What do you want to do better as a GM?

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Always wanting to read the players better, and making engaging scenes that energize both them and I to play.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
Same. I play on VTT and find that makes this particular skill harder to improve.
Yes, I run or play in a face to face game, and a pbp; both can get to a stumbling block where a scenario that sounds good, starts great, suddenly falls down and we are all left scratching our heads, wondering what to do next. Or it just drags out too long.
 

pemerton

Legend
Generally, I think knowing the beginning and the end of a session is enough
I think that you can only know the end of a session if you're running a railroad. If the players are able to shape the fiction, then you can't know in advance how it will end up.

As for the question, I'd like to be able to make weather figure more interestingly in establishing in-game situations.
 

Larnievc

Explorer
GMing is a skill, you get better with practice, time, and advice/observation of others. Personally, I love GMing. I love writing a story where I don't control the main characters and collaboratively making a world with friends.

But like every skill, you'll hit a plateau. And that's where I think I've been the last few years. I'm sure a few of us have. So -

What do you want to improve in your GMing, and maybe we can all share some advice and tips. What do you think you're doing well, and what can you experiment with?
My metric is: how many laughs do I get. My games are Sir Pratchet via Rick and Morty so for me it’s all about how much fun my players have.

So I go all in with accents, tropes and the effectiveness of being genre savvy
 

delphonso

Explorer
I think that you can only know the end of a session if you're running a railroad. [Snip]
To each, their own. I think you're partly right - I've never run a good /true/ sandbox. I'd love to hear how you plan and how it goes.

I recommend getting your players on a ship - there weather is king.

Remember NPC names. [snip]
Such a nightmare - I generally name characters on stupid themes (Kraba Rangoon, Corona Slim, Cookiee) to combat this. But there's plenty of NPCs that I've renamed just minutes later after forgetting.
 

pemerton

Legend
I've never run a good /true/ sandbox. I'd love to hear how you plan and how it goes.
I don't run a sandbox game. I use an approach that, in terms of published RPGs, is probably mostly associated with PbtA systems, though that's not what I run.

The basic idea is that (i) the players' characters have motivations/reasons for action, and (ii) the GM establishes a situation that will engage those, and therefore (iii) the players declare actions for their PCs and then (iv) we use the rules of the game to find out what happens. The upshot of (iv) feeds back into (i) and the next instance of (ii).

At the moment my group is mostly playing Prince Valiant, but I've used much the same approach for Classic Traveller, Cortex+ Heroic/MHRP, Burning Wheel, The Dying Earth, Cthulhu Dark and D&D.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Remember NPC names. I can describe the NPCs I have created well, but I swear 10 minutes after the name comes out I've forgotten it!
I used to have the same issue. Nowadays I take brief notes as the session is going. So if they talk to John Smith, I jot down "Met John Smith", whether that's a reoccurring character I could never forget or someone I made up on the spot. The notes also come in handy for planning the next session.

I started taking notes because I was running the same campaign for three different groups, and without those notes I would have been lost as to what happened to which group, since it was a sandbox. It was tricky at first, but after working at it for a year I can write down a short sentence or two without breaking stride in narration (I'm a very poor multitasker). That said, I usually prefer to take my notes while the players are deliberating their course of action, as I can afford to be more detailed.
 

shawnhcorey

Villager
To each, their own. I think you're partly right - I've never run a good /true/ sandbox. I'd love to hear how you plan and how it goes.
I run road trips. A road trip has a destination but how they get there is up to the players. Usually I have 4 parts.

Part 1 is mostly a sandbox where the PCs get clues on the adventure. Part 2 is the approach and fight with the mini-boss. It is here they get the MacGuffin. Part 3 is a chase followed by preparing for the boss. This is more sandboxing. Part 4 is the approach and fight with the boss.
 

FaerieGodfather

Born in the Soul of Misery
Continuity. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants, and I can play 11-dimensional chess in real time, blindfolded... but I'm terrible at remembering what I've made already up, and sometimes my continuity errors turn into massive plot holes.
 

