DM Prep Work Leading To Burnout: Help?


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    DM Prep Work Leading To Burnout: Help?

    Good Morning, All,

    As a GM/DM of D20 games in general, I've found that, as time goes on, DM Prepwork is a greater and greater burden, to the point where it has actually started causing me to experience DM Burnout. Now, I don't want to suffer this foul malady, so I'm trying to find ways to work around it. However, given the increasing complexity of the game through the sheer volume of character and rule options, and the increasing amount of material that one has to keep track of in order to keep up with the players, DM Prepwork has become overwhelming in many regards.

    Now, I could write my own simple gaming system (and have even done some work in that direction), but the problem with not playing D&D v3.5 is that you lose a lot of the potential gamers who don't want to play anything but D&D v3.5. Therefore, trying another gaming system is not likely to be an option for me. Simply put, I like having a greater variety of gamers to choose from, as it's a lot easier to build a compatible gaming group if you are choosing from fifty potentials rather than choosing from five potentials.

    So, here comes the big question: Aside from suggesting that I play something other than D&D v3.5, because that's not what I want to do, what suggestions do you have about making the DM's life easier for prepping for a v3.5 game, and for removing/preventing DM Burnout?

    Thanks In Advance For Your Time,
    Flynn
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    Do like our main DM.
    Take a few months off to be a player.
    Let the others try a few one shots. Never know one might take off for you and become a full fledge campaign in itself.
    It also allows you to try new concepts for characters. Such as the main DM is a player in my game now where he is trying out the Ultimate Magus for me. It's something I want to try to play, so he is testing it.
    Bill
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    A Story Hour set in Valus by Funeris
    http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=97346

    Funeris's Second Story Hour (where he is the DM).
    http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=130328

    My Story Hour Set in Valus 20 years after Funeris's Valus SH.
    http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=133211

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    What parts in particular are taking the time?

    In my case, it was statting up NPCs - so now I don't do it. Last session involved a fight against a group of 20th level NPCs. Rather than stat them up "properly", I picked their ACs, ability bonuses, hp etc. Spellcasters were assumed to have a "decent" spell selection and I just chose an appropriate spell from the PHB for the character to cast each round.

    I also found awarding XP "by the book" was a lot of effort for very little reward, so now I use the system whereby the characters level each time an appropriate goal is achieved.
    Embrace the chaos!

    Pathfinder RPG (no hearts were broken in the making of this product)

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    You can find different kinds of NPC stats here:

    http://d20npcs.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheYeti1775
    Do like our main DM.
    Take a few months off to be a player.
    Just what I have decided to do after running my 3.5 campaign for a little over 3 years (around 70 sessions I think). I found I was not particularly enjoying being GM and, in my opinion, the game was beginning to suffer as a result.

    Enjoy playing for a few months while your creative juices are replenished.
    Be pure, be vigilant, BEHAVE!

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    Quote Originally Posted by robberbaron
    Just what I have decided to do after running my 3.5 campaign for a little over 3 years (around 70 sessions I think). I found I was not particularly enjoying being GM and, in my opinion, the game was beginning to suffer as a result.

    Enjoy playing for a few months while your creative juices are replenished.
    That works if there is anyone else in the group who is interested in DM'ing. Often that is not the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calico_Jack73
    That works if there is anyone else in the group who is interested in DM'ing. Often that is not the case.
    Since the release of of 3E, I've run an 81 session campaign (Lvl 1-19), a 143 session campaign (Lvl 2-24), 14 mini-campaign sessions (various), a 42 session short campaign (Lvl 1-8) and am now in session 63 of the current campaign (Lvl 4-16). In addition, I've run a monthly Traveller T20 campaign for the last few years, to a total of 42 sessions of T20. Not counting One Shots and Con Games, that's 385 sessions over the last six and a half years.

    Yeah, it might be time to take a break for a while, but I fear that I will lose my group if I do so. Hmmm.... I will have to think about it. In the long run, I'm sure I can find gamers again, as I've had periods where I've had waiting lists to get into the game.

    There are some great suggestions on minimizing prep time, too. Thanks, guys!

    Please continue with your excellent suggestions,
    Flynn
    In Like Flynn: http://flynnwd.blogspot.com/

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    I find it funny, though typical, that a thread that states clearly 'I don't want an alterntive system to 3.5' is full of responses giving just that.


    Anyway, as many have indicated, it IS possible to run 3.5 with limited prep commitment. I'd like to also add another thing I have come across recently, though it's limited to only certain audiences.

    Recently I purchased an Motion Computing LE 1600 pure-tablet computer (no keyboard attached). I have found by getting my hands on pretty much every relevant PDF, and combining that with the inherit free-form writing abilities of the tablet, I have cut out a huge portion of prep time. For example, I can copy a monster block out of the Monster Manual and paste it into my notes, then I can write directly on top of the monster block with any variations/changes I want to do. I expand on it a little more here: http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=195155 .

    I realize not everyone can drop $1000 on a tablet PC, but I think it might be a forerunner of how games are played.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calico_Jack73
    That works if there is anyone else in the group who is interested in DM'ing. Often that is not the case.
    Then the affected GMs have more problems than burning out. Join another group.

    I can't imagine wanting to be in a group where I was the only one willing to get off my bum and run a game. Are there really groups where all but one of them is a leech?

    I was posting the story hour for my campaign for a while but got to the point where I was running the game 3 out of 4 Sundays, with 6 hours of tape to transcribe for each. Time came when I was 5 sessions behind and I chose to stop, rather than screw up my life.
    Hardly anyone read the damn thing anyway so no real loss.
    Last edited by robberbaron; Friday, 29th June, 2007 at 08:56 AM.
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    I wish I could help you, but when I was asking myself this same question the answer told me to find a dfferent system (for which I ended up going with True20). For what it's worth, I was afraid I'd lose some players because they ALWAYS play D&D (and nothing but), but to my astonishment they all went out and bought True20 books themselves!

    I guess if the players are friends and if the enjoy your DMing style they may surprise you and give other things a try!

    It only surprised me up until around 1977, ... I had thought we were going to have a considerable audience of gamers and science fiction and fantasy fans. I thought easily with those we'd have 50,000 or more [buyers], but when people began to write me [with questions] about what fantasy books to read, and I saw the wide range of both younger and older people who were attracted to the game, I understood that it was reaching a deeper chord, something deep within us. E. Gary Gygax (July 27, 1938 March 4, 2008)

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