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Gamer Guilt Over Potential Gaming Shift

Jared Rascher

Explorer
I'll preface this by saying if this does happen, its months in the future, barring something else going wrong. I'm committed to finishing up my current campaign before I move on from the rules system I'm using, because it just wouldn't be fair otherwise to my players.

So, here's the quick version. I'm burned out on d20 Fantasy games as a GM.

I'm seriously looking at moving on to Savage Worlds, using the Fantasy Companion for my own setting or the Hellfrost setting for my campaign.

Currently I'm running a Pathfinder Council of Thieves adventure path game at the FLGS. We're having a good time of it, but I'm getting a little worn out as we get higher level with the APG tricks the players are throwing at me, let alone any releases beyond that.

I know that a few of my players are in it to play Pathfinder. I also know that if I shift campaigns, I've got enough people to fill the table if I have people leave. So that isn't a problem.

However, I do feel responsible for some of the players. Some of them followed me to my Star Wars Saga game and picked up those rules. Some of them picked up the Pathfinder rules because I was running a game and they wanted in. I feel like I almost owe them as many sessions as I can squeeze out to repay their trust in me. However, I really don't think I have another Pathfinder campaign in me at this time.

I thought briefly that I could hand over the reins to another player if they wanted to GM, but I only have a limited number of gaming nights, and I really don't want to give up my "GM" slot for the night because I don't know when I'd have a chance to run an epic fantasy game again.

So I'm kind of mulling over what I should do. I've got easily a few months before I have to really worry about this, but I'd rather be thoughtful about this than to pull the trigger on the fly.
 

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DumbPaladin

First Post
I'm not sure I really have enough information to advise you, but I do have questions:

-- If you were to start all the players at level 1 and run Pathfinder again, but restrict all things you disliked in the APG and disallow all further books (or at least, not allow anything with your approval), would that make you interested in being a DM?

-- Would it be all right with you if a few of the people left to find a Pathfinder group? Is there really anything wrong with that happening? Not everyone in your group may be interested in the next system you choose.

-- You say the players are throwing "tricks" at you from Paizo books, but what does this mean? Are you suggesting they are cheating? Or do you just find their ingenuity frustrating? Do you not have a good time unless you, as DM/GM, are able to "put one over" on the players? That's kind of what that sounded like to me -- a "DM vs. players" scenario.
 


Jared Rascher

Explorer
-- If you were to start all the players at level 1 and run Pathfinder again, but restrict all things you disliked in the APG and disallow all further books (or at least, not allow anything with your approval), would that make you interested in being a DM?

Not really, because I don't really want to sift through rules to find things that are problematic. And I'm not really not wanting to be a GM, I'm just getting this kind of mental static when it comes to people discussing options and new books and the like (and not all of them want to use them, but the discussion in general is what's causing the static).

-- Would it be all right with you if a few of the people left to find a Pathfinder group? Is there really anything wrong with that happening? Not everyone in your group may be interested in the next system you choose.

I'd be fine with it, although I would miss playing with some of them. Some of them are like me and have a limited number of nights to game, and as such I likely wouldn't have a game in common with them for a while.

-- You say the players are throwing "tricks" at you from Paizo books, but what does this mean? Are you suggesting they are cheating? Or do you just find their ingenuity frustrating? Do you not have a good time unless you, as DM/GM, are able to "put one over" on the players? That's kind of what that sounded like to me -- a "DM vs. players" scenario.

It wasn't intended to imply any kind of shenanigans on my player's part. Its more a matter of doing things like compensating for having six players in the party and making rooms larger to accommodate encounters, then having pit spells take up 10 x 10 sections of the room and putting bad guys out of reach of other players because of the drop off, and cutting the encounter area back down after I modified the map to accommodate the larger party.
 

catsclaw227

First Post
-- You say the players are throwing "tricks" at you from Paizo books, but what does this mean? Are you suggesting they are cheating? Or do you just find their ingenuity frustrating? Do you not have a good time unless you, as DM/GM, are able to "put one over" on the players? That's kind of what that sounded like to me -- a "DM vs. players" scenario.
I didn't get this at all.

Sounds to me like he is tired of rules bloat, and as a GM, it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff - just because it's in a book doesn't mean it's balanced. And power creep is difficult to balance as a DM.

