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: Dealing with DM Burnout

   
Dealing with DM Burnout

Hey guys, thanks for coming in

To make a long story short, I'm pretty burnt out DMing and would like advice on how to cope/ manage it

It all started not long after first picking up AD&D 10 years ago when I was 13. I loved the game alot but the DM's I played with were formulaic to say the least, so I started DMing a year or two later. I made them challenge their preconceptions, threw curve-balls, moral choices, character development etc... They loved it, and my ego swelled.

I've been with several gaming groups (and several systems, 1st edition 3.0, 3.5 pathfinder, WoD, 4e, Dragon Age, A Song of Ice and Fire, etc...) but I invariably end up DMing, most players would prefer to, you know, PLAY rather than run a game so it almost always fell to me, and I acted as a player in the game less and less. For a little while I didn't have a gaming group so I went to the internet (first GITP then here) and began DMing. I was able to resurrect my gaming group from high school and we began to play again... but of late I find I'm not looking forward to game nights anymore. The thought of DMing strikes me now as more like work than the fun it used to be, I don't get the same sense of joy out of writing up settings and scenarios like I used to... I still enjoy playing quite alot when I get the chance, but I fear that me saying no to DMing might mean an end to the gaming group and alot of disappointed players, plus I take a certain amount of pride in being a good DM and just giving up doesn't sit well with me

So...yeah. Do you folks have any advice, stories of similar issues? Should I just wait it out and hope the urge strikes me (the typical thing for being burnt out I've found). Any other advice?

Either way, thanks for listening





Oh and mods, wasn't sure if this topic belonged here or in the in the general discussion section, if you think the latter feel free to move it, probably more traffic there anyhow

While I understand not wanting to disappoint the other players, the DM's fun is important too. Probably more important than the rest of the group's, because if the DM isn't having fun, it radiates down through the entire campaign.

Before you go off and make up your mind that you already know what's going to happen, you should sit down with your players and tell them that you're burning out and you'd like a break from DMing for a while. Tell them that you'd like it if somebody else took up the reigns for a while after you finish running the current section of the campaign. And if nobody is up to doing it, then just call a break to the game for as long as you need it.

Occasionally, when I had a tabletop group and we ran a 16 hour session, I'd simply stop when I hit the end of what I'd prepared and ask "OK, who wants to DM now?"

If nobody wants to DM you might consider playing a no-DM tabletop game, like Battletech or Risk. A lot of times that'll give you a great idea for a new campaign.

In short, my advice if you're burned out is to try something else for a while

Can you get the group to alternate sessions, with you DMing one and someone else trying his hand at another one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by diremage View Post
Occasionally, when I had a tabletop group and we ran a 16 hour session, I'd simply stop when I hit the end of what I'd prepared and ask "OK, who wants to DM now?"

If nobody wants to DM you might consider playing a no-DM tabletop game, like Battletech or Risk. A lot of times that'll give you a great idea for a new campaign.

In short, my advice if you're burned out is to try something else for a while
This is a great idea, too. There are a lot of great tabletop games (check out Geek&Sundry's bi-weekly webcast Tabletop for some ideas) that don't require a DM and are a blast to play with friends. Taking a break from the DM gig to shoot the crap with your friends while you play another game would be a good way to relax.

Of late we have been playing Settlers of Catan, Dominion, Munchkin etc... and they are pretty fun and require no DMing on my part....though my crappy luck with dice turns from being a good thing for the players to just a bad thing for me

The slight issue is that I get the impression from some of my gaming group that they'd rather be doing D&D, with one outright stating to just let him know when a sessions going to be run and not to invite him til then

Quote:
Originally Posted by bzipser View Post
Can you get the group to alternate sessions, with you DMing one and someone else trying his hand at another one?

I have tried this actually, and while some of them have DMed once or twice, it never goes beyond that and it just kinda defaults back to me. I've tried encouraging others to try their hand at DMing (even offering to hold hands if necessary) but no one's taken the bait

In my old gaming group, we would seclude ourselves for entire weekends in a cabin on a pond. Once we hit the burnout point of "I'm gonna..." *Falls asleep mid-sentence* (And yes, this has happened in the past) we either start hitting the hay, or, we swap over to something less mental: Playing some Super Smash Brothers or, the option was always there to just pull out the guns and toss out some targets and burn some fatigue that way.

But this sounds like long-term fatigue. For that, talk to your group. You're not the Atlas upon which the world rests, though being DM often feels that way. Let them know you're getting wore out, and that you need to sit back and let somebody else take over. Play a character in somebody else's adventure. To prevent it in the future, rotate DMs every adventure or so. It gives everyone a chance to develop their skills, strut their stuff, or find out what they're REALLY not good at.

Mick you should stop trying to be this guy and just give it up.

If you don't feel like GMing just stop doing it and take a break, at least for a while. If a GM isn't in the zone then the game suffers and the players suffer.

One of my GM's experienced this not long ago and he decided to take a break for several months until he recently made a glorious comeback with some new material.

This could also be the perfect opportunity for one of your players to step up and assume the mantel of GM for a while and maybe you could even get to PLAY for a change.

If none of the other players step up to give you a break, even for a small rest period, it might be time to give the game night a rest.

Another option is to have rotating GMs. Changing GMs every week or every encounter for a few weeks should make it seem like an easier task. You even make the 'chore' feel like something is expected from everyone who wants to play. It could get messy for the game, but it could be really fun too. It all depends on how you look at it. Each encounter would be very episodic, or you can have the GMs collaborate and build off each others story.

There's always the option of asking your friends to take an extended rest for game night. A small vacation, with a set date to return to weekly games shouldn't be too much of a problem. That way you won't lose your game night forever, should you start to miss it. If you don't feel better after the break you may have to consider retiring it entirely.

Those are my suggestions. Another thing you can do is just focus on something else that you love, while also putting up with the chore in life. I suggest playing a nice relaxing pony character in a game like the one I'm running.

One of the benefits of playing pbp is that you don't have to worry about disappointing people before a game starts. There's none of the friends coming up to you, and saying "hey, we're trying to get a game together, we think you'd be a good dm." YOU make the game beforehand, and present it when you're ready, and you invite people when you've gone through their apps.

The most effective way to use this distinction to your advantage is to wait until you've got a game idea that feels very inspired and innovative. Of course, real life can still mess it up from there, but it reduces the chance of burning out.




 

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