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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Hello, Playground. I have a problem that I would like some feedback on how to deal with...

    The thing is, every time I run a game I end up losing interest in it after a few sessions at most and giving up on it. This has happened in every single game I've ever run (mostly RL games, but one PbP too), with the obvious exception of oneshots (well, just one actually). I guess the cause is an attention-span deficiency plus a strong preference for playing in rather than running games. But I still keep wanting to run games because I love world-building and coming up with epic plots and stuff, but then I end up getting a new campaign idea and losing interest in the old one before the players are even aware of the plot. In the most recent example, I ended up handing over the game to one of the players and adding in a PC of my own.

    Now I have a new idea simmering in my head, and I don't want the same thing to happen once again. Has anyone else had this problem? How did you deal with it? Or even if you haven't experienced this yourself, do you have any suggestions?
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    I have almost the exact same problem, the only difference being that i tend to lose interest before i even completely finish writing my campaigns. Unforunately, i don't have a lot of advice to give. :(
    The only things that helped for me were finding a campaign that i was really excited about and making my campaigns fairly short.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Krylea View Post
    I have almost the exact same problem, the only difference being that i tend to lose interest before i even completely finish writing my campaigns.
    Ah yes, this happens a lot too.
    Unforunately, i don't have a lot of advice to give. :(
    The only things that helped for me were finding a campaign that i was really excited about and making my campaigns fairly short.
    The problem with this solution is that the campaign plots I think of are usually too epic to make short games out of I could try though.
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    My recommendation? Multiple plotlines running simultaneously. If, say, you get bored of the zombie invasion plotline and want to mess with robots for a while, just suddenly have the robots break into the scene and hog the attention. When you or your players get bored of the robots, you can always return to the zombies, or pull out something else entirely.

    The best campaign I ever played in ran like this. It was impossible to tell where the plot would take us next, because no matter what we were doing we could potentially find ourselves in an entirely different plane of existance five minutes later. I don't think we got anything done, but damn if we didn't have fun doing it.
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    I used to have this problem a lot.

    I still do now but i have learnt to deal with it.

    How did i get past it?

    It might be growing up and gaining some patience, but it was more down to a bit of self discipline.

    It sounds like a stupid thing for something you do for fun but you have to force yourself to focus on the one game.

    Avoid reading source books non related to the game/world you are playing in.

    If you come up with an alternative game idea make a note about it and then try to force yourself to stop thinking about it.

    Try and shift your game related thoughts back onto the task at hand and how you can improve your current game.

    At the end of the day this one is going to be 99% you.

    You have to brake your own "bad" habbits.

    All so try only having small story arcs for your games (like 2-5 session ones)as trying to stick to a single ongoing plot line can get borring for people that suffer from ADD&D
    Aside from "have fun", i think the key to GMing is putting your players into situations where they need to make a choice that has no perfect outcome available. They will hate you for it, but they will be back at the table session after session.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    I would suggest the possibility of a campaign/world building adoption thread.

    Where DM's go and build an entire world, plot line, case notes, adventure notes, player suggestions, kinks, tricks, races, monsters, encounters and then give it up to the Playground for free.

    Whoever claims your master piece credits you in the OOC and IC threads for the game.

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Have you considered co-DMing with someone else? You could do most of the world-building, concepts, etc. that you said you like, then let someone else do most of the session-to-session running of the game.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    It sounds like you like world-building, but aren't so thrilled about DMing.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by 2-HeadedGiraffe View Post
    Have you considered co-DMing with someone else? You could do most of the world-building, concepts, etc. that you said you like, then let someone else do most of the session-to-session running of the game.
    I'd second that, one of the best games I was ever in was organized this way
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    I'll second Kyoryu on that one. If you find that DMing isn't your thing, just world-building can be very enjoyable. And hey, if you ever end up DMing, you'll have a load of resources to draw on.

    But if you want to become a better DM...well, I'm not great myself, but I've found it helps to at least begin with some focused writing and world-building: that way you have a solid baseline to work with, and will be less tempted to abandon the game (especially since you've spent hours of drudgery on it).
    Stewing on an idea for a while is fine, but invest work into in it before too long - otherwise it'll invariably be swept away by all he other great campaign ideas you have.

