Ask The GM: Breaking Up With The Game

By John Serpico on


Von asks – How can I break up with my DM? I’m about 18 months into a weekly campaign and my life is just getting too busy. I still have time to play but it is starting to feel like more of an appointment than a hobby.

Von, regardless of how you extricate yourself from the game, know that you’re making the right decision to leave. The second gaming stops being fun, or starts feeling like an obligation, you should walk away. Your DM and the other players will definitely know that something is up if you play while unhappy for weeks or months on end. And that kind of resentment or frustration tends to spread.

It doesn’t seem from your letter that there is a problem with the DM or with the other folks in the campaign. That’s going to make the break up a bit easier. If you were leaving because of disagreements with other people in the party or if the DM was running a campaign you profoundly disagreed with, then the conversation would need to be a lot more delicate. For you, it just comes down to scheduling, and that’s something that a DM can understand so long as you’re honest about it.

What I recommend is telling the DM as soon as you can that your life is getting busier and you want to leave the campaign before it feels like too much of a burden. Assure the DM that the game is still fun (assuming it is… don’t lie if it’s not) and that this entirely comes down to your need for downtime or the fact that there are work/school/life conflicts that you need to prioritize over weekly adventuring.

The next step would be to figure out how to actually leave the game. If you have a couple of weeks of gaming left in you, hopefully you and the DM could find a nice way for your character to make an exit. Your adventurer might be called away to resolve a family matter, or be killed gloriously in battle, or decide that another mission elsewhere in the world is crucially important. Ideally, you and your DM can come to an agreement that either leaves the door open for your return or gives your character a satisfying ending. I’m sure whatever is decided will be different than what the DM had originally planned for your character’s arc, but it should still be congruent with the rest of the story.

Good luck with the conversation. Keep it honest and light, and then work with the DM to come up with your character’s swan song.

Happy gaming (or taking a hiatus from gaming)!

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