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How To Cope With DM Burnout And Support Your Players!

How to Cope with DM Burnout and Support Your Players!

Three tips to allow your players to feel appreciated and yourself to be able to relax into the new year. 

   Whether you’re running a game as a hobby or profession, sessions during the holidays are a difficult check to make. Your cleric is taking a road trip to visit family and the party has to stock up on potions before heading into the next adventure due to their absence. Whether your party is made up of freelancers working on projects or business professionals scheduling vacation – the party is often split until the New Year.  

When games went online last year, we all had to learn how to replicate our experience with virtual tabletops. Which brought about teaching our own familiars to be quiet during pivotal moments in a session – and changing our schedules to accommodate for nap time and fluctuating work hours. We learned to adapt, to create space for our beloved characters and even take opportunities to share our tables online with a new community of people. 

With each month of the pandemic, we found ways to get reconnected with our hobby. We found ways to make sure that we made time to escape into different worlds – to provide opportunities we couldn’t have in real time. And now as we bundle up for the cold, Game Master, we must take some precautions for our own enjoyment and safety. 

Game Preparation

   While you might pride yourself on spending several hours a week delving into your favorite word processing software to provide a memorable experience – this isn’t the time. If you have an understanding of where you’re at in your world building, but don’t necessarily have the time – lists will help you. 

Outlining major plot points with bullet points, and key locations with minor descriptors allow your players to focus on their interactions. Even if it’s just a few words written down to encourage you to remember – leave the heavy preparation for when you’re able to do it. You’ll probably find out some excellent things about your players when you give yourself more room to improvise. 

Encouraging the Players

   During this time of year, players are concerned about their fear of missing out even when they’re taking time off. Ask your players for three personal pieces of information if they’ll be missing a session: one for the present, a regret from the past and a promise to the future. 

This way you’ll have information about their timeline to create a sense of immersion in their absence. Whether it is crafting an encounter around one of the answers, or allowing one of those pieces of information to create that upcoming session’s conflict.

Even if the table’s attendance might dwindle – you’ll feel as though you have enough to provide your party the interpersonal experience with thoughtful direction from their missing member. 

Supplemental Guidance

   The beloved cliche of the party becoming obsessed with a throw away NPC is something you’ve got to use to your advantage. Thankfully, we’re currently doing a bundle sale this holiday season to provide the content that takes up so much of weekly session prep. 

Is there a shopkeeper that they’re all intrigued by, but you don’t have the energy to develop his backstory? What about a location on your map that just keeps getting covered by the fog of war? 

Let us do some of the heavy lifting – so your rogue can go back to stealing your wizard lunch gold!

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