I’m not sure when it happened, but many years ago, I started to be come a ‘Game Prep’ aficionado. I think it was the time a local gamer running a Dragonlance Campaign produced a fully painted miniature for every single creature encountered in module, including a special ordered Takhisis (Chromatic Dragon, Tiamat, etc.) which had just come in from England.
How amazing, it seemed, to have every single figure, from adventurer to kobold to orc to dragon. I went out a week later and bought some Ral Partha minaitures, proceeded to paint them horribly with oil based paint, and realized that I would be middle aged before I could realize my dream of perfect prep.
Well that was almost 30 years ago, and while I’ve probably obtained about 1,000 miniatures, perfect prep remains a struggle, or perhaps better phrased as a question of degree.
A few of us started in to the Reign of Winter Adventure Path recently, and in looking through the mod (I’m running, not just cheating) I found a truly strange assortment of critters, largely from Bestiary 3. These are things that not only do I not own the miniature for the creature, but I’d probably have to modify a couple existing mini’s just to get close. While they often offer up the pawn set for use, it seems that Paizo has a knack for timing the release of the Pawns perfectly so as to avoid their potential use by players going through the module.
And frankly, and this is the deep and disturbed Ultimate Prep Geek in me, I’m a little dissatisfied with two dimensional pawns. It’s not perfect, it’s just getting by. That being said, I weigh my desires versus my natural laziness; the pawns, when they come out, will have to do.
There are a few things I discovered this week that make my Gaming-Prep brain excited, and I’ll share with you.
First, GOOGLE SITES – Kevin (Thorynn) sent this to me by accident when I was looking for a GM Prep site, and it is FRICKING AMAZING. You’ve got links for each character, character sheets, a file section, different boards for In Character and OOC chat, an Inventory Tracker, and calendaring function usable with Google Calendar. And it’s all free.
Now it’s not necessarily easy, but it gets quicker with time and it’s far superior to the usual google/yahoo group means of keeping up with game stuff.
Second – POSTERIZE with GD SOFTWARE’s EASY POSTER PRINTER – I had thought this would be awesome to use months ago, but hadn’t had a chance to test it. It’s free, fast, and easy to use. I ran a couple Reign of Winter pics through it, set the height and width to inches based on the squares on the map, and BLAM I had a full scale map for the players to explore and do battle on, all in full color and detail.
Finally, we have Savage Worlds’ blank GM Screen. That’s right. It’s a do-it-yourselfer, but perfectly customizable.
This is a collection of 3 binder covers built as one, but is surprisingly effective at letting you put the rules you really want where you need them. While I have little experience with Savage Worlds, the screen works well with their wide variety of settings. If you’re a Savage world’s fan, they’ve got multiple inserts free or cheap to download, so the prep is done with minimal effort. Perfect.
While prep is good in the end, it’s really only worth doing if you enjoy it (in some way). Otherwise, the game becomes an end in itself, and that’s no fun at all. Go ahead, use those pawns. I won’t tell if you won’t.