How many people here actually use Fronts for prep?

How many people here actually use Fronts for prep?

How many people here actually use Fronts for prep?

My style of prep is both similar and different – I tend to begin with a series of questions (Stakes), from that create some rough problems (Dangers), and generate a central timeline (Grim Portents). I do this for pretty much any system I run. It’s generally about 1 page of text.

I also generally sketch out a handful of locations (bulleted lists of Impressions/Tags/Aspects) and NPCs (rough description, motivation, purpose, etc).

What do you guys actually do?

13 thoughts on “How many people here actually use Fronts for prep?”

  1. One thing the book doesn’t do a great job of explaining is that the dangers in a front work better if they involve (are pointed at) the PCs directly. One way to to this is to leave dangers blank (or, be unafraid of replacing them). Once the PCs have engaged with the front in some way, add dangers that a) take into account the PCs actions and b) if possible, make the danger a personal danger to one or more PCs. (This is also helps with the “hard to point to the dangers of unresolved fronts that weren’t world ending horrors” problem, as it creates dangers that might be extremely important to the PCs, but not necessarily world shaking to anyone else.)

  2. Norbert G. Matausch I’d love to see an example relationship map you use. I’ve tried using them in the past and they don’t seem to work for me, which is why I end up using lists of actors with notes on their connections.

  3. Like Marshall, I’ll use some sort of starter (either an actual Dungeon Starter or just a blank dungeon map + loaded questions) for the first session (or 2 or 3, depending on how much is accomplished/established).

    Once we’ve established the major themes of the campaign world and the characters, I’ll start roughing out campaign fronts. I don’t usually get very detailed with these… big broad strokes like major threats and what they might be up to. Go back and visit as necessary.

    I definitely make up and use “adventure fronts,” complete with threats, dooms, grim portents, stakes, cast, custom moves as appropriate. I usually type them up in OneNote, then print and update by hand during play.

  4. I wait until after the first session, or longer. I wait until the fronts are clear in my mind before starting to write them down. If I’m having trouble fleshing out a danger or stake, I just leave it blank.

    I disagree with dangers being pointed at players. I’ve done that a few times when people want something from the NPC and it tends towards railroading. For example, for Grim Portents I would say that they are followed, then someone tries to steal the McGuffin from the PCs by stealth, then they just ambush the PCs, etc, etc. It works but it feels rough.

    Better to point the danger at the world but point the grim portents at the players. For a danger caused by a Necromancer it would be “the PCs are attacked by a small band of skeletons” not “Small bands of skeletons start roaming the land”

  5. I’ve recently given it a try and found it a good tool for my classic D&D campaign as well! 🙂 Some more thoughts, and a screenshot of what the prep could look like: – and my experience after running a test game:

    As for my classic D&D game, I just use the info of the fronts whenever players look undecided. I have a front called Order of Light. Players are undecided? Instead of just rolling on a random encounter table appropriate to the region when moving through the wilderness or a dungeon, I’ll look at the fronts, and pick the first escalation: They meet a recruiter for the order and learn that they are assembling an army to go and retrieve the Throne of Arden (an artifact the players have been looking for as well). It worked for both DW and B/X D&D. 🙂

  6. I try to write one danger for each player characters in the campaign front; something themed to them, related to them, something they’re personally invested in. It can be hectic having 5 or 6 dangers, but I like being able to choose to jostle and antagonize a PC who hasn’t been active in a while. I’ve been in too many games that focused on one or two PCs…

    Adventure fronts get made on the spot and touched up between sessions. For example, if someone indicates that the adventure should include missing children, that becomes a front.

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