“Refinement prep” is the final stage of game prep for an RPG — the part where you:

  • Give everything a once-over to see if there’s anything you missed, or still need to do.
  • Address any glaring holes in your game prep.
  • Look for things you could sex up a bit — not glaring holes, just little stuff.
  • Hone and polish the stuff you’ve already prepared — add some shading to a battlemap, find a prop for an NPC, etc.
  • Give everything one truly final once-over.

One of the problems I have with prep is that I tend to either procrastinate, which means I don’t get time for this important (and easily overlooked) stage of the process, or that I drill down to this stage on a couple of prep elements (maps, for example) but skip the stuff I really shouldn’t skip for all the other elements.

Refinement prep always seems like a luxury to me, but it shouldn’t be — two of the other GMs in my group always include this step, and it shows in the quality of their games. How important is refinement prep to you? Do you have an overall prep strategy that ensures you have enough time for this stage?

(I’m at GenCon from Wednesday, August 15th through Sunday, August 19th — two trips in a row makes for a busy month! As before, there will be a new post every day, but I won’t be able to respond to comments or reply to emails. I’ll be back with a full report next week — have a good time without me! — Martin