Just winging it

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I love rpgs, I love taking on the role of a Hero going out and doing heroic things.  However, I'm a DM now and that for me has just now started to become fun.  I started DMing about 6 years ago in college.  It was an eye opening experiance for just how much work the DM before me had put into his campaign.  I hated balancing adventures, I hated the idea of killing my players (they had been my allies for so long I felt like a traitor) I hated the idea of rail roading them, but hated their constant insistance of not following adventure hooks even more.

As time went on I got to take on the role of the player again.  Things were nice, peaceful, and at times down right amazing.  Then the group I had been disbanded and I was gameless once again.

This brings us to Gamma World...

I love this system but in order to play it, I have to run it.  So what do I do?  At first I thought about it like I had before, I planned everything, I followed the books idea of what experiance values to use how I should set up an adventure.

I thought I was ready, I had my first adventure all ready to go, and then... the PC's arrived.  Ignoring plot hooks, going places I hadn't planned for them to go, constantly doing the unexpected.  The planning was for naught.  So I started to adapt, cheat, and manipulate my players.  Oh how it worked, it was glorious.  The table came to life as characters I had never planned on creating had to be created on the fly, situations I had not anticipated came up and were dealt with in ways not covered by the books.  All the while I started to realize that this is what it's supposed to be, fun.

When I say cheated I don't mean that I hosed the players, I simply fudged rolls at certain points (sometimes for them, sometimes for me) never in a way to hinder their creativity, usually just as a means to buy me some time.

An example of this was when the heroes decided to attack the evil dicators base right off the bat in our first adventure.  I had to quickly come up with a way to slow them down and reposition them, not because I wanted to rail road them but because I wasn't ready for them to do all that just yet.  

Now here we are four adventures in, last nights being totally made up on the spot, every step of the way.  I don't even look at monsters for the most part anymore.  I just roll a d20 six times for stats, if I know the monster should be strong in certain areas I add 10 if the result is less than 10, and other than that I let the rolls decide.  For hit points I just roll 2d10's the higher number being then tens spot and the lower being the ones.  For attacks I borrow attacks from other monsters or just make them up.

In our last game I had created custom monsters that were blind and hunted by sound.  One of the players passed me a note asking if his Hawkoid's terrifying screech could do double damage?  While the rules say it is a pyschic attack I decided to let it work this time.  I explained that I probably wouldn't always do that, but I like the fact that they were trying to be creative in their powers.

Anyways, this long rambiling mess is just to say, I'm done with hours of planning, other than a few key encounters and monsters I plan on winging it as often as I can. 
Handy tool for coming up with stuff on the fly:
That's awesome. Thank you
That document is the single most important DM tool I have for 4e games. It really does work as advertised for creating challenges on the fly, and the players are usually none the wiser.
Encounters DM, Season 4 & Season 5 - Amorous Armadillo Game Shoppe - Oviedo, FL
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