Seize the GM
Seize the GM
Episode 54: Suboptimal Mindset for Running a Game

Main Topic

Sometimes your heart, or mind, isn’t in the game.  What do you do when your group is relying on you to run but you are in a suboptimal mindspace? A lot of ideas here are a synthesis of some previous topics we’ve covered, but we will try to give them some space here.

If you can, pass.  If you look back at the Co-GMing episode or the GM self-care episode, sometimes you need to let somebody else take the reins and maybe even run a wholly different kind of game.  If that’s possible – do it!

If you feel that running is the best thing to do, either go completely against what is putting you in this mindset or use it as a cathartic experience.  Similar to what we talked about when you lose a player, the gaming experience can help to process that event.

Don’t try to overdo it – your brain is already spending its energy on something else so don’t tax it too badly.  Rely on things you know – be it a story structure or recurring NPC and tropes that you enjoy let yourself slip back into the comfy pajamas game equivalent

Don’t be afraid to run a module or download a one shot.  It allows you to run a game but a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done.  Or you can see if you can put in an event that doesn’t require an extensive amount of mental energy.  In a town? How about a festival with a gladiator style tournament. The prize can be tied to your main plot or something similar.

Set a timer.  See if you can guestimate how long you’ll be able to run at a stretch.  It will allow you to set non jarring exit points and pauses. It’ll give you some time to see how you’re doing.  And it also keeps you from forcing yourself beyond what you feel you can do.

Dress to Destress.  Comfiest shoes.  Soft cotton tank top.  Kitty Kigurumi. Maybe swap out blue jeans and a belt for cotton drawstring PJ pants.  Heck, even a snuggie (don’t knock em) can help you feel comfortable. Did you just get a new pair of shoes and have to break them in?  Do it tomorrow and wear comfortable footwear.

Pet your furballs. Petting your cat or dog or, arguably, your ferret should help you feel a little better.  If you are not allergic, a little bit o f pet love could do you well. Hail his cosmic cattitude! Rally for the New Squirrel Order!

Stat Blocks





In the darkness after the collapse of the world generations will pass before they can truly start to rebuild. But even then the people that will come out of it will have changed. Maybe from the fallout maybe from the shift of the poles. But for some reason mystical energy has flooded the planet. This is the world Grouper lives in. She is the truest Urban Primitive. She has made this urban wasteland her home finding relics of the lost time. Finding her in this place is possible if you have read the signs.


Grouper is unique in that she is trying to rebuild a society. She uses her talents and her true power to get wanders to come to find her and her tribe. Her true power is maybe mystical or maybe it is a mutation, but it is powerful. She is able to shape concrete and metal and glass into shapes that it has never been in. Also the scale is part as well. When she takes and molds the old structures of the lost age into symbols and language that you can see from outside of the old places. These tell you where you can find her or places she can find you. Do you look for her. Of course you do that watercan isn’t going to fill itself after all.




The Witch of the Woods


I thought I told you, that prophelatic has a 10% chance of failure.  No Refun…

Oh you’re not the paladin.  Hmmm. Group of adventurers, I see.  What brings you to the Witch of the Woods?

Sick child?

You do know I don’t work with divine energies, right?  You’ve tried asking the church? They raised rates again.  Figures. Hieroneous acolytes will bleed you dry (eh heheh) to fund their war against evil.

I’m an arcanist, you know.  Specializing in conjuration.  And I do have a panacea… of sorts.  

I’ve used it many times myself.  And for a farmer who keeps getting the pox from the same goat… I’ve warned him so many… oh my apologies dearie.  Little distracted there.

Yes bring the boy in.  You all look capable. Mmm yes.

What? How does it work?

I told you, dearies I’m a conjurer.  I learned this spell from a teifling I met years back.  Said it was an old family treatment. Never had any issues.

What? How does it work?  (Sighs)

Well I conjure the illness out of the child and transfer it to a new host.  Then kill the new host, which banishes them back to the hells for a hundred years.  Simple.

