The Lunchtime Game Master’s Toolkit

RPG Blog Carnival logoWhen some co-workers and I decided to try our hand at a lunch-time role-playing campaign, I knew that game prep was going to be critical to making it work. But not the sort of game prep I normally did; this was all about the physical game prep.

We’re playing The Day After Ragnarok using the Savage Worlds rules, and thanks to Ken Hite’s numerous adventure generation tables, the scenarios practically write themselves. No, the part the essential part of making this campaign work was making sure I knew where my towel was.

Dice. Initiative cards. A battle map. Miniatures. I have all of this stuff in my game room … but we’re not playing there. We’re in an under-ventilated, odd-smelling basement conference room whose only virtues are privacy, a table, and a dry erase board.

My solution was to bring my game room with me … or at least the pieces I needed. I dug out an old Batman lunchbox (which had held plastic HeroQuest miniatures during my Friday group’s D&D days). I then gathered everything I’d need for the game:

  • Monsters/generic NPCs minis for the adventure
  • Character-specific minis for the PCs
  • A set of dice, with an extra d6 for the Wild Die
  • My Chessex Roman Numeral d12s, which I use as placeholders/counters
  • A stack of poker chips for bennies
  • Red gaming stones for wound tokens
  • Dry erase markers
  • My deck of over sized Savage Worlds playing cards
  • Index cards
  • A small spiral-bound notebook
  • Short pencils
  • A 3′ tape measure

All of the dice, minis, chips and tokens went into ziplock bags, which in turn were packed into the lunchbox. So did the rest of the supplies, making it a dense little package, but one that has almost everything I need to run the game. The other essentials — my Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition rule book, The Day After Ragnarok campaign guide and a small RPGA battle map — go into my messenger bag. My game notes are either on the spiral-bound notebook or my laptop; both go in the messenger bag.

I can setup and breakdown the gaming kit in about five minutes, which is essential when you’ve only got 60 to play with. It’s worked out well — since I leave the kit at work, I never scramble for supplies and always arrive with everything I need. Hell, the hardest part of the game is actually remembering to bring my lunch.

There is some room for improvement. I’d like to add another set of dice to the kit to cover for players who might forget theirs and I want to write-up some index cards with PC stats on them. The battle map is a little awkward — I have to roll it and then fold it in half to fit it in my messenger bag. I’m thinking of getting one of Paizo’s Flip Maps instead, which fold down to a more convenient (and flat) 8×10 rectangle. I’d also like to upgrade the lunch box; Batman’s cool, but The Empire Strikes back is so much cooler…

This article is part of the “Preparation – Everything or Nothing?” RPG Blog Carnival topic being hosted by Fame & Fortune.

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