    That said, if you think of a new idea or plot you like more than the old one, don't be afraid to replace it. If the PCs are fighting against a massive gnoll invasion, rallying militias and organizing defenses, but you find yourself wishing you had a detective game, perhaps the grand duke who is leading the resistance forces is assassinated and his soul bound - the PCs must unmask the murderer in order to recover the duke's essence and resurrect him.
    Or, if you suddenly love the idea of githyanki cults summoning an eldritch horror, introduce that as an urgent threat that must be dealt with, threatening to crumble the free lands from within even as the gnolls swarm against their borders.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Perhaps you can try a couple of mini-campaigns, maybe just 2 or 3 sessions long each. You could keep the same characters or even just the setting, but space out the events so the campaigns aren't related to each other at all. If you know that the campaign will end in just one or two more sessions, it might put less pressure on you to draw it out into a full-blown months-long story.

    Also, if you have to resolve the campaign in just 2 or 3 sessions, you will probably have to condense the story and try to accomplish more in each session. That could make the sessions more interesting and give you the opportunity to develop the plot more quickly.

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Carefully watching this thread, as I suffer severely from the same problem.

    For me it's wanting to play, with no desire to DM. But I always end up DMing since my players always suffer huge DM's block every time they try to run a game.

    So none of our games last more than a few months, but they agree at least mine are fun. So I DM more often than not.

    I've DMed too long though... and I've always liked playing more.

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    {Scrubbed}
    Last edited by Zeb The Troll; 2010-10-28 at 02:10 AM.

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swooper View Post
    Now I have a new idea simmering in my head, and I don't want the same thing to happen once again. Has anyone else had this problem? How did you deal with it? Or even if you haven't experienced this yourself, do you have any suggestions?
    As you mentioned, you lose interest in your games and starting a new campaign is fun because you get to create a new world, plots, etc. Now, this is a problem for your players who will have to constantly roll up new characters.

    My suggestion is compromise.

    Have your players roll up characters they plan on playing for a while. Now during the first session(s) you have them go along a plot in a world. During this time they discover an ancient magical device which they cannot seem to get to work. Now when you start to lose interest in the game then you have the device start working and it inadvertently transports the party to a new location, plane, or multiverse where a new campaign or adventure is starting. The overarching adventure maybe trying to figure out the device and get home or just adventure along the way.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    What it sounds like is happening, is that you keep losing focus, wanting other elements/plotlines to come in to the game. What you should do, is start introducing elements into the games from your new ideas, as you let the PCs overcome the elements of your old ideas... smooth integration is wonderful.

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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Maybe you should try a campaign ala Quantum Leap, i mean, every few sessions the characters are in one world, they finish what they were meant to do there and are transported to a different world to do something else.

    That will give you a good load of world building and diversity while the players can keep their characters developing.

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Build a sandbox world where what happens depends on the players and a robust encounter table. That's what I did. I kinda feel like a player in my own world now, because, even though I've laid out the basics for the world - the people, the places, the relationships, the history, the secrets - what actually happens is entirely reliant on what my players decide to get themselves into on that day, and a roll (lots of rolls actually) of the dice. I honestly have NO clue anymore how a session is going to turn out from week to week.

    Took alot of work, mind you, work that is STILL being done to this day, but the results have been pretty freaking awesome. I used to get all excited about my plans and plots, and then as they slowly unfolded, it got boring knowing exactly what the story was going to be ahead of time, even with my seemingly directionless players to throw curve balls at me. Now? I'm always excited to see what's going to happen THIS week, what crap they are going to get themselves into and how they are going to survive another day.

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swooper View Post
    Hello, Playground. I have a problem that I would like some feedback on how to deal with...
    Possible solutions:

    Work to your strengths: Run one-shots and other short games. Large campaigns are intimidating and can cause burn-out and aren't everyone's cup of tea. Consider running a game for either a single scenario or for 4-6 sessions.

    Rotate: We do this when GMs are getting burned out. Each of you runs for 3-6 sessions, or a scenario, or a mini-portion of campaign arc, then the campaign goes on pause, GM duty moves to someone else, and you play something totally different for a while. If there are 3-4 GMs: Even better.

