Howdy Brett and Sean! Just wanted to tell you guys I’ve been enjoying the show. One of my recent concerns involves Sean. Sean has been talking about upping his skills at the table as a GM for sometime. It seems like his latest attempt to run Curse of Strahd has hit a few walls because maybe his players didn’t grok what he was trying to do or maybe he wasn’t clear in session zero. Maybe the problem is you’re trying too hard Sean? We all want to run the ultimate game. We invest time and energy into to this stuff and we hope to have that Magnus opus that we talk about for years later because of it. But honestly, sometimes the biggest thing is to stop trying so hard and just let it be what it’s gonna be. It’s kinda like what Leia says to Grand Moff Tarkin “the more you tighten your grip, the more star systems slip between your fingers.” Meaning is it really worth squeezing your players in your tyrannical GM grip? Or is it better to just let go and let the Force be your guide? Maybe I’m completely off base in my assessment here. Either way keep up the great job and keep chucking them dice. -Lareth The Beautiful
Are you this zombie cowboy http://zombiecowboysgameblog.blogspot.com/
If so then your hommlet revisit is awesome!!!
You’ve got top billing in my greyhawk bookmarks.
If this is not you, then, well- check out this blog it’s very cool!
Sean - trying to wrassel a game into something “new” 9 months into a pandemic is going to be stressful.
Hell I get burn out over player shenanigans every couple of years in normal conditions.
I expect the Star Wars games will help.
This is a better link for the posts you’re referring to:
If I ever run Hommlet, I’ll be using this.
That is the proper link - I will only say I’m glad i was able to post anything as i was typing n my phone.
Thanks for doing a proper job @OldSchoolDM!
Yup, that’s my blog! I’m glad you find it useful. I’ve always found the Temple of Elemental Evil to be a cool adventure, but it definitely needs work by the DM to live up to its full potential.
You’ve got some great stuff there @Jason_Wiebe.
They players need the hooks and motivations from Hommlet to care about the Temple - and you have some great ideas there to make Hommlet alive and relevant to the dungeon crawl.
Thanks for sharing your hard work.
I really appreciate it! It’s nice to know people are reading the blog and even more so to know they find it useful. Half the time I feel like I’m shouting into the void, which is partly why I stopped regularly updating the blog. Ironically I’ve never actually run ToEE, hopefully one day it will happen. I have issues with the Temple itself and feel like I would have to rewrite much of it to fit what my players and I would enjoy.
I am grinning as I write this…because you’re right. We do take things too an extreme sometimes. Hey man, just relax. It’s a game. It’s a hobby. No need to get too serious. I 100% agree.
Near the end, before I called the December session off, I thought “ack, fuck it. Why get so caught up in all this? Maybe I’m overreacting, just take it in and have a good time.” And this may come back into my brain…down the road, when I determine if I want to continue with CoS under that auspice or if I want to run something else.
But for now, the CoS game is not scheduled. I do not intend on initiating the firing up of the campaign. I don’t think it was JUST “I was trying to implement a different feel of a gothic game and the player was on a different page.” One player thinks Tomb of Annihilation and CoS was written by a group of 10 year olds. The plot, the theme, all seemed juvenile to him. Personally, I don’t think D&D is for him. I was diplomatic when I told him “D&D is not your game and you should move on so you don’t spend a year putting up with an adventure that you feel is ridiculous”. The problem with his critique is that he just assumes I’m running things by the book. That everything I present is presented because of what WotC came up with. However, anyone that has gamed more than a year should realize that the DM can change things, alter things, implement their own spin. I have not done a lot of that, but how would he know? So his “this is all very ridiculous” take could eventually be a very direct hit on how I run. He’s certainly welcome to his opinion, but I sure as hell don’t have to prep hours every couple weeks, sit at a table/video, and run it for 8 hours for someone that is not going to understand the dynamics. I have gone as far as saying to a couple other players that I won’t run or play if he’s at the table. As some more mature connoisseurs of spirits might say, life is too short to drink crappy beer.
Make no mistake, I’m ok with reeling it back in, but there is just more to this than a simple “the player and I are on the wrong page”.
I whole heartedly agree with you. That dude clearly shouldn’t be playing at your table.
You make great points, I feel however all your talk about session zero is probably over rated. In the end you’ll never be able to cover all the bases. Groups GM and Players both) just need to accept that a campaign is an ever evolving experience and adjustments need to be made as the game goes on.
Anyway, you got to do what you got to do. Thanks for responding and be well.
I hear you with the players who make assumptions about how you are going to run something.
I had a huge blowup with a player who did read the “session zero” document I sent out and proposed something like 3 character ideas that either chose a race or a class I wasn’t using.
He assumed I was deliberately messing with him and could not accept that while I use a lot of modules & AP’s (like yourself) I like to take the rules/adventures and tweak them. I finally said “this is what I’m running and the way I’m running it - play or don’t - I’m good either way”
Eventually one of the the other players jumped in and said: " Rory’s said no to some stuff - but he adds in all sorts of new things as you play - just give it a chance".
It might be best for him to step away for a while - I bowed out of my gaming group earlier this year due to stress - minor annoyances have left me frothing mad most of this year, and I didn’t want to blow up at a GM or a fellow player over some minor annoyance over the 5e rules… so I’m taking a break.
I guess the above is all in support of:
“Play games with people you enjoy playing with”
“Covid is fucking with everyone, so keep in mind that argument you’re having with someone may actually be about the Plague, and having nothing to do with you or the subject of the arguement.”
I call it ‘risk mitigation’ because I want to sound all corporate, and shit. LOL.
This describes precisely how I feel in regards to my current D&D game. I feel like my time, energy, and commitment is misplaced. I intend to (yes) “lighten up,” but maybe I’m a more “serious” gamer, and, in this mode, my enjoyment will suffer for it.
And this. In fact, I strongly suspect my blowup with a player had more to do with this, and that would mean that we should just take a break until when/if we can get back together in person.
I caught on to that second point a while back. I’ve started giving people a lot of slack because, well, everyone needs that right now. No one is at their best at the moment, many “feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
I feel at this juncture, as DM/GMs, we should all take a moment during this holiday season and reflect on the wisdom and insight below:
Absolutely! It is so important to maintain compassion for ourselves and others right now. We are seeing an absolute tidal wave of new patients coming to the mental health clinics at my hospital, and it is driven by the pandemic.
We all need to take care of ourselves, and stepping back from things so we don’t feel absolutely overwhelmed is part of that. People can always return when they are ready, or engage in something new.
This may seem like someone hacked my account and replied, but …
“Ditch the killjoy!”
If you have outlined what the game is, and what you want from it as the dude doing all the work, and he is still not on board, you have every right to not include this player.
Players forget that not only is the GM a player, but they deserve to enjoy the experience as well.
GM’s are not sentient game consoles that players can rail against if the game is not going the way they like it.
If the game is not fun for you … why would you play the game, let alone do all the work?
There is something to be said for this point of view too. When all is said and done, if one player isn’t on board with you and the rest of the table, it’s okay to ask them to sit that game out. No harm, no foul. Maybe everything will line up for the next one and folks can get on the same page.
Lotta great stuff up there. I’d also toss in, some of this may be related to Sean (and Brett, but this has been mostly about Sean) run a pretty awesome podcast, and it kinda is a serious business to that extent.
As far as the “killjoy”, I also respect when people have been in the hobby long enough to realize “this isn’t the game for me”. We’ve talked about it, here and the boys on the show, but I think that takes a while to get to the that level of self awareness/ comfort in the hobby, so sometimes a person needs a guiding hand to get there.
You mean this module?