At My Most Burned-Out in 35 Years

payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
I considered it.
One of the players lost her dad last week and asked specifically that we play to help boost her spirits. So I didn't suggest taking the day off.
I am having a similar feeling to all the system threads from this one. The particulars dont really matter. I think you are stuck chasing the dragon. Trying to achieve that exactly right experience you had in yesteryear. So, you continually pour more and more effort into an ever increasing pile of games thinking you can force it. It has to come naturally, and sometimes what you get is all you get.
 

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TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I considered it.
One of the players lost her dad last week and asked specifically that we play to help boost her spirits. So I didn't suggest taking the day off.
I don't understand this.

You have a grieving friend whose emotional solace comes solely from a heaping slice of 4e, run by you? Meeting up with your play group, sans you, and playing a board game or something wouldn't have provided a similar level of emotional support?

I'm 45; I've lost a parent, as have at least half of my friends. I can't imagine any one of us asking a friend to cut short a weekend trip and drive 4 hours just to divert our attention for an afternoon.
 

MGibster

Legend
You need a break, @Retreater. You should really cut back on the amount of work you're doing, maybe the amount of gaming you're doing, and maybe consider gaming with different people. Many of the problems you discuss are typical DM problems but taken to an extreme degree. I run a Savage Worlds game, and I get annoyed when a player asks if they need to roll the Wild die with a skill roll and I'm like, "We've been playing this on and off for ten years now. Don't you #%#%# know?"

I am extremely fortunate to have a group of players were are largely considerate, pay attention, and contribute positively to the game even if none of us are perfect. It's been more than a decade since I kicked someone out of my game for being a terrible player. They weren't a bad person, but they were just not fun to game with and I finally threw up my hands and said they couldn't play in any game I run. It's not easy to do, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If your wife is basically blackmailing you to run games, that's called an abusive relationship. It's not roleplaying games you should be worried about, it's your personal life. You aren't burned out from too much gaming, you have people in your life that are emotionally manipulating you-- your wife, all the teenagers in your neighborhood you've had to keep running games for in many of the threads you've written about in the past several months/years, apparently an entire wedding party. You have been unhappy for years now (cause we've seen it in all the threads you've written) but you haven't been able to get loose from the knots you've been tied up in.

What you need is to see a therapist, not worry about being burned out on D&D.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I considered it.
One of the players lost her dad last week and asked specifically that we play to help boost her spirits. So I didn't suggest taking the day off.
This may sound like a special, extenuating circumstance, and it is a bit different from most, but everything else has sounded like an extenuating circumstance to keep you from doing the right thing... which is getting some rest.

You say you considered canceling the regular 4e game - but never did? You knew about the Star Wars wedding party game well in advance (advance enough to post about it here in February if I'm identifying the threads correctly). That 4e should have been reasonably canceled then. Did the player who lost her father ask you to uncancel the game knowing you had a game 4 hours away the night before?

I'm going to echo @TwoSix a bit here. You could have tried to divert the session into something else - fellowship over a meal or a movie or a board game. Sometimes you have to say no.
 

Warpiglet-7

Satan’s Echo Chamber! Muhahahaha
A friend could hop on donjon and get a quick thing together. Just a dungeon crawl to try new characters.

People can take turns. Friends can allow others to take breaks.

My group is full of parents with kids and professional jobs. We have to share. It’s only fair.

The spouse part is hard. Marriage is an interesting thing. Clear and open discussion about your emotional state should MATTER. If it doesn’t hate to say pretend monsters are not the highest priority.

My pals can say “I am buried” “I am tired” etc and we say “no problem” I can do something, we can reschedule, i am busy too, whatever.

We have to value one another all around the table…not just the players but definitely the DM.

Years of fun will survive a break…better that then total forever dread and burnout. Best of luck and hope people can hear you.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I don't understand this.

You have a grieving friend whose emotional solace comes solely from a heaping slice of 4e, run by you? Meeting up with your play group, sans you, and playing a board game or something wouldn't have provided a similar level of emotional support?

I'm 45; I've lost a parent, as have at least half of my friends. I can't imagine any one of us asking a friend to cut short a weekend trip and drive 4 hours just to divert our attention for an afternoon.
I don't think it is productive to judge other peoples' cycles of grief. Maybe the 4E game was their usual bright spot of the week and they just needed that. Or maybe it isn't a bright spot but it would be suitably distracting. Whatever. It is their grief, and a friend will do what they can to help.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
If your wife is basically blackmailing you to run games, that's called an abusive relationship. It's not roleplaying games you should be worried about, it's your personal life. You aren't burned out from too much gaming, you have people in your life that are emotionally manipulating you-- your wife, all the teenagers in your neighborhood you've had to keep running games for in many of the threads you've written about in the past several months/years, apparently an entire wedding party. You have been unhappy for years now (cause we've seen it in all the threads you've written) but you haven't been able to get loose from the knots you've been tied up in.

What you need is to see a therapist, not worry about being burned out on D&D.
I think pretty much anyone can run a simple test.

Just imagine telling your group "Hey, it's been a good run, but I've decided to retire from DMing, or at least take a break for a few years. We'll do a few more sessions to wrap up the current arc and have a nice ending, but then I'm done. Hopefully someone else can take a turn, or can we switch to some other kind of activity, because I enjoy our time together and I hope you do too."

If you imagine such an announcement would be met with anger, abuse, an emotional cold shoulder, or some kind of ostracization, then the people you're playing with are using you as a service, not as a friend.
 

Retreater

Legend
You say you considered canceling the regular 4e game - but never did? You knew about the Star Wars wedding party game well in advance (advance enough to post about it here in February if I'm identifying the threads correctly). That 4e should have been reasonably canceled then. Did the player who lost her father ask you to uncancel the game knowing you had a game 4 hours away the night before?
I didn't have the foresight to cancel the regular 4e game, despite knowing I would be running the game at the wedding party. It took more out of me than I expected - in fact, the whole wedding did. I ended up helping set up the wedding, moving it indoors because of rain, etc. I'm just a lot more exhausted than I thought.
A good reminder that I'm not in my 20s (or even 30s) anymore.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
I don't think it is productive to judge other peoples' cycles of grief. Maybe the 4E game was their usual bright spot of the week and they just needed that. Or maybe it isn't a bright spot but it would be suitably distracting. Whatever. It is their grief, and a friend will do what they can to help.
Yeah, but ideally a friend will not have their other friends drive themselves into exhaustion to support their grief either. I'll admit it's complex, but clearly Retreater is paying a substantial cost in physical and emotional labor and it doesn't seem like many (if any) of his players are in his corner.
 

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