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James McMurray
When you're writing up new things fora game, what sort of information do you keep track of? Specifically for the follow stuff:

  • name
  • personality
  • interesting traits
  • secrets
  • plot hooks
  • stats
  • role in the game

  • What's in it
  • What's around it
  • Where it's at
  • map
  • key to map
  • interesting people there

  • entry points
  • exit points
  • complications
  • what happens if its ignored
  • what happens if the PCs fail
  • what happens if the PCs succeed
  • locations needed
  • people needed
  • pictures

  • description
  • stats / powers
  • crafting requirements
  • value
  • pic

Is there anything else you find yourself creating frequently? If so, what sorts of things do you track for it?
People: Name, Metarace, function, optional: interesting traits and secrets

Locations: Name, short description, city district, faction allegiance

Plots: Main event(s), central obstacles to overcome, involved factions

People: Some basic information is needed to maintain coherency. I´d dislike to change the race around between sessions or forget about personality quirks. Stats are not required IMO, level of competence is sufficient. The players won´t note the difference between 10-14 dice anyway, except MAYBE in prolonged combat with one enemy. That of cource doesn´t happen in SR.

Locations: Too much details = information overload. I let the players describe things as they want, up to the point of minor loot if they want.

Plots: I need Info on what happend behind the scenes, I need something for my players to do if they are uncreative. Usually they manage to come up with a plan that has enough problems on its own, so I do not waste too much time planning ahead.
Generally speaking, I don't. I keep things in my head. Lets the players go where they want, do what they want.

Same here.

Pretty much. I take the very occasional note about a recurring NPC, but even then I usually lose the note before I need it again.
James McMurray
QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
Generally speaking, I don't. I keep things in my head. Lets the players go where they want, do what they want.


I'd do the same if I had the memory for it. What sorts of things do you find are worth remembering?
I keep track of the plot, but loosely. For each run I prepare some details that I think I'll need if I have the time, like systems, opposition, etc.

I keep a copy of character sheets so that I know what they're capable of (generally).

I track contacts down to a general idea of their personality, quirks, what their goals and stuff are sometimes. I let players flesh out their own contacts if they want, so it's a bit like learning a part. smile.gif

Major NPCs get tracked as they relate to any given run or to the plot in general.

Locations, I make general notes to let me describe it on the fly, and I make note of anything super important that's to be found there.

Runs, it depends on what it is. If it's pregen, then I kinda follow the format laid out in MJLBB and then flesh it out. If it's part of the "main" game, then I'll have pretty copious notes depending on what's going on. If I'm winging it I just try and make notes as I go.

I've been doing this in Wikidpad, which is a stand alon wiki type program. Been pretty nice.

Crap. I need to prep for Saturday's game. smile.gif
Eryk the Red
For characters, at best I jot down some notes about their role in the run (what they know, what they're doing, etc.) and sometimes a simple physical description ("dark-skinned Korean human" or somesuch). I only fully stat out a character if I think it'll be important and I'm interested. (Usually only major antagonists, or prominent combatants.)

Locations get simple outlines, unless I decide to do a full writeup to put in my "Neo-Anarchist's Guide to Tacoma" (a shared document that my players can access and leave comments on in-character). A full writeup is a description of appearance and useful trivia, the name of the owner and a simple description of him. Sometimes there's shadowtalk with extra info.

The most I generally write of the plot is the goal (including the solution/location/whatever) and the amount the characters are getting paid (so I don't forget).

Items sometimes get basic stats. That's it. Often I don't even bother.

I run the game really loose. My players are too unpredictable to bother planning in extreme detail.
Pretty much the same as some of the "keep it in my head" folks. I run most everything on the fly. Even premade, my players seem to diverge so by about the 2nd or 3rd session, I have having to go on the fly as well.

I agree, my players have a tendency to be unpredictable, and I like to let them just do their own thing, regardless of how it might affect my initial goals for a run.

I sometimes will draw up a building layout or make notes on a set of nodes, but most of the time, I just have a certain level of difficulty in my head (which normally equates to dice pools) and just run with it. If I need details of equipment on a body, I pull those up quickly...

Same thing with NPCs...the major ones, I don't need notes on, because they are pretty "alive" in the game. Other ones, I focus more on giving them a personality than anything else...I don't stat out too much of anything.
I do a ton of prep before a game.

I keep on file printouts of building floor plans. I have compiled a list of locations with a short paragraph blurb about them. I am working on filling out a dossier list of NPCs and contacts to hand out to players if they need a quick contact at character generation.

The method to my madness follows a SWAT mission directive: Bring Order to Chaos. The prep work is designed not to structure the run in any way, but to structure my thoughts some and have resources on hand when the need comes up in the game. I like to think of my process for GMing one "informed decisions made rashly".

By working out a ton of detail about a wide variety of things before a run, I have a "gaming soup" with tons of abstract parts floating around in it that can be dragged and dropped into a scenario. I learned the trick from Fallout and Fallout 2 - they both center around 3 to 5 plot devices and then just have tons of auxiliary and supporting content that is fully fleshed out but just "there", waiting.

Thats pretty much what I keep track of.

I also have a handy spreadsheet that I use to track characters - it has a section specifically for LoneStar / corp security history. Get caught on video enough times and the wrong people will find you... Its also handy for keeping track of contact requests etc. I have not used this in a while, however.

So a list:

printouts of floor plans
NPCs / contacts statted with a blurb
locations with a blurb
grunts / mooks printed out

I read and commit to memory the structure of published missions
When running my own missions I tend to have two to three page sections for each of the major plot-objects and then a few pages of "extras", stuff in support of the main arc.

- der menkey

"Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter."
~ Ernest Hemingway
I prep NPCs and some basic plans, but I end up on the ropes 90% of the time regardless. For example, this weekend I gave a number of options for egress into a building, and they decided to cut a hole in the roof. Bully for them, but stuff like that makes too much prep-work up front a waste of time for me.
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