The GM/DM Gig: Preparation and Improvisation

Playing the role of GM/DM feels very much like playing live music. I have to put in the time practicing--whether it is bass, guitar, or mandolin. Scales, runs, chords, melodies and grooves. Plus working on actual songs. Sometimes fun. Sometimes toil and grunt work. That is the prep work.

The payoff is the live performance with other musicians. Being able to play off my bandmates--improvising-- while performing a song for the audience. Pure gold. But improvising, the making-it-up-as-we-go, only works when I have put in the hours of prep.

That is how it is for me when I am running a gaming session. How does it all work for you when you are in the GM/DM seat?


  1. My hours of prep consist mostly of thinking about my campaign world... I write what I think I won't remember when play starts, and I try to document everything after each game.

    I'd be a much better DM if I had a secretary!

  2. @Dave: Sounds like we operate along the same lines. I have a spiral bound notebook that I use to jot down notes. I do most of my writing in it when I am traveling for work. I do write up session notes for myself and the players.