Dungeons and Dragons is a very special game that offers something that a lot of other games do not. The social aspects of the game make it so we have to interact with others, while the cooperative storytelling part of it teaches us how to work well with them. But for many there is this feeling where there are few options of groups to join. So what happens when you join a game that you just don’t enjoy? Here is a small recollection of my personal experience in hopes that it helps you.
The campaign I should have left…
I had only recently started playing D&D with my brothers, as a DM. I enjoyed it immensely, but my brothers could only really play once a week. At the time I had more than enough spare time and I wanted to play more, so eventually I decided to try out the whole online thing. I don’t remember how I found out about it but I remember being hesitant all the way up to the first session. Using roll20 I searched for a game, any game, that caught my interest. I found one, joined, and before I knew it, I had my very first character built. I was so nervous and excited and I had put so much work into building my character. I was ready to play my very first game of D&D as a player.
First session comes and goes, no issues; the DM seemed open and fun and it was their first time as well, awesome. Second session, great! But as the game continued, it started getting a little shaky. There were some issues I wasn’t liking, specifically some of the attitudes that were being exchanged, but I thought it was nothing. Over time there were more arguments and the DM was showing more and more that they weren’t fond of creative problem solving; if it wasn’t something you could do according to the rules then you couldn’t do it. Something as simple as attempting to pull a cloak off of an enemy, in order to try and remove a buff they were getting, wasn’t allowed. I felt more and more constricted but I was beginning to already form a bond with members of the group so rather than run, we talked it over and It seemed to help for a time.
A few months passed until one fateful session the DM decided to add three new people to the game, totaling the amount of players from 4 to 7. I was worried that that many players would be too difficult but I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or “rock the boat”, plus the new players were all great in different ways. It became apparent very quickly that the number of players was just too much to handle for anyone, excluding Matt Mercer apparently.
Soon there was issue after issue on top of the ones we were already having. Our DM became more and more antagonistic and the small signs of their “player vs DM” mentality became even more clear. I was having such a horrible time, to the point where I switched characters to take a break from the constant targeting of the buff/debuff wizard. I couldn’t help but wonder that if I simply spammed fireball then maybe I would have been less of a target. The point was that I was reaching the point where I was dreading going to that game each week.
Looking back at this, I realize that I should have just left, but once again I didn’t want to hurt the DM’s feelings and I really did like a lot of the players in the group. I felt torn but I told myself it was worth it so that the DM could feel confident and continue onwards, it was their first time DMing after all.
Skip ahead several months; I felt catatonic. I wasn’t even angry anymore, I wasn’t mad at the DM, I just felt misery. So I figured enough was enough and I told the DM I was done and couldn’t go back. Several players had already dropped due to similar issues and/or personal life stuff. The moment I dropped that campaign I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders, I remember smiling wide at the thought of it finally being over. I hadn’t told the other players yet, but I had planned on it, but then the DM contacted me. They begged me not to leave, to come back. They actually told me that if I left then the remaining others would all leave too, as if my being there was the only thing keeping the others there. I had just gotten out and I was feeling happy about it but now I only felt guilt. I tried to say no, I explained that I was unhappy but it wasn’t enough. The DM begged and begged and I felt more and more guilty until finally I gave in. I said I would only go back if it were a few sessions, in order to complete the game for their sake. And so I did. And it was mostly miserable the whole way, nothing had changed and then it just ended. I felt nothing. It was simply over.
I learned from that game that being nice and being honest are not the same. Because I was worried about hurting the feelings of others, I put myself through so much misery. I felt that if I had sacrificed my own well being then it would be worth it to help the DM in the end, I thought I was doing the right thing. Except it wasn’t and I didn’t. The right thing would have been to do what was right for myself.
How many of you have been in a similar situation and found yourselves not leaving so as to not hurt the group’s or DM’s feelings? Granted, yes, you should always try to talk it out with the involved party but if you’ve tried this out several times and you are still having a miserable time then perhaps it’s time to move on. How many times have you put yourself out because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or because you felt there wasn’t anyone else to play with? Well I am here to tell you that there is always someone else to play with, especially now with online gaming with sites like roll20 it’s never been easier.
If you’re in a group that you aren’t happy with or simply aren’t having fun, then do yourself a favor and stop wasting your time, my friends. . You decide how you want to spend your time, and if that means looking for a new group that is more your speed, then do it! There is nothing wrong with that.
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