And, quite frankly, I burned out on 3.x when it got to level 14 or so and beyond. It presented the kinds of challenges as a DM that I wasn't interested in facing. I like RP challenges, in-game conflicts, etc. Not the challenge of balancing a normal player PC and the Char-Op boards player PC.
 

Jared Rascher

Explorer
I didn't get this at all.

Sounds to me like he is tired of rules bloat, and as a GM, it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff - just because it's in a book doesn't mean it's balanced. And power creep is difficult to balance as a DM.

And, quite frankly, I burned out on 3.x when it got to level 14 or so and beyond. It presented the kinds of challenges as a DM that I wasn't interested in facing. I like RP challenges, in-game conflicts, etc. Not the challenge of balancing a normal player PC and the Char-Op boards player PC.

Yes, this is more along the lines of what I'm thinking. I'm already spending time modifying the published adventure to make it appropriate for six characters, but the published adventure is behind in the "arms race" because was written assuming the core rules.
 

DumbPaladin

First Post
I apologize if I got the wrong impression from your statement.

What I can tell you is that you will not be happy if you continue to run a game in ANY system if you are doing it out of a sense of obligation. You certainly won't enjoy it if you are running a system you no longer wish to run.

If you've already made your decision to switch to a new system, I would highly recommend you notify your players ASAP, so that they will know the end is coming. If they want to find a new group to play Pathfinder it, they could use the time to do so. Or, they may end up using the time to become interested in the new system you are proposing to use.

But tell them now, if you know now.

If you haven't made your decision, decide as soon as possible, so your players can be notified that their Pathfinder days with you are over.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Take a break. Sometimes, that's what it takes.

The last long D&D campaign I ran ended poorly in part because I was burned out on being a FRPG GM and didn't recognize it. I was tapping a dry well. I've recharged a bit since then, but the campaign idea I have been working on would require more work than my current group wants to go through...including potentially learning a new system.

But even if it means no RPG gaming for a while because nobody else steps up, take. A. Break. It really hurt me when I realized what a crappy job I'd done behind the screen, and it damaged my credibility as a GM.
 

S'mon

Legend
You're not doing anything wrong. It wouldn't be reasonable for a player to expect multiple Pathfinder campaigns out of you because you asked them to buy the Pathfinder rules for your current campaign - cancelling the campaign after a few sessions would be questionable behaviour, but running the full campaign is all they could possibly ask for. Personally I'd not think I 'owed' them any more than to complete the current adventure, 4-6 sessions.
 

S'mon

Legend
BTW I'm thinking of running a Pathfinder mini-campaign next year, with Moldvay's B4 The Lost City, but I'll be using the Starter Set out in October and restricting the PCs to options found in that set. You might consider something like that if you want to run Pathfinder again.
 


IronWolf

blank
Let your players know what is bouncing around in your head. Sometimes it helps if they know what is going on and may even give you a better feel for what choice would work well and end up with you GM'ing a fantasy game that you are happy with.

Another option if you do continue to stay with Pathfinder is perhaps using the slow XP advancement track. That might help keep the game down in the levels you enjoy for a longer period of time.
 

A

amerigoV

Guest
So, here's the quick version. I'm burned out on d20 Fantasy games as a GM.

I'm seriously looking at moving on to Savage Worlds, using the Fantasy Companion for my own setting or the Hellfrost setting for my campaign.

I struggled with the same thing. I just finished up Eye of the Lich Queen (Eberron). I was taking a short break and decided I just could not go through another d20 campaign. Too much work. 4e was rolling out, but several in the group had tried and decided it was not for them. I had played just enough Savage Worlds to see its awesomeness, but I was a bit concerned (1) would the players like it and (2) could I run Expedition to Castle Ravenloft and not wind up with the same out of DM work via conversion?

I waffled for awhile because SW introduces another element - what genre? The module was a classic vampire story, so I could have ran it in any setting. Finally, I just said "we start in two weeks, prep fantasy characters in SW and lets roll!"

Quickly any guilt or hesitation faded. Never looked back.

Also, once you Savage, you always be a Savage! You Savvy? So welcome!
 

scourger

Explorer
...I'm burned out on d20 Fantasy games as a GM...I'm seriously looking at moving on to Savage Worlds, using the Fantasy Companion for my own setting or the Hellfrost setting for my campaign...

