TTRPGs like D&D or Pathfinder or countless others have an uncanny ability to transport us to realms of imagination, forging unforgettable adventures with friends old and new. However, just as every great story must come to an end, so too must our cherished campaigns. Whether it's a temporary hiatus or a permanent conclusion, bidding farewell to a beloved campaign can leave us with a case of the blues. But fear not! In this blog post, we'll explore ways to help you overcome the end-of-campaign slump and find new avenues for excitement and connection. Keep your chin up and read along!
Now, listen - I am no stranger to taking breaks from game night. I'm currently in the middle of one, actually, because my work schedule is brand new and I'm taking all the hours I can. It's not enjoyable for me, but necessary, and those in my gaming group who rely on me for game night adventures are either taking breaks themselves or are patiently waiting for me and the others to become available again. So, what do I do in the meantime? What do you do if YOU have to take a break? What do any of us do? Well, most of us get depressed a little bit because the sense of community is lost for a time, but it doesn't always have to be a negative thing. With the right mindset and a plan, you can make the most of your break before you come back strong with an epic game night that will be remembered for all time. Here are a couple things I try to do and which you might find useful yourself.
TAKE TIME TO REFLECT
Every TTRPG campaign is a journey, filled with epic quests, character growth, and memorable moments. Take some time to reflect on the incredible stories you've woven together, the characters you've brought to life, and the challenges you've conquered as a team. Cherish these memories and consider compiling them into a scrapbook or journal. Remember, the end of one campaign marks the beginning of the next adventure.
Just like any story, your TTRPG campaign has had its own unique milestones and achievements. Organize a virtual or in-person gathering with your fellow players to celebrate these accomplishments. Share your favorite moments, inside jokes, and character triumphs. Commemorate the campaign with personalized mementos, like custom dice or character artwork, that will remind you of the fantastic journey you undertook together.
The key thing here is to connect WHEN you can - and social media makes that easy for us. If you're not a social media person, there's also WhatsApp or things like that, or maybe just try texting. This will keep you connected and talking about the game, which brings me to my next point.
One of the most magical aspects of TTRPGs is the strong bonds they forge between players. Don't let the end of a campaign sever these connections. Maintain regular communication with your fellow adventurers, even if you're not actively playing together. Share updates, discuss potential future campaigns, or simply catch up on life. These connections can serve as a foundation for future adventures and camaraderie. Just because the adventure ends doesn't mean the camaraderie has to stop. Keep it flowing whenever and however you can!
EXPLORE CREATIVE OUTLETS
The end of a TTRPG campaign doesn't mean you have to close the book on creativity. Channel your creative energy into writing fan fiction, drawing character art, or even crafting your own TTRPG content. Creating content based on your campaign can be a fulfilling way to keep the spirit of the game alive and share your passion with others. This will also fulfill the first few suggestions above. Can you imagine how stoked your fellow party members would be if you drew a picture of all your characters together, or wrote a short story involving one of your adventures? The possibilities are endless, but TTRPGs are a way to foster creativity among friends so that's the main takeaway. Keep it creative!
EXPLORE OTHER GAMES
Change can be intimidating, but it also brings opportunity. Embrace the end of your campaign as a chance to explore new TTRPG systems, genres, or settings. The world of TTRPGs is vast and diverse, with countless systems and settings waiting to be discovered. You might just find a new favorite that captures your imagination in unexpected ways. I myself have a backlogged list of other games I want to try once our main campaign comes to an end. I personally can't wait, although I'm having a ton of fun with our current one. Open your mind to other possibilities!
TRY OTHER MEDIUMS
One thing about TTRPGs is that, boiled down, D&D and other games like it are collaborative stories you experience with friends but held up by the structure of a game. If you're jonesing for the story aspect, try finding it using another medium. Movies are especially good for this to escape into, but so are shows and books and comic books/graphic novels. A decent outlet I use myself for this is to play video games. I just recently re-started my game of Skyrim I never got around to beating because I'm on a TTRPG hiatus. It's not exactly the same as a TTRPG but you get some of those same feelings from exploration and adventure that you participate in.
ADAPT AND OVERCOME
While saying goodbye to a TTRPG campaign can be tough, it's important to remember that the beauty of TTRPGs lies in their malleability. Campaigns can be revived, spin-offs can emerge, and characters can reappear in new adventures. Additionally, your GM might choose to revisit the campaign world down the road. Nothing is truly permanent in the realm of imagination. This is the same as with any medium involving stories. TV, movies, and comic books/novels use those tropes all the time! Why not you?
Overall, the end of a TTRPG campaign doesn't have to signal the end of your enjoyment or connection to the game. By reflecting on the journey, celebrating achievements, maintaining connections, exploring creativity, trying new systems, and embracing the evolving nature of TTRPGs, you can navigate the end-of-campaign blues with positivity and excitement for what lies ahead. Just as your characters have grown and changed through their adventures, so too will your love for TTRPGs continue to evolve and thrive. So, take a deep breath, and let the next chapter of your tabletop journey unfold.
Let us know in the comments how you deal with post-adventure blues, and in the meantime we hope you stay creative! As always, thanks for reading! - Joe