I'm having serious DMs block

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
Any tips or ideas you guys know of to get yourself back into the creative mood for making your D&D world?
Watch The Hobbit...
Watch The Hobbit...



amen to that, other than that read some books, high fantasy books are great for coming up with adventures or getting a better written feel for the sort of atmosphere you might be looking for.

I would reccomend something like David Eddings and Terry Brooks  to name a few. 
Read 'Rhapsody' by Elizabeth Haydon
Steal, from as many sources as possible. Enjoy the odd and fantastic. A lot of times we get caught up in making our fantasy worlds seem "real." That's not the point. What you want is a world that is interesting, that players and the Dm are invested in, and sometimes that means making it feel less like the real world and more like an amusement park.
Sit down and brainstorm ideas with the players. Let them help me build a whole adventure out of nothing. I recently ran a game entirely based upon player ideas they sent me over Twitter, plus an hour's worth of collaboration over Skype. We created characters, built the world, the adventure location, and had two big action scenes in just 3.5 hours. I came up with very little and didn't need to. I just asked questions and said "Yes, and..." to their ideas.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

Sit down and brainstorm ideas with the players. Let them help me build a whole adventure out of nothing. I recently ran a game entirely based upon player ideas they sent me over Twitter, plus an hour's worth of collaboration over Skype. We created characters, built the word, the adventure location, and had two big action scenes in just 3.5 hours. I came up with very little and didn't need to. I just asked questions and said "Yes, and..." to their ideas.

Dang it. As long as the unpleasantness was keeping you away I got to dispense the wisdom.

But yeah: forget being the only person to come up with the game. Part of the block is about not being sure if people will think an idea is fun and will work as designed. If the players are collaborating with the adventure design, they are certain to find at least certain elements fun, and will go out of their way to make them work, because those elements are their ideas.

It takes trust, but a DM who makes their own stuff already has to trust that the player will go along and not try to ruin things.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Watch some anime or read some manga. 

I got a few ideas that I would love to steal.  
When I'm feeling stumped I look for and read play reports or listen to podcasts of other people's campaigns. Also, there are some really great specialized blogs on D&D out there... here's a list of a few of my favorites (which often mention innovative plot hooks, arctifacts, story elements and characters you can use or adapt) 

dungeonsmaster.com/
bensrpgpile.com/
drbargle.blogspot.mx/
critical-hits.com/
daegames.blogspot.mx/

Special mention: Shamus Young http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?cat=1

I've also found that doing some repetitive physical exercise (jumping rope, dumbells, sweeping the porch, practicing a simple martial arts kick, bouncing a ball) often helps improve my mood and sends me to the zone (you know, that mild trance like state where you're not thinking about anything in particular and then suddenly get assaulted by a million ideas at once)
@Maluco: That "zone" is referred to as the "open mode" by John Cleese. You can view a discussion on creativity and how to stimulate that way of thinking in this video. I've used the techniques described to good effect and have even incorporated many of those elements into our game so that players can more easily reach this state of mind, too. It makes games so much more fun when everyone at the table is in the open mode.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

@iserith Oh! Thanks! :D
check the play-by-post forums?
Look at the classic 1st ed modules?

watch any fantasy movie? Pick what you would NOT want, or what you would change.

Actually, watch any movie, and figure out how to adapt the plot to your world, and what world-building would be necessary to do so.
I usually have writer's block as of late, but picking up the G.O.D. hat again (tentatively, anyways) seems to bring forth a rush of ideas.  To the OP, I employ associative processes as well, pick one idea and then let it naturally flow over days.  After a discussion with my friend at work, it seems like the ideas come easy to me now.  Don't force anything, just look at each idea and see if you can form them into a grander plot.  Good luck!
I steal ideas all of the time but am starting to get into the habit of giving back.

Here's some reciprocity if you are interested in a carnival campaign or module for your characters:
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
Like many a show, make your next episode about a certain character. Use the information they've given you and fabricate a story around them. Making backgroudn ties between two PCs is always a blast (if they are okay with it).
wikipedia anything.

I once got a good idea for a set of enemies by reading about onions on wikipedia.  Just pick a random word, put it in and follow the links with your game world in mind.  Go from there. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Sorry for the double post, but I thought the first one probably wasn't helpful without an example:

I wikipediaed onion and then saw the section on eye irritant.  Once I learned about it I made a creature that created an aura when damage that expanded to cause irritation and eventually blindness as its skin touched the air.

From there I saw something about things bein sauteed, so I saw that and clicked on the word fond, then to arrowroot.  I thought it would be cool if the trees where the Onion creature (allium) lived would be interesting if they shot darts out into people that did a specific type of damage.  That it would even be beneficial for the trees to burst their allies to cause the onion aura to spread.

Then I was lead to two different things.  "Arawak" as a people and "Carbonless copy paper" as an idea.  The economy section of the Arawak entry talks about how they created burrows full of different types of plants so they would have stuff regardless of season.  So I thought the Arrowroot trees would create a great basin at the root of the wide-short trees that would be a haven for many different types of plant creatures that are active during the seasons where they are the most productive.  The Allium creatures were one phase and some other creatures were another.  Maybe the other creatures were slumbering and all the commotion and attacking of the tree woke them up.

Ok so what about this carbonless copy paper bit...   Well there is a link to clay in there, what if these other creatures were the fertile ground during some of the year.  They gathered nutrients in the cold months when the others were hibernating.  There is a link there to Carbonic acid, that sounds fun.  Maybe the clay creatures carry in their bodies little pockets of acid to break the things they want to bring back into managable chuncks.  They could even bud these pieces off and hurl them like acid grenades.

So..  Now I have an encounter with Allium creatures (onions) around a giant Arrowroot tree that involves a ton of rare or expensive herbs (campaign hook) that were gathered and cultivated by clay servants filled with pockets of acid.  And then I build from there.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Sign In to post comments