This is completely aside, and of no help to Jay for his Thanksgiving weekend of Harnic madness, but I wanted to talk about Jay's comment on the amount of prep work Ed did for his campaign. I obviously can't comment for Ed, but in my own lengthy Harn campaign (which was centered on the Kaldoran Succession Crisis), relaying it to others after the fact would make it sound brilliant and worthy of an extensive campign book or even a novel. But in reality, the week-to-week prep was very small, and things just kind of popped into place...okay, sometimes they needed a solid thump to adjust them properly.
So I'd say, from my experience, you *don't* need a lot of preparation for a long campaign. Just an idea of the major events is all that's needed, and then constant adjustment based on the actions of the players. For example, in my campaign the characters went off to Kanday for a while, ostensibly because they had been banished from the Kingdom of Kaldor for not-quite-treason. (The real reason they weren't executed was because it was a politically trumped up charge, and one of the characters was Scina, son and heir of Earl Troda Dariune...no-one's going to execute him any time soon.)
I had just a few major points in mind for the campaign:
[list=i][*]Players are servants/retainers of Scina Dariune (Troda's son and heir).
[*]King Miginath formally adopts Arlin Alsar (Scina's close friend) as his son and heir (oldest male of oldest male line, even though the line passes through a female). Alsar will have issues getting to the throne which the players help him with. Alsar will marry Enoriel Dariune (Troda's daughter) and die young, leaving a baby son.
[*]Heroes encounter a powerful amorvrin who will lead them on a frantic chase through the kingdom, ending at the death of Miginath in Caleme Cathedral during a solemn Laranian ritual of some kind. Can the heroes defeat the amorvrin?....
This is about all the prep work I did for the overall campaign, just three major ideas. Individual sessions may, or may not, have advanced the major story arc. Prep for individual sessions was done in the hour or so before the actual game (major points of the session, names & stats of NPCs, hooks and macguffins, etc.). And then wing it...
At least, that's how I did it.
So you don't need to spend a lot of time on a campaign. Looking back on a campaign that you and your players enjoyed, you will always use rose-tinted glasses.
It will seems better prepared and run that was actually the case. In my campaign, I fought through the problem of information overload that Harn can cause, and came to appreciate the detail for what *isn't* there. Those holes let me fill in things so it appeared to be a seamless whole. In reality, about a third of the information I imparted was my interpretation of the written material, and another third was pure invention (usually on the fly). Anyway, the point of the post is that descriptions of past campaigns will always make them sound better and more comprehensive than may actually have been the case. It certainly is in my own past campaign.