It being December 31st it seems like a particularly good day to go into my goals for 2019 as a GM and as a Player. I know the normal deal is to make resolutions, but I find resolutions to be tricky..and easily abandoned. Where as goals give you something to work towards. Yes, that means goals might be easier ("my goal is to eat less pie" vs. "I resolve to not eat pie") but that also means you just keep going for them.
As a GM
A Return to Basics
When I started running 5e the goal was to flex some GM muscles I haven't used in a while, and oh boy did it take me by surprise just how atrophied some of those were. I still have problems at times with preparation for D&D combat encounters, though the tools available online make that easier for the most part. However, in working on those some of the other basic stuff I did has also atrophied.
For 2019 I want to find a balance in this. Things like Sly Flourish's The Lazy DM are a big help in prioritizing prep time (more on this later). However, I also have my own theories, thoughts, and lessons - many of which are in this very blog - for the past 9 years or so. And I don't want to lose what has made my games fun for my players. I want to add to it. I want my games to be more fun. But not at the cost of what people come to my games to get.
D&D has made me have to focus and break down my prep more than previous games, and I really like that. However, it is easy to prep in the wrong way, or to prep things in the wrong order. There's no point in having a super fancy pre-drawn battle mat if you don't have an idea what is happening to bring the players to that area after all.
This is one of the places where Sly Flourish's The Lazy DM has been a big help. I haven't read through much of return of the lazy DM, but it seems more complex than the original and the simplicity found in there has been huge. I want to continue in this trend, because the Lazy DM approach is all about prioritization and simplification. You prepare the basics, only what you need. How I am taking that, and using it, is to make sure I have the cake before I even think about the icing, and for that you need to have the right ingredients on hand and ready to go.
More Consistent NPCs and Notes
One of my struggles over...the entire career of my GMing...is keeping things consistent. Part of the problem with that is my notes tend to suck. Much like prep, taking notes is a skill and it is one I have let atrophy for way too long. For the longest time it wasn't a problem, even if i was GMing multple games those games were in different systems and that made mental compartmentalization super easy. "This is what is happening in the L5R game" vs. "This is what is happening in the Mutants and Masterminds game." However, at present I am running 2 D&D games and playing in 2 other D&D games. And that has led to some blurring of games. Also, with everything else going on in my life, it's just better to have notes.
For now I've taken to just trying to focus on notes, but I need to start research into actual note taking techniques others use and find what works for me.
As A Player
As a player I only have one goal. I want to get better at making characters that function without the GM needing to give me a lot of time - or even any time. Pro-active characters that can actually take the burden of "what happens next" off the GM because the character has a goal in mind. I've been hit or miss on this in the past, and a large part of it is down to focus and making the character.
Fortunately I have ideas and thoughts on how to do this, it's just a matter of implementing them...and implementing them consistently. More on this in the new year.
What about you? What are your goals for 2019?