DM Prep Work Leading To Burnout: Help? - Page 7


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  1. #61
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    The best idea would probably be to just take a break. Nothing gets your imagination revving like not using it. And it would surprise me if no one wanted to DM. Just about every one of my players started a campaign.

    But if you aren't that lucky then you might want to try a simple version of DnD where you limit levels to 10 or what have you and then just add some feats or skills every couple levels. Theres a thread about that somewhere around here and it looks like it would work. That would save you a lot of the hassle of the higher level campaigns.

    If THAT doesn't work then fudge. Fudge like your life depends on it. Make up feats if you have to and just give yourself a decent approximation of a stat block. Borrow and resuse like mad.

    Anyway whatever you do good luck man and I hope you find something to relight your fires.

 

  • #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bloosquig
    you might want to try a simple version of DnD where you limit levels to 10 or what have you and then just add some feats or skills every couple levels. Theres a thread about that somewhere around here and it looks like it would work. That would save you a lot of the hassle of the higher level campaigns.
    E6 by rycanada has a cap at level 6.

  • #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith Form
    I tried the eTools route to help but man, that program is utterly unreliable.
    What kinds of problems have you run into? I've found E-Tools to be pretty decent in this regard, and the few things that I run into issues with (not the right number of feats, incorrect class skills) can be corrected within the program.

    I use E-Tools extensively to create NPC's and reuse the basic ones. I've got some Fr1/Rog1 stat blocks that I've used for pirates, bandits, urban thugs, etc. After a while you build up a repository of NPC's and this can speed up things immensely.
    "I hurt Firewing." is not something a huge number of people can say. "He dropped a parking garage on me," on the other hand, a lot of people can say. -Kazan, my Champions GM.

  • #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Charlemagne
    What kinds of problems have you run into? I've found E-Tools to be pretty decent in this regard, and the few things that I run into issues with (not the right number of feats, incorrect class skills) can be corrected within the program.

    I use E-Tools extensively to create NPC's and reuse the basic ones. I've got some Fr1/Rog1 stat blocks that I've used for pirates, bandits, urban thugs, etc. After a while you build up a repository of NPC's and this can speed up things immensely.
    My biggest adversary in all of this is ultimately Time. I just don't have enough time in the day to do the prep work the way I feel it should. Once I finish with work, family, church, etc., I find that I have little motivation to spend much time on prepping for the game (and even when I do, it's not enough). Then I get stressed about it, and that leads to this general malaise that has swept over me of late.

    So, essentially, I've been winging it for months, and I'm somewhat decent at it, but I fear that the general quality of my game has suffered for my lack of preparation. Now, it's just not as rewarding as it once was. I have a lot of pride in my accomplishments as a DM/GM, but the Burnout is taking that away.

    Basically, here are the things that stand out to me in the advice that's been given thus far:

    1. Take a break! I didn't realize that I'd been running so non-stop for the last nearly seven years until I did the numbers in my last post yesterday. Yeah, taking a break is sounding more and more like a good idea.

    2. There's an excellent article on building a GM's Notebook by Nightshade here on ENWorld, that has a lot of great advice for prepping in a way that makes the GM's life easier in the long run. When I feel ready to run again, I'll definitely build on that.

    3. Fake it when needed. There's some great NPC matrices that people have created that allow this kind of thing, and I seem to recall there's one for monsters, too. Inspired no doubt by Spycraft's NPC system, it definitely gives me something to work with when I just don't have time.

    4. Don't do too much prep. Use general outlines and cut-and-paste where possible. Steal stat blocks, etc., liberally from other sources.

    5. Use published modules. Change the names and details to protect the innocent, if necessary, but let it save me work rather than create more work.

    6. Consider trying an Adventure Path or a huge module of some sort as a change of pace, where the great majority of the work is already done for me.

    7. When I do play D&D again, use the core books only, and only introduce other elements as needed, so long as they do not add extra work for me.

    Please feel free to keep contributing. I'm sure there's more that can help me, and hopefully help others along the way.

    Thanks To All,
    Flynn
    In Like Flynn: http://flynnwd.blogspot.com/

  • #65
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    All those are good ideas. I'm not sure that using a different system as suggested by some contra to your original request is going to save you time anyway. You'll be needing to learn it anew, if it's something radically different such as GURPS or RuneQuest. If it's another d20 system then you aren't going to save prep time by the nature of the beast.

    After taking a break for a week or so, I'd strongly suggest not worrying overmuch about accurate NPC stats. You're not writing for Dungeon after all, no need to be precise. There's little real mechanical difference between an Orc, a Hobgoblin or any other 1st level Warrior humanoid when it comes down to it, not so your players would notice overmuch.

