The only system I currently run or play is Savage Worlds, and when I am preparing to run a game, I tend to go very light on the preparation.
The first thing that I do is work out the basic idea for the session. It could be something as simple as get to the site where a delivery team was ambushed, pick up the package and finish the delivery (which is something that I used for an Interface Zero 2.0 game session) and then add in some twists or complications.
I wish I knew what triggered inspiration for me, but it is just random stuff that I see, read about, or dream.
The one thing that I never do is prep stats for any Extras. I mostly just use one of the following three options:
- If it is something that they know, but are not particularly skilled, or if they are otherwise below average then I use the d4.
- If they have an average level of competence, then they get a d6.
- If they are above average, a professional, or in some other way exceptional, they they get a d8.
All of this means that an extra’s Parry and Toughness values are either a 4, 5, or 6. Unless I need to add some kind of armor or other special ability. Also in general I set the damage from attacks to 2d6 for ranged, and 1d6 + my assessment of their strength according to the previous list.
If I ever run a game that gets beyond Seasoned, I might start increasing these values, but to date that has never been an issue.