My Tabletop Roleplaying Game Withdrawal Is Worsening

I am still going through tabletop roleplaying game withdrawal. I went from running or playing in four different tabletop games every week to playing so infrequently that I can count the number of sessions I’ve participated in this year on a single hand. The group I ran for coworkers fell apart as we discussed what to do other than Dungeons and Dragons back in January, when it became clear that everyone just wanted to kill monsters and get loot except for the one player who was interested in storytelling that had just withdrawn from the game for personal reasons. My Sunday group hasn’t faired much better as scheduling issues, combined with a player withdrawing for personal reasons (different player and different reasons) on top of the whole Wizards of the Coast debacle basically destroyed the group. I tried to put a new one together prior to that, but it involved both of the players who had to withdraw for personal reasons so that fell apart as well. I attempted to save the disintegrating group by offering some level of player attendance flexibility using games that didn’t require the same people to play each session, but we’ve yet to meet even once since I can’t get people to commit to a session.

The only groups that are left are my Friday group, which rarely meets (this past year has been hard on all of us and we’ve been incredible busy, so it’s mostly just scheduling and exhaustion taking a toll on multiple people in the group), and my Thursday group, which is mostly just killing monsters and getting loot. I’m fine with that a concept (especially when I’m not the one running the game), but it leaves me wanting more. I like the storytelling and worldbuilding stuff. Sure, combat is fun, but it’s all crunch and no substance for me. I want to get into longer in-character conversations. I want to develop a character along thematic lines. I want to spend my time between sessions mulling over the person this character is becoming as the world shifts around them. It is better than nothing, of course, but I wish I had more.

I don’t know if my Sunday group is going to make it anymore. I’m really not sure I have the patience to keep trying if I’m being honest. It has taken so much effort to keep pushing this boulder up the hill and all I’ve gotten for my effort is repeatedly flattened by people who either don’t respond or never do the work to make time for the game. I understand people are busy, but all of my attempts to find a better time end up with us returning to this timeslot on Sunday afternoons and all I’ve done is waste my time trying to get people to respond to surveys. It’s incredibly frustrating. A significant part of me is tempted to just throw it all out and start over. Try to find people willing to actually make time for this game. I will, of course, bring with me the people who are putting forth the effort to be available for a game, but I’m pretty much down to just one of those folks at this point.

I’m pretty sure I could find a new group. I’ve talked about some of my TTRPG stuff in some of the online communities I’m a part of and gotten a decent amount of expressed interest. Interest is not the same as effort, of course, so there’s no guarantee that I’d fare any better, but I’m starting to reach the point where it’s worth it to at least try. Anything is better than silently watching the weeks flow past as my messages go ignored and I never get enough people together for even an introductory session. Not like I’ve got anywhere to go but up at this point…

I still have to wait until after my move, though. Between the new Legend of Zelda game coming out in just over a week, my attempts to stream the end of my Breath of the Wild challenge before then, the wedding I’m a part of in just over two weeks, and then my move that will take up a significant portion of next month, starting a new TTRPG game seems like a bad idea. Maybe once I’m past the wedding I’ll try to get the ball rolling again, just to see what’s possible, but I think that trying to start anything before I’m settled into my new place will just wear me out more than I can afford. Rest is important and I’m really not doing much of that right now, so I should avoid taking on anything additional until some of this stuff is done.

Still, I really miss it. TTRPGs have been my main form of positive social contact over the last three years and it was a massive system shock to go from four games a week to almost nothing. Maybe, if I can find enough local people, I could even go back to playing in-person again. That would be fun. It also feels as likely as getting any kind of weekly game up and running these days, so maybe I’ll dream big this time. It would be great if I could make it happen.

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