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What is your biggest RPG heartbreak?

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
My biggest rpg heartbreak happened with Star Frontiers. I was really into the d100 system and the primary plus secondary skill builds. I hand drew many new equipments, robot models, ships. Bought several official modules. I was designing a BIG space opera campaign. This is going to be great!

After two games the players didn't like the game and told me unequivocally they wanted to play AD&D instead. The first heartbreak is always the hardest. I've had RPG rejection in later years but it didn't hurt that much. I DMed AD&D but wasn't really into it. Took me several months to get back on my feet.

What is your biggest RPG heartbreak?

[edit: typos]
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
One player who insisted we play a particular game. Nobody else was that into it, but neither were we particularly against it, so I acquired the game, and set up and started to run a campaign.

The one player who really wanted to play it? He never showed up. The rest of us played a game we weren't really all that into for about 6 weeks before we decided to just go back to something we knew we liked.

Maybe not a heartbreak (it's not like we had a terrible time or anything) but it was just one of those moments when we all looked at each other and said "Remind me why we are playing this?"
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
The GM and the other players really psyching me up to play RIFTS. Never played it before, and they kept pushing it as this great game. So I did my reading, got excited to play, etc. The GM even let me play a werewolf PC at the start, which I thought could be pretty awesome. Got my PC created and we started our first session.

The rest of the players had a Glitter Boy, Juicer, etc. And I had this PC who at best might be able to do 1d4 MDC while everyone else was going crazy. I was literally just a cheerleader on the sideline, as if I got into combat, I died right away.

Yes, I understand this was a failure on the GM's part, but it forever tainted RIFTS for me, and I will always have that bad first impression for a game I was excited to play at first.
 

Retreater

Legend
Let's see...

Wanting to run The Enemy Within (WFRPG) for decades, finally starting a game, having one of the players move away after two sessions, ending the campaign.

The announcement of 4e and pulling of 3rd edition stopped a big project I was writing dead in its tracks. Took me nearly 15 years to start writing again.

The Fantasy Trip. Bought the big boxed set because I heard it was awesome. Played a few combats and found it terribly imbalanced. Put it in storage.

Altar Quest (boardgame). Yeah, something which was billed as a spiritual successor to Hero Quest is a bloated, slow-paced, mess of a game. At least I got some cool minis from it.
 

Our hobby's deranged revolt against 4e and the bending of the knee to the worst behavior possible.

Not that people didn't like it. That is fair enough.

But the behavior of our community was utterly nuts. Embarrassing both virtually and in person. The fact that there was no shame for the behavior but rather a perpetual engine of self-immolation and then a subsequent folding to the endless siege was the worst thing.

If people would have just said "yeah...I don't like this", functionally articulated that, and left it up to WotC...and then WotC said "yeah...no good...lets get back to nostalgia"...great!

No problem. But the scale and tenacity and lack of shame of the revolt and WotC's capitulation was pretty terrible.
 


Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
Every time a regular group falls apart for whatever reason:
Highscool graduation. Everyone moved away, me included. The group did not survive that.

Another group ended with a break up of two of the players. It just didn’t work out anymore.

Covid almost killed the current group, but technology came to the rescue.
 

kenada

Legend
Supporter
Old-School Essentials, maybe. While my players haven’t demanded we do something else (yet?), there have been a few comments on the lack of options or the (in)capability of their characters. That’s why we’re giving Worlds Without Numbers a try in a few weeks. It has more of the stuff they like while still being GM friendly and OSR-adjacent. Of course, that could also turn out to be another RPG heartbreak. Hopefully not because I’m running out of ideas for things that would make everyone happy. 😓
 


Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
The announcement of 4e and pulling of 3rd edition stopped a big project I was writing dead in its tracks. Took me nearly 15 years to start writing again.
I don't understand that one. You could have kept on playing 3e until that campaign was finished. Or was this as a publisher?
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
One player who insisted we play a particular game. Nobody else was that into it, but neither were we particularly against it, so I acquired the game, and set up and started to run a campaign.

The one player who really wanted to play it? He never showed up. The rest of us played a game we weren't really all that into for about 6 weeks before we decided to just go back to something we knew we liked.

Maybe not a heartbreak (it's not like we had a terrible time or anything) but it was just one of those moments when we all looked at each other and said "Remind me why we are playing this?"
That really sucks.

