Role Playing Tips - By Johnn Four
5 TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR BUSY ROLEPLAYERS
One of my biggest challenges as a game master today is time
management. There's just too much to do in my professional
and personal life to devote as much time as I really want
towards my #1 hobby: roleplaying.
Wizards Of The Coast just released the following
information*, as part of an overall gaming industry report.
It gives the top reasons why gamers stop gaming:
* Got too busy with other things: 79%
* Too few people to play with: 63%
* Not enough time to play: 55%
* Found a game I liked better: 38%
* Unhappy with the game and the rules: 38%
* Cost too much money: 32%
* Burnt out from frequent play: 29%
The top three reasons caught my attention as early warnings
about time management. (Although Wizards did not comment on
reason #2, I believe part of the reason there are too few
people for some to play with is that potential players don't
have enough time.)
So, I better accept the challenge that I need to do more
gaming in less time and look for ways to keep my hobby
thriving--because the reality is that life is only going to
Here then are five time management tips for you, so that you
can carve out more precious time to play.
I'm guilty of not doing this well. But it really does help a
busy game master if the players can lend a hand. Have
someone take care of the pre-session details for you, such
as playing time, playing location, menu, snacks and car
Also enlist the players to perform rules research during
sessions so you can focus on other things. Depending upon
your group, you may even have the opportunity of letting a
player handle the monsters once in awhile--including their
pre-game planning and tactics.
2. Use A Campaign Newsletter
I covered campaign newsletters in Issue #7
[ http://www.roleplayingtips.com/archives/issue7.html ] and
they are a fantastic way to get more done in less time. Use
a campaign newsletter to update world events; create needed
campaign information such as NPCs, unique monsters, and
setting information; organize your records and session
information; organize your players; and communicate with
your group about important story and campaign issues all in
one fell swoop.
3. Think About It
I bet you can get in 30 minutes of really good session and
story planning time each and every day without it costing
you an extra minute!
When you're doing something that safely allows your mind to
wander, use that time to think about roleplaying:
* Transit, commuting
* Standing in line anywhere and everywhere
* In the shower
* Brushing your teeth
* On your breaks and lunch
The secret is to have an agenda to focus on and complete.
What do you need to plan, create or determine for your
campaign and next session.
It takes practice to consistently focus your thoughts, but
the reward is at least 3 bonus hours of planning a week--
hours that you are using anyway and do not need to make room
for in your busy life. Think about it.
4. Create Protected Time & Guard It
If you practice #3, you'll find that when you sit down at
the keyboard, or with paper and pen, the ideas and
information will come streaming out in a highly distilled
manner. What used to take you an hour to write, after
pauses, revisions and editing, can be streamed out in 15
minutes. All because it is well thought out in your head.
So, figure out time during the week where you can
concentrate entirely on roleplaying, protect that time, and
then joyfully use it. No phone calls, email, tv or chores.
It's just you and roleplaying. Even a half hour, twice a
week, consistently used, will let you get a lot done.
5. Focus On Results
I'm very guilty of spinning off on unproductive tangents
while planning. During your thinking time and protected
time, ask yourself what really needs to get done so that
next session is exciting, compelling, and enjoyable for all.
Do you really need to type out that chart, or will a
bookmark for quick reference during play do just as well?
How about developing your back-end story--the story which
your players will take several sessions to uncover. Does it
really need to be that detailed? Or can you spend a few
minutes updating it each week and then move onto something
else like fleshing out a couple of upcoming encounters for
Same with game setting information. Is it important to
figure out the statistics for all the world's rulers right
now? Perhaps you could create a small rumour list for next
week's city session instead?
Have more fun at every game!