without giving you a song-n-dance on why I love it, let me say I just DO!! If I did go into a long shpiel, i'd mention the genius&simplicity thing, but Scras once again said it first (and better) *sigh*
Fun read, lots of useful advice, and brought back many memories!
One thing I always stress is "give the players want they want". The key of course is to do this without them realizing it, and maybe even thinking the opposite--you're an evil GM out to get them. :)
For me, in this preparatory time-crunch scenario, the character creation bit is crucial. Listen to all the players, (stretch the process out if you have to). Pick up on every little tidbit of info your players share, as they ponder their characters and their places in the world. Use your GM-fu skills of psychology and perception, during this time. Start formulating ideas for every character's arc. Come up with potential (they don't all have to be used) scenes for every character. Mold the world around them. The game becomes easier for you. The campaign may be unfinished and your plot may be shaky or even non-existent, BUT, six hours later everyone had a great time! Go to Comment
The PCs come across a wild thicket of luscious looking blackberries. They eat the berries and become drunken fools. Later they find out that the berries were part of a fae garden and were intended for fae wine. In payment for stealing the berries, the mischievious fae make life inconvenient for the PCs. Horses are untied, water skins are drained, spare clothing is drug into the water, etc.