Poor DM/ Game Advice

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
IME life only gets in the way if you let it.
Yeah, well... you might want to think beyond your experience.

I have a player with chronic migraines. There are days when her pain is debilitating, she cannot see properly due to light sensitivity, and can't communicate well due to migraine-induced aphasia. She'd be in major discomfort if she did attend, and if she did she'd not be able to make meaningful contribution, or have any fun.

Another player lives about 45 minutes drive from where we game. In winter, in Massachusetts, there's times when snow and ice make travel dangerous.

Another player is a parent. If his daughter gets the flu, not only should he stay home with his daughter because that's called beign a good parent, I don't want him carrying influenza to others at my table.

I've another player some years ago had to bow out of game, because he got an awesome new job that he loves, but it required him to work weekday evenings, which is our regular play time.

Another player, again some years ago... got brain cancer and died.

I don't think any of these people are "letting" life get in the way. With all this, we generally manage two games a month. But sometimes, life gets in the way, without a whole lot of choice for the player.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
1. I ran two separate campaigns in the same world, with the second one taking place 80 years after the first one ended. They had very different feels, characters, goals, NPCs, and for the most part geographic area. Just because there was a continuity of history from the first campaign, you cannot convince me, the DM, it was only a single campaign. It wasn't.

2. I am in a game where the DM was previously a player in a homebrew world, and adopted it as his own. As a player in that game, there is no difference if something done in history was written by the DM or done by a PC. We are not playing the same campaign even though we share the same setting.

3. When I was in my teens, our DM ran like 6 days a week, some D&D and some Champions. In both cases it was the same world but multiple groups. We never considered ourselves part of the other campaign. In the superhero there would even be a big yearly crossover event - but it was so special because it was a cross-over and we got to meet all these heroes from other campaigns.

To me "different players, different DM, different characters but a shared continuity" does not make automatically it the same campaign. It could, but does not have to.
As long as you realize you choose to see it that way. Others will see them as the same campaign because they do take place in the same continuity. Neither of you are wrong - you just have to define your perspective to communicate.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
As long as you realize you choose to see it that way. Others will see them as the same campaign because they do take place in the same continuity. Neither of you are wrong - you just have to define your perspective to communicate.
I disagree. If as a DM I run two separate camapigns, no other person's perception that they are the same campaign holds any weight.
 

Aebir-Toril

Is lukewarm on the Forgotten Realms
Yeah, well... you might want to think beyond your experience.

I have a player with chronic migraines. There are days when her pain is debilitating, she cannot see properly due to light sensitivity, and can't communicate well due to migraine-induced aphasia. She'd be in major discomfort if she did attend, and if she did she'd not be able to make meaningful contribution, or have any fun.

Another player lives about 45 minutes drive from where we game. In winter, in Massachusetts, there's times when snow and ice make travel dangerous.

Another player is a parent. If his daughter gets the flu, not only should he stay home with his daughter because that's called beign a good parent, I don't want him carrying influenza to others at my table.

I've another player some years ago had to bow out of game, because he got an awesome new job that he loves, but it required him to work weekday evenings, which is our regular play time.

Another player, again some years ago... got brain cancer and died.

I don't think any of these people are "letting" life get in the way. With all this, we generally manage two games a month. But sometimes, life gets in the way, without a whole lot of choice for the player.
Such truths deserve to be spoken again and again. Not everyone has the luxury of managing their own lives.
 

Jd Smith1

Explorer
Yeah, well... you might want to think beyond your experience.
I've never been wholly convinced that anything exists beyond my experience. :cool:

Another player lives about 45 minutes drive from where we game. In winter, in Massachusetts, there's times when snow and ice make travel dangerous.
Living in Massachusetts is something I have studiously avoided my entire life. I live in Texas, where there is no state income tax, and the weather very seldom interferes with gaming.

Another player is a parent. If his daughter gets the flu, not only should he stay home with his daughter because that's called beign a good parent, I don't want him carrying influenza to others at my table.
Most of my players are parents. One is soon to be a grandparent. On the rare occasions a kids sickness keeps them out, the group games on. But in 17 years it has only happened a couple times. Again, avoiding Massachusetts is a good policy: you don't see as much sickness when its 67 degrees in the dead of winter.

I've another player some years ago had to bow out of game, because he got an awesome new job that he loves, but it required him to work weekday evenings, which is our regular play time.
That's a real problem, but most of my players are management or work in industrial jobs (or both). But I keep a waiting list of suitable applicants so individual losses do not affect the group.

Combat deployments with Reserve components has pulled players from my table, but you fill the gaps and wait for them to return; we've all had Uncle Sugar borrow a year.

Another player, again some years ago... got brain cancer and died.
I had a (former) player murder his wife and eventually kill himself after a stand-off (with hostages). I had already booted him from the group, so it didn't affect our game.

I don't think any of these people are "letting" life get in the way. With all this, we generally manage two games a month. But sometimes, life gets in the way, without a whole lot of choice for the player.
Our group has met weekly since 2002. We generally lose two sessions a year to the holidays.

These same players bowl, golf, competition three-gun shoot (me), and conduct other hobbies on a regular basis.

The key is choosing the right players.
 

merwins

Explorer
Really? Who manages them? I'm serious: unless you're in prison, who doesn't manage their own life?
People with epilepsy. People who get T-boned by drunk drivers. People who get shot because they're in the wrong place at the wrong time. People who suck at building and maintaining social networks. People with areas with low (gaming) populations.

People who don't have all their physical or mental faculties. Honestly... some folks just don't. They're born without the ability to do X or Y or Z, or it requires serious extra effort to take up the slack. They rely on others or mask the relative deficiencies well enough to function, but it's still (not) there.

I still remember the old days when I had unreasonable expectations for my table. Now I just have two: compatible fun and sociability. I can work around almost anything else.

