Content of the article: "Considering stopping my campaign early but I just can’t make up my mind. Advice?"
I've been running a game for almost 2 years now. It started off using the Out of the Abyss module and after the module was over I kept it going with homebrew to tie up the PCs characters' backstories and such.
For a long time it was fun but over the past few months the game has become something I get very anxious and sad about, and it's falling apart. I don't like making prep for the game any more, I have no idea how to balance properly for higher level fights (level 14) even after multiple attempts, and my party (irl) are somewhat of a mess. When I go for my morning runs, I try to think of ideas in my head but I always end up just getting frustrated and angry at myself and my skill as a DM. It also doesn't help that I am someone who lingers on their own mistakes for weeks, sometimes even months, so when I get upset about the game, I fall into a rabbit hole of obsessing over previous mistakes I've made. The game feels more like work than a hobby right now.
When I said my party is somewhat of a mess: – One of my players pretty much never shows up, which means I have to play their PC or just have them sit silent and basically not exist outside of combat, both of which are not things I want to do. – One of them is in vocal disagreement about almost everything I do as a DM and how I've treated their character, despite my best efforts; they hate the character they play but they don't want to retire them yet (justifiably so, for story continuity), they don't like most of the other PCs, and they've struggled to pay attention or care about the game as of late. We've been talking earnestly about what he and I want out of the game and honestly it feels like we just don't match at all. – One of them plays the game pretty well but is unnecessarily hostile towards the other players a lot of the time.
I should point out, the players are all my friends, but it feels like the party isn't any more.
The story is at a point where most of the characters are coming towards the end of their respective 'stories' (Was planning to have the final session at level 17), and I really don't want to quit the campaign but for the past few months I simply haven't enjoyed the game. If I were to end the campaign now, I would write an epilogue for each character essentially explaining the good ending for their character, and the storyline I had prepared for them, but obviously this is not as good as them experiencing it for themselves.
For most of the campaign I've used a very detailed prep-heavy style, with certain character talking points and even whole speeches written down for certain key events, however this proved to cause disappointment when things didn't go mostly in the direction I was hoping for. Recently I've switched up my style to mostly improvisation, but as a result my roleplay ability has absolutely tanked. I'm lost.
I'm not sure whether this is just an uphill struggle and eventually I'll reach the top, or if this is a sign that perhaps this game just isn't meant to be any more. The last time I felt satisfied after a session was months ago (We play almost every week).
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
- Consider having a side campaign
- How do you handle a genuine TPK?
- I call this “The Railroader:” my last session as a player, the one that convinced me to DM
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