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View Full Version : Advice Request: Best Way to Dissolve a Game



Burley
2016-06-10, 11:27 AM
So... I'm tired. I've been DMing for years and I generally enjoy it. I spent dozens of hours designing my campaign world and I've been told by my players that it shows. They enjoy the world and feel immersed. That feels good.

But, I'm tired. My players get distracted easily. On several occasions, I've stopped myself in the middle of explaining the layout of a room because players are talking or on their phones. Sometimes, I'm offended, but I usually just don't want to repeat myself. I have one player that watches LoL videos on his tablet during the game.

And, I've tried. During the last session (I called for a few week break), I brought chips and cookies and soda and beer as a bribe for everybody to leave their non-essential to the game electronics on the other side of the room. But, that just just seemed to make them have more side conversations.

My best friend is in the group and he admitted yesterday that he enjoys the game, but doesn't like playing with any of the other players and it got me thinking: I don't either. Every game is a daunting experience and, when I get in the car to drive home after, I ask myself "Why do I even bother?"

So, what's the best way to dissolve a game without hurting anybody? Most of these people I'd like to keep as friends, and play other games with in the future.

Beleriphon
2016-06-10, 11:38 AM
My best friend is in the group and he admitted yesterday that he enjoys the game, but doesn't like playing with any of the other players and it got me thinking: I don't either. Every game is a daunting experience and, when I get in the car to drive home after, I ask myself "Why do I even bother?"

So, what's the best way to dissolve a game without hurting anybody? Most of these people I'd like to keep as friends, and play other games with in the future.

Be upfront, explain that you're burning out and need a break. Tell them its like a show that goes on an indefinite hiatus. You might feel better and pick up in the future, but for now you'd rather stick to hanging out and play board games or something else.

MrStabby
2016-06-10, 12:59 PM
Go out on a high.

Find a quiet place in the country, no phone signal, no distractions and spend two days there.

Make a list of all the unresolved plot points and objectives and try and tie them up in an epic finale over the duration.

Make the players win. Make it hard. Make it rewarding.

Make it rewarding for yourself; put the time and prep in to have something great to remember and something to be proud of.

Challenge the next DM to top it.

sengmeng
2016-06-12, 02:39 PM
"Rocks fall. Everybody dies."

shadow_archmagi
2016-06-13, 07:13 AM
Don't get too caught up in trying to do the "right" ending. I know a guy that's currently slogging through the sixth month of "wrapping up" a game for the sake of having a decent finale. I'd say just compile all your notes, drop the stack on the table, announce that the next DM is whoever grabs the pile first, and leap out the window.

Pont
2016-06-13, 08:05 AM
My best friend is in the group and he admitted yesterday that he enjoys the game, but doesn't like playing with any of the other players and it got me thinking: I don't either. Every game is a daunting experience and, when I get in the car to drive home after, I ask myself "Why do I even bother?"

So, what's the best way to dissolve a game without hurting anybody? Most of these people I'd like to keep as friends, and play other games with in the future.

Tell them what you told us. I am sure they know that they are not paying attention, so it cannot come as a chok for them. Maybe they will even have more fun doing less serious stuff like light hearted boardgames and such.

No matter what you can't continue like this. I had a frustrating time DM'ing a group of old good friends, and my solution was to start a new group with dedicated roleplayers. That way I fulfilled my "needs" and could then relax and kick back with my old friends without frustrating myself trying to get some real roleplay done.

Geddy2112
2016-06-13, 09:19 AM
Second telling them that you are burnt out and why. Maybe make/let somebody else DM, or switch systems, or go out for beers or whatever that does not involve you being DM. As for the campaign, you don't have to destroy your world, you can revisit it in the past/future/present of the current arc, as different players, etc.

For a wrap up, you generally have 3 options
1. Rocks fall, everyone dies. Obviously the fastest and easiest, but usually leads to hurt feelings all around. Also, just saying "no more game" is the same as this.
2. Fast forward to climax of major plot arc. Suddenly the PC's are up against the BBEG, or whatever is the crux of the major quest. One session, win or lose against BBEG, done. This allows you to have an ending, but revisit the world on another arc/timeline/pastpresentfuture with a clean slate.
3. Open ended. You try and tie up some loose ends with a session, but questions remain. This is a good option to let simmer, as the players might want closure and come back with serious interest, and you can pick up right where it left off. You can also leave it on a cliffhanger, with the possibility of seeing what happens in season 2.

