View Full Version : [DMing]Losing my will

2009-01-23, 05:02 AM
I've found more and more frequently that I no longer wish to DM. I just don't enjoy it like I used to. I mean, it's still really fun and everything, but after most sessions I find myself saying "that didn't go as well as last time, maybe I need to do X, Y, or Z to improve." So I do X, Y, and/or Z, and it goes even worse. I ask my group, "hey, what am I doing badly, what do you want to see happen, do you have any issues you'd like to bring up" and the like, and just get blank stares. I have nice, fairly detailed plots and stories, and they are ALWAYS disregarded for the shinies in the room, even when 5 minutes ago, the party said they wanted to have more story in the game.

I'm just losing my will to DM, since it's no longer fun. The trick though, is that we don't have anyone else willing to run games, just me, and I don't want to deprive my friends of their fun. So, my question to you, Playgrounders, is this: should I DM so they can have fun and suffer, or should I stop DMing since I no longer enjoy it?

2009-01-23, 05:33 AM
Sounds like you're just in a slump. Maybe just lay off the DMing for a bit before going back? Could be cathartic, could have disasterous results.

2009-01-23, 05:37 AM
Who the heck does something they don't enjoy without getting paid?

If your players are paying you a living wage, then yes, you should keep at it (or at least give notice). Otherwise...

2009-01-23, 05:47 AM
I ask my group, "hey, what am I doing badly, what do you want to see happen, do you have any issues you'd like to bring up" and the like, and just get blank stares. I have nice, fairly detailed plots and stories, and they are ALWAYS disregarded for the shinies in the room, even when 5 minutes ago, the party said they wanted to have more story in the game.

Sounds like your group are aware you're not happy with the game, but are expecting all the change to come from you. They should at least be trying to meet you in the middle, if not necessarily halfway.

If they are in fact complaining that some element is missing from the game and then taking no hooks when you offer it, the problem rests with them. If they demand a particular type of game from you, they have responsibility for playing it when you provide it.

If the problems are only perceived by you, and they seem happy to have a beer-and-pretzels game, then they don't particuarly have to change. Either you need to reconcile yourself to it and stop worrying about what you see as a lack in your game, or recognize that you can't enjoy DMing the game they want to play and stop doing it. If they really want to play the game, one of them can step up to the plate - you have no obligation to continue doing something you no longer enjoy just because they like having you do it.

I would suggest a break or a change. Try playing a different game, perhaps with lighter rules or a radically different setting or tone. Try getting one of your players to DM, even for a pure dungeon-crawling one-shot. What you don't want is a situation where they insist that you have to do what they're not willing to, for their benefit, and then complain that you're doing it wrong.

2009-01-23, 05:49 AM
If you run homebrew (which it sounds like you do), maybe play some pre-made modules for a while. It might be the break you are looking for - the players still get their fun, and the burden is relieved from you somewhat.

Tempest Fennac
2009-01-23, 05:57 AM
I'd say letting someone else take over would be wise until you feel like doing it again (the idea is for everyone to have fun, including you).

2009-01-23, 06:03 AM
This is where you need to sit back and maybe step away temporarily from DMing. This could be anything from putting the campaign on hiatus for a few weeks, mix things up and run a one-shot (or have one of the players do so), or...drastically change-up how you DM with the current group of players.

If they are just into finding Monty Hauls or Phat Lewt, make attaining those things take longer or have more challenge. Force your players to adapt to a different pacing...or just take a break from the main Plot you have setup and have them do some dungeon crawls non-related to the plot to get the Monty Haul/Phat Lewt out of their system.

Or...come up with some story element that takes the money from them. Whether it is an ambush by brigands who overpower them and rob them of what they've earned, or some new menace to their cause that makes them take the focus off their gold and magic items.

The main thing is that YOU should be having fun doing what you do as much as if not more than your players. Self-sacrifice/martyrism for your players does you no good if you are miserable. Bring on a Co-DM who switches things up for you and takes the pressure off you. This isn't your job and as soon as your hobby starts to feel more stressful to you than your work/school/etc than you know it is time to make a change. Walking away for a while is not unheard of, and while it may hurt the players, if you are open with them about why you need to do it, perhaps someone else will clue in and take the reins for a bit and run the show. Roll yourself up a character and join their campaign and give yourself a break, and a chance to reinvigorate your desire to DM.

2009-01-23, 06:42 AM
My desire to DM tends to go back and forth, generally depending on how much free time I have. When not much is going on to stress me out and I need something to do, nothing is more fun than creating and running a campaign. When I'm busy, doing so is just another source of pressure.

A pre-made module may help, or a simple dungeon crawl, but if you really don't feel like being the DM then there is no solution but to stop for a while until the desire returns.

It might be a bummer for your players, but you are the one who puts forth all the time and effort, so you should enjoy yourself at least as much as them, or else what's the point? It's a game, not a job.

If you want to try to rekindle your interest in a hurry, my recommendation is to give a new system a try. Whenever I pick up a new RPG sourcebook to read, all I can think about what sort of campaign I would make with it. As horribly pretentious as it sounds, I imagine that's what a director feels like when he picks up a new script and imagines filming it.

2009-01-23, 07:09 AM
GM innertia is a common problem; if you do not enjoy the game anymore, I fear that you will have a hard time to master a truly good game.

Is there the possibility that you switch the roles and let one of your players run the game for an adventure or two? That's probably the best.

The alternative is, bring the campaign to an end and bring the lose ends together and take a break from gamemastering. I wouldn't master a game I do not enjoy and I would not recommend it, but it is normally more satisfying to bring the story to an end.

Perhaps the problem is not the gamemastering per se, but the pecific group or campaign?