View Full Version : How do I manage my GM ADD?

05-26-2014, 11:03 AM
Hello. My name is Frank, and I have Game Master's Attention Deficit Disorder.

I'm perpetually "about to start a game", to the point where it's a bad joke. (The last one I actually started was in 2009, and it fizzled after two sessions.) Part of my problem is that I keep changing systems and/or settings.

"Lamentations of the Flame Princess looks good; here, let me design a whole setting (http://www.frank-mitchell.com/games/erebus/)."

"My GM wants someone else to run something. Hey, Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies II / Mongoose RuneQuest II / Eldritch Skies / Tunnels and Trolls looks cool; let me run a one-shot with my usual group."

"No, wait, Magic World just came out. I'll convert the LotFP setting to it. No, how about the T&T setting. No, how about something familiar if vaguely Eastern European-ish. Maybe I'll convert something published, like Lesserton & Mor. No, wait, I see a millennia-old city on a island that's bigger in the interior!"

"Oooh, the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter; I'm going to run that! Oooh, I'll donate to the TimeWatch Kickstarter; I could run that ..."

"... supernatural Western ... far future ... sword & planet ... The Laundry ... Amber Diceless ... Glorantha ... Trail of Cthulhu ... HarnWorld in BRP ..."


What's really absurd is that they're all variations on a theme: a home base that's weirder that it seems, a frontier where anything can happen, and a giant ball of plot threads from political corruption to conspiracies to ancient evils to alternate realities.

How do I make it stop?

05-26-2014, 05:54 PM
with no intention to be rude, and from a person much like yourself as described: learn patience.

i am an idea generator - quantity guaranteed. so i advertise myself to my friends, and they believe me. in pretty much the same fashion as you, i had character, plot, setting, and more ideas just pile up in my head until i was threatened with distraction and terminal directionless-ness.

just the other day i had one of my two usual dm's recount to me the tale of his players reaction to a hypercomplex and unique setting for an encounter i helped him come up with on his drive over to the hosting persons house - about a 25 minute drive. his players were picking up their jaws off the floor when they found out how short a time it took us to whip it together.

i forced myself to learn patience... using meditation, prayer, fasting, tai chi, ninjutsu, long walks in nature, bike rides, practicing listening and not talking, and similar endeavors over time taught me patience, and the ability to either selectively and temporarily ignore the eternal fountain of ideas, or to force it into a directed channel for a period of time.

another aspect of my tactics for dealing with my unending stream-of-consciousness ideas bubbling up in the background of my head is to ALWAYS carry a device for taking notes on my person at all times (pad and pen, phone, computer, whatever works), when the ideas strike, i record at least the core essentials - enough to bring back the rest of the various eddies and streams. i have lists of stuff sitting around, makes for great reference material, too.

finally, i force myself to stick to one idea for a specified period of time (aka: gaming session, campaign arc, whatever it is). when the jitters get too bad, i get out my notes and expand upon them, recording more and more related and new ideas.

using these various techniques, i have an outlet which allows the ideas to keep flowing, but i also have a way to stay on track and direct myself for the duration of a project. not all of my techniques are listed, you'll have to develop your own unique mix that works for you, in any case. ^^

hope this is of some assistance.

05-27-2014, 05:47 PM
I think you have a lot to offer as a DM and this is what is making it difficult. I would just take on what you where first thinking of doing and stick to it. Once you have the main campaign completed - add the other ideas as little side quests to it. Perhaps this will help?

Also if you have been hosting to your roleplayers for a long time then you will see what they like and see if you can combine their desires to it all in one campaign. It looks like a lot of homework for you for this round of campaigning. Ahhhh the luxury of being a storyteller / entertainer - it takes a lot of creativity and imagination to pull it off. I think you will succeed! Good luck!

06-03-2014, 10:27 AM
How do I make it stop?

Maybe you need help from your players. Do they ever hold you to your word?

"Hey guys, I just thought up a great way to turn Ravenloft into a steampunk setting!"

"Um, GM, it's game day, and weren't we supposed to play/continue the Ravenpunk game?"

06-04-2014, 10:43 AM
Maybe you need help from your players.

The problem is, I don't have players yet. Part of my dithering is trying to figure out which ideas would attract gamers in this area vs. which I'd actually be happy GMing. Recently someone asked if I'd GM Pathfinder, and I had to say no: not only have I never even played the system, it's on the wrong end of the complexity scale for me.

Right now I'm playing in a Numenera game every other week. (I like the design philosophy, but I can take or leave the mechanics.) Since I have to keep odd hours, I estimate I have time for one more game, also every other week, which increases the pressure to pick the right idea. I also have previous failures (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/blog.php/222-Inside-lives-a-goblin-that-feeds-on-indecision?blogcategoryid=1) hanging over me.

06-05-2014, 01:28 AM
Oh. Well, then I have the perfect solution. Run my freeware game (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?354960-Modos-Rulebook-1-2-the-real-time-editing-thread). It has a few rough edges (like...most of the Magic chapter), but it's a simple system that plays pretty fast, and is supposed to make houseruling a piece of cake.

It's easy to teach to players, focuses on roleplaying, and character creation is a breeze. The catch is that you have to be willing to hit some under-construction bumps.

Edit: Magic chapter is complete, up to level 4 spells. This is in the under-construction version, 1.2, and supports play up to 6th (legendary) level.

06-10-2014, 02:34 PM
fmitchell I hope you find a way to get another game that will be entertaining. Most of all that the group also enjoys the game with you and that experiences are beneficial to everyone.