No matter how much you enjoy running games for your friends, sometimes you need a break.
By and large, the GM is the most invested member of any gaming group. After all, he is likely the person spending the most time and money getting ready for the game. With modules to prep, figures to buy and paint and a campaign world to develop GMing can see like a full-time job.
Inevitably, at some point, the pressures of real life will crush a GM’s motivation. That’s why, every GM suffers from GM fatigue every now and then.
How you deal with GM fatigue is critical. The GM’s influence on the game is pivotal. If he is tired, unmotivated or off his game the entire session suffers. Obviously, this isn’t ideal.
Sometimes, the fatigue is a short-term issue. If this is the case, you’ve got a couple of options:
- Cancel the session: After all, missing one session isn’t going to kill the group or derail a regular game.
- Play Something Else: You could play a board game or a card game. (Exploding Kittens is awesome!) You all still get to game, but the GM doesn’t have to prepare.
- Someone Else Runs a One-Shot: This only works normally if you give the other players a decent amount of warning. Normally, letting the group know the morning of the game you fancy a break doesn’t give someone else enough time to prepare something else.
If the fatigue is a more long-standing problem, the group needs to come to a more drastic solution:
- End the Campaign: This is the “nuclear” option and should only be used as a last resort. Normally, by the time a GM suffers serious burnout the campaign has been running for some time. It’s a shame to throw all that progress away.
- Pause the Campaign: Sometime, the GM still enjoys the game but needs to take a break. In this instance, getting someone else to run something for a while is a great solution. Most commercially purchased adventures will last for multiple sessions which provides the normal GM a decent amount of time off to recharge his batteries.
- Use a Temporary GM: A couple of years ago in my Borderland of Adventure campaign, I took a short break from GMing. One of the other players volunteered to run a one-shot adventure and luckily that adventure fit perfectly into the campaign setting! He ran the adventure, and we set it in the overall campaign. This was cool as it kept everyone in touch with the campaign, it gave me a break and let me play and enabled everyone else to roll up new characters that could conceivably enter the main campaign in the future.
Got Anymore Tips?
Have you suffered from GM fatigue? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments below and help GMs everywhere enjoy their “job” more.