    Less long-term goals: It's inferred from your OP that you plan worlds and entire plots out. I always find this akin to putting a bullet in the head of my enthusiasm. Start with no over-all goal in mind, and start small. Plan a scenario or two in advance. If the party start in a village, then plan the village and the surrounding area. When they look like heading to a city, work on that. The problem with building meta-world and meta-plot is that -in initial stages of the campaign - they are completely divorced from what the party are doing and essentially pretty useless. Thus there is an emotional distancing between the two. It's then easy to loose interest as there is no cross-over between all your hard work and what your friends are actually doing.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gan The Grey View Post
    Build a sandbox world where what happens depends on the players and a robust encounter table....

    Now? I'm always excited to see what's going to happen THIS week, what crap they are going to get themselves into and how they are going to survive another day.
    I wholeheartedly agree.

    It's boring telling a story for very long. But in a sandbox world, your players are telling you a story.

    Plus, you get to do tons of world-building.
    Last edited by Yahzi; 2010-10-28 at 05:31 AM.

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    I have this problem too but I found a solution. When I start getting bored I arrange for a quick solution of the immediate problem and then hand the DM chair to someone else that will run his own stuff in the same world with the same characters. Then when my interest returns I let the other DM know and wait for him to finish his stuff and we return to my plot.

    It took my a couple of attempts to create campaigns that could easilly be halted and then continued later but now it works great for me.

    An example would be a campaign where the players were messing around in a high magic island, lost interest and finished this making it seem like they fixed everything.
    The next DM brought the adventure to the mainland and some stuff happened. I took back over brought them back to the island to be judged for their actions in the high magic stuff, I lose interest and end up with them saving the judges (the archmage of the a large mage council) son and have him drop the charges.
    Next DM has us travel around the world doing stuff and making friends for a few levels and then I finally continue and finish my stuff. Long campaign over that had one over arching plot (mine) and many subplots detailing the heroes other deeds.

    This also works well for me since I have a habit of losing interest in my own characters as well so I usually retire them to NPC status when I take over DM'ing again and when I start playing I create a new character.
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swooper View Post
    The thing is, every time I run a game I end up losing interest in it after a few sessions at most and giving up on it. This has happened in every single game I've ever run

    But I still keep wanting to run games because I love world-building and coming up with epic plots and stuff, but then I end up getting a new campaign idea and losing interest in the old one before the players are even aware of the plot.
    Yeah, see.. this is totally me.. I feel your pain, and I will be paying close attention to all suggestions here. Mostly, mine has been that in the 26 years that I've been RP'ing, I've only been able to be a regular "player" for about 4 of them.. So mine might just be burnout on running games..

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    A lot of good advice here, thank you all for the feedback!
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho View Post
    My recommendation? Multiple plotlines running simultaneously.
    This... is brilliant. I will definitely do something like this. Now I just need to start setting plotlines up so that they can be abandoned and returned to later...

    @Kaun: Some very good points there, self control regarding this would probably help a lot.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2-HeadedGiraffe View Post
    Have you considered co-DMing with someone else? You could do most of the world-building, concepts, etc. that you said you like, then let someone else do most of the session-to-session running of the game.
    I have, and I would consider this if any of my players had the time to spare and were mechanics-savvy enough to pull this off. As is, I'm actually the co-DM in one game, meaning I design encounters (to the main DM's specifications) and help combat run smoothly. It works fine because I have a PC to keep me interested and no investment in the actual plot. Doing it the other way around with me as the main DM and someone else to help with encounters and stuff would be interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gan The Grey View Post
    Build a sandbox world where what happens depends on the players and a robust encounter table.
    I'm not sure I like this idea. Sandbox world is good (I usually try to run sandboxy games anyway), but I've never been a fan of random encounters...
    Quote Originally Posted by Psyx View Post
    Work to your strengths: Run one-shots and other short games.
    The problem with this, as mentioned, is that the plot ideas I get are generally too epic to resolve in only a few sessions. :/
    Rotate
    This could work... I might experiment with this if I ever feel like running the game I gave over to one of the players again. Didn't even consider the possibility of taking it back, thanks!
    Less long-term goals
    This is very valid. In fact, it's perfect for the idea I have in my head now, which is (initially?) site-based around a village and the nearby area, with some vague ideas of what might lie behind the next hill. Instead of drawing continent maps like I usually do, I will only draw small-scale area maps.


    So, to summarize my current plan of action:
    • When I get a new idea, introduce it into the current game instead of starting a new one.
    • Make sure each plotline can be abandoned and returned to later.
    • Don't build the entire world at once. Start small and add more locations/features as the game develops.
    • Use a co-DM of some sort (either parallel or rotating) to help, if possible.


