GM Confessional

Reynard

Legend
As GMs, we all have weaknesses, quirks and peculiarities that maybe we should try and reign in. This thread is a place to confess those GM sins. It isn't a place to rant about other GMs you have had,or your players. It isn't a place to dogpile on anyone that posts in this thread: either be supportive or be silent.

I'll start: as a GM, I do not like excessive "player options" and especially "builds." I do not want to memorize the whole PHB plus supplements to be able counter whatever nonsense was printed. I actively dislike attempts at creative applications of narrowly defined widgets. I don't ban these things, because I don't think it's my place to tell players what they are allowed to play (beyond obvious genre and setting appropriate choices) but it grates on me. So sometimes I say "no" more than I should, especially to the creative power gamer in my regular player pool.

Your turn.
 

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Art Waring

halozix.com
I exclusively homebrew everything myself, but I have been doing my own game design for as long as I can remember. Classes, monsters, dungeons, npc's, and world building.

I am surely guilty of being too well versed with my own source material, and sometimes I catch myself thinking a certain way which does not help my players: I know the world better than my players do, and sometimes I forget that the players need more details or I have taken something for granted.

Thankfully I have learned over the years to tailor my own world building habits in order to give the players a better experience, but being the steward of your own world can sometimes come with its own baggage.
 



innerdude

Legend
I don't care about my characters picking up "plot hooks," but I have a near pathological need for my players to interact with NPCs.

I watch my players run their characters back and forth in front of an NPC that if they would just stop and chat with for a split second, they'd have something interesting to do and a new relationship to draw upon.

But because I've changed over the last 10 years and now ascribe to the credo of not forcing anything upon the players that doesn't interest them, I must forebear.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Mine are probably related to patience (there are certain things I dislike that I should just get over, because nothing I do is going to make people stop doing them and I lack the wherewithal to find new players other than in extremis), and a tendency to drop into ruts. Oh, also a trend that I try to beat on hard of getting bored and hop on to the next thing.
 

aco175

Legend
I tend to not let things I prepared die if the PCs go somewhere else. The quantum ogre might still appear in another location or the PCs may need to take the left path at some other point in the campaign. I have even held onto sections or short encounter areas from one campaign to the next to use them.
 



James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I have a few in particular, but my main one, I feel, is the inability to Keep It Simple, Stupid. No matter how many times I tell myself I'm not going to create some grand, sweeping epic adventure, run wild with world-building, lore, and copious amounts of house rules- I always end up doing it. Everything gets way too complex when I'm sure everyone would have had fun with an adventure as simple as "go to this system of caverns full of monsters. Kill monsters, loot, and return."

Many of the things I want in a campaign world I know are impossible to achieve, but I keep trying anyways. Economies that make sense? Politics? Having the players gather not just personal power, but temporal power, in the form of influence and followers? Interesting NPC's the players want to engage with and care about? Lore that players actually remember?

A campaign that spans for many years, and possibly multiple generations of player characters?

Yeah, I set my expectations way too high, and I always come crashing down to earth.
 

Xamnam

Loves Your Favorite Game
I harshly but secretly judge players who cancel at the last minute or don't show up to a session.
Emergency? Obviously unavoidable. You tell me a week before there's a concert you want to go to that night? Absolutely.

An hour before the session, "I'm just not sure I'm feeling up to it today." I...wouldn't want someone to force themselves through playing if they couldn't be present and enjoy themselves, but god does it feel like a gut punch. Even worse is when someone else chimes in, "I'm glad you said something, I was debating it myself." I'm not mad at them, but I sure am just generally disappointed.
 

Emergency? Obviously unavoidable. You tell me a week before there's a concert you want to go to that night? Absolutely.

An hour before the session, "I'm just not sure I'm feeling up to it today." I...wouldn't want someone to force themselves through playing if they couldn't be present and enjoy themselves, but god does it feel like a gut punch. Even worse is when someone else chimes in, "I'm glad you said something, I was debating it myself." I'm not mad at them, but I sure am just generally disappointed.
I would just want the same courtesy as if we were meeting somewhere for lunch. You can't control getting sick, but just send me a text calling off our plans so I'm not waiting around for you.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I have gotten worse about acting out the NPCs and describing areas outside of set-piece locations. In my current campaign, it tend to tell rather than show or act out. Part of it is that I'm not great with improv acting and descriptions, but when it works I enjoy it, and you don't get better at something if you never do it.
 

monsmord

Adventurer
Whatever my sandbox intent, I wind up trying to force a greater, grand narrative on the game, telling a story I want to tell. Ultimately this railroads the players. It doesn't help that I don't improvise well - more than once, my players have destroyed my narrative/game/world/work with choices I didn't foresee and couldn't accommodate. GMing just isn't what I was really trying to do, I guess. And I don't anymore.
 

payn

Legend
I have a hard time occasionally reaching players. The type that has a pretty specific playstyle and interest. If they are not buying what I'm selling, its hard for me to adjust. So, I have an awful tendency to let spotlight hounds run the show since they are the ones proactive enough to move things along.
 

Irlo

Hero
I focus on the campaign themes and flavor and lose focus on the specific adventure opportunities within the campaign. If I could find published adventures that I liked, I’d be happy as a clam, but I’m hyper-critical of my own and others’ adventure design.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Oh, man. So many. Where to begin...

I cannot stand power gaming. I ban multiclassing and several feats just to be rid of the worst power gaming builds. 5E is already easy mode, if the player is so desperate to win then they shouldn't be playing a game with dice and random chance.

I cannot stand metagaming and think it's cheating. It goes against the spirit of the game and ties into players so desperate to win they have to cheat to do so. Again, play a different game if the thought of not winning all the time is abhorrent to you.

I homebrew all my monsters because of the above two. Players can't build toward beating a given monster if they don't know what its stats are and they can't look it up in a book if it's not written down anywhere they can access. It was a lot of work at first but it's easier and easier as time goes on, I have more experience doing it, and I've found or built tools to make it a snap.

It bugs me how attached players are to their characters and if I never read an epic backstory of a 1st-level character with zero XP ever again it will be too soon. I get the level of work involved in making a character now. I get that the rules are stacked so utterly and thoroughly in favor of characters not dying it's laughable, but without risk of loss, without risk of the ultimate loss, there's no possibility for challenge, to say nothing of those awesome story moments so many claim to want. There's no story without conflict*. There's no conflict without the risk of failure. You want a story? Then you have to lose sometimes. Things have to be hard.

I couldn't care less about "story" in games. Whatever story happens as a result of the referee's prep, the players' decisions, and the roll of the dice is the story we end up with. Pure emergent storytelling. I tried to run a set story once when I was new. Within the first five minutes of the first game session the players when left instead of right and I had to improv the entire rest of the four-hour session. Never bothering with running set stories or modules again. Too much work to prep and then try to force the players back onto the rails. I'd rather spend that same energy building sandboxes.

* Yes, I'm aware of Kishōtenketsu.
 


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