Warden-UK wrote:How do you hang an adventure together? Copious amounts of notes, wing it? Is there a certain formula you use?
This is somewhat akin to arriving on www.armourarchive.org
and asking "how do I make armour?" There's no one right answer, the answer will depend on what you're trying to achieve, and will also depend entirely on your own skills and weaknesses.
My own belief is that all good stories center around some kind of conflict. It might be a war, a family feud, love gone bad, an argument over mining rights, a long standing racial hatred, a struggle for wealth, a thirst for power, or any one of a million things. The fundamentals are always the same though.
A good story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. That doesn't mean railroading your players into the route or resolution you want. It does mean knowing when to wrap up an adventure and move on. Take a cue from the videogame too - there can be more than one outcome from any given quest, and it depends entirely on the choices the players make.
Beyond that, you need to find a style that fits you. If you're good at making ad-hoc speeches or can hold an audience easily, then you may find you can get away with winging it. However, it's never a bad idea to have notes - it's better to have prepared material and not need it than to have nothing and need it. Prepared notes can always be re-used and rehashed.
It's also handy to have NPCs sketched out in advance - nothing kills the mood more than you refering to some important NPC as "Lord Whatsisname" - your're supposed to know stuff like that when you're the GM. Give each NPC some sort of motivation too - this way you can consistently respond if s/he is placed in an unexpected situation by the players.
That's all I can think of for now. Someone should write a book on being a good GM