Give up D&D?

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I recently came off of a campaign that I was DM'ing through VT. It was a decision of time management rather than content. I enjoyed my PC's, my story, and my Sunday game session. The problem is that I'm a medical student, and although I can time manage like a beast, I kept running into one problem continuously: reliability of player attendance.

Even though my PC's were responsible adults, they still arrived late or not at all a few times, and there is nothing I can do about that. If I was not going to show up, I let them know a week ahead. After 2 months away from it, I find that I miss creating the immersive experience. I miss coming up with story and having epic moments that feel cinematic. I miss plucking a person from the cast of characters that evoke a strong emotion for my PC's.

I've given up on D&D for now, but wonder if maybe there is another outlet for those things that I can pick up and put down in the course of an hour. Or something that doesn't change so drastically if one fewer person shows up.

Thoughts? Comments? 
I've had this reoccuring problem as well. Being a nursing student (heh, I know how to manage time like a boss as well :P) I'm open for games when available. Unfortunately, my players, can't seem to show up or show up hours late (i.e. I say we start at 6pm and they pop up around 10:30-11pm and still expect to get in a quality game). To me, this is just rude and I am a firm believer in the whole "DnD never starts on time" saying, but hours late is a little much. The same goes for being a no show. I too miss this experience. Recently, to get my "RPG" fix, I have been occassionally been playing Skyrim/Fallout 3 (Both games I recommend if you haven't tried them yet). Another outlet would be painting miniatures, be them reaper or games workshop product. You'd be surprised how easy it is with a little practice and how they are a good way to relieve stress (I do this as well and believe me, it works wonders, just don't spend all your time on it lol). If neither of those tickle your fancy, I'd suggest maybe picking up a trading card game such as Magic, the Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh or something of that nature. Although a little costly to play competitively, Magic could potentially offer you the social aspect of gaming that you may be looking for. Yu-gi-oh would be a cheaper option though, but most areas may not support this (mine doesn't, although Magic support is everywhere). If TCGs aren't your thing, try a miniatures game. The whole tabletop battling experience could lead to the development of strategies and a new plethora of potential friends to game with. Some could lead to some awesome hobby-time (assuming they require assembly/painting) or be less competitive, but collectable (i.e. Heroclix). This is just my two cents, but I think the best advise I can give is to keep an open mind and try new things. That's really the only way you'll be able to get your "fix" you're looking for.
maybe you could just run some one shots? i enjoy running both an ongoing campaign as well as one shots. just a thought! dont give up d&d though!
When my games run dry, I tend to write. That's the only thing that comes close to the DM experience for me.
When my games run dry, I tend to write. That's the only thing that comes close to the DM experience for me.



+1. Also agree with the one-shots. Gamma World is surprisingly fun and easy to do those. If you expect your characters are going to be flaky, you can actually set up everything for them (rule that you use DM deck only for Alpha Mutations and Omega Techs), including character generation. There are a lot of great resources in the Gamma World section of these forums.
Wizard's first rule: People are stupid.
Gamma World is surprisingly fun and easy to do those.

Every now and then I run one-shots of GW with the players randomly generating new characters using the Excel CharGen I created. In about 2 minutes per player, we are ready to go!

Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
I haven't played Gamma World, but I've heard good things about it though.
I've only been in one game using Gamma World, but everyone had a blast. I particularly loved how conspiracy and science where basic skills.

In my personal experience I fond that it was easier to organize groups once I left the collegial setting. There tends to be quite a bit more common courtesy all around.  If someone fails to show up, you usually will get an e-mail before hand, or an apologetic one later.
Good ideas. I do find that I desire to get a gaming "fix". One thing i have considered is spacing out the games more. My players were responsible people, but even with the best it was still issues. I like the idea of casually playing other social games, and found that fantasy is my fix. I like the execution of GW, but sci-fi has never quite been my thing.

Thanks for input. 
For years I ran games on forums, where you have plenty of time to reply/engage etc
not real time, using art apps to make maps and fight grids etc

and now my health sucks too much for that I too also play fallout etc! ;)
New vegas and FOOK/New Vegas Bounties/World of Pain/Undergorund Hideout = awesome 
  
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You could try play by post.  It's got a different feel to the pacing than face to face games, but it's easy to fit into a schedule, and if you don't have any other games right now anyway, you've got nothing to lose.  There are links to two play by post groups in my signature(the groups are on this site).  Check it out sometime.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
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I've given up on D&D for now, but wonder if maybe there is another outlet for those things that I can pick up and put down in the course of an hour. Or something that doesn't change so drastically if one fewer person shows up.

Thoughts? Comments? 



For low-prep games with pick-up groups or a variable number of players, I prefer Dungeon World.

If you're looking for something that doesn't change drastically if fewer people show up, I'd recommend moving away from story-based adventures in favor of locations-in-motion. This way, it doesn't really matter who shows up for any given session. (I'm presuming you're not talking about encounter scaling issues here because that's easy to do, even on the fly.)

For any decision or adjudication, ask yourself, "Is this going to be fun for everyone?" and "Is this going to lead to the creation of an exciting, memorable story?"

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D&D doesn't have to change drastically if you're short a player. The obvious possibility is that combat will be harder for the characters, so I recommend creating encounters that can be failed without the characters dying, and can be succeeded without having to kill every creature.

Don't give up on D&D, but do try some other games. There are RPGs out there that are actually designed for use as pick-up games when not everyone shows up. Look into Spirit of the Century, GHOST/ECHO, and Lady Blackbird, all of which are available online, at least in part. Spirit of the Century assumes some time spent making characters, but GHOST/ECHO and Lady Blackbird don't really have character generation, and are therefore good for one-off sessions, even if some or all of the players haven't played them before. Another good one for one-offs is Fiasco.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

After a 2 year campaign, I have had over 50 players.  Time, playstyles, changing interests.  They all change over time.

Don't take it personally.  You aren't going to satisfy everyone in the world.  Btw, age does not equal responsible.  My most responsible player started with me at 8.  And was there for just about every game till I left town 6 years later.

I miss coming up with story and having epic moments that feel cinematic. I miss plucking a person from the cast of characters that evoke a strong emotion for my PC's.


Write a book.

wonder if maybe there is another outlet for those things that I can pick up and put down in the course of an hour. Or something that doesn't change so drastically if one fewer person shows up.


Neverwinter nights used to work like this.  You could grab an mmo, though you wouldn't be in control of much.  When you want something you can pick up for an hour, you lose out on what makes the game work.  It just becomes too disjointed.
I have to agree with the posters about Gamma World.
Try it.
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