My Hero’s Journey of GMing

I run a Star Wars role playing group that meets every three weeks. Ten sessions in, I have a good grasp on how I react to this emotionally. Here’s a timeline of how that 21-day cycle invariably plays out:

Day 0

IT’S STAR WARS NIGHT! I AM SO EXCITED!

Days 1-3

Intense period of reflection on what I did as GM during the game. Inevitably this leads to self-loathing for mistakes and intense doubt whether I should continue to GM. My spiritual desolation.

Days 4-6

Intense emotions have subsided into a gentle bit of burnout. I think about other things.

Days 7-8

I realize I need to write a recap while I can still recall the events clearly. It’s a bit of a slog. I am reminded that not everything went horribly and there were some highlights and fun times for most people at the table, most of the time.

Days 9-16

Random thoughts collide about what I’d like to do for the next session. Vague ideas for following sessions float around too, but I don’t worry about it much. Usually I find a few pieces of music that embody the mood I want to capture in the next session. I will listen to this music over and over until I can hardly stand it.

Days 17-19

Write down a sparse outline of what will happen if the players do nothing and a few one-sentence descriptions of new characters. At this point I’m very eager for the next session. I briefly entertain crazy thoughts like “If only we met every two weeks” or “If only I could run a second group.”

Day 20

Almost inevitably I’m scrambling to make NPC and vehicle specs, track down reference art, flesh out any remaining major gaps in the plot, etc. Gradually I’m cutting down on this scramble as I learn what kinds of prep pay the most dividends, though.

Day 21/0

IT’S STAR WARS NIGHT! I AM SO EXCITED!

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