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Maybe It's Time for a Break?


I think I've reached the point now where I've been running games without much of a break multiple times per week for about the past 6-7 years. I've been following every new thing that's been coming out. Spending lots of time thinking about games, lots of money on products (books, minis, gaming table, etc.) It's finally gotten to that point of diminishing returns. People are regularly not showing up for games, sometimes without any notice. I'm wracking my brain trying to keep the groups together, but the realization is that I care more about it than anyone else in the group seems to.
My posts on here are mostly negative. I'm not excited about any of the upcoming products (and haven't been for around a year).
So I'm thinking it's time for a break. Time to find another hobby for a while.
I've started by unfollowing all my social media gaming accounts. I've also relocated all my gaming PDFs into "deep storage." Don't know what else I need to do to "winterize" my hibernating hobby, but that's my goal here.
Anyways, thanks to all of you for trying to put on a positive spin and give advice to this old curmudgeon.

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Mod Squad
Staff member
1. Don't run game; play a game. See if you can join a game, and have it be a beer & pretzels type thing. See if playing (instead of the stress of running games) brings you any joy.

This is fine advice. My Ashen Stars campaign is likely coming to a creshendo within a couple/few sessions, after which the players may feel the story has been told.

One of my players has a game that they'd like to run for a short arc - he saw the dual purpose of 1) just doing something new with the bunch and 2) Giving me several months of break to rest and do leisurely development for the next campaign. I like my game, but I'm looking forward to the downtime.


You've been at it a long time! And pretty steadily. All GMs need to take breaks.

Hope it's not a permanent one, and we hear from you again.


Doors and Corners
So I'm thinking it's time for a break. Time to find another hobby for a while.
I definitely get where you're coming from. Only this morning, I was eating breakfast at Jim's with my daughter, lamenting my lack of enthusiasm about an upcoming FG D&D5e game I have scheduled to run when she looked at me, frowned and said: "You really should just wrap that up and quit running the games. Find something other than D&D to do."

I agreed with her, was unfollowing stuff on Facebook when I ran across a post on the Knight Watch Games facebook group for players in a SW:EotE game. Hmm, I thought. Maybe a game that I'm not running in a system I'm starting to get burned out on. Maybe, thought I.

Might not do the trick, but I find I'm way more excited about the SW game than I have been about the D&D games for a while.

So my online group has a deadline to finish the campaign (Dec 31) which is more than doable then I think I'm done with D&D and/or Fantasy for a while. (Yes, I know. SW is fantasy like, but it's got BLASTERS, man! BLASTERS!!)

TLDR: I feel ya. You definitely should. Go take a rest.

Theo R Cwithin

I cast "Baconstorm!"
A break can be a good thing, even a long one. I'm coming out of a multi-year gaming deep freeze myself. It was sorely needed, and now I'm stoked to be getting back into it again.

You'll get your mojo back.

It. will. be. amazing.

John Dallman

Trying to run too many games is very draining. I've been content to run one session a fortnight (alternating with another GM in the same group) for about 20 years now, and I think I'm doing some of my best GMing in 40 years of role-playing.


Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I get burnt out running and have to take breaks. For me playing is entirely different mental muscles than running, so I've found even when burnt on running I don't give up the hobby.

Burnout is a real thing. I've been fairly lucky in this regard, as since college I've always had multiple GMs in every group (even if it was for different games), because it allows people downtime to decompress and recharge the creative juices. Even at my peak of GMing, where I was running 1-2 times a week, I'd have one of the other guys run a mini-game for about a month between campaigns, so that I'd have time to figure out what to do next (plus it was nice to be a player occasionally).

So take a load off, maybe find a game you can play in for a while. More than likely in a month or two you'll feel recharged and ready to start up another game. Even if you don't, you can still enjoy playing for as long as you want.

Eric V

It's so much better when a group has rotating DMs. One DM doesn't even have to finish her story, it just has to stop at a good stopping place; one of the other DMs starts and goes to a good stopping place. First DM, invigorated, picks back up, rinse, repeat.

My last game of the year will be tomorrow. I generally build in some down time at Thanksgiving through New Years. Peoples schedules get rather hectic this time of year and I find the down time is enough to get me recharged. Summers tough too so we play when we can. If I had to guess we get in 15-20 games a year so this gives us just enough downtime to keep the game going with no player turnover.


41st lv DM
So I'm thinking it's time for a break. Time to find another hobby for a while.

Well, from stuff you've posted recently, it sounds like you've been playing D&D like it's some kind of job, not a hobby....
It's no wonder you're burned out.

Whatever your next hobby, remember to treat it as such.

When you return to D&D? Play it as a hobby. And play it with friends (at least one of whom will take turns running something themselves).


My old job used to force me to take a break for four months every year from gaming. I was always ready to go when it started up again. Breaks can be awesome and refreshing - good luck to you!

Philip Benz

A Dragontooth Grognard
Having a rotating DM can be a great way to play. We did that on several occasions over recent years, and loved the dynamic we had going from one DM to the next.
Taking a break is important. I got started playing D&D in the mid 70s (in Iowa), and some weeks we played nearly every day. Later on, in the mid-80s, I took a break from the hobby for nearly 20 years (except for some writing for Oriflam, the French publisher of Hawkmoon and Stormbringer) before getting back into DD3.5 by way of online games with Neverwinter Nights. We eventually switched to Pathfinder, and now I've played 3 games so far with my group in central France with Pathfinder Second Edition.

Keeping a dynamic group together can be tough sometimes, especially if you live off the beaten path like I do. Try some lighter games like Settlers of Catan. Kick back and let the RPG doldrums ebb and flow. Paint figures. Scratchbuild terrain. There are many ways to find satisfaction in the margins of our shared hobby.

Cheers, --- Phil

I find it mildly amusing that the person looking to take a break from gaming has a screen name of Retreater. Retreating - if only temporarily - sounds like it might be the best move for you at the moment.



Dying in Chargen
Taking a break is fine, I ended a long running Traveller pbp in july of 2018, thinking I would take a longer break, except I started again in september with a test of a new near future setting I made, and most of the old players came back. It is still going now, so who knows, maybe it's time for strength to minimize as the song goes. Step back and look at what important, clear away some clutter, and start all over again.

If you want a chance to play, and like Umbran and Theo, I suggest trying being a player, but I'd suggest a month off first... if you don't have friends who will let you play, try playing in an organized play group. D&D has organized play in many areas, Pathfinder in fewer but still a lot, shadowrun in a smattering.... and sometimes a GM or two running something else during organized play times.

Persionally, I generally dislike being a player, but was able to enjoy a short reprieve... in a favorite setting no less.

My longest "no game" time in 37 years was 3 months... CAP encampment followed by army basic... and all totaled amounts to under 2 years for all dry spells (not counting a single week off for illness, work, or family obligations; adding those, it's still under 4 years, and most of that running 2 games!).


A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Definitely take a break. There are so many things to experience and learn in this short life that there is no reason to force yourself to continue with a hobby that isn't bringing you joy. If you still love the hobby but are mainly exhausted with trying to keep a group together and a campaign running, try running one-shots once every few weeks to get your gaming fix.