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2014-08-06

My struggles with Dungeon Fantasy (part 1)

Over the last couple of weeks I've been struggling with working on my megadungeon. It feels like a chore and I am just not excited about it anymore. While trying to figure out why I was in this funk, I realized that there are many problems contributing. Here are my thoughts and possible solutions.

Working Against my GMing Style

This is sort of the root of all the issues, and I've sort of mentioned this before. I'm use to running games with little prep, and the prep I do being focused on characters in the world. With other games, I start with NPCs and factions, I set up conflict and then let the players take sides and direct the events. This is fun for me, but has at times created lots of in-party conflict as the sides tend to be both morally gray.

Part of the reason I wanted to try DF was to get away from this moral ambiguity, and everything that went with it. I thought I'd just have the players "kill things and take their stuff." So, I didn't bother with a lot of back story, NPCs, or much of anything really. When things started to feel a bit pointless or unfocused, I tried to retrofit in some "quests", but these didn't seem to really strike a cord with the players. That is probably because it didn't really strike a cord with ME.

My time and investment were spent on maps and monsters and loot and the dozens of other things that were fairly new to my GMing style (and initially exciting), and not on the things that keep me interested.

I think this is a case of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I went overboard in trying to do something different and took away one of the major things that makes me want to GM.

Possible solution: I need to spend more time thinking of the who's who of the setting, creating interesting major NPCs and getting them involved in the PC's lives. This can be problematic in a game where just about anyone is a potential target, but every major NPCs needs to have events that kick off when they are helped, killed, or even ignored.

This sort of thing gets my creative side going. The draw back is that it takes time away from other prep work, and I'm not sure I can run a dungeon w/o monsters, loot, etc.