by Mike Shea on 24 December 2012
Every Wednesday evening I have a panic attack. It happens at the same time every week, in the exact same place, on my way out of my office building to the parking garage at about 5:30 pm. At that exact moment a shrieking banshee wails out the same words I heard the week before, the words Illidain shouts to those who would dare enter Outworld to begin to farm fel-pigs for flanks of fel-meat for about a thousand hours:
"You are not prepared!"
I've had this panic attack ever since accepting the ways of the Lazy Dungeon Master. How can I possibly entertain a half dozen of my good friends for three hours when I only spent about five minutes writing stuff down on a 3x5 card? I can't possibly be ready!
When this panic attack happens, I have to instead take a listen to the calm soothing voice (a voice that sounds a little bit like The Id DM) who asks me to analyze those feelings. Where are they coming from? What causes them? What am I really afraid of?
This voice has to remind me that being prepared isn't about doing hard work or spending a lot of time. Being prepared means having the right things on hand to take the game in whatever direction the imaginations of my players and I decide to take it. It means having a good list of random names, a good set of poster maps, a fantastic monster book, some NPC face cards, and just a tiny bit of an outline to keep me comfortable enough to sit down in front of my friends and not throw up on the table.
I don't try to push away the feeling of panic each Wednesday. It will come regardless of what I do. I don't have to worry about that panic attack, though. It's just part of the process. I know where it's coming from. I know what's causing it.
And I know it's full of shit.
Have a happy holidays, my friends. I'll see you in the new year.
If you enjoyed this article, you might enjoy the Lazy Dungeon Master. You can also support this site by using these links to purchase the D&D Starter Set, Players Handbook, Monster Manual, or Dungeon Master's Guide. Send feedback to @slyflourish on Twitter or email email@example.com.