I am incredibly comfortable improvising an entire game session with no notice, plan, or preparations. Â Show me a table of players wanting to game and I will GM them! Â I love to improvise, and I am really good at it. Â I could improvise every single game I run for the rest of my life.
I realized that I did not need to prep at all for my games, and that my players were still having a good time. Â And that is exactly why I stopped improvising every single game.
My improvised games are good, and often they can be great. Â I have all of the skills needed to run not just a session, but an entire campaign with a story arc that stretches across all of the sessions. Â I am complimented on my improvised games and I know that I have that part of GMing nailed down.
Now I force myself to do prep work. Â It is harder, and I am not used to it because of all of those games that I have improvised in the past. Â It requires more self-discipline, and time, and I just do not want to prep some days. Â I do the prep work anyhow. Â I need to do the prep work.
I am never going to improve as a GM unless I keep forcing myself to do something difficult and outside of my comfort zone. Â If you want to be the best that you can be, with any skill or discipline, you have to keep looking for the next challenge and then take it on. Â I want to be the best GM that I can be, and I cannot be satisfied with just improvising games in order to be the best.
Yes, my players had a good time with my improvised games. Â Yes, the players did not have as much fun when I changed to a more prepped style. Â Yes, I was not having as much fun as I adjusted to a prepped style ofÂ GMing.
But I am improving with prepped games. Â It appears that the group is having just as much fun as they did under the improvised style of GMing. Â Best of all I am a better GM now then I was when I just improvised my games.
If you are excellent with prep, maybe you should try improvising your next game. Â If you are amazing when you run Dungeons & Dragons, maybe the next game that you run should be GURPS. Â Whatever your comfort zone is, identify it and then step out of it. Â It will make you a better GM.
Have you recognized your comfort zone? Â Do you step out of it from time to time? Â Have you ever changed your style dramatically on purpose? Â If so, tell us about it in the comments section below.