Yes.  Back to the hells.  (Tsk Tsk.) Of course I use fiends as new hosts.  Kill the fiend, they go back to their plane and they take the disease with them.

Of course there’s a bit of danger.  You’re dealing with arcane energy. You want safe, go pay a cleric.


Fine.  If you must know. Here’s the risks.  If the fiend touches the old host, the illness goes back to the host and the fiend is free to go about as they please.

What?  Most diseases only need tiny fiends.  And remember, the fiend is now sick with whatever the host was sick with.  Few crossbow bolts. Bonk them on the head with a ladle. Step on them a few times and poof. Sniffles gone. Couldn’t be simpler.

Hmm?  What’s that?  You’re quite perceptive there.  Yes, the worse the disease, the stronger the fiend must be to contain it.  Now let’s take a look at the boy.

Oh. Oh my.  He is quite ill.

Well you all look powerful enough.  

Ah, don’t worry.  I can assure you that I’ll be perfectly safe.



The Clockwork Tea Set – A Mechanical Cuppa

Sometimes, a simple item is juxtaposed by a frenetic and inventive skein.  The clockwork tea set is just such an example. Each piece, not made of fine china, but constructed by the most delicate hammers and castings, moves on its own.  Under its own power, pulled from the steaming water itself, the clockwork tea set steeps, pours, and serves you your tea. Each dial, each cog, each armature so carefully and precisely moving towards its end.  

Once every month, you may notice that the tea-time is slightly off. That the brew is slightly oversteeped, not enough to ruin your cup, but as though the armature is losing it’s touch.  This passes, though, in a single day. What is it about that once a month time that throws off the Clockwork Tea Set? Is it the moon? The Tides? Magic? A clock like structure in the set itself? Does the tea set hide a secret from you? Or is it just a fancy trinket with a machinists imperfection. . .



True Innocence

At first glance, this page appears to be torn, but as you inspect it further you notice that the top of the entry isn’t merely ripped off. The page appears to be slowly disintegrating, as if it’s being eroded away by an unseen force. Away from the edge, the copy on the entry is fading and only the bottom of the item’s description can be read. As always, ordering information is already completed with your name and exact location.
-and can bring about complete and utter annihilation. Careful, supplies are limited, and 6 of the 7 seals have already been broken. Order now to ensure safety during the upcoming apocalypse, and may the dark ether forever hold our clients in contempt.
Caution: Void in the hands and hearts of outsiders.
True Innocence. Salvation guaranteed, or your money back.
Order with caution. All purchases recorded, and authorities will be notified.




Node   noun \ ˈnōd \


Definition of node
1 a : a pathological swelling or enlargement (as of a rheumatic joint)
  b : a discrete mass of one kind of tissue enclosed in tissue of a different kind
2 : an entangling complication (as in a drama) : predicament
3 : either of the two points where the orbit of a planet or comet intersects the ecliptic; also : either of the points at which the orbit of an earth satellite crosses the plane of the equator
4 a : a point, line, or surface of a vibrating body or system that is free or relatively free from vibratory motion
  b : a point at which a wave has an amplitude of zero
5 a : a point at which subsidiary parts originate or center
  b : a point on a stem at which a leaf or leaves are inserted
  c : a point at which a curve intersects itself in such a manner that the branches have different tangents
  d : vertex 1b


Origin and Etymology of node
Middle English, from Latin nodus knot, node; akin to Middle Irish naidm bond


First Known Use: 15th century


Popularity: Bottom 50% of words


Closing remarks

Zendead- Tul Writing Instruments


Joules – God of War


Guard-a-Manger-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Null – FFXIV’s upcoming patch 4.3:  Under the Moonlight


Music is courtesy of The Enigma TNG you can find his music on YouTube or on Bandcamp


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And Thanks to Merriam-Webster for our Lexicon segment

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