Just read an interesting article on prepping for GMing roleplaying sessions: Prep-Lite Manifesto- The Template
I know that I try and prep too much and can veer towards the railroady if not careful. Might try following this template for my next session – particularly useful as I’m using FATE/DFRPG which lends itself to this with its aspects.
Have recently also been using 3×5″ index cards a lot in prepping and running games, specifically for NPCs although I may extend that to locations too. Before a session I prepare one for each major NPC – a name at the top, and a few introductory lines describing them, bullet points really. As the game goes on, I write down facts that are discovered (or improvised as played), and encourage players to write their PCs interactions with them on the cards too. This helps keep track of these aspects, and allows me to grow and develop them as NPCs in and between sessions. I also make a few more generic NPC cards too – for example a set of standard knights in Pendragon. These characters, I’m discovering, have a habit of coming to life and developing surprising roles as we play.
As a preacher, this concept of a template is an interesting one too, is there something in this idea that can help me make my sermon prep more effective too, focussing on the important and leaving the unimportant to one side etc. I’ll come back to that sometime!