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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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56553295 No.56553295 [Reply] [Original] [4plebs] [archived.moe]

>be me
>first time GM
>lead an adventure that me and my friend came up with
>party is traveling through some mountains
>I have to resort to some improv to describe the surroundings
>improv some encounters too
>after the game ends I feel exhausted
>feel like I ran a half-marathon

Is this normal? Will this haunt my GM career? Or did I fuck up somewhere?
I just wanted to be a good gm ;_;

>> No.56553392

The exhaustion is normal, during the game itself you don't realise how many things you're keeping track of and how many decisions you're making at once, that sort of thing is mentally taxing.

>> No.56553514

That's pretty much how it works. You'll get better at the bullshitting and pulling stuff out of your ass part, however.

>> No.56553548

How can I improve this? I started to loose the players in the second half because my attention and focus was falling to shit.

>> No.56553592

practice, it's like with anyone, the more you do it the easier it gets

>> No.56553607

Practice. Just keep doing it and you'll ace it eventually.

>> No.56553616

Are there some resources to look into regarding this?

Also GM tips/trick thread I guess.

>> No.56553632

It gets easier the more you do it.
How long was the session? Don't feel bad about admitting "I didn't plan for this and I need some time to work things out." If your players aren't tha/tg/uys, they should understand, especially knowing you're a new DM.

>> No.56553638

what system are you running, very little advice is universal after all

>> No.56553653

You might want to look up a published adventure and run from a book to start. If you're honest with your players and tell them that you're doing it, then they shouldn't be mad when the railroad hits them.

>> No.56553661

I was running DnD 5e. I played it before and played 3.5 too.

It was roughly 4 hours long. I did't even get the players to my designated breakpoint in the story.

>> No.56553691


Improv is your most important skill

>> No.56553928

In my experience, players frequently dick around a lot longer than you expected. Planned break points are more like stretch goals. You WANT to be there and if you can get there, great, but don't assume you will. Instead, try to include a lot of smaller places where things COULD break instead of where they "should".

In general, think small scale, not large scale. "What can I do that will be interesting tonight?" If you plan too far ahead, you'll find yourself in an inflexible situation. It might turn out that that epic final boss battle in your head isn't even slightly where your players want to go. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

>> No.56554094
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That sounds pretty normal OP. If you burn out easily I find that it's better to limit the session to 2-3 hours. Sounds like you did pretty decently for your first time as a GM. As long as your players are having fun.

With regards to >>56553661 and >>56553928 with it taking a long time, this is pretty normal. The players are never EVER going to get to the "designated" breakpoint for the session. That's something that has only happened to me once, and it was a marathon 7-8 hour session of straight gaming.

Get comfortable with improv, it comes up more often than not, and if you burn out then set a firm time limit on the session, and stick to it.

Good on you for stepping up to the plate and being the GM, your players appreciate it more than they'll let on

>> No.56554266

How can I keep my players attention up for long travels? I tried to add some tension with some 10-12 wolves marching around in a forest the party had to cross but it came out pretty meh n my opinion and it didn't really hit the point.

Also by the end of the session some players were constantly checking their phones. I think they were tired of the travels too.

>> No.56554306

Then don't have long travels. You can say "after twelve long days on horseback, you arrive at your destination." No need to play it out in real time.

>> No.56554393

Yeah. Unless something exciting happens during the travel, just skip it anon. Usually better that way.

>> No.56554451

Don't have meaningless things happen.
If something comes up, it should either be relevant, or serve to bolster the mood.
If the players are traveling to a city beset by famine, describing people pulling bark from trees and collecting pine cones displays it.

>> No.56554486
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Here's a bunch of tips i tend to come back to when i feel my GM-fu is getting weak or when i'm running a one-shot for people i haven't GM'd for before

>> No.56554494

>Is this normal? Will this haunt my GM career?
It is 100% normal, and it gets better with practice. Keep GMing. It will get easier as you get better. Just like running marathons =)

>> No.56554599
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We came up with this "curse" mechanic that triggers when they roll under a certain threshold. That is the reason why I played those scenes out (and it drained me). Basically there is an evil mage on the island inside a crystal with mind controlling mumbo-jumbo and we wanted the players to feel this effect. If they rolled under the DC, then the character would lose control over himself and walk toward a direction. This is intended to put some pressure on the players.
Dunno if it was a good idea.