An aside- I would have kicked the player watching LoL videos on his phone. In this day and age, having smartphones and tablets so players can look up a complex spell on the fly, or figure out the mechanics of the complicated action they are about to take is a godsend. This saves time at the table slogging through a rulebook, or having to disrupt the combat to ask how something works. When I DM, I have monster statblocks pulled up on my phone for on the go. When I play, I frequently look up thing like "does this spell affect humanoids only? I should check really quick". Players can text/IM me messages about relevant things their character is doing in secret. However, if you start playing candy crush, swiping right, or god forbid doing anything with sound on, the core rulebook is headed towards your face and a lightning bolt will zap your character dead on an otherwise sunny day.

Winter_Wolf
2016-06-13, 10:37 AM
"I'm burnt out; I'm done. I'm not willing or able to do this anymore. Maybe someday, but not the foreseeable future."

Trying never to hurt anyone's feelings is a lost cause. Just be upfront and factual. If someone starts whining, you really can't control that. Some people might promise to change, but they won't. Not for more than a couple of sessions at most. Life is too short to waste on hobbies you don't enjoy, and too long to grin and bear being miserable when you can walk away.

Mark Hall
2016-06-13, 01:40 PM
Chances are, whatever you pick, someone is gonna get hurt.

Reach a stopping point in the game, and tell folks "Ok, I'm not going to be running this one for a while. I'm burnt out on it, and need a break."

Simple and honest. Don't blame them for it, though they've likely been feeling something similar given their level of involvement.

Typewriter
2016-06-13, 02:22 PM
Maybe this wouldn't quite work for you, but I simply stopped trying to get people together. There were always hiccups, always people missing sessions, stuff like that. I'd always try to reschedule, or delay, or make changes, or do board games, or something to keep people coming together. Once I stopped, nearly 3 weeks went by before someone sent an e-mail asking when we were going to get together again and I just explained that the scheduling was too rough and I was getting a bit burnt out. And it was over.

I think that's more or less how it went.

Here (https://www.reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/43mmjm/i_thought_i_was_burnt_out_on_dming_but_it_turns/)is a thread I posted elsewhere about my journey after dissolving my group of ten years in case you're interested in reading - because it sounds like you're in the same place I was with my old group.

Mr Adventurer
2016-06-13, 03:16 PM
When they walk in, turn the lights down low and say "I am burned out on this game. Therefore, tonight will be the last session ever."

Then throw the BBEG at them with a minimum of prep time. Make sure the fight lasts exactly one session; then, give a three-sentence wrapup of the effect of their epic victory. Then go home with closure, and think about what to do next. Hang out on some other RPG forums. Read about other people's adventures, and other games. You'll get inspired again in time, and then you can start thinking about recruiting.

Knaight
2016-06-13, 06:01 PM
Tell them you're burnt out, and go on an indefinite hiatus. That does usually kill the game, but on the off chance you feel like resuming it having all the stuff together in a folder somewhere can make that happen.

Burley
2016-06-14, 01:39 PM
Thanks for the advice, y'all.

We're going to play Pandemic tonight and I'm gonna just let them know I simply don't want to do it, anymore. I like the idea of leaving my world open for another DM. I know I'd love to play in it. :smalltongue:

Again, thanks.

Ruslan
2016-06-14, 01:50 PM
So, what's the best way to dissolve a game without hurting anybody? Most of these people I'd like to keep as friends, and play other games with in the future.
This worked for me:

"Hey guys, I don't feel like DMing anymore. Next week is going to be our last session. Let's try to make it awesome."

JNAProductions
2016-06-14, 05:50 PM
Honestly, assuming they're reasonable adults and your friends, there shouldn't be any issues. There might be a little sadness, but no one would be mad at you.

Laurent
2016-06-15, 04:38 PM
Maybe it could be fun not to stop the campaign, but take a break and play other things. My campaign started in 2013, one month ago I was bored, and at the same time, 2 PCs died.
I almost suggested to my players to give up et so we'll try other things, but didn't. Instead I took a break and we played a hard one-shot dungeon (around CR4) I made, with very optimised character (lvl1 but gestalt and mythic, in pathfinder).
It was like a challenge, my dungeon vs them, and it was refreshing and gave me ton of ideas, and made me realize we don't have to make an epic LOTR-style with iconics things all the time and could to more fun things in the campaign.

Jay R
2016-06-15, 04:41 PM
Plan an epic adventure. Have plenty of French fries. The big climax is at a waterfall, and you have something planned for each player so that he has one awesome crucial act using his greatest power or item.

Fries, falls, and everybody rocks.