Writer’s Block and GMing

Posted: November 6, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Roleplaying Games
Tags: ,

Once in a while I end up with the GMing equivalent of writer’s block. Currently I’m in that situation, as after about a month or so of not gaming on weekends I’ve lost steam and I’m struggling to come up with a good game pitch that will excite both myself and my players. I’m annoyed, admittedly, and I know that this isn’t just burnout, but a real sort of writer’s block that affects my ability to come up with something interesting.

I’m still a big supporter of the hobby, and I still buy books (Champions Complete, I’m looking at you!) but for the most part thinking of a campaign feels strained, unsatisfying and ultimately frustrating.

That said there ought to be something I can do about it. Some of the usual solutions for Writer’s Block in general include stepping away from the work and getting some fresh air or immersing oneself in other media like reading a book or watching a movie or even listening to some music. I’ve been very busy at work at the moment so indulging in such is a little bit of a difficulty but who knows, it might work, so I’m giving it a chance for the moment.

At this point, I don’t even know what genre I want to run. I know I still have an obligation to run Sci-Fi at least once, and maybe Fantasy again that isn’t L5R to try and spread my experience across more than just the World of Darkness and Pulp eras. I’m also looking to try Supers again but I can’t really think of a good premise.

I think I’ve rambled on for too long. What about you guys? What do you do to deal with writer’s block?

  1. Run a one-shot that’s not related to any of your current or past campaigns? Or run a one-shot that’s a side story of one of your campaigns?

  2. Uncle Asriel says:

    Random Tables.

    Stuff like Maid RPG is silly, but the random tables there come up with some good stuff to help come up with a crazy idea and see how you can fit it into a coherent plot. While Maid’s character stats are kind of flimsy, the tables for coming up with nonsense plots is quite fun.

    As well, site such as [http://tartex.blogspot.ca/2012/03/random-tables-for-rpgs.html], [http://d4d6d8d10d12d20sbehindtheskeletoninthecloset.wordpress.com/category/random-tables/], [http://www.robotviking.com/2012/01/11/a-table-of-100-random-character-traits-for-your-rpg/], and so forth are worth noting for making coherent plots come together.

  3. I am right there with you. Please let me know if you have any ideas. I’m lost.

  4. Jason says:

    I like to read, watch or browse movies or find a group to play in instead of running a game myself when this happens. When I say “read” I actually mean I browse old novels that I’ve read in the past and skim parts of them to revive the memory of the experience.

    Sometimes I’ll also work on my world setting that is in a perpetual state of development to try to jog myself out of the block.

  5. dirty yasuki says:

    My ideas for RPGing always come back to one thing: Lurk on 4chan.org/tg/

    Seriously lurk on that place for a few hours or a few days. You never know what you might find. The sheer stupidity/brilliance of its inhabitants will at once surprise you and leave you a changed man… for better or worse.

    One Supers Campaign I have in my head:
    You are a disparate band of street-level misfits with supers powers. Race of 5th Dimension super beings observing and protecting the Mutilverse tasks your band of heroes to go to alternate Earths and fix what’s wrong with those earths. All this will lead up to slowly powering-up said band of misfits into the destined uber-saviors that they were chosen to be against a multi-dimensional evil hell-bent on consuming all the earths and wiping it from existence.

    Inspirations: Ultimate F4 vs. Annihilus/Future Foundation, Sliders, Doctor Who,

    System: Take your pick you can run with Hero or pick something new and feature it on your blog: like Mutants & Masterminds, Wild Talents.

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