Two common themes I see on this forum, over and over, are:
1) I'm a DM and am burnt out for <various reasons – too much prep, too many rules, high expectations to run epic games, balancing encounters, etc.>
2) I'm a DM and my players won't invest the time or effort needed to learn the rules specific to their characters or the game itself. Or my players just seem to want to show up, play a game, and then completely forget about it until 15 seconds before our next session.
Hundreds of people contribute thousands of well thought out posts offering advice and information to DM's to try and mitigate the above 2 recurring themes. Often times the advice is "take a break <to mentally recover and build back up to diving back in>" or "find new players <who will invest the time and energy needed to learn what is a pretty rules intensive game>."
What about the GM that doesn't want to take a break because they enjoy the game, just not the situation they find themselves in trying to run it. What about the GM that doesn't want to find a new group of players because their players are their friends?
One solution that gets offered up, but only infrequently, is that perhaps D&D isn't the right game for what either the DM is willing to do or what their players are willing to engage in or just generally what everyone is at the table for (to hang out with friends, escape from the daily grind/routine, and immerse yourself in a movie-like interactive world, and then go home without homework).
I've recently starting playing Monster of the Week. And I wish I'd knew about it a year ago because it's exactly the game that would have ideally suited two different D&D youth games (12-14 years old), that crashed and burned due to lack of player investment.
My players wanted to show up, do some epic things, hang out with their friends, and then not have to think about it again for another week. I, as the DM already running an adult group, was getting incredibly frustrated and feeling burnt out, trying to get them more invested, trying to strip down the rules as much as possible so it'd be easier for them to learn and prep for while trying to still "keep it D&D 5e", hounding them to know their spells or abilities, constantly feeling like I was starting at ground-zero, every week, on combat rules, etc.
Monster of the Week is just one example and I'm not specifically plugging it. But what it, and similar games have going for it over D&D is that it's:
1) Easy to learn for the GM. Much more so than D&D.
2) Dead simple for the players. Anything they'll ever have to know or do can easily be done during a regular session with no outside-of-the-game investment of time.
3) Inexpensive: a single $10 core rule book PDF purchased by the GM is the only investment anyone will ever have to make.
4) Requires very little prep for the DM and virtually no prep or ongoing maintenance by the players at all.
5) Easy to run and easy to play.
6) Can be much more episodic making it a good option for tables where players can't or won't commit to consistently showing up.
D&D is the* RPG that everyone knows about. Often it's the only RPG anyone knows about. But it's also often a round-peg that we all try hard to force into what can be a square hole.
D&D is also medieval fantasy with dwarves, elves, and goblins and simply isn't everyone's preferred genre. But since D&D is the* RPG I think the impression is that RPG = dwarves, elves, and goblins in a Lord of the Rings setting.
I love D&D for my adult group. It was completely wrong for my youth group. And my youth group experience seems to mirror so many other people's experiences with their own groups (adults or otherwise).
TLDR: If D&D is burning you out or requires too much time or investment from your players, or your players don't seem that much interested in the genre in general, another, simpler, RPG game may be worth checking out.
- Fixing DM burnout isn’t (always) as simple as taking a break. Diagnosing what’s causing the burnout is important.
- Help building the middle of a campaign
- Help me make my first Boss for the first quest
More about Dungeons & Dragons OnlinePost: "D&D isn’t the game for you (or your table)" specifically for the game Dungeons & Dragons Online. Other useful information about this game:
- It’s time to view session 0s as mandatory! A modern update helping modern problems
- Short(ish) Guide to Rich(er) Roleplaying (Maybe)
- Welcome to Humantown – A quirky 5th level one-shot for DnD 5e
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- Gave my characters a McGuffin that was supposed to deliver them to the next big arc of the story. They now think it is a grenade. HELP.
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