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    As discussed elsewhere…. I’ve been suffering with GM burnout lately.

    There’s a lot of ‘old school’ style in the group (but the youngest player is close to 50), so it’s hard to get some to do anything other than fight and loot bodies.

    I tried Cthulhu for a change of pace… and I’m sure you can guess how well that went down… ‘old school’ players don’t run or surrender… which is a pity, as I bought Orient Express.

    How things have been going lately, I may as well be running a skirmish game.

    So I’m taking a break while someone else runs D&D5 for a bit.

    I have plenty of games to run, but they all end up grinding to a halt.

    Ideas for setting are lurking in my mind and I have plots ready, it’s just hard to get the players involved.

    How do others cope with this?

    Universal Head

    Well, after many years of WFRP (and several years break), I’ve recently started a Shadows of the Demon Lord campaign. It’s a similar grim and gritty fantasy (with a bit of horror) setting, but the game system is very straightforward and simple. There are a lot of short, one-shot adventures available and they’re very easy to string together into a narrative. And unlike my old habits, I’ve been a lot more freeform lately and followed the lead of the players a bit. So instead of trying to get them into a complex plot, I’ve just followed the leads they themselves throw up, and been much more relaxed and ‘seat of the pants’ about my GMing style. And it’s much more fun. I don’t spend ages before a game preparing, I’m keeping the overall plot relaxed and flexible, and I come up with more stuff on the fly. It’s working well, and it’s more fun for me too.

    The players are more used to Pathfinder, so I’ve been enjoying getting them more into my preferred style, which (especially for fighting) is much more Theatre of the Mind: no minis or no grid maps. Very cinematic combats with lots of description and excitement.


    It depends a lot on your group. Not all players make a contribution if left to follow ‘the leads they themselves throw up’…

    The term ‘dead air’ comes to mind.

    Universal Head

    Oh dear. Time for some new players!


    I was recently introduced to RPG gaming with a group running one of the FFG Star Wars RPGs.

    The group (in character) discovered me laying unconscious in a forest, and revived me. (They were mid-campaign when I joined the group)

    Upon awaking, I tried to have a very straight forward conversation with one of the other characters and the player of that character straight up responds to me (out of character) “Oh…no no no no. I don’t do ‘Talkie.'”



    Isn’t this an RPG?!

    Isn’t that the whole point? Why doesn’t he just go play Warhammer or something if all he wants to do is roll dice!?

    Universal Head

    ‘Talkie’? Does he mean he doesn’t talk in character or he doesn’t do any roleplaying except for combat? Never heard that expression applied to RPGs before.

    Jeez, you guys need some decent players. It amazes me that there are people who play RPGs who don’t seem to have much of an imagination. That’s really the only pre-requisite!

    As a GM I try to make the game as cinematic and as fun as possible. From putting on character voices, acting out killer blows, putting on a bit of music, sometimes even jumping up and acting something out; by the end of a game session my voice is usually hoarse and I’m exhausted. Similarly, the players have to come up with good ideas, describe fun things to do in combat (recently they were fighting a 18 foot tall beast and one of them climbed up a nearby structure and jumped onto its shoulders, riding it like a bunking bronco as he tried to stab it in the head!), formulate devious plans and execute them, and get into character occasionally (not all the time, but sometimes it’s great fun).

    RPG games are a cooperative thing, and should result in everyone laughing their heads off for most of the time! If you can also have a few moments where the players are actually terrified for their characters (or at least very worried), even better.


    He doesn’t do “Talkie”!!!!!

    That’s terrible….

    He must be an MMO player that was talked into pen & paper. MMO players on chat only seem to yell orders and insult other players. That’s not even good for an online game and why I don’t use teamspeak when I play Guild Wars.

    But that sort of behaviour at the gaming table is worse. It’s a social activity!!!!

    I may have some problems with creativity at the table sometimes, but we do have a laugh (especially about our terrible dice luck) and there is some role-play.


    Based on his table demeanor, I’m guessing “talkie” is his way of saying, “I’m just here to fight things with dice. Please don’t try to have a character conversation with me.”

    I’m pretty sure I just found my way into a group who’s style does not match my own. They’re literally all NASA engineers. At least one is a physicist. I’m pretty sure two of them work on simulations for NASA. They’re all 100% completely numbers people. Each session so far is dominated by over analysed statistics based decision making. Careful study of the most optimal action, NOT the most fun or creative….and dice rolling. It feels pretty much like the background calculations of a turn based video game, but sitting at a table watching people do it in real life…

    I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the FFG Star Wars RPG, but essentially there are different types of dice and depending on the results on each type of dice, you’re encouraged to narrate the consequences accordingly.

    e.g. A “success” on a skill die would be narrated differently than an “advantage” on a boost die.

    So something that may play out like this with an imaginative GM/group:
    GM: “OK, you got one success, one advantage. Your shot strikes the storm trooper (success die), but you must have hit a kink in his armor (advantage die), because the plating on his left side falls off leaving him exposed. He yells in pain and trips over his own feet trying to run away.”

    In MY group it would be more like this:
    GM: “Ok, you got one success, one advantage. Ok. That’s a hit. Rolling for damage….Ok 2 damage. And what are you going to spend your advantage on?”
    Player: “I’m gonna recover 1 strain.”
    GM: “OK. Next.”

    The strangest thing is they all seem to LOVE playing the game, and they talk about it in Google chat all the time. Strangely their musings in Google chat are 100% more funny and imaginative than during a session. I think it’s just in their nature to play it the way they do, and while it’s a frustrating way to be introduced to the genre, I can’t really blame them or be mad at them. I mean, it’s THEIR group. I’m just the new guy and maybe it’s not a right fit for ME.

    Anyway…My closest friend in the group (the one who introduced me) bought me the core rule book for Edge of the Empire for my birthday this month. So, rather than wallow in self pity, my goal is to learn the rules and GM my own group…Or perhaps I’ll offer to GM the next campaign in this one and engineer a “talkie” heavy campaign where imagination is required. Muahahahahah!

    Universal Head

    Bloody hell, it sounds horrible! And it’s particularly weird that they’re playing that game, whose dice system is specifically designed to encourage imaginative roleplaying.

    Yep, form your own group. Like anything, it can be hard to get the right people together, but once you do, it’s worth it. I was very lucky to stumble upon a good group when I moved here.



    I’m going to be really creepy and ask what state you live in. Some crazy coincidence but I work for NASA in Houston…

    I don’t play DnD but just thought it was funny reading your comments about your group all being NASA engineers.



    Uh oh….I stepped in it, didn’t I? I live in Friendswood… <awkward….>

    Oh my God, that would be so funny if you knew my group mates. 🙂


    That is amazing! I live down in League City. Feels crazy to run into someone on a tiny forum like this and find out they live less than 5 miles from me.

    I only moved to the area in the last few years and don’t follow DnD at all so it is pretty unlikely I do. 😛

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