Monday, August 27, 2018

Dungeon Mastering 101: Staying On Track


I have been a DM for close to 26 years (damn, I'm old) and for most of that time I've run my own adventures. It's only been in the last four years that I've been using published adventures.

What I'm going to talk about in this article is keeping the game moving. I'm going to be honest here, my players have reached level 8 in my Shadow of the Demon Lord game and I'm really having trouble doing that. It's not that I don't have any ideas, its that the ideas I have aren't always clicking for me, I'll go into a session with a roadmap, but I don't feel comfortable with it. This campaign is a bit different, because as a group we decided we wanted a break from world or multiverse-shattering threats. This is a more personal tale, about a village and it's inhabitants. I'm not sure if that is what is causing me problems or not.

I'm a very improvisation GM and I've been lucky that weird and strange turns within a game have often worked out later as said game evolves. Sadly, over the last month or two, that's not really been the case. I'm filled with uncertainty on how to proceed, in fact, endgame scenarios and even antagonists have been shifting as the game unfolds. I'm uncertain what's going on, I can't tell if I'm grown accustomed to running published adventures and that is why I'm floundering or if maybe it's a bit of burnout. 

I do know one issue is a consequence that I'm uncertain to introduce. Have you ever had a situation in-game that you are afraid to introduce? That, I think, is part of my problem. I want this to be a character-driven game, and my gut tells me to beat these character up pretty bad, but is that always the right direction? 

I'm curious if I'm alone in this struggle? Any advice or tips on how to pull through it?
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