Wednesday, September 23, 2015

GM Dedication and the ease of game prep time

So here's the situation: I started thinking about prepping for a new Pathfinder campaign. This led to an initial moment of excitement, then gradually dwindled to a series of increasingly odd headaches and phantom pains that I realized were due to the painful conditioning of just how onerous and problematic the task at hand was going to be.

Running Pathfinder requires a lot of time. Prepping a game properly requires a lot of time. Being a Pathfinder GM requires.....dedication. Perhaps more dedication than I am capable of mustering anymore.

In the time it would take me to stat out one interesting NPC or opponent for Pathfinder, I could produce a dozen 5E foes or two dozen S&W or C&C foes. In the time it takes me to properly read up on the player's choices of race and class I could completely learn two or even three entire OSR game systems from cover to cover.

I feel bad. I know my players want variety....they want weird classes with weird options; they are all burned out on the same core classes in every iteration of D&D. Something like Class Compendium can't interest them because....despite the fact that my crew is largely of the right age for the OSR crowd.....they still crave more complexity as players. But Pathfinder does not offer what I as the GM need, which is less complexity.

I could wing it all....and may end up doing so.....but I don't know about you, but that usually leads to a less satisfying experience with Pathfinder. I mean: why run a game that requires short cuts and concessions as the GM to find time to prep and run for, when you could play a game that actually designs the GM experience to be a streamlined, smooth process to begin with?

I haven't got any good answers yet, other than to push hard to keep my current 5E game going on Saturday for as long as possible....stall any change! Yeah, that's the ticket.....

If I stall long enough maybe Paizo will release Pathfinder 2E, now with 200% more player-friendly crunch and 50% less GM prep time requirements. I can dream, anyway!


  1. I don't even know how you find the time to prep your regular games and do other things such as keep up with family/work/video games and of course this blog. I try and juggle it all but I can't really find any good time to prep and I never am sure if I am even doing it correctly.

  2. LOL yeah it's not easy. I think one of the reasons I slide through my weekly games is because I kept world building/hoarding material....I have stacks of folders full of game material going back to the late 80's, so for me it's easy to run games set in my own worlds because I have so much content ready to go.

    As for the blog....I actually pre-load a lot of it. I'll binge write a bunch of posts, and then mix the preloaded posts with the occasional "current topic" post. I can knock out about 10-20 pages of material in a couple hours....editing aside (my weakness)....which some might argue is a super power. It definitely serves me well at work on the 100+ daily emails I have to respond to!