I borrowed the title from a comment on part one… and I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better and ready to expose my flaws as a GM to you…
First, I hate description. This may seem odd since I write, and read all the time, but I really am a minimalist when it comes to description. When I’m reading something, I hate seeing a lot of descriptors and would prefer to be given just a sketch so that I can fill in the details in my own head. Unfortunately, as a GM this is a bad trait. I’ve often left players without a complete picture of a situation, which for my more literal-minded players makes them need to ask a lot of questions — and some players are shy about that kind of thing. I could do better with setting the situation and translating ideas from my “vision” into the words that players need to feel where they are. As well as I can craft NPCs for the party to interact with I am the exact opposite at painting a picture of place at the table.
Speaking of crafting NPCs — I’m really, really bad at villains. Not because I can’t run them or don’t enjoy running them, but because I prefer villains to be rational and to have reliable motives. My villains can tend to be a little “samey” because they are almost (almost) always erudite, rational, and motivated by something that makes sense. I do this primarily (I think) because I’ve always loved the scenes in stories when the hero and the villain sit down and have a chat… at least figuratively. I like the idea that heroes and villains develop a relationship over time and have communication. This can be a good thing, and it does make for some fun play at times, but I could do better with this, I could be more varied and more surprising. Something to think about.
In that same vein of coming up with ideas — I’m good with the big ideas, I can plot an adventure from a few word associations in about five minutes and it’s probably going to be awesome, BUT, on the smaller scale, I still — after more than 20 years of GMing — struggle with making encounters more interesting, especially combat encounters. I mean, I’m fine if it’s a talking head scene — and I think it links to my uncomfortable feelings with description. If you are looking for super-intricate encounters with traps and terrain and perfectly selected creatures and mood and music and all that jazz, well, I’m not your guy. I’ll come up with convoluted plots and crazy-wicked NPCs but my encounters can be a little plain. I’ve experimented, with mixed results — but I often find that as a player I don’t like “complicated” encounters — but that transfers too much into my GMing. Sometimes when we finish an encounter at my table I feel like I’m leaving something undone — that it could have been better.
Overall, the good: My people, my plots, and my improvisation. The bad: My encounters, my villains are all the same, and my lack of descriptors. Frustrating.
How about you? Any suggestions for my weaker bits? Thanks for reading.