To the miniature and terrain-crafting DMs out there, when you are preparing materials for a big convention game you are scheduled to run, do you also tend to only have your best ideas a few days before you have to run it? That's what's happening to me right now. I'm planning on running a Back to the Future-themed rpg at ScanCon in a week and a half, however while working on it this weekend I decided to change the whole thing to something more awesome than I originally had in mind. A grand idea struck me like a bolt of lighting and now everything I've prepared so far feels so lackluster. Unfortunately, that doesn't leave me the time to paint miniatures/build terrain for this new game idea for all the things I want to do.
Damn you Creativity Juice! Why do you only act as Epic Muse at the last minute?!
So here's the question: Do I go back to the storyline I had planned originally and ignore my new grand (and much better) ideas, so then I'll at least have the miniatures and bits ready? Or do I dive into the more epic and exciting plot line I've crafted this weekend, and consider actually playing *shudder*...without miniatures and terrain? Do my game ideas even work without miniatures and terrain? I really don't know. I've relied so heavily on carefully building encounter sets and tables for the last many years of gaming that I can't be sure whether I'm actually a good dungeon master, or just a really good dungeon-preparer. Its certainly easier to seem like a great DM when you can actually place the zombie T-rex on your perfectly-manicured alien jungle table, regardless of how long a particular combat may drag out.
Unfortunately due to my work and weekend-commitment schedule this next week-and-a-half, there's just no way I'll have time to pull out my crafting table and get the things I would want to use built and painted in time for the 'Con (not to mention I'm not even sure I can obtain the appropriate minis in time). So it looks like I'm going to have to risk doing this game old-school, and not have miniatures and environments built for every scene.
I know its possible, as I recall that some of the best games I've played in the past haven't used any miniatures, and barely any maps other than scrawled-on notebook paper. I'll just have to try to remember what those DMs did and do my best to emulate them. But either way, wish me luck!