Here’s my dirty little GMing secret – I burn out quickly. I launch into a new campaign with great enthusiasm, boning up on the period and genre, purchasing all the supplementary material I can get my hands on, crafting a world, and putting an epic campaign into place. My problem is that my enthusiasm only seems to last for three or four months before I start getting antsy for the Next Awesome Campaign.
For a weekly game, this isn’t much of a problem and even with bi-weekly campaigns I’m usually good for about 6 months. It gets much more difficult for me when missed sessions start stretching the campaign into the better part of a year or more. That fresh idea I had now just seems stale and I have to force myself to stay the course.
Recently I warned my players that with convention season upon me I’d have to put the campaign on hold for a couple of months. One of my players sighed and said “well, that’s it for the campaign then.” I asked him why, as I was going to end on a natural breaking point and would be picking up with the next part in a couple of months, but he only laughed and said “yes, but I know you. The campaign is over.”
And he’s probably correct.
I hate to admit it, but my enthusiasm has already waned. Over the last two months we’ve only gotten to play twice due to scheduling conflicts and I find myself struggling to remain enthusiastic. If I’m struggling now, then I know it’s going to be very difficult for me to drop the campaign for two months and return to it.Â I have the best intentions, of course, and I still haven’t had an opportunity to bring the campaign to the sweet spot that inspired it in the first place.
So today, rather than regale you with Gnomish wisdom, I have a question for you instead. How do you keep up the enthusiasm when the campaign is no longer new and the breaks are long? Should I try to stay the course or bow to the inevitable? Should I just stop trying to run long campaigns at this stage in my life when weekly sessions aren’t an option?