Are TTRPGs Even a "Good" Hobby?

Retreater

Legend
Not going to lie, I'm going through a hobby crisis right now. I'm wondering if I should stick with it.
I'm listing my problem areas, which I seem to face weekly (if not more frequently). Do your brains work like this? If so, how can you continue to enjoy this hobby?

I. Players
Are they engaged? Do you have enough? Where can you find more? Do you have too many? If so, how can you shrink the group? Can you find the right gaming system to accommodate an atypical sized group? Are they causing issues with you or other players (cheating, arguing, inappropriate topics, disruption?) Do you get along okay? Do you consider them friends? Do they connect well with the other players? What about the style of game you're playing? Do they come consistently? How can you make the game better liked by the guy who isn't engaged enough? Is someone spotlight hogging or more effective than other characters?

II. Systems
What genre are you going to play? You're familiar with fantasy, but maybe it's getting tiresome? Are you going to stick with System A because your group is familiar and owns the books? Do you encourage them to try System B - even though you could be wrong? What has the right level of depth? What would be fun? Are the books affordable? Do you really like most parts of System C, but there's some dealbreaker component? How many books have you purchased, anyway? Have you gone over budget? Do you have room on your shelves? Can you even keep them straight anymore?

III. Larger Community
Do other hobbies look down on their participants? Should we care about corporate decisions? What about problematic past content? Should we try to promote diverse creators at our tables? Do people who go fishing or participate in bowling leagues worry about this stuff? Gee, aren't there a lot of people who get really fired up and will yell at you if you don't TTRPG the same way they do? Are other communities better?

IV. Work
How many hours is enough prep? What do I do with wasted prep? Will I ever have free time to do anything besides plan sessions? What's the use in planning, anyway? Are there shortcuts - because running published adventures has proven more difficult than just writing my own? Can you use shortcuts in complex systems? Back to point 2 - if you use a less complex system and the players complain - is it still worth it?
 

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I'll say yes, RPGs are still one of my favourite hobbies. There is a catch, though - you might have to switch to online play (that's what made a major difference for me), and if online play isn't for you, that might be a much harder nut to crack.

I can provide more details, or even answer some of your questions. But I'm not quite sure if you are really looking for answers or just needed a bit of venting.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
Do your brains work like this?
No. I know people who do (seem) to think like this, and it honestly seems pretty tiring, so I'm glad I'm not wired that way.

I. Players
Are they engaged? Do you have enough? Where can you find more? Do you have too many? If so, how can you shrink the group? Can you find the right gaming system to accommodate an atypical sized group? Are they causing issues with you or other players (cheating, arguing, inappropriate topics, disruption?) Do you get along okay? Do you consider them friends? Do they connect well with the other players? What about the style of game you're playing? Do they come consistently? How can you make the game better liked by the guy who isn't engaged enough? Is someone spotlight hogging or more effective than other characters?
I've had 21 different players over the past 2 years or so. (Most of them much longer than that.) If they don't get along, that would be a shame. But it's not my problem. I don't have anyone who would take their out-of-game problems into the game.

II. Systems
What genre are you going to play? You're familiar with fantasy, but maybe it's getting tiresome? Are you going to stick with System A because your group is familiar and owns the books? Do you encourage them to try System B - even though you could be wrong? What has the right level of depth? What would be fun? Are the books affordable? Do you really like most parts of System C, but there's some dealbreaker component? How many books have you purchased, anyway? Have you gone over budget? Do you have room on your shelves? Can you even keep them straight anymore?
I'm a little bit over 5e, but it isn't causing me any stress or anything. I have some games I can hopefully get people interested in, and some other people are interested in running some stuff I'm interested in.

III. Larger Community
Do other hobbies look down on their participants? Should we care about corporate decisions? What about problematic past content? Should we try to promote diverse creators at our tables? Do people who go fishing or participate in bowling leagues worry about this stuff? Gee, aren't there a lot of people who get really fired up and will yell at you if you don't TTRPG the same way they do? Are other communities better?
I'm aware of these questions, but I spend literally no time thinking about them.

IV. Work
How many hours is enough prep? What do I do with wasted prep? Will I ever have free time to do anything besides plan sessions? What's the use in planning, anyway? Are there shortcuts - because running published adventures has proven more difficult than just writing my own? Can you use shortcuts in complex systems? Back to point 2 - if you use a less complex system and the players complain - is it still worth it?
I prep between 0 and 60 minutes before a session. I hate published adventures. I would drop roleplaying entirely instead of playing a system that required me to devote hours to prep.
 