Also I have a few of these saved too.

>> No.56554705

Keep at it, rookie DMbro.
I ran a W:tF game that had EVERYONE utterly drained at the end of a 5 hour game. I used to go home and take a nap afterwards.
The more invested you and the players are, the more it will exhaust you.
>that day I made 3 of the players cry after they failed to save one of the pack from bleeding out after a battle with a powerful magrath

>> No.56554932

If you're hellbent on keeping that mechanic, which doesn't sound that interesting from an outsider perspective, then I'd adjust it. Have people roll at the beginning of fast travel. If people fail, then over the course of the travel, they were set back and it took longer than it should have. A trip that should have taken 3 days took 4 because they had to corral the barbarian who didn't make his save. More failures, more time. However, that time is still glossed over in real time. Maybe there's repercussions - a kid they were supposed to have saved on day 3 got eaten by wolves by day 4 - but it still shouldn't be allowed to bog down the game.
If something isn't fun, don't feel obligated to include it. This goes for absolutely everything. D&D is a game, not a chore.

>> No.56555058
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Yeah, not a bad idea. The problem is, I'm not the only GM in this adventure. My friend came up with the idea to tandem-GM and I rolled with it but it's rapidly turning out to be a shitty practice. He runs one session, then I run one and it can mess up things with improvs and whatnot.

>> No.56555194

Okay, no, tandem DMing a single campaign is a terrible idea, especially if you guys aren't coordinating. Stop immediately.

>> No.56555471

the only part of this advice I don't like is encouraging fudging, I used to fudge but after a while decided it took too much tension out of the game for me and made it kind of boring

>> No.56555973

Any websites with some advice resources?

>> No.56557299

take breaks. 5-10 minutes

>> No.56557469

It's normal to feel fatigue. I've been dming ten years and still feel fatigue after about 3 hours into a session.


>Take breaks of fifteen minutes or so every couple of hours.
>Drink plenty of water, avoid soda
>Eat actual food rather than junk. ( Steaks, chicken, potatoes, vegetables)
>Caffeine is a good perk me up but don't overload. A couple of cups of coffee is enough.
>Put some of the responsibility on the players if you're not already. E.g..
>Ask one player to track intiative or use an intiative tracking program
>Ask one player to be the dungeon mapper and draw the map as they go
>Constantly ask players to describe their actions/attacks/kills etc narratively ( lots of new GM's I find do this for the players which adds to their plate and disengages the players )
>prep steadily ahead of time so there's less improv strain on you, as much as improv is inevitable you can reduce the load
>Steal lots of other material, they'll never notice unless it's literally from LOTR
>Don't sweat it, dming is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Braver IMO than a policemen, fireman or member of the armed forces.

>> No.56559100
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Been dming for 5 years now, and i still consider myself a rookie on it, cause i’ve only used d&d and homebrew(Quite liked my reading of Numenera tho, and thinking of trying it) I only feel fatigued when im less engaged in the action or decision making, idk you can call it focus or some shit, but as long as im dming i usually dont feel anything(bot even hunger) the bullshiting is quite as everyone said you get better with time ans practice and the better you get the more believable your bullshit will seem, and making players wonder “You tought/planned all that?”, nope, but still if theres one thing i learned and can foward as a tip is Enabling players to do stuff that makes the experience fun almost always is prioritized against rules, seriously i cannot stress this enough, to keep 6 people entertained your campaign needs to be fun and engaging(Meaning their decisions need to feel real and not forced on them, railroading is the first pitfall of dming)when a creative solution to a problem feels like an asspull and might break a rule or 2, allow it , those 6 fuckers will not shut up about it in the next month or so because is memorable(Do this carefully tho,dont allow everything or you will end up in a clusterfuck, you’re the judge on that stuff and you will need to make the decision fast and be able to pull this off constantly)

After that the one and most likely the only way to measure your work quality is player feedback,ask them directly after a game, what you liked? what you didn’t like ? what you tought of that enemy? what you tought of this story element introduced? And keep asking them, the more your players feel like they can tear your campaign to pieces in front of you and you can still get your shit together and adapt it for them the better you are at dming, i can keep 6 people at max engaged, driven, happy to anxious, and also waiting for the next sunday(we play every week),that is my drive and what makes everything worth it.

