At this point, I’ve talked to almost all of my Dungeons and Dragons groups about the on-going issues with Wizards of the Coast and we’ve determined that we’re collectively moving on to new games. It was nice to hear that the pretty much universal response to the conversation was “I don’t care what we play, I just want to keep playing with this group” since that makes me feel good about the groups I’ve put together over the years. We’ve got a ton of games to play; most people had ideas, suggestions, or an active interest in a game I suggested during my monologue; and I’ve turned two D&D groups into a single Tabletop Roleplaying Game group that I might try expanding to accomodate people who aren’t up for weekly games. I might even do a long day (for me) of TTRPGs by runing two groups in separate parties through the same campaign as allies, rivals, or something else! The sky is the limit!
I still have one group to talk with, since we had one person miss our scheduled chat time, but everyelse now knows what is up and feels mostly the same, though they’re maybe a bit more trepidatious about trying new games. I think they’ll come around, though it might be a bit difficult to get a concensus on what game to play since we have rather diverse tastes (this is the group I did a full homebrew science-fantasy world for because I wanted to give everyone at least a piece of what they wanted). After all, there’s plenty of genre-smashing games out there (I already planned to incorporate some Amour Astir stuff into this game once they got to a certain point in the plot, so it’s possible we’ll just switch to that system) and I’ve got some experience hacking mechanics together to get the result I want. And, you know, a boundless imagination for developing my own worlds to incorporate game systems and a severe need to distract myself with some monumental but enjoyable labor these days.
I might still play D&D from time to time. As many have been pointing out during the recent controversies, the hobby isn’t the same thing as the business, and all of my problems stem from the business. I’m just feeling more than a little burned out and frustrated with the game right now. Someday I might return, especially since I’ve got so much homebrew stuff, but it will probably be a very different scene by the time I return to it. I still have to spend a weekend preserving characters, copying homebrew, and moving my homebrewed material out of D&D Beyond before I take my leave, though. Regardless of what else happens in the future with WotC, I’m definitely done with my D&D Beyond subscription. It will take more than a feedback process and interations on whatever license they produce to bring me back into the fold at this point. Wizards doesn’t deserve another chance after all that.
Now, as I look at other games and the myriad list of online tools for said other games, I find myself with the daunting task of being the person carving a path for my players to follow. Almost all the games we’re considering are ones I’ve already bought and discussed with my players in the past, so this is more than just me feeling resonsible for guiding the group as our usual GM. I would love to find out that my players have been doing this research themselves, but unless they wind up running the games, I will also need a strong proficiency in whatever tool or system we land on. The work needs to get done eventually, so I might as well get to work on it now. It’ll get easier as we discuss games and narrow down what we want to play or commit to playing for a longer period of time, but I need to at least figure out what direction I should be going before I get to that point.
Now that I’m finally starting to recover from the stress and exhaustion of last month, I’m tentatively excited to begin the research. I’m taking my time for now, being careful not to overexert myself since that will only make me feel worse and more burned out in the long run (even if it is very tempting to throw everything aside so I can work on something while ignoring how I feel and the processing/recovery I still need to do). I’m still sad, of course, since I’ve been playing D&D for thirteen years, but I think I’m more excited and ready to move on to something else with the groups of people I’ve spent years putting together and gaming with. After all, what’s really important is that we’re all together, having fun and telling good stories.
I was telling a coworker the other day that, as I passed my six-year anniversary at work, this was the longest I’ve ever done anything. This morning, I realized that was actually wrong. The longest I’ve ever done anything is play with my sunday gaming group, which has been going on for almost exactly seven years now. The people have come and gone over the years, groups have merged together, and there has been some lengthy time away from gaming due to the issues of life, but I’ve been playing with almost all of this group concurrently for seven years and I’m excited to watch that number continue to grow.