Now, to some extent, you're correct: people sometimes make choices that take them out of the game (usually schedule-related). But the reasons they make those choices may not be under their control.

But I should point out that I've drifted into a completely different conversational direction, only vaguely related to why campaigns die.
 
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Jd Smith1

Explorer
People with epilepsy. People who get T-boned by drunk drivers. People who get shot because they're in the wrong place at the wrong time. People who suck at building and maintaining social networks. People with areas with low (gaming) populations.

People who don't have all their physical or mental faculties. Honestly... some folks just don't. They're born without the ability to do X or Y or Z, or it requires serious extra effort to take up the slack. They rely on others or mask the relative deficiencies well enough to function, but it's still (not) there.

I still remember the old days when I had unreasonable expectations for my table. Now I just have two: compatible fun and sociability. I can work around almost anything else.

Now, to some extent, you're correct: people sometimes make choices that take them out of the game (usually schedule-related). But the reasons they make those choices may not be under their control.

But I should point out that I've drifted into a completely different conversational direction, only vaguely related to why campaigns die.
Everyone has bad things happen. How you manage those things is what defines your life.
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
Managing things may mean missing a game. 🤷‍♂️

Not aimed at you, @Jd Smith1 : The attitude that the game comes before being a responsible adult is one of the reasons I'm so burned out on both running and playing RPGs. The sense of entitlement that one's enjoyment is more important than another's real life problems is a ... er... problem.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Managing things may mean missing a game. 🤷‍♂️

Not aimed at you, @Jd Smith1 : The attitude that the game comes before being a responsible adult is one of the reasons I'm so burned out on both running and playing RPGs. The sense of entitlement that one's enjoyment is more important than another's real life problems is a ... er... problem.
That's not what I'm reading. This is the point I believe is trying to be made: Ultimately, attending a D&D game or not is a choice. You may choose to skip the game due to other obligations. There's nothing wrong with that. But it's still a choice you made. You're in control of your life even if it may seem as though you have no choice except to skip the game.
 

Aebir-Toril

Is lukewarm on the Forgotten Realms
Really? Who manages them? I'm serious: unless you're in prison, who doesn't manage their own life?
Perhaps someone, like some who I've known in my life, who can't move by themselves. Someone who is immobile in most capacities.

But, I understand what you may mean to say. We all must play the game of life with the cards we are dealt. I would argue that some can't really play the game at all, but that's a discussion for another time, or for a private message chain.
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
The end of Lost Mine of Phandelver says:

"By the end of the adventure, the characters should be
5th level. If your players wish to continue playing their
characters, you can use the contents of this set to create
your own adventures; the mysterious map found in area 14
of Wave Echo Cave provides one possible adventure hook,
but feel free to explore other ideas using the monsters,
magic items, and locations in this adventure. If you want
to create adventures for characters higher than 5th
level, you'll need the basic rules online or the advanced
rulebooks: the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's
Guide, and Monster Manual."

So, in fact, they drop a few points as to how to continue with the same characters. Absolutely no suggestion of quitting is given. I am not sure why you would misrepresent it.
LOL....I have never read the adventure....I surmised that of course no introductory adventure would advise to quit....it was unmarked sarcasm.
 

S'mon

Legend
IME even open sandbox campaigns have a natural conclusion. The PCs have defeated the major threats, are 20th level Epic, and sitting on millions of gp. The GM can bring in some kind of new threat, but it may seem forced when the Extraplanar Invasion appears just after the Evil Empire has fallen. Usually it works better to start a new campaign.
 

merwins

Explorer
This is where I have a lot of trouble pinning down a definition. From a player perspective, this may be a new campaign. But from the GM's perspective, it might be the same campaign with new characters.

Consider publishing: paragraph, chapter, book, series, extended series.
I have no idea what the gaming equivalents would be, but you could throw in words like session, scene, scenario, adventure, campaign, and in a pinch, even "reboot."

I deliberately evolved my current game so it could be run indefinitely, or snuffed out instantly. But it can't be run forever with the same characters. The in-game rationale for end-state for a high-level character boil down to fatalism, tilting at windmills, or "merciless" purging. I'm open to see what else my players can come up with.
 

S'mon

Legend
This is where I have a lot of trouble pinning down a definition. From a player perspective, this may be a new campaign. But from the GM's perspective, it might be the same campaign with new characters.
If it's a new PC group I normally consider it a new Campaign. I may have more than one Campaign going in the same game world; eg I currently have 2 running in Faerun and 2 in Primeval Thule (plus I have two co-GMs running in Faerun & Thule too, in what is ostensibly the same timeline).
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
All things end, but giving up too early on a campaign is a shame.
Given that recent data indicates people rarely get past 10-11th level, and this probably holds true for each edition, it saddens me to think people might have played 30 years and have never cast a 7th level spell, for example.

I’m not saying you have to go epic, but I remember feeling frustrated as a kid, having a great, but easily distracted DM, and playing up to 5th level, and then starting over again because a new idea came along.

Variety is nice, but I wanted to spend more time in those narratives, with those characters.

I understand going out on a high note, but I personally have had great games, great acts to existing games gel out of nowhere.
 

S'mon

Legend
My first two 5e campaigns from 2015 (January Wilderlands & November Runelords) went level 1-20 over several years (& Runelords is still running at E20), my main Thule campaign started at 1st in Jan 2019, is around 14th now & on hiatus, but I'd like to take it to 20 for the finale.

My Red Hand of Doom campaign has gone 5-11 since August 2019 and should end around 13th. I think that's a good example of a limited-scope campaign designed more as a film or film trilogy than as a TV series, and not well suited to indefinite play. Whereas sandboxes like Wilderlands & Thule can run a long time before a natural conclusion.
 

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