D&D General When did you leave D&D? Why? For what game? And what brought you back?


A suffusion of yellow
Started with BECMI, didnt like AD&D so started playing GURPS, then 3.5e brought me back (I like d20), didnt like 4e so dabbled with PF1, Warhammer Fantasy and went to FATE. Still Prefer FATE to 5e, but 5e is the in thing innit?

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I never went away as a player, as I've been playing regularly since college (2E). Before that I was primarily the forever DM.

I fell away from DMing when Legend of the Five Rings RPG came out, which I was a regular player of the CCG. I GMed that for decades instead of DMing, until the D&DNext playtest was announced. I still did some L5R, but I pretty much dropped everything for what eventually became 5E.


I've always played a variety of RPGs, but in late 2E I got burned out on D&D and switched over to the various World of Darkness games (mostly Vampire, some Werewolf, at least bought and read the others). 3E brought me back to DMing once again, and unwillingly migrated to 4E for a short time, but ended up absolutely hating it. Shopped around for a replacement, and my group ended up playing Savage Worlds and Vampire for a stint before going to Pathfinder and sticking with that.

Came back when 5E came out, and having been playing it since then - though still doing the occasional other RPG (My Little Pony, Transformers, and Alien extended one-shots, Blades in the Dark and Star Trek as solo games). Most recently, we're about to try out a Lancer game ... which is based heavily on 4E :oops:


Mod Squad
Staff member
I feel like it is fairly common for folks to decide they are "done with D&D" at some point (or multiple points!) and to leave for other games. It is also fairly common IMO for those same people to eventually come back to D&D.

I have never decided that I am "done with D&D".

There have been several spans of years over which I didn't play D&D, and spent my time playing other RPGs. But it wasn't about rage-quitting in frustration or the like. I've just never been a one-game player. D&D is just one among many systems I am perfectly willing to run or play.

I left for the Game of Life. It happened after college when I was more concerned with spending my free time with my fiancé and then wife. It wasn't until my son grew old enough to gain an interest and I had moved closer to family and started having time to be able to play again.

Jack Daniel

There was a hot minute a little over a decade ago when I decided that I was done with D&D and became a "system seeker" for a few months. I had just come off of a long BECMI campaign, and I was feeling burned out on sandboxes and high-level magic-users. So, I decided to strike out into the wilds of "other games" to see if I could find something with a flatter power curve that still felt satisfying to use for extended campaigns.

Instead, I discovered that I can only handle Risus, Barbarians of Lemuria, and RuneQuest in very small doses, and I have an unalterable antipathy to running Savage Worlds, Victoriana, and FATE. WEG d6 and Alternity are more tolerable, but "tolerable" is a country mile as the crow flies off from "exciting."

As it turned out, I really just needed a break from gaming. Once I was really ready to run a campaign again, there were AD&D and BECMI waiting for me, and they were good again. Also, by then, there were some LBB- and BX-compatible OSR games out (most notably Beyond the Wall) which made available some flatter magic systems that I could patch in where setting-appropriate if I really didn't want to deal with 6th+ level spells in the hands of high-level PCs.
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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
After happily running 3E and 3.5E since 2006, I read the 4E PHB in 2008, realized it was not the system for me, especially as my play was almost entirely play by post, which would have required a lot of additional work to make 4E combat work well. But the system of sanding away most of the variety of pre-4E D&D to get it all balanced -- while understandable -- meant that a lot of the stuff I liked was gone. (Nowadays, I also play in person and via Discord and 4E would probably more doable, but I'm still not convinced that its tone and specific flavor of game would be for me.)

A few years in, when 3Eisms were starting to get me down as a DM -- I got tired of the arms race with some of the character-optimizing players -- we switched to Castles & Crusades instead, which has the 1E tone I love and a lighter-than-3E but still wildly compatible system. But after a few years, some of the quirks of C&C started to bug us (no one ever really got the SIEGE engine and for whatever reason, my players couldn't get their heads around skill checks without skill lists, to the point that I just had them refer to 3E skill lists when they were confused).

So in mid-2018, after reading a rave review of the Starter Set, I picked it up for a song, read through it, was amused at how much of 5E was refinements of the way Castles & Crusades was doing things, and that it answered out issues with C&C and offered the folks who missed the character build minigame stuff to do, and pitched my players on making the switch.

(I had previously played from 1979 through 1984 and then took a looooong break where I was just a reader, not a player, during the later years of high school, then college, then bopping around doing a bunch of jobs in my 20s, before running 2E games online via Java chat rooms in 1999.)
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World Traveller (She/Her)
I left D&D 5e for Pathfinder 2e.

I quite like 5e. The core 5e experience is pretty satisfying for me, a good amount of crunch but not too much. My biggest frustration is the difficulty of balancing high level encounters, its just a lot of work as a DM. The rest of my frustration mostly comes from Wizards/Hasbro. There were some gaps in the rules that I didn't mind at first, but they just never really got filled over 10 years. I also think the books were losing quality. Great art sure, but the rules content (and even the lore) was getting thinner and thinner while the price stayed the same. (Spelljammer is the antithesis of this to me, but its present in a lot of products.) Plus I hate the sort of nickel and dime microtransactions that video games have these days. Pre-order bonuses, digital exclusives. To see that stuff creeping in through D&D Beyond really soured me.

Pathfinder 2e drew me in because it solved my encounter building issue and the products seemed generally of higher quality. I was more confident in Paizo as a company to have make great products, not just profits. After I started playing it I really fell in love with many of its changes. The Three action economy is excellent and I love the extra customization options and more tactical combat. Character options already far outstrip 5e's in terms of quantity and the quality is pretty consistent, though there are a few stinkers here or there.

Keeping an eye on A5e, ToV and 5e2024 but I doubt anything will unseat PF2e for me. Also Dragonbane came out of nowhere and stole my heart. Its practically my dream for a modern old-school feeling game. The perfect rules-light companion to the high-crunch Pathfinder.


I was going to say "NEVER! They'll pry D&D out of my COLD DEAD HANDS!"

But the truth is, I ran my own Fantasy Heartbreaker most of the time between 1996 and 2008. Sure, I stopped to try out 3rd Edition and played 3.5 now and then (I just didn't like it very much above Level 6).

4e "brought me back" - not necessarily because I thought it was so great (I'm very critical of every edition) but because I own an FLGS and it became more clear to me that teaching people to play the game I'd wrote, but had never published was actively harming my D&D sales. So I supported 4e with in-store play, and it sold very well for me.

I've just kept doing that ever since.

But I AM a huge D&D fan. The style of my Heartbreaker was very much D&D (but with totally - and I mean totally - different mechanics to wind up with a game that "feels" very much the same. At least, to me.)


I left during the 3.5 period, I tried to run Pathfinder for my group at the time but they weren't interested in it.

There was a point when I just wasn't enjoying running it any-more, encounters started to get very similar and the increasing load of the system just had me give up.

While I may not go back to the system, I do have Pathfinder for Savage Worlds which does seem more my thing these days and I am slowly converting The Last Mine of Phandelver over.

Apart from that I'm currently involved in running a Delta Green and Call of Cthulhu 7th edition game which is giving me a lot of fun.

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