Let’s face it we’re all busy. Real life has the annoying habit of being, well real. We need to deal with it and as a Dungeon Master sometimes that means our prep time for our weekly D&D sessions has to take a back seat. So what do you do when work, school, family, video games or any number of other things distract you from preparing your gaming session?
There are a number of solutions and while I won’t promise to cover anywhere near all of them, here are some options for smashing a game together on short notice.
The best of us do it. When push comes to shove a good DM will just fake it. If you’ve been DMing for a long time this is significantly easier to do than if you’ve just jumped into the DM hot seat. Pull on previous experience, encounters, maps, you name it. Add some new names to the locales and you’ve got a gaming session put together. Remember that the best DMs are lazy DMs so don’t sweat it too much.
Depending on where you are in your campaign you can always drop a Dungeon Delve of the appropriate level in and just run that for the evening. Your players might not even notice the difference (mine haven’t).
I know it’s the Boy Scout motto, but it’s got some real juice to it. If you’re running a long-term campaign, then most likely you know what is supposed to happen anyway even if you haven’t plotted out the actual encounters. If this is the case then please refer back up to Fake It.
Know When to Call It
If you play with a regular group of players don’t be afraid to announce that you’ll be playing something else that night. Better not to play then put in a lack-luster effort that sours the mood of the campaign. There is nothing wrong with playing Munchkin, Illuminati, Guitar Hero or Rock Band in lieu of your regular game. Just don’t make a habit of it. Of course if you do want to make a habit of it, then schedule it for a different night.
What are your strategies for dealing with last minute game prep? Do you fake it or curl up into a ball and cry like an elf? We want to hear what you do when your proverbial DM back is up against the wall and the clock is ticking.