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DM Thoughts- Campaign Flatline

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Hey Guys. Lake here again. I know that I promised to talk about NPC creation and building quests, but another thought has been rattling around in my mind. That thought is campaign death. Sadly, not every campaign created ends in long sessions and tight party members with lots of memorable moments. A lot shrivel up and die for whatever reason. But why? These are only my thoughts and opinions on why campaigns fold up and die.
Number 1: Lack of DM planning

It very tempting to just whip up a campaign based on an idea that you had, but it doesn't always work out well. An example of this is my own Dragonheart Online game that I tried to run. I had a cool premise, trapped in a virtual world, and some ideas my players for sure liked. They definitely enjoyed
the idea of basically playing two characters, the persona and the ďreal lifeĒ person. But...I failed to plan ahead. I didn;t even create important NPCs or more than one or two quests. Even my world map was simply thrown together. And the players soon seemd to get bored, and even I lost interest in running it. In the end, rather than drag bored player through a campaign, I decided to shutter it.

Number 2: Player Drama

Sometimes it's nothing you can do as a DM. Sometimes your players don't like each other for whatever reason. This can mean that instead of adventuring and doing cool quest, you party spends their time bickering and arguing. This can lead to a lot of players leaving, and if enough do, your capaign could die

Number 3: Unstructered Play

It's important that you as a DM be clear with where you want your players to go and what you want them to do. While you should always give some wiggle room for player freedom, you need to be semi structured. If it's unclear what exactly the party should be doing, your players might get bored. I had this happen to a 5E campaign I was in. Nobody knew what to do, so everyone basically stopped posting and the campaign died. As of right now, no one has posted in that forum since late July.
Number 4: Real Life junk.

Sometimes Dms and players have to leave a campaign for whatever reason. I had a sci-fi campaign close down because of work schedules conflicting.. There's absolutely nothing you can do but grin and bear it.
Number 5: Poor Dming skills.

Whether it's railroading your players through your campaign or just ignoring posts and initiative. If your Dming skills are raw, it can hurt or outright kill a campaign. Not everyone is going to be the next Matt Mercer or Chris Perkins. Some people are simply better at playing the game than tryign to run it.
Number 6: Pacing problems

Pacign your campaign is key. This can encompass everything from how you handle dice rolls to quests. Keep in mind that things like Initiative rolls, Perception rolls. can take up to 48 hours to get out of the way sometimes, depending on what timezone you're in. Also things like side juants and complicated quests tend to slow thinsg down. Streamlining is a must when running a play by post game.

Anywho. That's enough to chew on for now. If you have any thoughts, feel free to comment.


  1. Isada's Avatar
    Too true. Thanks for finding us a replacement so fast! I was sorry to see Drelyn go. He was an interesting character. But, yeah, flatline averted!!! So thanks^^

    The pacing of pbp vs. face-to-face is really so different! It took me a while to get used to it, but I actually really like it now. I don't know about you, but I've never been able to be in so many campaigns at once in RL. Max: 2.

    (I love Matt Mercer, omg. I got into Critical Roll waaaay late, though, so I'm like on episode 8.)
    Updated 10-22-2016 at 08:56 PM by Isada
  2. LakethePondling's Avatar
    I also love Critical Role. I'm on episode 67. I'm not dropping any spoilers.