One Page Game Prep

I love poking around the Intert00bs and Google+ to find great new blog posts. And just when I thought I had seen it all with one page dungeons, hex crawls, villages, even rulesets... these guys open my eyes to One Page Game Prep/Adventures:

Blingdenstone Enhanced
Improved Information Presentation for Dungeon Masters and the Slumbering Ursine Dunes

Now, I've been doing prep and write-ups for game sessions since forever, but the thought of challenging myself to keeping it to one page, or at least as few of pages as possible. The most important information right there, and if I need to drill down, I can do so, either from the hex-map or dungeon key, or if I've got my tablet up and running, from the wiki/online documents.

So I did that for today's game. My players are going to go investigate why some trolls have been attacking Lord Winright's iron mines and making off with what seems to be scrap ore.

My OPGP (man, now "O.P.P." is on my brain... let me go fire some Naughty by Nature up...ahh...) anyway, my OPGP forced me to stay lean, mean and focused. Oddly enough, coming up with my encounter tables really went well... I could focus on the specific and have them ready to go. Instead of rolling dice and consulting tables, it's all there on this page, and focused on the adventure and the area. I don't need to check if there are 1d10 of this and 3d6 of that, I've already done that and it's on the page, ready to go for this session.

If the players don't get everything done, I've got no problem tossing it, or keeping what wasn't used for next time.

I can't exactly show the OPGP for this game, but I should do one in the future as an example. In the meantime, hit the links above - especially Blingdenstone to see how this could look.


  1. I agree, information in an adventure you're running should be DM-friendly. When I ran my own attempt at a megadungeon, I went and took a page from Gary Gygax (pun intended) and organzied my material in a binder so I could open it and have the level map on one side and the level key on the other.

  2. Well, it worked well yesterday, so no complaints. Barely had to crack open the big campaign binder for information.

  3. I think that we've all done that. Super prepped a game and then found that it was no good because you couldn't find anything! The question always is, just how little prep can we get away with and still be prepared. That right there is an art!

  4. @RipperX - I've grown the wiki and knowledgebase so much since 2009 that I've got a cheap tablet for tabletop use so I can reference them during the game.

  5. I'm glad you found those helpful. I love putting those little sheets together for when I'm running complex stuff. I find having them available makes it much easier for me to improve and keep interlinking stuff straight too.

  6. @Jeremy Murphy - teaching an old dog new tricks and all that.

    The thing that I've enjoyed about One-Page-Whatevers is that it forces you to strip away everything but the important stuff. For me, game table items need exactly that. The fluff is either already in my head, from prep, or somewhere easy to get to if needed.

  7. organzied my material in a binder so I could open it and have the level map on one side and the level key on the other

    Which now makes me wonder - why didn't TSR publish the modules like that? (A matter of printing cost, likely, but still - it would have been so much more easy to run)

  8. @Gary - I always got the impression that the holes for 3 ring binders implied that we should separate the pages and mix/match at will.

    I'm a fan of something I read on tenfootpole - Have the dungeon as a left page map, the one page key as the right page game-day reference, and the following pages serve as the details and reference if the DM needs to flip to them.

  9. Yeah, I find a reductionist/critical information approach is the most helpful for me because I have no problem doing on-the-fly color and details and soforth. Sitting down and running over exactly what I think I'll need mechanically and point-form to run one or more sessions is a very useful exercise, even if I don't go to the full length of making a prep sheet.

  10. Hey, given this comment, I thought you might be interested in this sheet:

    It's designed to use when moving groups of people through hostile terrain.

  11. Neat! I have the players track rations and such and I build up encounter tables based on the terrain. That was part of the adventure one pager.

  12. Just found my ridiculously titled post mentioned :) good to see you got some traction out of it.

    I'm actually trying to distil an adventure I'm putting together into exactly this - short, useable pages for DMs, because the more I dig through modules, the more I realize that they're designed for reading, not for running games.

    So ... let's try to make some D&D supplements that emphasize material for DMs to run games.

  13. You're welcome, Luka. I really enjoyed the idea!

    I'm going to take one of my examples and reword/rework it for a different sort of campaign - so that I don't give anything away to my players who read my blog :)


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