So I’m going to be running a game loosely based around the time period, technology, and politics of the Second Crusade. I’m a fairly experienced player in a variety of systems, but I’ve never attempted to prepare for a long term game until now. My question is this: how much preparation, both before the game as whole and before each session, is too much? Or, not enough?
My creative agenda is primarily Simulationist with a healthy dose of Narrativism thrown in there (definitions?). In non-Forgian terms, my intent is to create a rich setting in which my players can, well, play but which has stories enough of both epic and mundane natures (because, as humans, it’s the story set over grand landscape that makes a place great (ask Tolkien!)). My question is, of course, how to do this? For example, I’ve got maps with place names, mountains, and rivers, but I haven’t detailed every place I’ve named or drawn. I’ve got dots where little towns are, based on logical trade routes and whatnot, but I haven’t bothered to name them or list their inhabitants. Should I? Or, should I just make it up on the fly and as needed? How do you, as GMs, strike the balance between enough detail to make a setting authentic but not so much that it becomes cumbersome?
Thank you greatly!
(annotated bibliography in my journal, for the curious)