Day 76: Burnout warning light is amber

October 11, 2009

So basically the level of gaming I’ve had lately, and a whole lot of stuff going on in my real life job, have combined to push me to the point of burning out.  I have to get through Thanksgiving with the extended family tomorrow, and once I’m done with that I can take a break.  I’m off work for a week, and I’m also taking this week away from gaming (except for a boardgame on the Hill, which Peter is bringing).

I have to say that prepping Tag’s Folly always weighs heavily, just because there is so much that a GM has to prep if they’re doing an encounter “right” – for example, before I consider an encounter done, I need to have these ready in an encounter envelope (copied from what I said to Dave earlier):

  1. 3 or so map pages (at least 1 drawn already, the other 2 gridded)
  2. Some kind of reference for terrain features
  3. Initiative cards for each monster type (that I made and cut out)
  4. Printed out statblocks for each monster (that I cut out)
  5. Printed out cards with treasure for the encounter
  6. The tokens for the monsters
  7. Cards with the status effects relevant to the encounter to hand to players when they get tagged with them
  8. A card that lists monster types and defenses so the players don’t have to tell me they hit

All of that is of course contingent on writing a good encounter to begin with, with sufficiently interesting terrain (long grass, poisoned ponds, big boulders to stand on, etc.)

I missed a few of those elements in the encounters that we did last time we played at Ryerson, and I definitely felt they were missing. When I started Tag’s Folly I thought I’d be able to do most of the prep during my 10 hours a week spent on the train, but assembling those envelopes means I need to be at home with all the stuff I bought, so it eats into my very premium home time.

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One Response to “Day 76: Burnout warning light is amber”

  1. Johnny Oneiric Says:

    Yea, and even if you’re borrowing built encounters from published material, you still have all the above prep work to do.

    We appreciate that one of your tenets has been to minimize pauses at the table while the DM lays out things, looks up things, etc. But given the choice between a little less preparedness or the DM burning out and quitting, I think we could live with the former.

    The cards, for example, they really smooth out play, but the old way isn’t that bad: the DM reading out stats or descriptions, the players taking notes.

    Tokens: don’t need to be sorted out ahead of time, we can fish them from the “token bag” as needed.

    That’s all I can think of for now.

    Are you re-using prep’ed encounters with each group? Or is each encounter retired after it’s used once? I’m sure that some encounters can be re-used. Well, at least the locations (maps) can be. This time, The Fort On The Hill With 60 Trees was full of gecks and scurvs. Maybe next time it will be a bandit lord and his desperados, or a family of Greys and their wolverine pets…


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