Dungeons & Dragons Online

Burnt out and dealing with player inattention, how does one handle it?

I'm an RA at an American university, and last semester I began running two 5e games for some of the residents. The original plan was to limit the number of players to 4 per campaign, but I hate turning people down and as a result my two parties are currently at 5 people for my Monday game and 7 people in my Friday game. All in all, it's been a really fun experience, and I feel like I've improved significantly as a DM since I began running them (yay, trial by fire!). Both campaigns take place in the same (homebrew) setting, started at the same time, and have progressed from level 1 to 4. Almost all of the players are new to the game, which has also been a treat. Playing with a whole party of new players is taxing, but their approach to the game feels like a breath of fresh air compared to the game I play in with my friends, which is full of more experienced players.

The problem is that lately, I've begun feeling really burnt out. Part of the reason is that my Monday group is much less motivated than the other one. They don't take the game especially seriously, and whenever one of them is trying to be serious the other players undercut it. In addition, they have recently started arriving late to meetings, cancelling last minute, and not paying attention during games. It got to the point that in the session this week, two of them died in a fight that they could have easily won if they had been paying attention, and based on their decisions there's a chance that they could be looking at a TPK next week.

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It feels like they're not respecting my time and effort, and as a result I've realized that I'm a lot less motivated to prep for games in general, even my Friday game which is a much more positive experience overall. Unfortunately, it's part of my job as an RA to run events for the dorm, so while I would normally let the TPK happen, part ways, and move on with my life, if that happens I'll need to start looking for new players even if all of the current players stop showing up. Also, I don't want to be too hard on them, since they're all new to the game and most of them really do seem to want to take it seriously. I put a lot of time and effort into the game, and I'm also a college student so it's not like I don't have other things I could be doing.

TLDR, one of the campaigns I run has begun to give me some serious burnout due to player apathy. How should I move forward? I feel like I need to say something to them next week, now that it's become such an issue.

Source: reddit.com

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