System agnostic, but I'm curious about what you DMs and STs do especially before settling in for D&D or a White Wolf kind of game. I'm used to running my games online, play-by-post, so prep is pretty different: You have no time crunch so you don't have to select the most useful stuff to have on hand, and there's no limit to how much you can have on hand anyway.
Now I'm trying to do more in-person gaming and I'm struggling to keep everything organized and ready to go when it's time to sit down at the table and play. I have an easier time with D&D kind of stuff (I've got my dry-erase markers and grid mat, I've got print-outs of my bad guys with their abilities, usually a notebook with maps and things like that prepared, miniatures or tokens, etc) but I run D&D games that are pretty dungeon-crawly. What's a good way to prepare for a session of a game like Exalted or Vampire, where keeping track of lots of people with competing motivations is key?
If you bring lots of reference materials, how do you keep from bogging down the game to actually use them? How do you organize your reference materials to cut down on that?
Thanks I appreciate your input!