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What is your biggest RPG heartbreak?

Sithlord

Adventurer
Curios, did you ask for player buy-in for that many? When the DM needs to divide their attention that many ways, work in character arcs for that many characters, when combat is soooo long between actions. That impacts them greatly as well.

I probably would have skipped on a 12 player game.
We were 1E/2E players. We did that plus henchman. And as for backstory. It either unfolded throughout the course of play or u had none. In any game I played players did not give the DM a complex background or much of one. It developed or it didn’t.

the most complex background was I am from specularum or I am from minrothad. And then I worked with that if it was important.
 

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Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
Being in a campaign for 3 years and being 5 or 6 sessions from completing the main story line with 16th level characters (the highest I ever played) and then 2 people moved away. We never got to finish.
That hurts.

Maybe you could finish it online, if it's something they still want to do.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Being in a campaign for 3 years and being 5 or 6 sessions from completing the main story line with 16th level characters (the highest I ever played) and then 2 people moved away. We never got to finish.
Oh this reminds me of a GURPS game I played in that was so weird. We were travelling on the backs of some sort of somethings, and then these things would slash out of the sky. And the GM would NEVER tell us what the hell was going on, even now, 20+ years later. I should call him again and see what the heck was going on with that game. If I recall the last time I asked him, about 5 years ago, he had forgotten what that game was about 😭
 

Azuresun

Adventurer
In terms of the game itself, Exalted 3e, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Story time:

I loved Exalted when it first came out. It was a really fresh take on fantasy RPG's, with a setting I can still lose myself in, years later. But the rules system was always....White Wolf levels of quality, and the setting went to some very dumb / off-putting / puerile places as second edition wore on. I was seriously hyped for third edition, anticipating a sleeker ruleset that shed the cruft.

First, there was the Kickstarter, which is almost an object lesson in how not to run them. Delay after delay after delay, a virtual communications blackout about how things were going, no spoilers to keep the fans eager beyond things like a low-res version of the same setting map that the artist had posted on his own website months earlier. The promised fiction anthology came out in advance of the rulebook and it was mostly bad. Rudimentary setting errors (like if the most powerful political figured in the setting was an Emperor or Empress), and stories that seemed to be just generic fantasy short stories with a few names changed. And then there was the dreadful conduct of one of the authors when addressing concerns about a previewed power having....really uncomfortable implications and that's all I'm going to say about that!

Then the book finally came out, and I jumped right into a campaign with it. And it was....a glorious, noble failure. As for why--

--Complexity was up across the board. Two different types of experience, HUNDREDS of powers, most of which were uninspired dice-fiddlers, all with sloppy mechanics and overwrought descriptions ("You are the most awesome sword dude in the history of sword duding! Sword dudes and dudettes attracted to your gender want to do you, the rest want to be you! Reroll 1's on your Melee dice."). And heaven help you if you were playing a crafter, in which case you had to narrate how you were making dozens of trivial dice rolls to make arrows before you could produce that magic sword you really wanted. And now your artifacts have their own powers, martial arts styles have their own dice pools....
--White Wolf'isms that people had been complaining about in 1992 hadn't been touched. Bonus points at character creation worked differently from experience points, meaning you could easily fall into traps at character creation. Dexterity was still the god stat.
--The new setting was better (for me) but still grossly underdeveloped. Countries got maybe three paragraphs each, and were separated by France-sized expanses of "dunno, make something up". And though it's a matter of taste, some of the retconning of 2e's tendencies to over-detail the setting went way too far ("Some mortals know minor magic that can create potions, make prophecies or summon a ghost, at significant expense or risk." was brutally ripped out of the setting and reduced to "One mortal in a million knows how to turn one loaf of bread into two."), and it got downright absurd when it insisted characters didn't know how their own powers worked or that they were even doing anything supernatural, even when they were summoning energy swords or a horse out of thin air.
--The art was very often baaaaad. Poser 3d models from the depths of the uncanny valley, inconsistent art direction that led to one character changing ethnicity, and notably, a piece the artist just copied from a children's book on dinosaurs.

It badly needed an editor to take a scythe to it, and a round of playtesting, and to me, it stands as a living testament to why authors should kill their darlings.


And in an entirely different way, Fading Suns. Love the setting, have an involved campaign in mind, I've tried it three times and every time, one or more players drop for reasons unrelated to the game.
 
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Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
There was a kickstarter called e20 by G. M. Sarli which was supposed to be the d20 system evolved. Sarli was involved in some of the SW SAGA books. Started great. I even designed the logo for it. The product never came through. He didn't finished the PDF version. The author claimed misdiagnosed mental illness issues for not completing.

I was really hoping to do all the interior layout of the book and the cover. A missed opportunity. So a professional heartbreak.
 


The most recent was the hardest - The Witcher. Everyone was excited, and then, like as we played, the system pulled the oxygen slowly out of the room. After two sessions we couldn't even continue.
So, at least it was just a book giving me a heartache, and not my players.
 


For a while in my gaming circle there were two ongoing weekly D&D games: mine, and the Other Game. There were a few crossover players, but mostly folks played in one or the other.

Over time, the players in my game became more difficult to schedule. Eventually I had to fold my game. I tried to join the Other Game (again, made up of my friends), but they already had six players and decided seven would be too many. So I wound up with no D&D group for a while.

