell them what I was doing. When I asked them to rate how fun the last six sessions had been, the ranking from best to worst was imp/imp/plan/imp/plan/plan. I've seen some people running fun games with a lot of preparation, but since that experiment, I've generally improvised.

bosssmiley
2009-11-24, 02:55 PM
Mu. (http://www.retrologic.com/jargon/M/mu.html)

Sandbox megadungeon. The locale is prepared, what the players and monsters do after that is largely spontaneous (generated by PC actions and 'destiny by dice').

The J Pizzel
2009-11-24, 03:13 PM
There's a popular card trick where you four sets of cards down, with each set having four cards. You memorize where ONE card is, that's it. Let's say it the Jack of Clubs. You then ask the other person questions with options to choose from and after it's all done, you've manipulated them to the Jack of Clubs. You then draw their attention to the four sets of four cards and have them choose two sets, if the Jack of Clubs was in one of those, you leave them, if it wasn't, then you throw them out and ask them to pick one of the remaining sets. And so, and so on...until you've got them to the one card on the table that you know is the Jack of Clubs. They feel like they've chosen the card, but in fact you manipulated them to it.

This is how I DM. I've got a goal in line for a session (and over all story arc) and I'm going to get them to it one way or another. How they get to it is up to them.

For example:
A group was trying to figure out who was creating golems and sending them after high ranking officials in a town. It was evident my players (not very good investigators) were not doing anything I'd planned on them doing to find the culprit. So I manipulated them to finding it out. They had just finished killing a couple of Golems and were at a complete stand still on what to do next. And incredibly good search check by the rogue revealed a small symbol on the inside of the skull of a Golem. A random NPC said "wow, that kinda looks like an old family crest or something" and VOILA. My players are now searching the library archives. And my players think they did it all on their own and feel like the smartest guys on the planet. And that makes me happy.

That's how I DM.

Delandel
2009-11-24, 03:20 PM
I like both, leaning towards improv. There's certain elements of the game that I'd rather plan out however. For example, dungeon crawls filled with elaborate traps, I'd rather plan that out ahead.

Kallisti
2009-11-24, 03:36 PM
I have a long-term plan for what I want the players to encounter, with major points stuck into it like push pins.


This is a pretty good summary of how I do it. I prepare major plot items in advance, and let the players' actions determine how they get introduced. And everything else is improv. I love to leave my players trying to guess how much I planned...

Tyndmyr
2009-11-24, 03:39 PM
The more I plan, the greater the pains my players take to go off the rails.

Pizzel's example would have resulted in the random NPC being stabbed to death repeatedly, the library burned, and the PCs wandering off in search of pie.

Vitruviansquid
2009-11-24, 03:39 PM
I'd really like to do improv games, but I'm neurotically obsessed with keeping encounters fair and "balanced," (yes, I'm aware of how silly that is :smallfrown:) so I plan out everything in advance.

dsmiles
2009-11-24, 03:42 PM
@ Tyndmyr:
Mmmmmmm...pie....:smalltongue:

Ormur
2009-11-24, 03:45 PM
I'm so new to D&D and my players are such optimizers that if I didn't stat something out beforehand it would either be smashed or I'd have to run it arbitrarily, which I don't think they'd like.

I like making up NPC's and cities, histories, government institutions and other scenery when I'm bored so I have a pretty good idea of how the world looks like. I don't have any rails that are supposed to run through the whole campaign but I try figuring out what my players will do next session, which often doesn't work. Then I adapt to that, it's my fault if I couldn't predict their actions not theirs.

Edited.

The J Pizzel
2009-11-24, 03:49 PM
Pizzel's example would have resulted in the random NPC being stabbed to death repeatedly, the library burned, and the PCs wandering off in search of pie.

I'm so sorry for you. I'll begin praying nightly to the gaming gods for you. That sounds awful.

My players used to (and by that I mean, like 5 years ago) try that kind of stuff. Then they learned that the law would hunt them down for stabbing someone, the sages and librarians would enlist the wizards to exact revenge on them for destroying their library, and the local 401 Bakers Union would hire mercenaries and thugs for the players screwing the economy of pie sales.