I had one guy who insisted we buy and paint the miniature to represent our characters for a new campaign (4e I think). He was a very good painter and insisted he couldn't play if we didn't do that. We painted our miniatures to the best of our abilities. When time came to play he never showed up.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest
4e
I was skeptical about 3e when it was first announced but WotC sent out some early announcements and guides that impressed me. Eric Noah's site was also a big help. And, in the end, WotC won me over to the new edition.

So I was excited when the 4e announcement came out. Plus, a friend of mine was working on it (we were working together when he left for the job at WotC). But the early information coming out did the opposite of what it had done for 3e - it just showed me more and more that the upcoming edition was not what I wanted. The marketing was terrible. And the end product was extremely disappointing from my perspective. It was the D&D that I was never looking for.
In the end, we played it because a couple of players in the group were really interested in it. But after 9 months, we were all pretty united in deciding to go back to 3e.
 

Reynard

Legend
Numenera.

That game should be right in my wheelhouse, as both a gamer and a writer (my post-post apocalyptic novel shares some sensibilities with it). It is gorgeous and the art is inspiring and Monte Cook is a really great designed.

And then I got it and read it. Unplayable. :(
 


Retreater

Legend
I don't understand that one. You could have kept on playing 3e until that campaign was finished. Or was this as a publisher?
This was being written for publication. It was almost finished for 3.5. Everything was put on hold at the publisher until the license and ruleset for 4e was released. Then cancelled until PF came out. By that point there was a lot of conversion work to be done to the project, and my ex-wife deleted most of my files.
Then I found the files, got it converted to an OSR system, expanded it, and got it "almost" ready for publication. Then a very prominent OSR author announced his Kickstarter for his next project - which sounds almost exactly like what I was writing.
So I'm putting it back into storage until I see what this new Kickstarter is actually like. Presumably, it is coincidentally so similar in scope, theme, and story to the new project that I will not want to release it. It will be two people in a small, niche industry releasing a superficially identical product.
That book is cursed. Probably best to just let it die.
 

darjr

I crit!
TORG. Love the idea and the style but wow when I ran it I just didn’t like it.

GURPS 4e. I had a long history with GURPS running and playing, but I should have known with 3e being a bit too much for me already. I made it through the 4e core books and was excited to play and the game hit me like a lead balloon. Haven’t looked at it since. Note that my ideal game changed too, it took playing GURPS 4e to make me realize how much.
 

Retreater

Legend
Old-School Essentials, maybe. While my players haven’t demanded we do something else (yet?), there have been a few comments on the lack of options or the (in)capability of their characters. That’s why we’re giving Worlds Without Numbers a try in a few weeks. It has more of the stuff they like while still being GM friendly and OSR-adjacent. Of course, that could also turn out to be another RPG heartbreak. Hopefully not because I’m running out of ideas for things that would make everyone happy. 😓
My group's experience with OSE is with a GM who doesn't "get it" and isn't adaptable to the tastes of the players. As a result, they hate it. It has likely soured all of them on OSR systems - they're already talking about going back to 5E (or PF1).
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I have a few.

As mentioned above, TORG (original). Box looked awesome. Materials read awesome. West End Games was awesome. Never could get a game running.

Also, GURPS. I loved the generic idea, and loved the Car Wars / Autoduel supplements. Never got a campaign running, and no one I played with wanted to generate characters for it.

The post-Gygax TSR run. I remember wanting to like Unearthed Arcana so badly, even when I knew it (mostly) sucked. But then they pumped out the hardcovers afterwards- WSG, DSG, DLA, GHA, and MoTP. I got them all, and even though all of them had decent bits here and there, they were just ... ugh (okay, MoTP was fine). That, combined with WG7 were the end for me. I chose to skip out on 2e entirely (although years later I did go back and see check out the products, many of which were fine, if you're into that sort of thing).

The last TSR product I remember purchasing was the Ravenloft: Realm of Terror boxed set, and thinking that it was incredibly stupid that they took a great module and made it into a campaign setting. Apparently, this is an exceedingly unpopular opinion. :)
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
Also, GURPS. I loved the generic idea, and loved the Car Wars / Autoduel supplements. Never got a campaign running, and no one I played with wanted to generate characters for it.
Same for me. Not a heartbreak but a disappointment. I bought 4e books. Only created one character. Decided not to create the others. Too time consuming if you never played the system.
 

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