One of the advantages to only being the dungeon master for one game per month is that I have a lot of time to prepare between sessions. I do have other pulls on my time, so I don’t spend much of that time working through the mechanics of my encounters. Instead, I use it to refine the plot points and characters. It’s easy to weigh the pros and cons of introducing a new super-villain while I’m on the bus or stranded in a boring meeting.
While planning my Planeary Adventures campaign I used a variation of the 5×5 Method to plan out the major quest lines in order to get a sense for where the campaign is headed. I also decided to make the sessions episodic, preferably with an injected piece of self-contained story in each. I’ve patterned this after typical comic-book and television story telling. As a group, we’ve decided to advance the player characters’ levels every other session.
With these decisions in mind, I most recently plotted out the ‘episodes’ of our adventure out about a year in advance. There are two purposes behind this project. The first is to gain a sense when, in real time, the group will hit the major plot points. I don’t want to spend too much time developing a story that doesn’t pay-off. I also wanted to have a sense for what level they will reach when the story begins to resolve and shift. This is not intended as a shoe-horn, and it works well because my group tends to stay near the rails. I will need to make edits as they drift from my plan.
Below you’ll find the first two entries, so you can see the format I’ve used. I’ve extended the episode numbers, dates, summaries and level fields out for the next ten months or so.
|1||Escape||March 2010||Having just escaped from the Zain-kin prison, the group flees to the edges of the territory and finds a hideout||3|
|2||Westfall||April 2010||The group goes to Westfall to claim their reward. Sonliin meets an old friend and they must defend the town from Shadar-kai raiders.||3|