[YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

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Havard
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[YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

Post by Havard » Fri May 11, 2018 5:21 pm

Image



Some of you might know Jim Muprhy since he was Matt Coleville's DM back in the days.

Are you a minimalist DM? Or do you prefer lots of preparation?


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Re: [YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

Post by zontoxira » Fri May 11, 2018 6:35 pm

I lean at both sides. Usually, me being the almost-perfectionist in life, I get into a lot of prep before a session, like adventure notes, a few NPCs, creature stats, maps, player notes, images, music etc. But at other times, especially when I'm tight on schedule, I just go minimal all the way, with a single page of notes and adventure ideas, and lots of improv. The Five Room Dungeon concept helps enough, too.
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Re: [YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

Post by Irondrake » Sun May 13, 2018 7:43 pm

I prefer lots of prep for running scenarios in my D&D campaign. I've just always felt more comfortable having the most information at my fingertips to make informed decisions based on the players' actions.

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Re: [YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

Post by timemrick » Wed May 16, 2018 8:45 pm

I do a lot of preparation for my games, including interesting NPCs and monsters, all with full stat blocks, in addition to having appropriate minis made up for the adventure. I also do try to do some of the smaller-scale prep that Murphy talks about (reusable maps, cards with basic stats of NPCs and monsters, etc.), so that I have something to fall back on when my notes for a session don't cover everything the players want to do.

I have a tendency to over-prepare, so at times I will deliberately challenge myself to improvise more. For example, the first BESM game I ever ran was a mini-campaign with a relatively generic medieval fantasy setting. I had the overall premise worked out (a resistance war against a conquering force and its supernatural leader), a short list of likely missions (boiled down to a sentence or two each), and stats for a number of characters and creatures that the PCs would encounter. With that safety net in place, I was able to be more flexible than usual when the players tried out their crazy ideas. The fact that it was a finite mini-series with a well-defined goal also helped the players stay more or less on target. It would have been much more difficult to run that game as a truly open-ended campaign (though we did identify at least one or two potential missions in case we ever did a sequel).
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Re: [YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

Post by shesheyan » Wed May 16, 2018 9:40 pm

Interesting video and fellow !

I used to be like Matt and do 80/20. But over time because of time constraints I had to develop a way to continue playing with less prep time. I also realized players weren't aware of all this background stuff a wrote to make the story interesting for me. With time world building became less important than actual play. My focus changed. So I cut back on that too. I never run adventures as written. Pacing and climax is more important to me than the actual dungeon crawl. Now, I make a one page synopsis with bubbles and arrows. Write short paragraphs about encounters and NPCs. I also have a sheet with NPC names just in case. And I use lots of miniatures, terrain and tiles to make the scenes more memorable. I polymorphed into a Minimalist DM it seems!
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Re: [YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

Post by shesheyan » Thu May 17, 2018 2:01 pm

In short : I'm willing to spend a maximum of one hour of prep time per four hours of game time. This is of course easier to do if you stick to the same system or systems you are well versed in. With a new system, like Coriolis, I'm hopping to go down to 1/4 ratio after 4 games of 4 hours. The system is simple enough to do that.
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Re: [YouTube] Jim Murphy: Minimalist Dungeon Master

Post by Havard » Thu May 17, 2018 10:27 pm

I'm somewhere in between as well. I think Jim Murphy's approach has merit because some DM's risk preparation getting in the way of gaming. I can and have run games with very little prep. I also think improvisation is key in any game.

On the other hand I also love tinkering with little details and backgrounds for my campaign. I also think this helps with my improvising since I have thought through so many aspects of what's going on in the campaign.

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