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How to Prevent RPG Game Master Burnout! (GM Tips w/ Matt Mercer)

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Critical Role DM Matt Mercer lays out a few tips to help prevent roleplaying burnout, in GM Tips! Subscribe to Geek and Sundry: http://goo.gl/B62jl Join our community at: http://geekandsundry.com/community Twitter: http://twitter.com/geekandsundry Facebook: http://facebook.com/geekandsundry Instagram: http://instagram.com/geekandsundry Google+: http://plus.google.com/+GeekandSundry
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Text Comments (645)
AracusTheGm (7 days ago)
a fun little ramble, i myself am an amateur gm, with the burnout lingering my players and i now have 2 campaigns to prevent it long before it sets in, I run a campaign of the Witcher Trpg and one of my players Gms an Edge of the empire campaign, each time we reach a stable stopping point, we switch off, keeping our writing muscles loose and relaxed, and our brains from frying out
turikthunderaxe (27 days ago)
i want that hour glass lol
Nionivek (1 month ago)
Here is another: Change the pace and input more of what you love.
Matthew Nope (3 months ago)
Sad ending but great content initially :)
Endless Void Studios (4 months ago)
hey where did matt go be gone foul wench BRING BACK MATTTTTTTT xO)
nar d (4 months ago)
my group rotates GMs to give everyone a chance to play and run a game. sometimes a few GMs share a campaign. doing both help with GM burn out and there is always game.
NorixiusTTG (4 months ago)
Not every week every ficken day yawn its 1:00am
NorixiusTTG (4 months ago)
I didn't mean to put the time stamp
Craig Sisco (4 months ago)
Just now watched this (literal) transition episode. A tip of the hat to Matt Mercer and Satine Phoenix for using one of the most controversial magic items in D&D. 😅😅😅
Mark Mroz (4 months ago)
What my group does is we have two separate games we run. We run a dnd game that one of my friends runs and I manage a game I made myself. We rotate these games so each GM gets two weeks to prep.
Princess Jello (4 months ago)
Dont kill John Wick's dog. Dont kill John Wick's dog.
yummy peanut (5 months ago)
I just wanted to say because I completed my 4th Titanfall 2 campaign you did great as jack cooper
Caedamon Frost (5 months ago)
I've been my groups GM the last 10 or so years... I get time off maybe once every 2 years where I get to play... It's frustrating always being the GM;_;
Nick Geffen (5 months ago)
Thanks for all these fantastic and fantastical tips, G&S! So helpful!
Purple Dragon (6 months ago)
I hear the phrase "lost inspiration" and my bard sense tingle
Voodikod (6 months ago)
Only 1 8 hours session of Hoard of the Dragon Queen and I'm super burnt out of DMing that one. DMing such a messed up module is so exhuasting to run because you have to not only change tons of content, you also have to create new ideas that work inside that story.
Zerk The Jerk (6 months ago)
Yusuke Kitagawa, everyone. JK I love all of Matt's characters. (But Yusuke especially)
Red Shirt Gaming (6 months ago)
My Dm likes to sometimes call a one-shot break, he'll allow one of our PCs to have an attempt to dming/gming
CrafDee1 (7 months ago)
If it’s writers block or a big important chunk of narrative that needs extra work on the scale of something like the Vox Machina chroma conclave dragon fights I’d say that’s a good time to run a one shot or two for weekly games to give the extra breathing room while not loosing the narrative, especially if there’s a couple decent journey scribes in the group who will have the pc parties prep logged and recon info etc
Aaron Wolfenbarger (7 months ago)
Oh I don't run out of ideas not once ever have I the problem is everyone else stealing them and doing some minor tweaking and then selling them for money. "Acquisitions incorporated" down to their play style is a rip off of the "mo money adventuring company" which I did take the name from In living color but everything else down to the whole business savvy spin on adventuring companies was first mine long before "fagquzitions fagorporated".Even my players players were a better class of people with better player skills so much better! Ive seen their auditoriums filled with people watching them and they are just stupid and unfun/unentertaining. at least your groups are fun and entertaining.
Aaron Wolfenbarger (7 months ago)
You CANT avoid it not if your a good DM! It takes something out of you
Darjaboo (8 months ago)
Noob GM using magic items without first identifying them pfft
He never mentioned the DM’s worst nightmare, daily gameplay. Not fun. Not fun at all.