Retreater

Legend
I'll say yes, RPGs are still one of my favourite hobbies. There is a catch, though - you might have to switch to online play (that's what made a major difference for me), and if online play isn't for you, that might be a much harder nut to crack.
I really jumped into online play during the pandemic. While I do enjoy them, they are still missing a little bit of the spontaneity and fun I remember from in-person games. When I'm able to run one-shots in person, that feeling is often there. It is rare to experience in my single regular in-person game, however.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Not going to lie, I'm going through a hobby crisis right now. I'm wondering if I should stick with it.
I'm listing my problem areas, which I seem to face weekly (if not more frequently). Do your brains work like this? If so, how can you continue to enjoy this hobby?

Are you involved in the hobby, invested in the hobby, or obsessed with the hobby? It feels like category three is a bad place to be for long with anything. I wonder if a lot of people bounce from A to B depending on how they are feeling it. I have plenty of hobbies that sit dormant for a while and then come back when the time is right.

Just in general - if anyone is to a point where there is a hobby they can't stop doing - but don't enjoy, and feel angstful about taking a break, and have been being worn down by this feeling... in all seriousness I think talking to professional counselors should be more common. In many communities there are some that have a limited number of sessions for a reduced price based on ability to pay. For those in college, many colleges have free counselors. Addictions and bad relationships with things besides people are things.

I think there is a difference between TTRPGing as a hobby and, say, D&Ding as a hobby. Just like there is a difference between being a Board Gamer and just liking a couple board games, or being a card player but only really liking bridge. You don't have to like all of it.

I. Players
Are they causing issues with you or other players (cheating, arguing, inappropriate topics, disruption?)

I don't know why anyone would hang out with such people in any hobby.

II. Systems
What genre are you going to play? You're familiar with fantasy, but maybe it's getting tiresome? Are you going to stick with System A because your group is familiar and owns the books? Do you encourage them to try System B - even though you could be wrong? What has the right level of depth? What would be fun? Are the books affordable? Do you really like most parts of System C, but there's some dealbreaker component? How many books have you purchased, anyway? Have you gone over budget? Do you have room on your shelves? Can you even keep them straight anymore?

I am comfortable running D&D. I am uncomfortable running things that are after, say, the 1960s, unless it is like post-apocalyptical sci-fantasy. (It's the communications, forensics, and google-esque knowledge acquisition changes that throw me).

I am happy playing a wide variety of games if the DM sounds interested and like it might go somewhere. I have not really enjoyed games that expect me to do world crafting as a player during game time. (I am still not happy with montages in 13th Age, for example).

As far as being happy with a system, I have never met one I couldn't find things to tweak.

For budget, I typically don't buy tons of books and make my own stuff (often not as much prep as I'd like and wing it instead).


III. Larger Community
Do other hobbies look down on their participants? Should we care about corporate decisions? What about problematic past content? Should we try to promote diverse creators at our tables? Do people who go fishing or participate in bowling leagues worry about this stuff? Gee, aren't there a lot of people who get really fired up and will yell at you if you don't TTRPG the same way they do? Are other communities better?
From what others have posted about other online communities, I think there are lots of fandoms that put the fanatic in fan (in a bad way).


IV. Work
How many hours is enough prep? What do I do with wasted prep? Will I ever have free time to do anything besides plan sessions? What's the use in planning, anyway? Are there shortcuts - because running published adventures has proven more difficult than just writing my own? Can you use shortcuts in complex systems? Back to point 2 - if you use a less complex system and the players complain - is it still worth it?

I don't know if there is a shortcut if you and your players want the fixed world to explore where the DM doesn't alter or make-up stuff on the fly.

If the players complain then it seems like that game is a thing not to do with them.
 
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If I ran high-prep, combat-heavy games that all had to be in-person, and with some of the people you've talked about playing with, I might be asking some of these questions.

But I don't, and I'm still as energized by and obsessed with RPGs as I ever was. Also I get to not feel like game companies are treating me poorly, since I don't play games made by awful companies!

I say this not to brag or rub salt in the wound. Just to point out that there are so many ways to game now. You have a lot of options.
 

Scribe

Legend
It sounds like there is a lot of work involved there, and I think immedietly of relationships. If it requires this much work, and compromise, and giving up what you are after/want, or you are not getting satisfaction out of it?

Pull the plug, or keep choking on the resentment that is building, or at least it seems to be.

Got a core group of buddies you mesh with, playing a system you enjoy, in a setting you enjoy where you all are aligned on what kind of questions even matter in terms of the content? You are in for a good time.

If you instead have to ask yourselves what you are asking in the OP @Retreater ? Looks to me like you are looking for a way out.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
If you're having fun, then the time you spend is fun, not work.

If you feel like you're doing a lot of work and not having fun, then it's not a hobby.

Rule of thumb- work is something that you get paid for, because you'd rather be doing other things, like your hobby.
Hobbies are something you don't get paid for, because it's fun to do.
 


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