Kylarra
2009-11-24, 03:49 PM
My particular preference is to sandbox. I have a general idea of interesting things to do in various places and what can be found where, but as to plot points and such, that's all up to players and reactionary to what they do.

Kantolin
2009-11-24, 03:50 PM
I do a ton of preplanning.

Especially stats and general plans for everything. I can wing an encounter (and have had to quite a few times), but prefer having it prepared ahead of time - generally, then I can ensure it's interesting.

That said, I also am extremely flexible. I try to ensure that I have a good idea on how all the characters act - that way, when the PCs attempt to use a circus to sneak into the castle, I can think for a moment and give a, 'Okay, this is how the enemy reacts'.

It helps that most of the groups I play with are reasonably consistent. If presented with a problem, they will generally try to solve it and not go home and take up knitting. Now, their solution may itself be rather out of the box, but that's not a big deal - in fact, that's preferable, as I love creativity. ^_^ But their solution isn't likely to be, "Bah, I don't care anymore, I go somewhere else and start drinking."

So I do a lot of planning, and then simply remain flexible.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-24, 03:52 PM
I'm so sorry for you. I'll begin praying nightly to the gaming gods for you. That sounds awful.


It's not really, once you get used to it. I've gotten quite comfortable with improv. Oh, you want to hunt spiders for their venom. Go nuts. Oh, you failed that roll... Well, on the bright side, you did manage to collect the poison. Sort of.

I'm a huge fan of sandboxing, which does involve prep, but certainly allows player freedom and improv as well. Just write down what you improved.

dsmiles
2009-11-24, 03:54 PM
I'm so sorry for you. I'll begin praying nightly to the gaming gods for you. That sounds awful.

My players used to (and by that I mean, like 5 years ago) try that kind of stuff. Then they learned that the law would hunt them down for stabbing someone, the sages and librarians would enlist the wizards to exact revenge on them for destroying their library, and the local 401 Bakers Union would hire mercenaries and thugs for the players screwing the economy of pie sales.

Mmmmmmm...pie :smalltongue:

Tyndmyr
2009-11-24, 04:14 PM
and the local 401 Bakers Union would hire mercenaries and thugs for the players screwing the economy of pie sales.

This just struck me as amusing.

STOP *thwack* BUYING *thwack* OUR *thwack* PRODUCTS!

OR ELSE!

dsmiles
2009-11-24, 04:17 PM
Wouldn't the local 401 be happy that the price of their product was going up due to the newest of the inevitables...Inflation (duhn-duhn-DUHN!!!)?

rubycona
2009-11-25, 01:52 AM
I'm so new to D&D and my players are such optimists that if I didn't stat something out beforehand it would either be smashed or I'd have to run it arbitrarily, which I don't think they'd like.

I like making up NPC's and cities, histories, government institutions and other scenery when I'm bored so I have a pretty good idea of how the world looks like. I don't have any rails that are supposed to run through the whole campaign but I try figuring out what my players will do next session, which often doesn't work. Then I adapt to that, it's my fault if I couldn't predict their actions not theirs.

I suspect new DMs Have to be heavily prepared, because D&D is such a huge world... there's a lot of ways in which I'm "prepared". IE, having bunches of characters ready to grab at a moment's notice (such as the now-pissed off rogue in the bar), having virtually all of the general rules memorized (except underwater fighting >.>), having seen the sort of nonsense that players do on a regular basis, so I can more or less anticipate it... or at least, react well. That sort of thing.

Basically, once you know the combat rules so well that you could recite them in your sleep, you're much better prepared to wing stuff. And once you know the spells so well that you can randomly decide what sort of protections X thing might have, even if you had no clue the players would go there, etc. Like last night, the players decided to rob an armorsmith of some mithral, so I had to whip up defenses, (basic traps, very well hidden, etc etc) on the smith's small stash.