>> No.56559355

I try and use points and lines
'Points' just means 'what do I do if this thing happens in the course of the game'. For instance I plan for what happens if any given npc dies. Even the ones I have no reason to assume would ever die or get attacked by the PC, just in case. This can encompass pretty much anything, what if the PCs find out this hidden fact, what if the PCs get this item, what if the PCs win this person over to their side, so on. In some cases the plan is simply 'well if they're clever enough to make that happen just let them cut out this massive section or get this massive boon' other times it's 'well if they're really that stupid I guess it likely means they die' but you need something.
'Lines' means 'what if the PCs decide on this course of action'. Again often this can be quite ridiculous, the PCs would have no reason to strike out against the good kingdom, but if they do what's the plan? What courses of action have a realistic chance of success and which don't? This is more or less a problem based on the system you're playing, I tend to play systems where PCs have broad means in regards to how many different ways they can come at a problem, in more straightforward cases this might not require so much for thought.

>> No.56559948

>be me
>invited to game
>had some fun, but gm was kind of strange, hard to explain
>google his name out of curiosity
>felon, was in jail for years

should I keep going? i don't really feel safe, also my friend who knows him probably knew he has a crime record and didn't tell me

>> No.56560005
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wait until next week before the session and your raging GM boner

like literally. This happens to everyone, right?

>> No.56560054

I played with a felon for a few years. What are you afraid of? Unless he stabbed a player at the table for playing a halfling furry you're probably safe... just don't like carry his bag or give him your gun or anything.

>> No.56560599

Hear me out, OP. I've been there. What you need to realize is that to improvise, you must prepare. What you described happens when you go completely unprepared and you need to keep pulling shit out of thin air. To combat this, you need to prepare extensively - but not in a way of writing the story ahead of the time, no - what you need to do is to make sure your improv is organized. You need a good idea of what COULD happen, what are the moods of the people in the area, what fractions are around, what monsters lie in wait, what history has the locale seen. You need a system of jotting down a ton of trivia, NPC sketches, hooks, events, details. These act as the crystalizing factor for your game, you take a hook or just a little tidbit you prepared beforehand and start building around it, it could be anything from a very specific monster, to a general concept you'd like to utilize during a session, like "hireling betrayal". It doesn't have to even happen to players, they could meet somebody who's been betrayed and robbed by their guide, for example, if PCs have no hirelings of their own. Do your research, get some inspiration, and write down little idea-seeds to plant them on the go.

>> No.56560748 [DELETED] 

You stop getting exhausted once you get hang of dropping those sand-grains into the session and having the story coagulate around them naturally. With enough prep liek this, you'll just get naturally more confident in improv.

>> No.56560778

You stop getting exhausted once you get hang of dropping those sand-grains into the session and having the story coagulate around them naturally. With enough prep like this, you'll just get more confident with your own improv.

>> No.56560939

The two questions you need to ask are "What did he do" and "How long ago was it"
If the guy did a bunch of coke and masturbated in public, he's probably fine if a little weird. If he straight up tried to kill a man maybe not so much

>> No.56561237

Skyflourish's The Lazy Dungeon Master is quite good. I'm not sure it will help relieve the strain in the near term, but it's a really good foundation for leaning into the improv that's an essential part of DMing, since your players will inevitably run amock from anything but the most basic skeleton of an adventure.

Also, delegating is super good. Designating at least an Initiative Keeper is basic. Next to that should be a rules lawyer, if you have a person that's conversant enough in the system, so you only have to intervene on really escoteric calls, or if you want to break from the rulebook. I also like to have my players choose a rotating in-universe team leader at the beginning adventures that makes the final call when the party gets hung on a decision.

>> No.56564611

Maybe the 2 liters of beer I was chugging didn't help. I had to take breaks every half hour for a quick piss.

Thanks I'll check it out.
I've been reading the "Never unprepared game masters guide to prep" and it helps tremendously. I also read The Angry GM advice and the complexity of a game described there is slightly intimidating.
Guess I'll try a published adventure next time. Any recommendations?

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