FaithfulCalamari (8 months ago)
Rip Daisy
Benjamin Barlow (8 months ago)
Matt sounded like my mom at 0:50
ComicSams (8 months ago)
My group and I were doing a few short adventures (with me as the DM) to teach them how to play while I worked on the main campaign that I'm going to run on my friend's YouTube channel. I made it 5 sessions before I realized I was too focused on the future and not enough on the present. I'm glad one of my players wanted to step in, because I would've been brain dead otherwise
Caleb Evans (8 months ago)
Go back! I said go back!
Conor Entus (8 months ago)
The way my playgroup has prevented fatigue is simple. Most of the players dm their own games. That way, we all get to experiment with different characters, enjoy unique storytelling styles, and fill our rather empty weekends. While this may not work for all groups, it works well for us, as it allows players to have enough different characters o avoid being burned out on one, while the dms don't get burned out dming.
Timithias (8 months ago)
That belt is one of my favorite cursed joke items
The Zekenator (9 months ago)
My group has 2 DMs, both running long term campaigns. We basically alternate every time there's a break in the story or one of the DMs needs more time. This requires us to take more notes, but it's such a great solution to DM fatigue that no one cares.
Mick Boontjes (9 months ago)
A tip that I have is watch some movies or series, you would be surprised about how much inspiration and ideas you get from watching them.
Rashel Izro (9 months ago)
I love the transition of hosts
The Cognitive Rambler (9 months ago)
The real golden antidote at my table is that three of us (me being one of them) DM's in a rotation. We rotate arcs in the same overarching story using the Forgotten Realms source material. Each DM takes 5 - 10 sessions typically to run their arc, and then the next one is up. This does WONDERS to prevent fatigue and it's just extremely gratifying to get the chance to sit on both sides of the screen.
Advanced Level Gaming (10 months ago)
"Oh no, that was John Wick...Sorry..." Fucking died.
Jack Mulcahy (10 months ago)
I always ALWAYS put dinner halfway through running a campaign so you get your Chinese halfway through and take a break
BoyKagome (10 months ago)
That is why you don't mess around with random magic items until you've used a recognize magic spell on it...
YOWHAZGOOD (10 months ago)
someones name is satine phoenix? uh huh.
BigPapa Shamrock (10 months ago)
My friend was DMing a really cool campaign and once we'd all made characters and gotten attached to them and the world he planned out a session for 8 players but didn't actually plan out a story or game to play through and gave up declaring he was done with the campaign. For obvious reasons I'm holding a bit of a grudge and he isn't a DM anymore
Alex Brown (11 months ago)
How we avoid GM burn out in my group? Gen Con, and opportunities for me to be a player. And, our winter game that is all focused on politics..changing the style of game you are running for a bit can truly be refreshing...and political games are all about reacting to the players, not having to trying and deliver a compelling story all by yourself.
I dont like girls, but I liked that girl :D
Merlin Meurer (11 months ago)
We mostly do #4
valdark2 (11 months ago)
This is one area I have problems with. It's hard not having someone else to take the reigns for any period of time.
outcasted Opal (11 months ago)
Man i get gm burnout and i didnt even start yet
Yaroslav Sokolnikov (1 year ago)
I didn't get which John Wick killed your dog. The one who's played by Keanu Reeves or the one that makes little games with unremarkable mechanics?
Smo Key (1 year ago)
Slyder81 (1 year ago)
This is exactly what happened in my group - the DM got writer's block and didn't know what to do next in his campaign and I wanna play D&D no matter what so I decided to try my hand at running a game. I've run 2 sessions and my players are enjoying it so far. I've learned that I'm enjoying DMing quite a bit and love to plan...but I'm struggling with not railroading my players. I've been watching a ton of videos on how to prepare but not over prepare... :)
Erik C L (1 year ago)
Am in a group of 5-6 players for over 10 years.  What do you think about a world established so that each player can run a different region (or game differently) due to wild magic or whatever.  That way each player does not need their own game to start.  Can it help GM burnout.  2.  Can dual-GMing a game help.  One GM delivers the story and combat and the other manages the NPC to PC interactions.
My B Edits (1 year ago)
If we ain't talkin Mercer, I don't wanna talk
John Latham (1 year ago)
When they replace a God with a lesser being. Im jk
TheRealBoz (1 year ago)
It's kind of ironic that Matt Mercer's final GM Tips is about burnout :p
Benton Edmondson (1 year ago)
This happens in every hobby and affects everyone eventually.