Now that was heartbreaking... Still stings to this day! As a result, I always make my campaigns open to new players or drop-in guests.
“Friends?” My God I would have got you a folding chair and a beer.

efficiency should not trump friends.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
There was a kickstarter called e20 by G. M. Sarli which was supposed to be the d20 system evolved. Sarli was involved in some of the SW SAGA books. Started great. I even designed the logo for it. The product never came through. He didn't finished the PDF version. The author claimed misdiagnosed mental illness issues for not completing.

I was really hoping to do all the interior layout of the book and the cover. A missed opportunity. So a professional heartbreak.
Ah, Kickstarter heartbreaks - that's a whole other thread possibly :)

And a whole OTHER thread is professional heartbreaks related to gaming - probably best discussed over favorite drinks at some future convention...
 


For me as a GM?
really hard question.
  • The Fantasy Trip: Legacy Edition is pretty far up the list: the changes are pretty fundamental. Not huge, but they have far reaching impacts that make play of campaigns result in very different characters.
  • GURPS OGRE. the setting in the GURPS RPG Supplement is rather notably different from the one in the boardgames... the lack of tacnuke infantry, the much more fragile battlesuits, and just SJG changing the fundamental relationships of the setting...
  • GURPS Vorkosigan Adventures. I was hoping for it to have more information about the setting. What it has is almost all (I can't think of any non-mechanics bits that aren't) in the Vorkosigan Companion. Thus it was a total waste of money.
  • Dragon Warriors. The numbers just don't work that well. The concepts are fine; the actual values used are the issue.
  • Traveller T5. I wanted to like it, but the core mechanic is retained from MMT ("T4"). It's just so damned much crunch.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
Probably trying to play the Dragonlance modules. I tried at least twice, and we'd maybe get as far as Que-She village outside of Solace and everyone would just lose interest.

As for game systems that broke my heart - Fading Suns. Wonderful. character world that strikes me as pre-Dune. Mechanically, the game is flat and I have been unable to get player interest in playing the game.
 

Probably trying to play the Dragonlance modules. I tried at least twice, and we'd maybe get as far as Que-She village outside of Solace and everyone would just lose interest.
I got to the point where they met the Gully Dwarves, and half my group was unhappy with the setting, and the other half had schedule changes.
 

werecorpse

Adventurer
Pendragon, specifically the Great Pendragon Campaign. I love the setting, the base mechanics and the scope of the multi year/generation campaign and managed to convince my D&D centric group to give it a try - they enjoyed the start but trying to integrate the more detailed manor rules and winter phase stuff ended up dominating the game to the exclusion of roleplaying. Campaign derailed it is tainted now and will be tough to go back.

Call of Cthulhu. I’ve played in a couple of one shots and gmed it a little but I would love to play or run a campaign. Just can’t ever seem get any traction in my group.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Biggest gaming heartbreak?

In the 1990s, I used HERO to run a supers campaign set in the Vernesian/Wellsian version of 1900, sourcing mainly from Space:1889 and a host of other contemporaneous settings- The Difference Engine, Wild, Wild West, Adventures of Briscoe County Junior, Kung Fu- and storylines I could yoink and reset in that era. I stole freely from Marvel & DC comics, Alien Nation, The Man With The Golden Gun, novels by Michael Moorcock and Harry Turtledove and more. The PCs were part of an INTERPOL-like group. And the players bought in 100%.

It was my magnum opus as a GM.

15+ years later, with a different group in another city, I was given an opportunity to run a Supers game again. My first thought was to dust off the 1900 campaign for this group. But nobody was interested in HERO. I suggested M&M 2Ed due to its evolution from D&D 3.5- the group’s preferred system- and that was greeted warmly.

I figured I should update things a bit, so I chose 1914 as the date for the new campaign. I created new enemies & rivals, like Spring-Heeled Jack (with a pneumatic exoskeleton) and Dr. Zeus (a classic evolved orangutan with a glass-domed brain who had weaponized the inventions & ideas of Nikola Tesla). There was a time traveler. This group’s organization was more akin to the X-Men.

...it was a disaster. The game crashed after 6-8 sessions.

Player buy-in was spotty. One guy paid almost ZERO attention to the setting. Another designed a character who was going to be a big problem for the local authorities...even after I pointed this out. Some players opted not to show up at all. Despite its relation to 3.5Ed, the differences irked several of the players. And the final nail in the coffin was that my mastery of the system was not sufficient to the task- I started running the game before I was truly ready,
 

that every campaign I have ever been in just goes wrongs, first we had too many and no one knew what they were doing and I need something more complex than fighter.

the second time was better till the muderhobo ruined everything and I went to college and no one has clubs at UK college apparently.

In the third campaign I had to cancel my participation because of too much college homework plus the dm should have just have said humans only and low fantasy if that is how he builds his settings.

and the fact that nothing in anything quite fits me in any setting I have ever heard of.
so now I just sit online and buy d&D 5e book like a mad man.
 

S'mon

Legend
Hm, probably White Star (OSR space opera) - looks fantastic on paper, started two campaigns but could not maintain them. I think I have a problem with SF in general; I don't think I've run a really successful SF campaign since Star Wars d6 in the late '80s.
 

Hm, probably White Star (OSR space opera) - looks fantastic on paper, started two campaigns but could not maintain them. I think I have a problem with SF in general; I don't think I've run a really successful SF campaign since Star Wars d6 in the late '80s.
any idea why?
 


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