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Blond Gamer Girl

GM Burn Out….NOT

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A few months ago I was getting psyched for my I have run a campaign for nearly a year GM burn-out. Astoundingly, I found myself NOT burned out or even anywhere near it. I said to myself Why not? I still work full time and put in over-time maybe more frequently than before while still refusing to give up my weekends (Yup-I’ll get to work on a weekday at 7 AM and put in the OT then without regret but with OT pay). What changed? – Many things I guess.


1. Less frequency: I used to push myself as a GM to run a game every week (more power to those who can). Nowadays, I run the game twice a month and discuss the schedule with the players with a lot of advance planning. I like the game to be more of an event than a routine. It’s great hearing that if a game date falls on an “everyone is busy that day” time, folks push for a reschedule and not a cancellation because they really want to play.


2. Style match: Over the years, I’ve played many games with many GMs. I admit that if I liked something they did, I adopted it be it style, rules or whatever. However, everyone has a certain style as a player and GM. Some styles don’t match so don’t force it just leave it with no hard feelings. In other words, you can’t please everyone so go with what you know and what you do best.


3. No BS tolerance: My two personal pet peeves are flakiness and out of character so I don’t put up with it as a GM.



Flakiness: A lot of last minute cancellations. Sure, it happens at times but when a player consistently does this, I tell them to come back once they have mastered their schedule. Advance notice is fine. I myself had to take a hiatus from a game that I enjoy as a player but is a weeknight that goes till late. The 7 AM work schedule conflicted so I told my GM and friend exactly what was going on and he completely understood – friendship intact.


Out of Character: Yes it happens but I spend about three hours prepping for each game session not to mention all the reading of the rules and stuff before even starting a campaign. If players just want to BS around and not game I tell them that I can use my hours for much more constructive purposes.


In conclusion, I GM with a group of players where all of the above are agreed upon. We have fun. We hang outside of game. I think all of that prevents burn out.


Anyone else have similar? How do other GMs avoid burn out?



PS - The picture inspired an adventure idea or rather a new form of opponent for my players Mwaw..ha...ha...ha!
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  1. mrken's Avatar
    Like you I have run campaign for over a year without burn out. In fact, when the players get into the game, both in character and out of character, I get excited and can get on a roll. But when players either can't show or don't show, I start to loose momentum. It only gets worse the longer it goes on until I want to match the players efforts.
  2. micalus's Avatar
    I just started GMing again in Dec and I think I am approaching some burn out. I do alternate with another GM since Feb 1 and I think that has delayed my burnout by quiet a bit. I am excited about mixing 2E Shadowrun with 4E. I like the "hacker and rigger" from 4E but I like combat, skill tests and magic from 2E. Heck I'm contemplating 2E AD&D because I think I am getting "complexity burnout". Sometimes I just want to HacknSlash my way through true baddies, recover some treasure and come back to town knowing I am the baddest thing around. I suppose it is my testosterone building up over time. Maybe not,,,
    we've had a Great group though for the past 8 months and just started to get some new players in this spring. Most are not working out for one reason or another. Two gave up RPG for their family time. Two just didn't mesh with the group's style. It is kind of disheartening since Omaha does not have a Huge RPG community. But it is coming around to Convention time though so we might strike gold there,,,
  3. outrider's Avatar
    If I feel that I am burning out, I will work on another system for a period of time to recharge my energy. My default backup system is Traveller. I do every other week for my table top, I find that it gives me enough time to work on the the next part of the game.