    More feedback and suggestions are of course appreciated. Even if they don't apply to my case (like the recurring "run short games" one), there are apparently a lot of people who are dealing with the same problem out there who might benefit from this thread.
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    Beholder

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    What if you turned your epic campaign idea into a trilogy? Run a low level mini-campaign followed by mid- and high-level "sequels" featuring the same PCs bumped up a few levels each time.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    I advise against multiple plot lines. At least gainst too many of them. 2 or 3 surely is ok, but that´s it

    You just have too much to keep track of, what´s happening and where and why and your players also have to catch all the hints and plot advancements, which depending on the group can just be... unsatisfying. Especially with long pauses in between playtime.

    What did it for me was to create a google group for the guys - since I was responsible and in charge of that I had to organize all the dates and that was what kept me running. So far, at least, roughly 20 consecutive sessions over half a year. About 100-250% more sessions than any campaign before.

    The problem with this, as mentioned, is that the plot ideas I get are generally too epic to resolve in only a few sessions. :/
    Metaplot for epic stuff is fine, but break it down within normal "achievable" plotlines.

    For example:

    Metaplot: Lich tries to achieve world domination through a powerful ritual.

    Plot 1: Group learns of a trader, handing over a artifact to a pawn of the lich.Preventing the artifact from reaching the lich makes the lich learn about his enemies.
    Plot 2: Group tries to evade more pawns of the lich, which go for the artifact. They learn of a location where the artifact would be safe from the lich and some help available.

    And so on, and so on... So you get "measure" points of what was achieved and you can close the old plot line.

    Most of my games shut down because I had too many unresolved plot lines going on. It just does not work ( for me ).
    Last edited by Angelmaker; 2010-10-28 at 10:31 AM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    I have a similar, but less severe problem. I focus on one character or event that must resolve. Once that happens, the game is done for me and I rush to the ending. The natural length of my games is about 8 sessions, but I've hit 20 before and my current one is around 16.

    Anyway, my guess is that you're getting bored because the campaign is too epic. The big finale that you have planned is so far away that you think you'll never get there and so you get bored.

    If that's the case, I have two suggestions. 1) Start at a higher level. Skip all that low level business and go straight to the part of the game that interests you. 2) Go ahead an start from level 1, but only if you can come up with plots that will keep you entertained until you reach your epic ideas.

    Basically you need to make sure you have stuff you want to do to the players at each level of game play. This should all be material that you actually want to see happen, not the dungeon of thrice leveling and +2 magic items for all. If you can't come up with that part of game, skip it. (Assuming of course that I guess at your problem correctly.)
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Let me ask a very simple question:

    Would you ever be willing to run a game based on a canned setting, or even a canned module? IOW, do you enjoy the actual act of DMing?

    If not, and what you really enjoy is world-building, then I'd really look at ways to work with that, and find someone to offload the actual DMing duties on.

    Also, to keep interest in a single setting, it might be useful to scope *down*. Instead of building a whole world, build a kingdom. Then, if you get the urge to do something radically different, you can just put it in a different part of the world or on an island or something. If you build the whole world all at once, you hem yourself in and limit future options.

    Obviously, this may not work for radically different ideas, but within a generic fantasy-esque world it can probably handle quite a bit - after all, think of how many different adventure types you can have in the real world!

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Sandbox world is good (I usually try to run sandboxy games anyway), but I've never been a fan of random encounters...
    I have to ask: How do you manage a sandbox campaign without random encounters?
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Swooper View Post
    I'm not sure I like this idea. Sandbox world is good (I usually try to run sandboxy games anyway), but I've never been a fan of random encounters...
    What's wrong with random encounters, anyway? If you're concerned about how arbitrary they are, make more focused random encounter tables for specific regions, or even change them as the world/political situation evolves.

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    Beholder

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Sandbox play doesn't require random encounters.

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    Kobold

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    Default Re: Help! Losing interest in my own games!

    Quote Originally Posted by Amphetryon View Post
    I have to ask: How do you manage a sandbox campaign without random encounters?
    The way I do it is that the PCs aren't the only ones playing in the sandbox. NPCs move around and make stuff happen too. If the players piss off such an NPC, he'll hire some thugs to take out the players.

    Obviously that's an extremely simple case. Basically anything the players touch can snowball and whack them later.
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