Phoenix Naylor (1 year ago)
instead of "taking a crack", i saw "taking crack"
s s (1 year ago)
All this people seem insanely cool
Chap 101 (1 year ago)
Pretty sure most liberals own girdles of gender changing.
David Damasceno (1 year ago)
The best part of letting a friend DM for a while is that usually they suck at it, and you realise how awesome of a DM you really are compared to them!
Bongibot (8 months ago)
David Damasceno or they end up being a lot better than you ;-;
Domaik (1 year ago)
And what do I do if I REALLY REALLY want to DM but my players have started dropping and missing sessions to the point where the game can't continue? hahaha good video!
Emily Dueck (10 months ago)
I know this is super late and hopefully you solved the problem but, if not: ask them why they're losing interest. There's a chance you'll get a lot of critique about your campaign of course - and be ready to take it as graciously as you can. Then again, it could just not be their kind of campaign or maybe they're just not as interested in RPGs as they thought they might be. If you just can't get those players back : go to your local tabletop store and see when they have their RPG nights. Maybe join as a player the first few times, see how it goes, and offer to DM eventually. You can make new friends that way, too! Or try an online campaign using something like Roll20. There's a lot of options and willing DMs are typically in short supply.
nodeterin (1 year ago)
We're doing multiple-GMing, out of the 5 of us 3 GM, so that everyone gets some time off and so that every gets to play their SC to their hearts' content.
Danny J (1 year ago)
hey Matt, can a paladin use divine smite on a thrown weapon like a spear? since its still a 'melee weapon' cheers :)
Wesley Juron (1 year ago)
Damn shame Matt is done. I really liked this series and now it has come to an end. Oh well. It has been really fun.
Luke Koenig (1 year ago)
Why do they bleep out "Holy shit" at 3:20 before he finds the girdle but when he says "fucking crazy" at 3:04 there is no bleep? Fukkin wot.
Sexius Manalive (1 year ago)
Who dis grill?
Jasper West (1 year ago)
What I've found to combat GM fatigue for myself is simply not writing anything down. I usually have large amounts of notes with all the usual stuff. Some weeks I cannot bring myself to sit down at my computer and write, so I don't. I show up to the game with zero preparation, I create every single thing right as we play. While this won't work for everyone, it might for some, and it's extremely fun to let the players just run wild and build the world and encounters around whatever they do.
Danny Gravdahl (1 year ago)
Is it possible to make another series of Videos like this for beginner players?
The Goddamn Batman (1 year ago)
I got GM burnout for a decade after GMing RPGs pretty consistently for over 20 years before then. Now.... I'm starting up a new Vampire: The Masquerade chronicle online. I"m really hoping it'll stoke that fire for something I did for a long period in my life before that. :D
Mark B (1 year ago)
Does anyone know when is Satine's episodes coming out?
MHAustad X (1 year ago)
Hi Mccree
war disgaea (1 year ago)
how do I stop myself from being a player burnout thank you Paul Hobson
Greg Matta (1 year ago)
This is great timing. We just had a talk with our GM about how he is starting to feel burned out. He's the only one of our group that works a full time job and has a family with two kids. And then he crushes it every week while his three dumb friends make fart jokes. Our solution? Rotating GMs. We have an ongoing story arch (collect the 7 parts of the magic item) and we have an air ship where the spare player (GM's character ) stays while GMing. Just need to learn to GM. Wish me luck.
Clean Living (1 year ago)
Satine captures the look and feel of the common and mass media idea of what a "Dungeonmaster" is
T3n50r (1 year ago)
Really looking forward to hear Satine's tips as well. :) Fun and interesting way to do the transition and since I had to cancel our last session the tips about taking a short break for a short campaign (one of our players wants to give a crack at DM'ing at some point) it's an amazing idea that I might do further down the road when they're done with the place they're at now where everything is already prepared. Maybe I even get to try out the game as a player (I've yet to do it, lol) after a year of DM'ing only as well, haha.
Lou Carvalho (1 year ago)
Alternating games can help ease burnout, too, especially if the two games are being run by different GMs.
Jesse Gannon (1 year ago)
@Geek & Sundry,  I am officially petitioning you to hold some kind of contest where the winners get to play a session or campaign with Matt.  And of course since it was my idea, I get to be there too!
