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I agree that there is little chance of solving the problem while you're GMing in this way and, sadly, if you keep doing this you won't be able to find anyone that wants to play the games you're designing. That said, I'd like to submit an approach that was used as the foundation for a campaign world that lasted ten years and at times had three or four groups playing in it.

After submitting the suggestion below I've re-read the question and agree strongly with wraith808 suggestion that you are perhaps planning too much, or possibly have a gaming groups that's quite passive. I had problems with boredom with a particular subgroup of players that didn't want to do any thinking, they just wanted to watch the game unfold like a movie. I fixed that, as wraith808 did, by doing less planning and forcing the players to drive the story. Unfortunately two players in particular became so involved that the work of unfolding the world's reaction to their actions became enormous, but at least it was interesting.

I was part of a gaming group that was sick of the "three month campaign" disease. When we started a new campaign using a game world and system that I'd designed we laid down an agreement that defined how the world was to be changed:

  1. The game rules and campaign world are owned collectively by the players and the GM. Any change has to be agreed by everyone.
  2. The players own their characters, and the parts of the world that make their characters real and relevant. The GM has to discuss world or game rule changes that would impact characters.
  3. Non-player characters are bound by the same rules as player characters, but the GM doesn't have to explain anything that seems impossible or justify a character's actions - it's for the players to find out what they're missing.
  4. No rule or world meta-discussion while the game is active. For that period the GM is in charge and their decision is final. If you want to disagree with a decision or propose a rule or world change you do it after the session has ended.

There was more to it than that, but the first two rules attack the problem you're trapped in. Under this agreement the campaign I ran dramatically changed it's rule base three times and worked through multiple story arcs but each rule change or new story could only be introduced after I'd worked out how to migrate the existing characters. Because I had to abide by that rule some changes just weren't worth making.

A new story or game system that would require completely new characters was run as a one-off, sometimes in the same world, sometimes not - depending on whether the new story would break the existing world. The key to that was that everyone knew that it was a short-term story. This didn't happen much because if we didn't like the rules we'd change them.

Now let's be clear: doing things properly was a HUGE effort. Much more work. It created a world with a rich history and characters with amazing backstories, but we struggled for months with some of the changes. An example was when it became obvious that a certain set of rules made mages vastly over-powered and team-based gaming redundant. I wanted to introduce changes that made mages and fighters vulnerable to certain attacks and made teams not just sensible but essential. Those changes made for some furious all night arguments while we thrashed out what would go and what would stay.

The bottom line was that because the players knew that they had a say in what happened they invested in the campaign - they got committed to the characters and would come to me with story concepts and character goals that enriched the world. With campaigns owned by the GM I've never seen that level of engagement by the players.

I agree that there is little chance of solving the problem while you're GMing in this way and, sadly, if you keep doing this you won't be able to find anyone that wants to play the games you're designing. That said, I'd like to submit an approach that was used as the foundation for a campaign world that lasted ten years and at times had three or four groups playing in it.

I was part of a gaming group that was sick of the "three month campaign" disease. When we started a new campaign using a game world and system that I'd designed we laid down an agreement that defined how the world was to be changed:

  1. The game rules and campaign world are owned collectively by the players and the GM. Any change has to be agreed by everyone.
  2. The players own their characters, and the parts of the world that make their characters real and relevant. The GM has to discuss world or game rule changes that would impact characters.
  3. Non-player characters are bound by the same rules as player characters, but the GM doesn't have to explain anything that seems impossible or justify a character's actions - it's for the players to find out what they're missing.
  4. No rule or world meta-discussion while the game is active. For that period the GM is in charge and their decision is final. If you want to disagree with a decision or propose a rule or world change you do it after the session has ended.

There was more to it than that, but the first two rules attack the problem you're trapped in. Under this agreement the campaign I ran dramatically changed it's rule base three times and worked through multiple story arcs but each rule change or new story could only be introduced after I'd worked out how to migrate the existing characters. Because I had to abide by that rule some changes just weren't worth making.

A new story or game system that would require completely new characters was run as a one-off, sometimes in the same world, sometimes not - depending on whether the new story would break the existing world. The key to that was that everyone knew that it was a short-term story. This didn't happen much because if we didn't like the rules we'd change them.

Now let's be clear: doing things properly was a HUGE effort. Much more work. It created a world with a rich history and characters with amazing backstories, but we struggled for months with some of the changes. An example was when it became obvious that a certain set of rules made mages vastly over-powered and team-based gaming redundant. I wanted to introduce changes that made mages and fighters vulnerable to certain attacks and made teams not just sensible but essential. Those changes made for some furious all night arguments while we thrashed out what would go and what would stay.

The bottom line was that because the players knew that they had a say in what happened they invested in the campaign - they got committed to the characters and would come to me with story concepts and character goals that enriched the world. With campaigns owned by the GM I've never seen that level of engagement by the players.