So I guess all that time struggling with the player's randomness prepared me XD Man, am I having a blast with this. I'm so going to turn the main game into an improv style (with the plot, still, but less railroad tracks for the players to avoid)

Xzeno
2009-11-25, 02:08 AM
I pre-plan a lot of stuff. Important NPCs, minor NPCs (roll traits) places, encounters, campaign plots... and then my players ruin everything and catch me totally off guard*. But that's how it should be. I do a lot of improv.

My DM (other campaign) does either completely preplanned (canned adventures, which we ruin without shame) or COMPLETELY improv. We have a long running campaign based around random generation. Random dungeons, random NPCs random terrain and random encounters. By random encounters, I mean we made a table not based on challenge rating. Just completely random. It's probably the most fun I've had as a player.

*Or so they think. I know them well enough to predict what they're going to do in most situations. They sometimes throw me a curve ball by doing something sane.

Shyftir
2009-11-25, 02:19 AM
I barely planned at all in my last DMing experience. Just took the basic plot from the D&D with Penny Arcade & PvP podcast. and made it work with my 3.5 group. I made up enemy stats on the fly. BTW when you have a tricked out tank in your party, if you make enemies able to hit him, everybody else is in a lot of trouble.

So in basic answer, I don't even open the monster manual anymore. I DM completely on the fly. I enjoy it so much more.

rezplz
2009-11-25, 02:43 AM
In the past, my DMing has been incredibly improvisional. A lot of the time I wouldnt even make stat-blocks. I'd forget my notes and still DM without much of a change. It makes for a fun, casual game.

These past couple sessions though I've been doing a bit more planning as far as plot goes. Granted, When combat comes around I still do a bit of improvising, but I actually have full stat blocks and even character sheets for the more important NPCs, and I've been enjoying it a lot more.

So yeah, I guess I enjoy planned more than improvising. Which reminds me, I need to do a bit more planning for my games this weekend >_>

Mikeavelli
2009-11-25, 02:49 AM
I do a great deal of planning, for two reasons:

1. A certain amount of preplanning makes for better encounters overall, even if you're really amazing at improv.

2. I'm really bad at improvising.

[hr]

My DMing style is amazingly similar to say, what you'd find in a CRPG. The NPC's are stated out, they have personalities, and they're set in an encounter setting.

Each NPC has goals, what they want to see happen. I, as the DM, don't have any preferred way for the encounter to end, the Players could burn, rape, and pillage their way through an elaborately planned diplomatic encounter, and all I would do is have the NPC's react accordingly.

I keep the planned encounters malleable and mostly unconnected, so what they tromp all over at the beginning of the session isn't going to completely invalidate whatever encounter comes up at the end of the session. I take notes, and plan out further encounters and interactions that take into account what they've done in the past, and build on it. Recurring NPC's recur, whether as villains or allies, scrappies disappear unceremoniously, and the campaign continues on with a loose, overarching plot.

Temet Nosce
2009-11-25, 04:26 AM
Basically, once you know the combat rules so well that you could recite them in your sleep, you're much better prepared to wing stuff.

This. This is the basic reason planning occurs, it's a necessary step for most DMs. Unless you have a solid grasp on the rules and the ability to extrapolate from them for things that aren't covered it's hard to wing it.

It's also why it takes most DMs a few years to switch over, you need more than a cursory understanding to improv well. You need the experience to know how to react to odd situations and the ability to not be off put by them.


I do a great deal of planning, for two reasons:

1. A certain amount of preplanning makes for better encounters overall, even if you're really amazing at improv.

2. I'm really bad at improvising.

1. This may be true for you personally, but not for everyone else. If you have a good enough grasp on what you're doing it's perfectly possible to come up with much more suitable reactions on the fly than it is to plan them because you'll always have more information.

2. Fair enough. Some people are.

Emmerask
2009-11-25, 05:12 AM
Hm most people that talk about improvising seem to talk about fights while those planning about nsc, plots etc.

So I assume one can generalize that those who improv run a more fighting based campaign while those planning a more story based one?

Temet Nosce
2009-11-25, 05:17 AM
Hm most people that talk about improvising seem to talk about fights while those planning about nsc, plots etc.

