I have made a checklist for session prep (Word version). I haven’t used it much yet, but my hope it is that will do two things for me:
- Remind me to check things I tend to do badly. E.g. I am bad at giving out any treasure at all, even in games that need it and have guidance about it
- Give me ideas to try when I’m happy with my basic prep but want to improve it more
Because there is so much of the latter, I’ve split it into two parts (levels 2 and 3), with the second part containing things that are less important, more advanced. They’re the kind of thing I’d spend time on for a published adventure, but usually wouldn’t for a single session.
This checklist is explicitly for me, and only contains things that I have problems with and things I don’t always think to do. You’ll notice level 1 is missing a lot of basic activities. This is because I find them easy and natural (or don’t give a fuck about them, so don’t do them).
This list is not meant to help a rank beginner do this well. They would probably want something different, something more basic. And, as usual for checklists and processes, it’s no substitute for expertise — it just gives you reminders to use the expertise you have.
Question for the crowd — Does anyone else have an analogous list, in that it’s specific to you, that it only includes things you don’t instinctively do? What’s on it? How do you organise it?
Related question — What do you tend to miss when doing session prep? What do you do to remind yourself?
One thought on “My session prep checklist”
NB “peach highlights” are things I’ve highlighted in my play notebook as “facts about the world with some future value”. Some of that is session prep that isn’t invalidated by the session; some of that is session notes that still have value afterwards.
The current pen I use for this is peach coloured.