I agree that there is little chance of solving the problem while you're GMing in this way and, sadly, if you keep doing this you won't be able to find anyone that wants to play the games you're designing. That said, I'd like to submit an approach that was used as the foundation for a campaign world that lasted ten years and at times had three or four groups playing in it.

After submitting the suggestion below I've re-read the question and agree strongly with wraith808 suggestion that you are perhaps planning too much, or possibly have a gaming groups that's quite passive. I had problems with boredom with a particular subgroup of players that didn't want to do any thinking, they just wanted to watch the game unfold like a movie. I fixed that, as wraith808 did, by doing less planning and forcing the players to drive the story. Unfortunately two players in particular became so involved that the work of unfolding the world's reaction to their actions became enormous, but at least it was interesting.

I was part of a gaming group that was sick of the "three month campaign" disease. When we started a new campaign using a game world and system that I'd designed we laid down an agreement that defined how the world was to be changed:

  1. The game rules and campaign world are owned collectively by the players and the GM. Any change has to be agreed by everyone.
  2. The players own their characters, and the parts of the world that make their characters real and relevant. The GM has to discuss world or game rule changes that would impact characters.
  3. Non-player characters are bound by the same rules as player characters, but the GM doesn't have to explain anything that seems impossible or justify a character's actions - it's for the players to find out what they're missing.
  4. No rule or world meta-discussion while the game is active. For that period the GM is in charge and their decision is final. If you want to disagree with a decision or propose a rule or world change you do it after the session has ended.

There was more to it than that, but the first two rules attack the problem you're trapped in. Under this agreement the campaign I ran dramatically changed it's rule base three times and worked through multiple story arcs but each rule change or new story could only be introduced after I'd worked out how to migrate the existing characters. Because I had to abide by that rule some changes just weren't worth making.

A new story or game system that would require completely new characters was run as a one-off, sometimes in the same world, sometimes not - depending on whether the new story would break the existing world. The key to that was that everyone knew that it was a short-term story. This didn't happen much because if we didn't like the rules we'd change them.

Now let's be clear: doing things properly was a HUGE effort. Much more work. It created a world with a rich history and characters with amazing backstories, but we struggled for months with some of the changes. An example was when it became obvious that a certain set of rules made mages vastly over-powered and team-based gaming redundant. I wanted to introduce changes that made mages and fighters vulnerable to certain attacks and made teams not just sensible but essential. Those changes made for some furious all night arguments while we thrashed out what would go and what would stay.

The bottom line was that because the players knew that they had a say in what happened they invested in the campaign - they got committed to the characters and would come to me with story concepts and character goals that enriched the world. With campaigns owned by the GM I've never seen that level of engagement by the players.

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I agree that there is little chance of solving the problem while you're GMing in this way and, sadly, if you keep doing this you won't be able to find anyone that wants to play the games you're designing. That said, I'd like to submit an approach that was used as the foundation for a campaign world that lasted ten years and at times had three or four groups playing in it.

I was part of a gaming group that was sick of the "three month campaign" disease. When we started a new campaign using a game world and system that I'd designed we laid down an agreement that defined how the world was to be changed:

  1. The game rules and campaign world are owned collectively by the players and the GM. Any change has to be agreed by everyone.
  2. The players own their characters, and the parts of the world that make their characters real and relevant. The GM has to discuss world or game rule changes that would impact characters.
  3. Non-player characters are bound by the same rules as player characters, but the GM doesn't have to explain anything that seems impossible or justify a character's actions - it's for the players to find out what they're missing.
  4. No rule or world meta-discussion while the game is active. For that period the GM is in charge and their decision is final. If you want to disagree with a decision or propose a rule or world change you do it after the session has ended.

There was more to it than that, but the first two rules attack the problem you're trapped in. Under this agreement the campaign I ran dramatically changed it's rule base three times and worked through multiple story arcs but each rule change or new story could only be introduced after I'd worked out how to migrate the existing characters. Because I had to abide by that rule some changes just weren't worth making.

A new story or game system that would require completely new characters was run as a one-off, sometimes in the same world, sometimes not - depending on whether the new story would break the existing world. The key to that was that everyone knew that it was a short-term story. This didn't happen much because if we didn't like the rules we'd change them.

Now let's be clear: doing things properly was a HUGE effort. Much more work. It created a world with a rich history and characters with amazing backstories, but we struggled for months with some of the changes. An example was when it became obvious that a certain set of rules made mages vastly over-powered and team-based gaming redundant. I wanted to introduce changes that made mages and fighters vulnerable to certain attacks and made teams not just sensible but essential. Those changes made for some furious all night arguments while we thrashed out what would go and what would stay.

The bottom line was that because the players knew that they had a say in what happened they invested in the campaign - they got committed to the characters and would come to me with story concepts and character goals that enriched the world. With campaigns owned by the GM I've never seen that level of engagement by the players.