Most Dungeon and Dragons groups get together every week, sometimes multiple times. My group doesn’t do this. We’re an every other weekend party. We tried meeting every weekend but it caused problems with our real lives and significant others so we agreed to have “off weeks”.
Real life versus fantasy life, striking a balance
It works better for me as a DM because I struggle to find time to prep for game even running every other week. As it is, I have about two weeks between games to prep, and I still suck at it. Sometimes I’m cramming to prep an hour before my players show up while trying to clean the house and cater to the toddler at the same time.
So what do I do on my off weekends? The same stuff everyone else does, I imagine. House cleaning (which is never done. I swear, I wash all the dishes and an hour later the sink is full). Yard work, spending time with my daughter and, of course, writing (when I can do so without my child trying to sit in my lap and do the typing for me).
Life comes first clause, even for D&D
I used to play D&D religiously, every Saturday, from about 5pm – 1am. And if anyone didn’t show up to the group, everyone else would give them a really hard time about it. We were a team and we all relied strongly on each other’s strengths. So bad things could happen very easily if even one player didn’t show up. This is partly why I started DM-ing my own games and created the real life comes first clause. D&D shouldn’t be a chore. It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun and everyone needs a break, even from the fun. It’s nice to have one weekend full of plans and the next with no plans at all so you can do whatever comes your way and feel a sense of freedom.
As a DM, it’s important to create a story and situations where you can easily improvise if one of your players doesn’t show up, which, with two weeks to plan, it’s a lot easier to come up with something that works for everyone whether they’re there or not.
Do I wish I could play every week? Yes. Absolutely. Do I wish I could run at least two games and play in another? Heck yes. But that’s just not where my life is right now. In a couple years, my daughter will be old enough to start playing with us and maybe we can do an every week game again. I’m not the kind of person to get stuck on what I can’t do ‘right now’. I see what I ‘can’ do, and roll with it. Which I think is what a good DM needs.
Side note: I’m not always a very good DM… We all have our off days.