My last one before passing the torch to new blood, but an important one! MATT: Hello, my name is Matthew Mercer. I am a
voice actor and the dungeon master for Critical
Role here at Geek & Sundry. And today’s episode of
GM tips touches on the spooky topic of
game master burnout.
Game mastering burnout is a fear and real issue
for many folks who run ongoing games. As
incredibly fun and rewarding as it is, you need
quite the time commitment to continuously write,
organize, and run an RPG campaign on a regular
schedule. I know many who have lost interest or
just simply lost inspiration. And I’ve been there
myself a number of times and there’s nothing wrong
with that. It’s part of being a person. Life
circumstances change, other things have to take
priority, or you’ve just grown tired of the
responsibility. So let us discuss some ways to
help alleviate any oncoming burnout or how to
comfortably deal with it if it should hit.
First off, don’t force yourself to do it if your
heart isn’t in it. Writer’s block kicking in?
Found a tangle in your narrative thread? Step away
from your notes for a while and take a walk or go
play some board games with friends. Watch a movie
at your local theater. Enjoy some fun space to not
concentrate on your GM-ing duties and return when
the inspiration strikes. If you’re supposed to be
running your game really soon and you have no idea
how you’re going to finish prep in time, consider
letting your players know and postpone your game
session until you are ready. No one wants you to
kill yourself over it, trust me.
On that note, if it’s getting bad, let your
players know. Be honest about your worry and
exhaustion and discuss among yourselves how to
best lend to your comfort. Consider if the regular
schedule is just too difficult to balance among
your other life commitments and perhaps roll back
to a more sparse gaming routine. Playing weekly?
Try playing bi-monthly for a while, or once a
month. This will give you more time and less
stress to be prepared for the next session.
Players, please be respectful and understanding of
your GM’s fatigue. They are busting their ass
every week to bring you joy. So just be as
supportive as you can.
You can consider taking a break from the campaign
for a little while, allowing yourself to recharge.
Talk with the group about this and if all is cool,
find a way in your current story arc to bring it
to a temporary halt. Either the adventurers
complete their current task and you can close the
chapter cleanly. Or perhaps they fall into an
elaborate trap that locks them away for a time.
Consider a story beat you can end on that allows
you and the party to step away for a few weeks,
months, or longer and not feel like you’ve left
mid breath. This way players won’t return to your
table down the road super confused trying to
remember “Wait, but what was going on? Shit.
Right. Wait. No, I thought there was a guy with
that cursed thing. Didn’t someone kill my dog? No,
no, that was John Wick. Sorry.”
Players, any of you itching to try your hand at
GMing a game for a while? How about gifting your
hard working GM with some time off and offering to
run a short term campaign for the party and letting
them play in it. Not only is that a wonderful way
to help them relax a while and offer them the
opportunity to play in a game. But you yourself
may discover how much you enjoy running
your own game.
Well, thank you so much for watching this episode
of GM tips. I hope it was helpful for you. This is
actually kinda cool. Before we filmed this the
crew let me know that they actually went into the
prop closet and found actual magical items which
is fucking crazy. This is apparently a War Mage
wand. It’s +3 against spell attack rolls. I think
it’s great. We have what looks to be a Vorpal
sword. Which is a little shorter than I expected
but apparently pretty functional. You should look
it up. It’s pretty powerful. Legendary weapon. And
oh [beep], this one can be fun. I think this is a
Girdle of Giant Strength. Which I’m wondering what
giant it is.
[small bang and music]
SATINE: I should probably read some labels before
I start putting things on. Girdle of Gender
Changing. Well then. Hello. I am Satine Phoenix
and I’ll be taking over for the next run of GM
Tips. Stick around and prepare for my perspective
on game mastering ideas. See you on the internet.
— Matthew Mercer (@matthewmercer) March 16, 2017