DM Prep Work Leading To Burnout: Help? - Page 4





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  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Flynn
    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


    Make the players really make their character: background, names, places...conflic prior to the game. Use the phrase "what do you do" alot, let the players pick and chose. You will find that when the players are able to move in the world, the world grows twice as fast. You will be forced to do alot of things on the spot, but, if you can control it, you will find that at the end of the night, you will have plenty of things for the next game to pull upon. And that number only grows as the games become more indepth. What is also good, is when players play off each other. I've found that a fun bit of plot line is to somehow put the players' goals against each other. Not in a combative way, but a political or personal gaining stort of way. Let them play that out to the point that they both know what's going on, then once the talk about it...you might find that the game's taken a totally differnt path.

    Another thing....don't let the players stay on the heals of the enemy. Make it a chase, or rather a long track. Use real forms of travel: ships, boats....horses. And, while the players are after said foe, make them come across other minor plots that might be interesting. This way, if they happen to get involved with one of them, by the time they get back to the real plot...you would've had enough time to reset the villian in another part of the world.

    Remember, even if your players dont follow the man villian, he still has his own motives. And, what if he finds out that he's being followed?

    Also, another idea. Pull from movies and books. Not entire stories, but minor plots that go on. use them to weave into your story. Ofcourse change the names and the setting, but the core fiber can inhance and easily extend your plot, and like I said, let the players go where they wish.

    "So, what do you do?" THis line has put my game some times two hours out of the way, and it was worth it.

    later.

 

  • #32
    Really, the best thing to do is take a couple months off. I suffered from burnout BAD. I just couldn't get psyched to run the game and it became pretty weak. Horrible actually. So I just stopped playing for a few months, then started again as a player. I'm DMing again, and though it sounds lame and cliche, I really am running a better game than ever. Maybe you don't need to stop entirely, but sometimes a break from being in charge, and just playing is what you need.
    I love this game more than I love taffy. And I'm a man who enjoys his taffy.

    Hmmmmm... (chews) Oh, that's good.

  • #33
    Given the massive amount of premade adventures out there, picking up one that fits what you want is a simple matter of shopping. Run a couple of modules in a row to build up a nice sweet lead in time to leisurely design your own adventures.
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

  • #34
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    I'll chip in with the agreement on using published adventures. Not only Dungeon (get it while it lasts! Mind you, the new incarnation seems quite usable based upon Hollow's Last Hope) but the various 3rd party stuff is pretty neat.

    It's been my experience that once you've run through a couple of adventures the mess that the PCs get themselves into spawns new directions organically. Something like the Goodman DCC series (which have pretty loose and open hooks) can easily be adapted. PCs got themselves cursed last adventure? Well, it just so happens that they hear about this magical spring that might cure them, etc.

    Don't forget to mine the map-a-week from Wizards. And The Forge Studios have some lovely stuff (even if the English is a little idiosyncratic).

    For pre-prepped bad guys, I may as well pimp my own product , The Lazy GM (see sig). Goblinoids is the first, we've Reptilians on the way (for kobolds, lizardfolk and troglodytes) plus also in the works is a 'book of treasure maps' kind of affair - possibly called the Naked Dungeon. Maps, clues, settings, hooks without the critters.
    New from The Lazy GM: Freaks and Horrors. Pre-gen Pathfinder stats for forty monsters, classic and bizarre.
    The Lazy GM Series. Pre-generated monster stats for the discerning adventurer.
    The World of Conclave. Innovative (and free) webworld for d20.
    White Dwarf: The First 100 Issues
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    I think one of the most underrated elements of using published modules, especially something like Dungeon, is just stealing the parts you like. Use a dungeon, keep it mostly the same but change the evil cult to one that fits your game, create a new villian to replace the stock one in the dungeon, develop a plothook and let the players at it. Not only will the prep work have been mostly done for you, but you avoid the big trap of published material, that of it not feeling organic to your campaign.

  • #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Erithtotl
    I think one of the most underrated elements of using published modules, especially something like Dungeon, is just stealing the parts you like. Use a dungeon, keep it mostly the same but change the evil cult to one that fits your game, create a new villian to replace the stock one in the dungeon, develop a plothook and let the players at it. Not only will the prep work have been mostly done for you, but you avoid the big trap of published material, that of it not feeling organic to your campaign.
    True 'dat.

    When my sub to Dungeon runs out, I'll have 24 issues of Dungeon. That's roughly 2000 pages of adventures. Figure at least one stat block every 3 pages, and I've got 700 ish stat blocks for advanced and non-core creatures in every range of CR. Never mind the bazillion magic items, traps, maps and other goodies as well.

    Prep work? What prep work?
    The rules don't give the DM their authority. The consent of the players does. - Mallus

  • #37

    My take

    Yeah, I myself gave up on D20 for this reason, but here is what staved it off for a while. (I went to True20 - which has a free download of the PDF rules tomorrow (June 29th) at Greenronin.com. Its really, really, REALLY easy for a D20 player to learn, and GM prep is far, far less).

    NPC Designer - godsend of a program.
    Steal Npc's and tweak to fit.
    Limit what you use.
    Use pregen modules for what you can. They are great fun to read. I use them for my True20 stuff now. Modify them so that they fit.
    Use some of these computer clipping programs to do your campaign notes in. I'm on the Mac so I can't really suggest anything.
    Have your characters stat out some stuff. Say - next time you come, bring me a file with a 15th level NPC type thief stated out.
    Run some low level "weird" one shots. Have the players be 5th level wasp riding savages, repelling an exploring ship from a "civilized" nation.
    Be a player for a bit.

    Wing it.

    Swap out some one shots - in new systems. Mountain Witch is a great one shot - and its self contained.

  • #38
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    Ignore IamTheTest
    Maybe instead of running a different system you could run a lower level campaign? Run a module? Good Luck.

  • #39

    My take

    Now how did I manage a doublepost with a message in between them? Interesting.
    Last edited by The_Gut; Thursday, 28th June, 2007 at 04:19 PM. Reason: double post

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flynn
    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?
    I'm sorry but 3.5 isn't designed to be "Easy" to prep. Configurability breeds Complexity. The fact that improvement in the game depends on combinations of skills and feats requires that almost every NPC of note be created just like a PC.

    You haven't specifically stated what you spend the most time on in the prep phase so it is hard to give specific advice.

    You say that your group won't play another game. Not to promote one game over another, try this... ask them if they will give Castles & Crusades a shot and run them through a D&D module that they are familiar with. C&C easily adapts to D&D adventures to the point that you can use the module as written. If they like it then great, if not you can switch back to D&D. In my personal experience C&C requires a fraction of the prep time of D&D but still provides the D&D feel. I won't re-write the C&C rules here but I highly recommend checking it out even if only to look for ways to integrate some of the C&C techniques into D&D, specifically for statting out NPCs.

    In my humble experience most players who truly like D&D like it for the tactical wargame element. Let's face it, D&D isn't much of a role-playing game when the vast majority of feats and PrCs are all about making your character more combat effective. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a fan of tactical combat... it is an important part of the rules. My suggestion, if this is the case with your group, is to take a break from D&D and get together for a couple sessions of Battletech or something like that. Warhammer Fantasy and 40K both require too much of an investment in cash to do a quick "pick-up" game but Battletech, Starfleet Battles, and Renegade Legion were always good alternatives for an "off" night.

    I'm not trolling here or trying to start a flamewar... just personal observations from my years of gaming.
    Last edited by Calico_Jack73; Thursday, 28th June, 2007 at 04:35 PM.

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