Stopping The No-Game Blues

A Brief Word From Johnn

How have you been doing? We just got back from a crazy camping trip. Mosquitoes, heavy winds, stuff breaking… I also earned a pulled neck muscle, so now I turn my whole body to look around. You could say I’m all-right now. 🙂

While I was killing bugs and cooking hot dogs over a fire, Jochen launched an awesome new feature for Campaign Logger: Chat-GPT is now embedded to help you create stuff and get ideas. We call this new assistant Zorgon, and he’s currently on our preview server for testing. Here are a couple of screenshots. #1 is where you can find Zorgon in the app. #2 is an example chat:

I’ll let you know when Zorgon passes testing and is published.

You are more than welcome to play with it and help us test it out right now though!

If you have a Campaign Logger account, then log into with your normal username and password.

If you don’t have a Campaign Logger subscription, you can play with Zorgon using the free tier. You can sign up for a free Campaign Logger account here. Then head over to the preview link above.


Stopping The No-Game Blues

I received an intriguing question from an RPT GM:

How can I avoid feeling down when taking a break from DMing for the first time in many years? I plan to return, but I’m taking a deliberate hiatus. However, even just a few weeks without gaming tends to depress me (though I’ll still be playing).

I’d like to approach this question from an different angle: How can you hone your GMing skills even when you’re not actively running games? Because, in my experience, I can find immense joy in my hobby by preparing to enhance everyone’s fun for my next campaign.

How To Stay Inspired

First, however, a few quick thoughts to answer the question directly:

  • Help GMs by asking and answering questions. There are many Discord servers out there come join the Roleplaying Tips Discord!, Facebook Groups, forums like mine, certain Subreddits, and many blogs out there. Stay sharp by offering GMing advice, or assist with crunch requests.
  • Read Newsletters and blogs like Roleplaying Tips to get a regular dose of content to help you stay connected to the GM screen.
  • Build. Now’s the perfect time to flesh out the campaign region more, fill it with 3-Line NPCs, stock it with legendary treasure, and build extra 5 Room Dungeons and encounters. Prep can be an awesome hobby unto itself!
  • Learn a New App. What’s your biggest digital headache or constraint right now? If it’s mapping, find a mapping app you think meets your needs. If it’s organization, use Campaign Logger to start building up a Source of Truth. If it’s running games online, try Foundry.
  • Game Fiction. I’m re-reading the original Dragonlance series right now – it’s fantastic. Several publishers have fiction lines to support their TTRPGs. And RPG Lit is always a fun genre to check out.
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Level-Up Your GMing Between Games

Here are a few suggestions on how we can earn game master experience points when we’re not running.

  • Play Solo. Learn a new game system, try out a new splat book, or play through a 5 Room Dungeon you create. Use solo play to master the rules or playtest your adventures. Then turn your solo-play characters into future NPCs.
  • World Build. Published settings are great, but nothing beats a homebrew world crafted with your own hands and dice. Specifically, research and apply what you learn from history, engineering, and social studies so you can improvise better in any setting.
  • Practice Improv. Try telling better stories at home and work. Play a game where you try not to say the same thing twice or you must avoid the word “is”. Say hi to strangers and strike up a conversation.
  • Attend Workshops. There’s my Master of the 5 Room Dungeon Workshop. There are also various acting, voice acting, and charisma courses out there. Game design, drawing, and writing are also awesome skills to buff up on.
  • Rework an Encounter. Have you ever run an encounter through the playtest wringer? You run it solo again and again or as short one-shots trying to break it, stretch the rules to their limit, and improve its hooks and play.
  • Run Combat Experiments. Grab your players’ character sheets and try to design a combat scenario with compelling CombatScape and foes that challenge or appeal to every PC in the party. Think 3D, different forms of movement, and mid-combat events and discoveries to practice whipping up epic melees.
  • Learn a New RPG. Grab an RPG outside the type you’d normally run to get exposed to new design thinking and gaming ideas. For example, if you mostly do D&D, try Night’s Black Agents or Blades in the Dark.

I hope these suggestions help you stay active, involved, and enthusiastic during your hiatus.


Johnn Four
Have more fun at every game!