Zhaleskra

Explorer
I want to do something that's part sandbox and runs a little more organically. As I have suggested to another gamer: Here's 3-5 things that are going on, each of them has 3-5 people who know about it, and those people know 3-5 things about the event you're asking about, what do you do?
 

delphonso

Explorer
I run road trips. A road trip has a destination but how they get there is up to the players. [snip]
This is pretty close to what I do. My games tend to be more mysteries and investigations rather than fights (just what my group prefers), but in general I do the same. I've also had that roadtrip hit stormy weather and go completely off to a different direction - which leads me to...

Continuity. [snip]
This is one of the biggest hurdle for my games. I tend to throw a lot of spaghetti at the wall and just take what sticks. I like the free, comedic form of my games - but boy I wish I had the energy to plan out entire towns, etc - rather than just planning the main characters and encounters.

I want to do something that's part sandbox and runs a little more organically. [snip]
I have been playing in a Lost Mine of Phandelver game and ran a bit of Horde of the Dragon Queen. One thing I really like about both is that they just drop about 10 things to do in a town. The PCs can pick them up, ignore them, or miss them and have plenty to do. I'd prefer if they had a bit more intersectionality - as many are unrelated, but it's given me ideas on planning out a whole town.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What I'd most like to improve on is describing detailed scenes and scenarios in which the relevant and irrelevant is equally included, but without taking what seems like half the night to do it.
As for the question, I'd like to be able to make weather figure more interestingly in establishing in-game situations.
I might be able to help you there. Feel free to PM me, so we don't clog up the thread.
 

BrokenTwin

Villager
I'd love to get better at running more social/political games. My ability to come up with a web of intrigue on the fly is sorely lacking, so I tend to stick to published stuff or exploration / dungeon crawls. As I get older I've gotten sick of combat as the first and only solution, but it's just so easy... and once your players are conditioned to attack first and (maybe) ask questions later, it's really hard to change things up. Part of why I'm really enjoying running games for new players, since their lack of expectations makes it a lot easier to demonstrate that combat isn't the only way to resolve things. For my more entrenched groups, I try to emphasize that combat may solve the immediate problem, but it's the riskiest way of doing so, and is usually detrimental to their long term goals.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
The biggest obstacle I currently have is creative burnout.

I mean that after DMing a lot my brain just wants to shut down and not to keep being creative or acting creatively. It is happy to drone on, but droning is normally not all that exciting.

Perhaps it's DMing too much, but perhaps there is also a way to circumvent that and keep on going with the excitement rather than cut back.
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
The biggest obstacle I currently have is creative burnout.

I mean that after DMing a lot my brain just wants to shut down and not to keep being creative or acting creatively. It is happy to drone on, but droning is normally not all that exciting.

Perhaps it's DMing too much, but perhaps there is also a way to circumvent that and keep on going with the excitement rather than cut back.
I'd suggest trying a game that doesn't require as much intensive prep work on the part of the GM. Or maybe altering the way you play so that you don't have to prep as much ahead of time.

I took a break from D&D and GMed a lot of Blades in the Dark, and found it to be incredibly refreshing, and a nice change of pace. I think it's also likely to really help how I DM when I run D&D. I'll be returning to my longstanding D&D campaign soon, and I'm looking forward to it. I have some ideas on how to run things a little differently that I think will really improve the game.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
Keeping a long term game together. Incorporating more character backstory and motivations into the game. Slowing down the pace to allow better roleplaying and exploration opportunities. Presenting better combat balance (cakewalks vs. TPKs).
 
Just want to me-to a few points that have already been made:
  • Make time to play and do non-gaming activities, rather than burning yourself out GMing constantly.
  • Take in fiction that inspires you, be it books, movies/TV, or whatever
  • Change-up who you game with. ( If only very occasionally, go to a convention or something, and game with strangers).
  • Change-up which systems you run.
 

Sadras

Adventurer
The biggest obstacle I currently have is creative burnout.
I found that I haven't felt that way in years, mostly because I'm using an AP and numerous modules to run a sandbox. So far I have been fortunate because despite the number of 'outs' I have offered from the primary storyline the PCs want to see the AP through.
 

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