As I write this post, it has been almost two and a half years since I began this blog. For a good portion of this time, I’ve been running a regular D&D campaign. In early 2011, our group started with five PCs and myself as the DM running 4th Edition Essentials. After six months or so, we lost a player, and the campaign changed from a brisk weekly pace to a more leisurely monthly schedule. Subsequently, another player quit, and a lengthy hiatus was the result. However, in the summer of 2012, two new players came on board, and we’ve been playing regularly since.
Several months ago, after completing Madness at Gardmore Abbey, we switched to D&D Next. I was hoping the more compact rules would be a good fit for our campaign, and they certainly were. I had a blast taking my players through White Plume Mountain and the original Ravenloft. After one more session in a few weeks, the players will hopefully defeat Strahd and free the land of Barovia from his tyrannical hand, for at least a while.
After that, we are taking an extended break. For the first time in what seems like quite a while, I won’t be actively running a D&D campaign of any sort.
There are many reasons for taking a break. I’ve been frustrated by coordinating a free night for a group of five busy adults (and one preteen) once per month. Every time, it seems as if I choose a night, everyone agrees, and then the conflicts start. Typically, several dozen emails are involved in making the arrangements. That’s a sign, I think, that it is not important enough to all my players, and perhaps time to move on. In any event, I am weary of the struggle to simply find a good time to play each month.
Another issue has been the state of the D&D Next playtest. I am generally pleased with the way the new version of D&D is shaping up, but wading through a sea of PDFs and paper printouts is an obstacle. Running a one shot adventure with the test documents is fine, but it’s not easy to do a campaign this way. We are really feeling the lack of well organized books to use at the table. If we can take time off right now, and come back in full force when the books are released (next year, I presume), things should be better.
Other role playing systems are also calling to us. This summer, we played a session of the Iron Kingdoms RPG, based on the world of the Warmachine and Hordes tabletop miniatures game, which we also play and enjoy. It was quite fun, especially for me, as I had the chance to be a player and not a GM. One of my regular players has expressed an interest in running an IKRPG campaign, which is quite exciting. Another player wants to run Castles and Crusades, an old-school AD&D clone. I am not sure whether these games will ever get off the ground or not, but I am happy to step away from the DM seat and let someone else take over for a while.
Perhaps the greatest factor in my decision to take a break from the campaign is the simple fact that other interests are taking my attention. A look at the publication dates here on my blog shows that I have been posting less and less over time, particularly in 2013, and this corresponds with my increasing apathy towards D&D in general. I would rather spend my time painting miniatures, playing video games, or a whole host of other hobbies and activities. With the “between editions” lull in exciting D&D material, there are just too many other new, shiny things I’d rather be doing.
With any extended break, there is always the question: is this just a break, or is it the end entirely? Back in my college days, I played what I thought would be my last D&D game ever. It wasn’t, but if you had asked me five years ago, I would have told you I was done with D&D forever at the age of 23. This time, though, it’s different. I don’t think it will be another 15 years before I run another D&D campaign, especially with a 12 year old son who is still very interested in role playing. I plan to follow the D&D Next news over the next months, and hopefully, sometime in 2014, I will don my DM hat, grab some index cards and a handful of dice, and start telling stories with my players once again.
In the meantime, expect less D&D related content here at the Learning DM. I will probably focus more on the other RPGs we play, board gaming, and that sort of thing. I do enjoy writing about what I have been playing, whether it’s D&D, Warhammer, Magic the Gathering, or even Pokemon. Well, not Pokemon so much. (Though I do love my Froakie.)
Perhaps now will have time to paint all my Reaper Bones Kickstarter minis, and get my new Dwarven Forge tiles dry brushed…
Thank you for your great articles on D&D. As a learning DM myself, I’ve learnt a lot from you.
I definitely understand what you mean about busy schedules! Most of the group I am in is made up of high school students and between band, homework, and visiting colleges, there has been almost no time to meet and play.