It was the afternoon of Thursday, Feb 14th, and a coworker friend and I were finally able to set aside from to go and have lunch together.
During our walk to the restaurant, we started talking about Dungeons and Dragons. He asked about the games I was involved in and I regaled him with the positive sides of our ventures, keeping some details aside, before asking about his group in turn.
I was not expecting heartbreak.
He spoke of his group and how the story for him had gone stale. Other players at the table echoed the sentiment and his GM had homebrewed the campaign as his very first one. I’m in this position, so I felt that pain on a deep level.
As we crossed the street at the second block, I turned aside and asked him, “Have you talked to your GM about this?”
“Tell this exact thing to your GM. Give them a chance to make this happen; these tabletop games aren’t things the GM just hands to you. It’s a world you are all building together. Let them know how you want to help build that world and tell the stories in it. If they are a good GM, they will let you do this.”
It hadn’t crossed his mind that this was an option. We kept talking and I mentioned tales of stories that either shone brightly or burned out based on how often the players and the GM spoke to each other openly and honestly with their feelings about the game. Being friends in general opens up a lot of dialog here, but for a game to be successful, there must be dialog.
He nodded his understanding and we rounded a corner. He started to describe what he hoped for in the game – more puzzles, more things to be curious about, means to step off of the beaten path.
I looked at him and said, “Tell this exact thing to your GM. Give them a chance to make this happen; these tabletop games aren’t things the GM just hands to you. It’s a world you are all building together. Let them know how you want to help build that world and tell the stories in it. If they are a good GM, they will let you do this.”
We talked through lunch and back to the office about different ways he could discuss concerns with the GM and I believe that we parted ways with him feeling a lot better about the future of his campaign as a player. I then turned my mind toward the campaigns I’m in as a player.
I was not expecting further heartbreak, but heartbreak is rude and does not wait for convenient moments to grab your attention.
As a player in a number of games that are suffering in one way or another on many things that aren’t being said, I cannot emphasize that importance of communication enough. Learn to articulate wants or needs and practice as often as you can. Your games can only be better for it and will suffer without it.