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 Post subject: Prep Time
PostPosted: Mar 15, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Lord of the Regency Council
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http://blackmoormystara.blogspot.com/20 ... -time.html

One of the lessons WotC and other companies seem to have learned from 3E is that if the edition requiring alot of preparation before a game this is a bad thing. This apparently, is part of the reason why 4E turned out the way it did.



I can understand that 3E DMs soon grew tired of writing up huge stat blocks for their NPCs and determining skill selections for their Monsters. Some industry experts seem to think the recipe is to turn D&D into a "family game", ie basically a board game, since apparently kids today have no patience to sit down and spend hours to plan a game.

This is where I think that they are missing something. Sure it was boring to write up those huge stat blocks or do other game mechanical stuff if it takes forever. But DM Prep Time is not neccessarily such a bad thing. When you are a kid, it seems like you have all the time in the world. Spending hours dreaming up worlds and planning adventures that you can take your friends through Friday night can be almost as fun as playing the game itself. As a DM, this is when you really get to tap into your imagination.

Remember when D&D was marketed as "Products of your imagination"? This is D&D's strength. Market researchers trying to get game designers to focus on the "battle grid" and fast paced exciting combat only are missing a vital point. These are all areas that computer games do better than D&D. What D&D does better than any computer is to stimulate your imagination. I dont believe that kids today dont want that. Sure there are kids out there with no imagination, but those are the same kids who were calling D&D players geeks back in the 1980s. Those guys will always be boring. D&D should be for real gamers, not those guys who would rather play a video game alone than hang out with their friends.

-Havard

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 Post subject: Re: Prep Time
PostPosted: Apr 22, 2012 9:55 pm 
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Landed Lord
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I think there are two types of prep time:

1. Mechanical prep time -- putting together stat blocks, spell lists, monster lists, and so on.

2. Creative prep time -- putting ideas together to generate a campaign, NPC concept, a scenario, or the idea behind a clever monster.

My objection to later editions of D&D is primarily that the shift seems away from #2 and toward #1. And I'm not so interested in #1. If I can throw down a short stat block and run my game, I'm much happier than if I have to create a comprehensive stat block with saves and skills and feats for the monster.

I spend loads of prep time on #2. And enjoy it! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Prep Time
PostPosted: Apr 23, 2012 9:50 am 
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Lord of the Regency Council
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I like this distinction between mechanical and creative prep time Fin. It really helps explain the point I was trying to make. Creative preparation for a game is almost a hobby on its own and one that many of us enjoy. Without it you run the risk of your games becoming mere combat simulations, unless you are good at improvising of course! Similarly, with games that require alot of mechanical preparation (huge stat blocks etc) you are left with less time for the creative stuff.

Of course, there was a time when I was young and had all the time in the world, so perhaps this doesnt matter so much when focusing on new generations of gamers. I do get worried though, when companies speak of coming up with new games where prep time is reduced. Hopefully they are talking about reducing the mechanical prep?

-Havard

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 Post subject: Re: Prep Time
PostPosted: Apr 23, 2012 8:18 pm 
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Landed Lord
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Exactly. While I enjoy reading new rules sets, fundamentally I don't want to spend too much brainpower trying to figure out how a tricky rules set works. I want to spend my time coming up with cool settings and adventures.

I've discarded many rules sets because they just seemed like too much work to figure out. :?

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