As I get ready to run my second 4e game session, I thought I would spend a little time talking about how I get ready for the game. Since I am running a module, rather than something I developed myself, I spent a fair amount of time rereading the adventure itself. I also reread the quickstart rules, as this was my first time actually using the 4e engine.
I then spent some time looking at the various reviews and remixes of the module. This probably isn't something I'd do for future adventures, but I wanted to be sure I was on my game, and I knew there were some big errors that needed some workaround.
There is a Printable DM Encounter Manager PDF that I found a while back. I printed out the second page for every encounter that I was going to run for the game, and filled it in with the various monsters, their hit points, bloodied value, and I pre-rolled their initiatives to save a little game time. Rather than doing each creature individually for initiative, I rolled once for each type. So all the minions moved at the same initiative, but it might not be at the same time as the brutes, or the skirmishers.
I have a fairly large collection of minis, but I am sorely lacking in Kobolds. Since I wanted to use minis rather than tokens, I opted to use the few kobolds I had, and goblins for the rest. I have lots of goblins. Some are D&D minis, some are heroquest minis, and some are from Lord of the Rings. More than enough to differentiate the different types of little guys that I needed to represent. I also pulled out the other minis I'd need, including characters, undead, etc. and I set them aside within easy reach.
The adventure comes with several poster maps, which I kept handy. However I didn't like the layout of the A3 encounter, and so I used a big sheet of poster paper to redraw that map closer to the way it was in the remix.
That about covers the prep I did for the adventure. As I'd said in my previous post, we ended up going further than I thought we would, so I did have to scramble a little bit, but I luckily had several extra DM Manager sheets handy, so it didn't slow us down too much.
For today's game, as we delve down into Sir Callibran's Keep I'll be using my new chessex battlemat. This means I'll be drawing as we go. I hope this doesn't slow us down too much. I also went through the dungeon and again filled out the necessary DM Manager sheets for the various encounters.
Lastly, I looked through the encounters at what treasure was offered, and where, and did a little tweaking to make it better fit my players, especially the magic items. With no cleric, a holy symbol doesn't do a whole lot of good for anyone. And a level 1 wand? Really?
So now I'm ready to play. I'll let you know how it goes!