So I assume one can generalize that those who improv run a more fighting based campaign while those planning a more story based one?

Not even remotely, nor had I noticed this tendency you mention. I suppose I could be wrong though, I'm not watching this thread very intently. That said, most of the people I've addressed on it were considering motivations and reactions (and I recall at least one non combat example and no combat ones).

Winging it is actually even more useful plot wise though, because it means the plot is organic and responds to your players.

SilverSheriff
2009-11-25, 05:20 AM
Hm most people that talk about improvising seem to talk about fights while those planning about nsc, plots etc.

So I assume one can generalize that those who improv run a more fighting based campaign while those planning a more story based one?

nope, combat is just the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Improv, it's human nature. But my games, like one of the games I ran on Saturday, are usually filled with Traps, skill challenges and political intrigue.

Emmerask
2009-11-25, 05:29 AM
nope, combat is just the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to Improv

Ah that explains why I thought this and jumped to that conclusion, sry if I stepped on lots of toes here :smallbiggrin:

Katana_Geldar
2009-11-25, 05:46 AM
Sometimes, the best improvs are done with liberal doses ofSure, Why Not? (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ptitlekzrxgx4f)

Jastermereel
2009-11-25, 11:58 AM
I'm relatively new to the role of DMing and plan EVERYTHING.

My current campaign is my first real one in that role. I'd done a pair of 2-3 month campaigns before when the regular DM needed to work on his thesis a bit more, but nothing particularly lengthy. I'm reasonably familiar with the combat rules and could probably ad-lib a random encounter, but if I'm going to keep my players entertained for longer stretches I want to know where they're going better than they do.

Before I started the current arc with them I'd figured out, more or less, a general 10 level arc with a mix of modules and home-brew. I figure, the better I know the world and events around them, the better I'll be able to adapt when they start straying from my expectations.

With some groups this might be light railroading, but my players haven't yet taken initiative enough to hit any walls so they're currently just moving along without complaint. I almost wish I had to improvise a little more, but so far it hasn't been necessary.

jiriku
2009-11-25, 12:35 PM
I plan combats very carefully, because my reputation as a butcher of players depends on it. :D If I don't plan them and carefully integrate interesting terrain, traps, and environmental effects, combats are often stagnant, uninteresting affairs.

Plotwise, I'm more loose. Rather than telling them "You need to go here and do this", which they may not want to do, I'll say "What do you want to do?" If they don't seem sure, I'll say something like "It would be good to accomplish X by doing A, B, and C. Or D might work instead. Which would you like to do first?" If they take A, B, C, or D, I've got a plan. If they choose E, I'll shrug and wing it.

FoE
2009-11-25, 12:57 PM
As a rule, I like to have something planned out, even if it's a few fights. My one experience (as a player) was a pretty bad one: it worked out OK at first, but eventually the GM reacted to us defeating his badass monsters by throwing an army of them at us, which led to us being trapped in a big bunker. Our reinforcements basically had to rescue us, though he did make a feeble attempt at giving us a weapon that could defeat the baddies. Unfortunately, no one can plan for bad rolls.

Katana_Geldar
2009-11-25, 03:43 PM
Jaster, sounds like you need to plan an experienced person at your table if only for the reason that they players realise they can show some "initative" :smallwink:

Zovc
2009-11-25, 04:00 PM
The few sessions I've DM'd were improv, and I feel like I did a bad job, but we had fun. Some would say that's good work, but I would have rathered have a serious session.

It turns out Dungeons and Dragons (or any RPG, really) are good for social events simply because there isn't really a limit on what you can try to do.

I'm considering starting up a meeting time with some friends every so often where we can just get together and fool around in a sandbox. I'll DM until someone else wants to.

I can imagine it is, for the most part, an either-or thing for most people. I'd rather play in a planned out game, but I'm probably more entertaining in a spontaneous one.

Fuzzie Fuzz
2009-11-25, 05:28 PM
If I don't plan ahead, everything falls apart. Plan, plan, plan. Then, when the PCs destroy everything, improvise. Remain flexible, but plan ahead.