161 – How to Quickly Prep a DnD Campaign

Bit of a weird ep this time. Daniel had less than a week’s notice to run a game for some youngsters, half of whom hadn’t really played an RPG before. 

Daniel decided to make this a challenge run: create a new campaign and new vanilla D&D 5e setting from scratch in just a few nights. The materials and tools he used to do that are all down in the Links section. 

However, since we were recording offsite, we ran into some technical difficulties, resulting in only the first bit of the session’s being recorded (and its sounding like we’re in a cave). Daniel supplies the rest of the ep in commentary.

Daniel will likely run this campaign again, and, to that end, will revise the materials you’ll find linked below, replacing randomly generated results with bespoke items, replacing random internet images with hand drawn ones, etc. 

Patrons will get this revised material; but, with a little thought, you can probably run a game tonight by printing out the alpha material and hanging loose.


How to Print the Booklets

You’re likely going to have to fiddle a lot. You definitely, under page setup, want to select “booklet print” so that it knows how to arrange the pages. Beyond that, and you’re best off googling your particular issue.

How to Run the Game from This Stuff

If you download everything in the Google Drive folder, you should be good to go if you:

  1. Print all the maps
  2. Print the booklets appropriately (see above)
  3. Pull up my Chartopia Collection for the campaign on your phone
  4. Check the links section above just in case

You’ll have to improvise some things, but it’s certainly enough for Daniel to get several sessions out of, even without cleanup and revision.

How Daniel Made the Booklets

Once you get a hang of it, it’s not difficult to paste your notes into booklet form.

  • Used Word
  • SHIFT + CTRL + 8(*) to turn on formatting visbility (e.g., page breaks)
  • CTRL + ENTER to force a page break
  • Pages in multiples of 4
  • Reserve page 1 & 2 for cover and inside front cover, next-to-last & last for inside back cover and back cover.

Daniel tried doing it in Google Docs for max portability, but it seems to lack some of the essential ease of use features that Word has.

Make a Search Check

patreon: https://patreon.com/ggnore
podcast: gg no re @ itunes
twitter: https://twitter.com/ggnorecast
anchor: https://anchor.fm/ggnore


Deep Carbon Observatory Annotations

Per the request of Erin in the comments, here are some examples of the kind of the marginal minimaps and annotations I was making in my prep to run Deep Carbon Observatory.

Also, you should use Claytonian’s version of the dungeon map, which I unfortunately didn’t have access to at the time: http://killitwithfirerpg.blogspot.jp/2017/07/deep-carbon-observatory-map-fan-map.html.

How to Prep for running Deep Carbon Observatory

how i prepped for deep carbon observatory


Deep Carbon Observatory is a great module, but it’s missing an important component. The content is fresh and interesting and not the same “there’s a cult and you have to stop it” thing you always see in WotC’s stuff. It’s got it’s own thing going. It treats you like an adult.

20170711 Update: added pictures of minimaps and annotations. Linked to Claytonian’s version of the dungeon map.


The UX needs work. (But, really, that’s unremarkable. Most modules suffer from the same flaw and require the same work to deal with.)

I’m going to talk about how I prepped for running DCO, but this should be applicable to running pretty much any other module that’s not engineered to be run on the first read. Continue reading