- File Size: 258 KB
- Print Length: 123 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: November 25, 2012
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00ADV2H8O
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Not Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#46,517 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #19 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Gaming > Pathfinder
- #52 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Humor & Entertainment > Activities, Puzzles & Games > Role Playing & Fantasy
- #77 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Humor & Entertainment > Activities, Puzzles & Games > Science Fiction & Fantasy Gaming
The Lazy Dungeon Master Kindle Edition
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And man does it succeed!
The advice in here amounts to about 10-15 main "tips", most of which are "Things you can and should fit onto a 3x5 notecard to keep preparation to a minimum and utility at a maximum." There's a few other tips and tricks, but the vast majority revolve around that. The thing of it is that the tips are highly specific, and concisely stated regarding what goes on the notecard, and in what order, allowing it to be an excellent tool at the table.
Other tips and tricks include having portfolios of different information -- maps, monsters, stats, personality ideas for roleplaying -- so you can literally pick and choose every element of an NPC, monster, trap, or encounter on the fly, and make it all work. Dozens of quotes from professional game designers, long-time Dungeon Masters, and other bloggers help to clarify or customize these tips, so you know you'll find stuff that's useful for how you DM and how you prep. One person might be OCD, while another totally wings, and there are good tips for both types (and everything in between) in this book.
As the introduction states, this book is more for experienced DMs, though I'd say it's worth reading almost immediately, even for newbies. You may not understand the advice right away if you're a n00b, but you'll have several "Ah-HA!" moments once you get a few sessions under your belt and refer back to this book.
As a 25+ year veteran gamer, I can honestly say this book is worth every penny, and every bit of advice is good. There's little -- maybe nothing -- I won't use from this book, and that's rare in RPG books filled with tips and advice.
Now if you are an experienced GM, most of the advice is sound and I wish I had heard it on some occasion (many) years ago when an impromptu game was thrown on my lap on an afternoon and I didn't have anything with me but pen and paper - not even dice.
The essence of the suggestion is: have seen it all many times and you don't need to prepare, reason why it won't work with inexperienced GM.
First, nothing dispenses you from knowing the rules inside and out. Even if you play "permissive" systems such as AD&D 2e or even Pathfinder (as opposed to 3e or 4e) you still need to know enough of the rules to be able to keep the balance while fudging.
Second, lazy GMing requires access to much prepared material (NPCs, monsters, locations, encounters etc.) for which you need (1) access to the material right there at the table and (2) knowing your way around to find the needed information without searching.
Third, this mostly applies to role-playing, not mechanics. Inexperienced GMs tend to rely on mechanics because the rules are math and give them a sense of mastery when pure role-playing cannot be codified that easily, hence more combat and less personal interactions.
The real value of this short book, to me, is in the appendices where a few experienced GMs are interviewed with a set of standard questions about preparation and the value it brings tot heir games - even though I thought the questions were biased towards "preparation is not that important".
There are a few tables aimed at providing ideas for campaign arcs or short on-the-spot adventures, but if this is what you are after I would strongly suggest getting the Pathfinder Game Mastery Guide, even if you are not playing Pathfinder. It is much more elaborate and addresses aspects barely touched here, such as the players archetypes and how to address them, a subject that would deserve more attention.
While the book was written during the 4E cycle, most of the advice is relevant to all editions. However, since 5E has a greater emphasis on role playing and character development, you might want to go a tad more in-depth than some parts of the book suggests. Every DM is different, and I think just about everyone can benefit from learning how to efficiently game plan. The #1 thing this book taught me is to tackle the part of the planning that you seem to keep avoiding since it blocks everything else, and then lay down the bare minimum "core" elements. After that, everything else falls in to place. Or not, but that's OK, because as a Lazy DM, you are an expert at winging it!