Lazy Tip #5: Play fast and dirty
Being a Lazy GM is a lot like being a Stage Magician. It pays to have a gorgeous assistant in a skimpy dress. No, that’s not it……
GM’ing isn’t about weaving fantastic plots, creating wonderful NPCs or being a tactical genius on the battlefield. OK it’s partly about all that, but it’s mainly about controlling the pace of the game. You are the director and cameraman all rolled into one, describing the action and keeping the players (your actors and audience) enthralled right up to the closing credits.
A Lazy GM knows this and uses the pace of the game to her advantage. Run a tense and exciting combat with hordes of critters appearing out of cracks in the walls, and the players won’t even notice you’re using nothing more than stock Goblin Minion stats.
Just like a Stage Magician, smoke and mirrors are your friend. Except in your case, the mirror is your GM screen.
Keep your methods secret behind a GM screen and don’t let them see what dice you’re rolling. If you described the Goblins as wielding pointy bone daggers then roll d6s for damage, what they don’t see won’t cause arguments at the table.
Hiding your damage rolls also means you can control the drama. A character at 0hp is more exciting than one at -1hp, so fudge the damage so that’s where the player lands. Don’t do it every time or they’ll see through your sleight of hand – but watch the players’ faces when their characters hit the big 0. It’s worth it.
Lazy Tip #6: Be green. Recycle!
My players don’t know it, but they’ve fought the same villain a tonne of times. They fought him in a New York subway where he was covered in old train parts. They fought him in a Chinese restaurant where he wore a smart suit. They fought him in a jungle in the North Pole where he was a giant ape.
Diff’rent folks, same stats.
We all do this – after all, our Monster Manuals are 100% full of recyclable goodness. You don’t “use up” the statblocks once the players have encountered that particular beastie. Be an interesting campaign if they did – Extinction:The RPG.
In our superhero campaign I’ve a small collection of generic villain statblocks culled from various supplements (including the Archetypes from the Core Rules) and my own fevered brain. Being the Lazy GM wot I am, I can pull one of those out at a moment’s notice, give him a unique look and silly name and be ready to run a one-shot adventure, right there. Give me 10 generic villains (brick, brain, mech, mage, blaster, psi, blade, stretch, flying, teleporter) and 10 plotlines (theft, kidnap, escape, revenge, murder, accident, rage, love, cure, pain) and I’ll give you not a hundred adventures, but thousands.
Till next time!