Turning up unprepared to a game session is the adult version of saying, "The dog ate my homework."
Have you ever turned up to a gaming session unprepared? Whether you are a player or the GM, turning up unprepared is a major drag. Being unprepared can impact everyone's enjoyment of the game (including your own).
For example, I once had a GM who'd repeatedly utter the immortal phrase, "I've had no time to prepare" at the start of every gaming session. In another campaign a certain player would perpetually turn up late and blame his wife for delaying him or moving his gaming stuff. Neither behaviour was particularly conducive to a fun night. Being prepared is good. Being unprepared is bad.
Advantages of Being Prepared
There are several advantages to being prepared:
- You get more game time.
- The game time you have is better and more productive
- Your friends don't hate you for wasting their time.
- You don't look like an idiot.
As a player, being prepared means being able to answer "yes" to the following questions:
- Do you have your character?
- Do you understand your character? (This is particularly relevant if you have just gained access to new spells or abilities).
- Do you have your rulebooks?
- Do you have dice, pen, pencil and scrap paper?
- Do you have a character figure?
- Have you got snacks and drinks?
- Have you completed any adjustments to your character required for play? (Have you levelled up, purchased relevant equipment and so on?)
- Have you read any handouts or session summaries prepared by the GM?
An unprepared GM is even more devastating to a session than an unprepared player. A prepared GM should be able to answer "yes" to the following questions:
- Do you have the adventure?
- Have you sufficiently prepared the adventure?
- Do you have your rulebooks, campaign supplements and so on?
- Do you have supplemental information handy in case the party does something unpredictable?
- Have you sorted out any required monster figures?
- Do you have dice, pen, paper, pencil and scrap paper?
- Do you have mapping paper, a battle mat (and a way to clean it) and the relevant pens?
If you have problems making sure you are prepared for gaming session, consider putting together a gaming kit containing everything you need in a handy bag or box.
Do you have any other tips for being prepared for the game session? If you do, please share them in the comments below and remember you can download this – and every other advice article – for free at ragingswan.com/articles.