April 3, 2014
Knowing When To Take A Break
I love being a Gamemaster, but there are times when even the most devoted GM must take a break to recharge his creativity. This is especially true for those of us who take part in multiple different campaigns, several of which run weekly. The need for a break really hit me several months when I stopped to think about the fact that I was running three games weekly and had a single monthly game on top of that. I was quickly becoming exhausted and there were even some games that I found myself actually dreading. As someone who loves this hobby and all the great things that can come of it, I realized then that it was time to take a break.
Taking a break can mean different things for different people. For some, it means calling a hiatus on gaming altogether for a time. A friend of mine has had to do this in order to work on his thesis, and I applaud him for it. Another friend is currently taking a short break from gaming in order to take part in a local play, theater being a very important part of her life and I personally cannot wait to see her perform. For others, taking a break from being a Gamemaster does not mean taking a break from gaming altogether. In my case, when I needed to cut back, I simply asked one of my players to take up the reigns of being a Gamemaster and run something for a while, giving me a chance to be a player for a while, something that often comes with far fewer headaches and a great deal less stress, and thus far his Wrath of the Righteous game has been a lot of fun – even if he did kill off my dwarf cleric in the second session.
How long someone needs to take a break for is also completely up to them. Some Gamemasters (and players as well, as sometimes they need a break too) only need to miss a session or two while others might take longer. Do not rush someone into coming back. They will take up the dice again when they are ready. One of my players has only just recently come back after taking a two year break from gaming, and we are all very glad to have her.
It is also important to note that some Gamemasters do not always know when they are in need of a break. Players, when this happens, be sure to lend your support to your Gamemaster. Ask them how they are doing and if they are wanting to take a break sometime soon. Take up the reigns for yourself, test the waters, and give them a chance to be a player for a while. A happy Gamemaster makes for better gaming, as do happy players. As wonderful and cherished as long-running campaigns can be, they are quite taxing and when one comes to its inevitable end, make sure you show your Gamemaster the appreciation they deserve and give them a chance to recharge a bit before starting up the next one.
I love this wonderful hobby of ours. I think it is one of the greatest pass-times in all the world, but even I recognize the need for an occasional respite. Everyone needs a break from time to time and no one should ever be ashamed to admit that. Your fellow gamers will understand. They are your friends, after all, first and foremost. If not, well, then I would suggest looking for a different group.
As always, thank you for reading and I wish you all good, and happy, gaming.
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