If you switch to Savage Worlds, be prepared for your prep time & work to decrease about 90% as compared to d20. That's what happened for me. d20 is great, but SW really is fast, furious & fun. I've done d20 since, but it was a D&D minis skirmish campaign. You might try something like that with the rules & options restricted to a core game, but it might be that you just need a switch to something new. SW is pretty simple to learn & run but remains complicated enough to be interesting to play. That's a pretty hard balance to maintain. You might try playing Savage Worlds first to see if you like it. At $10 for the Explorer's Edition, nobody should complain about the cost of the rules. With the test drive free trial rules and the training wheels character sheet, it is pretty simple to learn to play. I say go for it. Just be ready to have your gaming outlook completely altered. And, buy the stuff and have your players buy stuff from your FLGS. They are giving you a place to play, after all. Enjoy.
 

Kestrel

First Post
Switch to Savage Worlds. I just did this and I couldn't be happier.

Like Scourger's posts above, your prep time will drop dramatically and you can focus on something besides stats. Your game and sanity will be saved.

As to gameplay, its just as exciting and the players have just as many options as before. And since you don't have to track hitpoints, its even easier to run. And for my own personal experience, its more fun for the gm.

I'm running Keep on the Borderlands right now in SW and we did a huge fight in the goblin caves. The PCs managed to prevail after bringing most of the tribe down on themselves. Normally, I would have been bored 10 min into this fight, mainly because the goblins would just be swing, miss, or hit for 1d4 damage. In SW, not bored. I had goblins ganging up, the second rank using Taunt, all kinds of mayhem. The best part? Any hit could potentially drop someone. It didnt happen, since the chances were very low, but the idea that it could happen made it exciting to run a bunch of mooks.

Anyhoo, give a whirl, you won't be dissapointed. And your players will enjoy it, once they get past the light chargen.
 


Jared Rascher

Explorer
I'm running Keep on the Borderlands right now in SW and we did a huge fight in the goblin caves. The PCs managed to prevail after bringing most of the tribe down on themselves. Normally, I would have been bored 10 min into this fight, mainly because the goblins would just be swing, miss, or hit for 1d4 damage. In SW, not bored. I had goblins ganging up, the second rank using Taunt, all kinds of mayhem. The best part? Any hit could potentially drop someone. It didnt happen, since the chances were very low, but the idea that it could happen made it exciting to run a bunch of mooks.


I've noticed both in my game and the game that my friend runs and I play in that "nuisance" encounters really grate on my nerves. I try to make sure to use things like aid another, but man, I hate gearing up to run a fight that has no real danger to it (hm . . . the adventure says a bunch of 2nd level rogues attack the 8th level party . . . sigh).

Its one of the things that I like about my DC Adventures game that I have been running. Anyone that is really a threat to the PCs has a chance to harm them, and anyone that isn't a threat can be wiped out of the fight pretty quickly, without the PCs wondering why the BBEG doesn't have any goons on his side.
 

IronWolf

blank
I've noticed both in my game and the game that my friend runs and I play in that "nuisance" encounters really grate on my nerves. I try to make sure to use things like aid another, but man, I hate gearing up to run a fight that has no real danger to it (hm . . . the adventure says a bunch of 2nd level rogues attack the 8th level party . . . sigh).

For some of these types, I find both from the GM and player side that it can work well to let the fight get underway, see the obvious tide the fight is going and then switch to narrative completion of the encounter without actually rolling out the whole encounter.

Probably depends on the group how successful this can be. But then the feeling that there are other threats or roadblocks put in the way but they are not enough to stop the PCs.
 

Jared Rascher

Explorer
For some of these types, I find both from the GM and player side that it can work well to let the fight get underway, see the obvious tide the fight is going and then switch to narrative completion of the encounter without actually rolling out the whole encounter.

Probably depends on the group how successful this can be. But then the feeling that there are other threats or roadblocks put in the way but they are not enough to stop the PCs.


I've noticed I'm of two minds on this. On the GM side of the screen, I like telling a story, so I don't mind saying "if you guys can do X, this fight is over," but from the player's side, once I've been told that my character is in a fight, I really want it to play out, because once in a while I want to see how much I can do with my character. As a player I've been very frustrated when GMs "call a fight" before its actually over, even though as a GM I hate to go through the motions and try to play out the whole fight.
 

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