I’m all about any tips that can help me prep for my games faster. This includes using anything I can get my hands on as tokens for monsters. This can be paper clips, bottle caps (per the link), wooden chits available at any hobby store, or some good old AD&D Battle System cardboard chits that you can scribble on. I’ve also seen pennies with small stickers on them with quickly drawn profiles of the monsters. Of course, if you have the bank to do it, there are a slew of pre-painted miniatures out there to use as well. There are a few more tips about prepping for games in the link, so go check them out!
I love city-based campaigns. Some of my best campaigns never left the city borders. Sure, sometimes, the party would go under the city, but they still didn’t actually travel outside the borders of the city. There are some special considerations about city encounters since any “bad guys” that escape may very well crop up again. This is usually not a concern with wilderness adventures because by the time the “bad guys” have licked their wounds, the party has moved on to greener pastures. There are some excellent bits of advice in the link to the role playing tips web site, so see what they have to say.
FTL travel, teleportation, flying mounts, super-sonic jets, high horsepower cars… These are all things that the players might be able to get their hands on and throw a kink in the chain of a story. There are pros and cons to allowing this to happen in your game, and lots of ways to handle it. Personally, I’m not a big fan of allowing “instant travel” unless that is what the game is based around. It just screws up too many things. However, it can be handled. Go see what Mr. Arcadian has to say on the matter.
Ahh… Using pre-published worlds. It’s a boon and a bane. If you have a group of players that are not familiar with the world, you have lots of reading to do to paint the full picture. If your players are familiar with the world, then… well… you have lots of reading ahead of you to get it right. I’ve enjoyed both methods of running the game. With the players being ignorant of the game, it frees me up to make it my own. To add my own flair and style. With the players being knowledgeable, I state up front that I may get some of the details wrong. If those missteps are going to affect how a player runs his or her character, then I let them speak up and correct me. It’s only fair.
Ambition. It’s what drives most PCs forward in their quests, especially in D&D. There’s a theme to most games. If that theme is missing, then something core is also missing from the game. With D&D, it’s always about the adventure, the desire to overcome seemingly impossible odds, explore the fantastic and drive forward to a greater goal. It’s a PCs ambition to excel that gets them through their adverse times.