Content of the article: "And Knowing Is Half The Battle"
Hey there all you DMs. In light of some posts about improv and questions I’ve had in the past (especially with home brew campaigns.) I’ve realized something that may or may not be overtly obvious.
The more you flesh out your world to begin with the more you won’t necessarily have to improv later on. If you’re worried about making things up or the players going way off the rails (so to speak or even asking too many in depth questions) I’ve found something that works great. Even if things are a bit more open world: if I know the fundamentals of how my world works as a DM then I can make up the specific details easily.
For example: players started asking about a series of coastal cities along the continent called the Tradewinds Cities. I had already decided that this series of three cities were the major import/export cities for trade goods and shipping. Because of that, the city’s culture, appearance, and basic structure fell into place almost instantly as I described what each city was known for. I was able to give each place a distinct personality even just with a details made up off the top of my head.
Instead of panicking and not knowing anything, I had a base line to go off of that already gave character and a uniqueness to the world. This could consist of bullet points, few sentence write up, or even just a post-it-note of facts.
You are the foremost expert on your world so take time to flesh it out.
Figure out the basics (best if before the campaign starts or if not the immediate vicinity of the players) and just go through high profile leaders, major shops, type of place (city, town, small village) and any important plot hooks that can be thrown in if the players go too far off. I use a tone of real world examples in describing locations and places.
This way if you know your world then you can tell your players without having to make up EVERYTHING on the spot.
Hope I’m not beating a dead horse and that this is actually helpful ~
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