    One other thing you could try, instead of core rules but similar - use a limited ruleset but run it in a different and funky setting - something Planescape or Spelljammer-esque. That's not going to cut down on prep time per se, but it might fire you up a bit (obviously pick something that *is* going to fire you up). A change as good as a rest and all that...
    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.
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  • #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Simon
    If it's another d20 system then you aren't going to save prep time by the nature of the beast.
    Well, True20 at least will save prep time. Many characters for it you can prep in your head. Today (the 29th) you can download the core rulebook for free at www.greenronin.com. Take a look at it, the errata, and the free introductory module. So yeah, you save prep.

    One of those adventure paths is looking good, actually. I'm debating one for a true20 campaign myself. I was thinking of the Age of Worms, just based on the first module (whispering cairn) which is one of the BEST modules I've ever read. BUT, I haven't read anything of Savage Tides, however, I understand it has Aboleth.... I'm a sucker for Aboleth (and Medusa) so I'll be looking into it at some point

    I would consider a one shot or two of another light rules system. At least read up on some reviews of Mountain Witch. Most players - even 3.5 hardcore's, will try a one shot with a new system just for the heck of it.

  • #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Charlemagne
    What kinds of problems have you run into? I've found E-Tools to be pretty decent in this regard, and the few things that I run into issues with (not the right number of feats, incorrect class skills) can be corrected within the program.
    An example:

    I was trying to retrofit one of the...opponents (I'll leave it vague for spoiler's sake)...from Goodman Games' Into the Wilds. I was trying to stat out the creature as written, which I was able to do--eTools didn't choke on that. It listed it's CR as 3.

    Then I began to increase various things--size, for ex (the party was higher level than the adventure so I was "beefing up" everything). It just could not wrap its digital mind around the idea that the CR was higher than 2, despite increasing size, Hit Dice, etc.

    I tried every variation I could think of within eTools and could not get that sucker to work.

    There are other inconsistencies that make me very wary of eTools; although (humanoid) mooks are pretty easy to churn out by the bucketload, I'll grant you.

  • #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by kensanata
    I think the solution to that is (if you're writing adventures yourself) to reuse.
    Mmm, yeah. You assume I'm writing them. Not. Using quite a few Dungeon Crawl Classics, Dungeon Mag adventures, etc. Sometimes the adventure "flavor" is just too good to pass up, though, so I'll adjust for my party level. (ESCAPE FROM MEENLOCK PRISON in Dungeon 146 is an example--the premise is cool and fits with my campaign and DMing style to the point where I'll be beefing it up for my 4th level party of three.)

    Quote Originally Posted by kensanata
    I'd never do that. I'd just add or remove standard mooks. If the party is unfairly overwhelmed, reduce their morale and have the monsters flee earlier. If the party is unfairly underwhelmed, have reinforcements coming. Adjusting the number of standard monsters or mooks is much easier than fiddling with the stats.
    There is a point, especially in pre-written adventures, where sometimes there's no-where for that group of reinforcements to come from. I mean, seriously, how many Orc reinforcements can arrive for the Orc & Pie adventure before it appears that they're respawning like a video game?

  • #69
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    Hi Jason,

    There might be some burnout tips of use to you here:

    Supplemental Issue #9 - Remedies For GM Burn-Out
    http://www.roleplayingtips.com/downloads/

    My past burnouts have been caused by not having enough time to relax and do fun things, such as fiction reading. In a time-cooker, even game prep feels like a chore. And, as per my style, if I lose interest in the campaign premise, the story, and the micro-stories of encounters, then the prep also feels like a burden. When I'm excited about the storytelling, then the stats- and paper-work isn't a bother.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnFour
    Hi Jason,

    There might be some burnout tips of use to you here:

    Supplemental Issue #9 - Remedies For GM Burn-Out
    http://www.roleplayingtips.com/downloads/

    My past burnouts have been caused by not having enough time to relax and do fun things, such as fiction reading. In a time-cooker, even game prep feels like a chore. And, as per my style, if I lose interest in the campaign premise, the story, and the micro-stories of encounters, then the prep also feels like a burden. When I'm excited about the storytelling, then the stats- and paper-work isn't a bother.
    Johnn,

    I would like to take a quick moment here to thank you for all the wonderful work you've done with Roleplaying Tips each week. I, for one, greatly appreciate the service you give to the community, and I am always thankful for your insight and that of your readers and guest writers.

    Outside pressures do have an impact of my current state, but it's an ugly story that I don't wish to go into on a public forum. Thanks for the suggestion; I'll definitely check that out!

    With Regards,
    Flynn
    In Like Flynn: http://flynnwd.blogspot.com/

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