Thanks to everyone who participated in my prep experiment thread. I asked for questions, in hopes that would direct me towards interesting bits - the idea was that if Story Games or one of my groups were interested in asking a question, the answer would be interesting to the players, too.
The main result, however, was that I got a clearer picture of how to help other GMs (or at least, other GMs like me).
(Oh, D&D through Dresden through AW style campaign play implied)"Like me"
I can lay down a lot of material really quickly, when someone is asking for it. But I struggle with a blank page. Talking or responding short circuits my inner editor and some cool stuff pops out. So again, thanks to everyone who was playing around with me in that last thread.
I think a lot of people are actually like me on this, and find prep hard outside of a conversation."Help"
Not all prep is equal. Depending on how I prompt myself, or how others prompt me, I can easily end up writing inert facts about the world, like the lineage of so-and-so who passed down from that other guy who's dead. I might scribble away at the languages or religious symbols, and spend an hour on stuff that doesn't make me feel ready for game night.
I ran this experiment with two other groups outside of SG. All the questions I got *could* have been turned into player-facing data, with the right amount of effort. But the most helpful questions were ones that could ONLY be answered with something that the player characters could interact with directly. Guidance
Ask questions of your friend, the GM first and foremost about:
- Concrete things in the player characters' experience
- happening in the rolling NOW of the campaign world
- that will increase pressure on the player characters (but not always in the same way)
This guidance holds whether the GM is asking to flesh out a place, a person, a faction, and so on. Allies increase pressure by asking too much, being unreliable, showing up hurt.
You might say "Come on, Ry. That's just saying to help your friend the GM come up with threat moves and encounter ideas for their next session."