MrZeyami (1 year ago)
when you roll a 1 on the arcana check to identify
joaogro (1 year ago)
I have a question! a VERY important one!!!! Do you have any tips on DM'ing drunk? I do think a lot of ppl play D&D with beer or the likes and i find it rather rather to keep DM'ing with beer goggles :D
Wally D.M. (1 year ago)
My last case of burnout lasted 15 years.... Glad I finally started playing again. :)
LorienArcher (1 year ago)
I'd like to see an episode on "GM metagaming." :)
Wardog (1 year ago)
Try playing /doing some LARP! :) That IS truly, the next step forward in total immersion of game play and story. I have been doing that since 2002 (NERO OUTLANDS) and ran my own system called Darkages from 2004 to 2011 and I still play & love every minute I get to play. This is but one other way to get out of having to DM all the time. You should take a look and let me know you think. Cheers!
Cammino3 (1 year ago)
Omg thanks for this. Burning out again ;3;
Ryuflare1 (1 year ago)
I know this may not be the proper place for this, but I hope to start playing in my very firs D&D campaign soon, and I was hoping any of the veterans in the comments could give me tips for creating my very first character. All I really know at the moment is that I want to play a Monk. With the race, I'm bouncing between Aarakocra or Warforge (because they seem interesting.)
Joe Flynn (1 year ago)
Margold Gallentara (1 year ago)
Was that an Order of the Stick reference?
Ric Mohri (1 year ago)
Great thought
David Hyland (1 year ago)
I also enjoy my group's solution. 2 campaigns, each headed by a different GM. Prevents the two GMs from burning out and if we both are burning out, one shots by other players within the group as needed
BigBossDarunia (1 year ago)
bleeps him saying shit, but not when he says fucking xD
Michael Coone (1 year ago)
who did Satine blow to get this gig? oh wait....
Michael Coone (1 year ago)
so basically, if you're tired or worn out, take a break! When genius!
Jtracy1698 (1 year ago)
Oh no...My reason for coming here has ceased...
Django Cribbs (5 months ago)
Not necessarily. Presenting is largely about charisma. Just as Mercer's particular style may not be for everyone the same is true for Satine. I can understand the reasons for the change but that doesn't change the fact that some people who particularly enjoyed Mercer do not enjoy Satine.
Rebecca H (7 months ago)
Jtracy1698 That isn't shallow at all.
Jtracy1698 (1 year ago)
But how do I make sure that I can cram all of my one-off shit into a one shot?
John - (1 year ago)
could you do a gm tips on campaign writing and note taking? like focused around what things should be noted down for gm's. i feel like my writing system is super chaotic but I dont know how to fix it.
Michael Coone (1 year ago)
John - this ^^^^ PLEASE!
CelestiaLily (1 year ago)
This is why I'm excited for Travis to DM the next adventure after TAZ ends... Griffin deserves a break after orchestrating such a crazy plot for 2+ years. :)
TenguBE (1 year ago)
What a woman.
Yoko Oh no (1 year ago)
i bet this is leading up too a "month" break or some shit. hope not.
J. Grey (1 year ago)
nice change of hosts. well done u.
Richard Hayward (1 year ago)
They killed my dog!
Celty (1 year ago)
i feel like i have the opposite problem... but aye, maybe that might be a psychological problem thats more than dnd; whoooo knoooows :))))
Robert Stoffel (1 year ago)
Satine Phoenix :)! Nice done video.
Now I wonder if they'll have a guest GM and let Matt play for a few episodes. I'd watch that, too!
AwesomeByrd (1 year ago)
I think it would be good if each of the players would run a one shot. Like once per month, one of the players runs a one shot to give the regular GM/DM a break once every 4 weeks. If you had 4 players, they would each run 3 one shots in a year. That isn't too much to ask of them, especially considering how many sessions the GM/DM has to run, which would still be around 30 sessions in a year.
AwesomeByrd (1 year ago)
Everyone could even have a character that they only use for those one shots, so it is a regular adventuring party that knows each other too.
Simon Flamia (1 year ago)
Sees matt mercer video, likes it before it starts.
Kronisius (1 year ago)
I'll run a game for Matt. Might not be as good, but every GM needs a break. :P
ShadowKnight (1 year ago)
GM Tips burnout. Amazing!

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