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I GM several games each with different systems through the week. However with GM'ing so many games comes a certain amount of drama. The type of drama I would have to deal with once two-three months under normal circumstances happens every two-three weeks as different groups cause drama unaware of each other with players threatening to quit or just whining or bugging me.

I have been de-escalating these; however after around three months I am running out of patience and I no longer feel like GM'ing on the grounds that each of the drama incidents take more out of me. To be honest I am really close to saying: "Okay. Rocks fall. Anyone involved in this conversation dies. It was not a pleasure playing with you" and moving on.

Now as to what I wish to ask. How can I relieve this pile up of feelings without doing something drastic?

As to respond to comments: What have I done so far.

  • One player rebuffed me due to stress and this led to another player attempting to stand up for me. I asked the one that rebuffed to be more careful with his language and the player that stood up to not to do so again. They had started arguing and the player that stood for me way saying he wouldn't play with him.
  • A player came up with an unique race and one of the other players asked several questions about it. Then the creator of the race stormed off and his girlfriend followed suit. I calmed the situation by changing the course of the plot.
  • A player stated that he could only be invested in one campaign. Another player said that one could be invested in multiple campaigns. The former player said 'Because not everyone is like you. Y'know, you being perfect and all.' which I interfered by saying enough and told both of them to knock it off.

The players are complaining about conversations out of the game and coming to me with their problems.

By rebuffed I mean he was rather hostile and got rather rude. They had to add some stuff to their sheet and when I mentioned it he lashed out.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are these all groups you know specifically through the games you're playing, or are some of them friends whom you happen to be playing games with? \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Mar 7 '20 at 19:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ To close voter(s), this should be perfectly answerable as long as those answers are supported. We have numerous successful questions on similar problems (how to deal with a RPG-related social issue) and I don't think we need to close this unless pure opinion answers start coming in (and it proves itself to be primarily opinion based). On that note: \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mar 8 '20 at 1:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to leave a gentle reminder to answerer that they should support their answer. The method you suggest should be tested, and that testing should give you expertise to say when it worked and any drawbacks or limitations it may have. This also goes to voters, please look for answers that show experience. Many ideas sound good until you try it and realize you forgot about X thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Someone_Evil Mar 8 '20 at 1:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Some of these incidents are hard to parse without some more details. When you say a player “rebuffed you”, what do you mean? That you asked them to do something and they said no? The following sentences imply they used harsh language. Were they offended? Did they explain? I’d like to offer some advice but it is hard to tell if these problems have an underlying cause. It would also be useful to know how old your player group is, so we can judge their likely maturity level and give age appropriate advice. \$\endgroup\$ – Guybrush McKenzie Mar 8 '20 at 2:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ If they're adults, they should be able to sort out their own drama. Have you considered or tried just not getting involved in things not directly involving you nor interfering with the game (like the last point or when people come to you with out-of-game problems)? \$\endgroup\$ – NotThatGuy Mar 9 '20 at 0:28
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I recommend a piña colada and warm sunny beach

You, my friend, have some angsty players. You're clearly not enjoying running games for them and are burned out. Nothing good can come from trying to keep things moving forward.

It sounds like there's just too much friction between the players to make things work, so let the players know that you need a break.

You can let them know that you're tired of the interpersonal drama in a way that doesn't come across as accusatory or confrontational. This is tricky to do and your wording/approach will need to be tailored for your players. One tip that I've found helps me when I have to have meta talks with players is to speak about how you feel, rather then telling them that they are in the wrong. Instead of telling them "Your remarks are causing others to feel attacked" say "I feel like I'm having to act as an intermediary for personal disputes too much. That's not fun for me."

Now, if your goal was to try and make things continue to work, I would say your next line might be something like "I want to ask each of you to help out on that and think about how a remark might be misconstrued in a hurtful way and try to say it in a positive way or not at all. Etc, etc" You'd essentially be raising awareness and asking for help self censoring.

But in your case, I don't think that's the way to go. You're clearly burned out and need a break (and likely new players). So, instead, I'd advise you simply say that running the different campaigns is a lot of work (because it is) and you need a break. If your players push you on how long a break, just deflect with the truth: Tell them you're burned out and you don't know.

If/when you've taken some time away from the game and are itching to come back, be very careful and selective about who you start a new campaign with. You obviously want easy going players but you also want to make sure there isn't an opportunity for any old players that you didn't invite to learn about the game from the new players.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Funny title I love it! \$\endgroup\$ – Maxime Cuillerier Mar 8 '20 at 9:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ "You, my friend, have some angsty players." This can't be emphasized enough. It's important for OP to realize that this level of drama should not come up multiple times a month, even if you GM multiple groups. \$\endgroup\$ – xLeitix Mar 9 '20 at 10:57
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Some players are more drama-prone than others.

Here's what I do: I run campaigns with a fixed end point, like two or three months. During that time I try very hard to keep all my players happy. At the end of the campaign, we do a satisfying final battle, and I ask them all to write their own epilogue, and then I tell them the campaign is over.

And then I invite all the players I liked to come back in a few weeks for the start of a new campaign. The players I didn't like do not receive invites.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Out of curiosity, How often do you run games during those 3 week cycles? Just to get a feel of how much playtime you can get for an arc. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Mar 8 '20 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh geez, sorry, I meant months. Two or three months. (Playing for three hours once a week.) \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Mar 8 '20 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ That explains it. I thought what you called campaign were what I'd call a quest based on the timeframe. But it months and 1/week, that's close to the structure of one of my games actually. So it makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ – 3C273 Mar 8 '20 at 14:59
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I don't know if this will help you but:

My solution is to play only with friends or friends of friends. I don't play with strangers, even though it might be fun sometimes, I've seen lots of complaints on this site about rude players etc. So I'm not eager to try.

That way, we mainly know who we are playing with and since we are friends, if something is not fun, we talk/listen to each other and it's not that hard to find solutions in my experience.

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