Over the last years I have been trying to get a proper campaign up and running. Most I get to is session 1. I long looked for a reason and after some self reflection I had to realize a hard truth. I enjoy preparing a campaign, with custom or tweaked rules, some pages of background, handouts. Creating the major players and then creating characters in that world.
Another symptom of this is the tons of RPG things I have started but never finished. Take the ShadowOps thing (still not done, sorry). I put in tons of hours for a one shot that then never happened.
A realization that totally baffled me: I do not enjoy running as much as creating. I had blamed everything, from difficult schedules to wrong rule sets or disengaged players. But never considered this. I wager the “problem” began when I had a dry spell of a few years without an actual game. And creating these campaigns that never went anywhere where my only way of kind of “living out” the hobby.
One reason for this problem I think is that in my head everything is awesome. The characters, the scenes, the dialogue. At the table I then face realities. I am not as good a GM as I thought I was, players are not as engrossed and engaged as I had thought. I need to look up stuff, break the pace and immersion. It is just not the game I wanted to run in the first place. And I am weirdly lazy as well. I regularly invest 30-60 hours on preparing a campaign, and then can’t be bothered to invest an hour for a second session.
I hate it and lose all interest and motivation.
This calls into question a lot of things. I do enjoy running one shot games and playing of course. But when it comes to campaigns I always dream bigger than the reality is and set myself up for disappointment. What to do? My players want campaign play instead of one shots but I seem to be unable to keep up interest and engagement for longer than the end of session one. And if I can’t keep at it, how can I expect my players to?
I feel I lack the resolve and stamina to stick with one thing. All those new RPG coming out all the time demanding my attention surely do not help. The quest for the “perfect system” is driving me from one to the next. I want to play them all! That I have a long commute and because of that regular games during the week are not really possible is an additional challenge. If I am lucky I get to play once a month, usually there are at least 4-6 weeks between session 0 and actual play. Like i said, I thought these where the primary issues, but must admit to myself they aren’t.
For example my friends and I spend already 3 “Session Zeroes” to set up an online game in the fallout universe. The usual restrictions for time and commute would not apply as much. And here I am again, not letting it die per se but not really pushing for a session 1 either. It has been over 2 month since the session zero… and did I really prep for session 1 yet? No! With the modern tools we all have available this should not be an issue anymore, and there are tons of no to low prep games around.
This problem is starting to burn me out. I just don´t grasp why this is happening. What I am doing is inefficient and wastes everyone’s time and if I continue I wont have any friends to play with soon. But I love this hobby and I need to get out of this cycle I am trapped in somehow.
Or I may just accept I rather hack rules and write rough settings instead of actually playing RPG and continue the mental masturbation of imagining the super duper campaign. Which is a lot of things , but has nothing to do with an RPG. Can you tell I am frustrated?
Does anyone else has/had to struggle with this? How did you solve it?