What happens when we can't play anymore?

This post from reddit /r/adnd hit home...

My situation - I have uncontrolled anxiety and what has been described as extreme Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I have been an AD&D player and DM since I was 14 years of age, but now find that my neurological troubles are making my DM'ing efforts scattered and panicked, to the extent that whatever my intentions and plans may be, I am failing to carry through. Its painful for me and my players and is largely chaos.

[snipped for brevity - poster asks about an assistant DM to help them]

Most Dms run a game for the creative enjoyment, and I realize that this would be a big (potentially nuts) ask, but I have to take that step or, in honesty, consider abandoning yet another campaign.

This really hits home for me because of worries of age and of possible dementia/cancer that has run in my family.

It is also something that I think about as I set down lore in my notes, my game prep, the wiki and in play.

How do I save all of this in case someone else might want to see? It's a conceit, I'll grant you. There are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of such campaigns and worlds that are now lost because the authors/DMs have become ill to the point where they can't play, or age has taken its inevitable toll.

How many stories of player's characters in these worlds, now forgotten?

It's a definite shot across the bow in this day and age of near-instant self-publishing by blogs, by print-on-demand, by online shareable content. That with all this, the thing that really comes out of all this content - the play, the experiences, the shared exploration - all that can be lost.

Sure, we have streaming content now, but I think it would be tough to put all that together - the lore, the history and the played history.

Still, it is something to consider.

I have a part of my estate instructions that my notes and content is to be shared with players when I pass or if I become incapacitated that I'll never recover. I've done the same for my 1on1 game with Angie. I'd like them to at least know what might have been ahead for them.

What do you think? Have you set anything up, especially if you're running a long term, open-ended campaign like I am? Or what have you done for your characters so that the history and stories that are important to you are passed on? Or does it matter?


  1. My group used to regularly share "session summaries" by email, usually written as first or third person narratives from within the campaign, letters home, and similar. I've printed copies and/or saved concatenated files of them for my own enjoyment. A lot of older ones are in a file box in my basement. I also try to keep the maps, character sheets, and notes from old campaigns together. Maybe some day I'll scan them or send them off to the "Play-generated map and document archive." (http://plagmada.org) I don't know if anyone else will care much about it. Once in a while I'll bring out the old files, but my gaming group has changed so much over the years really only my brother and I recognize most of them.
    So, that's an option.

    1. My miniatures on the other hand ... no idea what will become of the 4 or 5 thousand minis. I imagine my kid and some relatives will take a few and the rest will be sold off or dumped once I'm gone. Maybe I should make some account of this stuff in my will.

    2. Mike, I've been doing same, but I have a website that I publish the writeups to. It helps other players to learn what is going on in the world.

      I don't know that anyone might care, but it seems like there is interest in long running games and the lore that comes from them.

      I hear you about the minis. No idea what my children will do with them after. Maybe divide them up among the remaining players?

  2. Such a big subject with many layers. So I will ramble. Michael, you have been turning out so much outstanding material for such a long time ! You have much to be proud of and your players will remember the fun times if they stop tomorrow. I have spent the past 6 years trying to figure out what I'd like to become of my gaming material. I am 70 and have outlasted too many gaming friends and associates. Some of my stuff is already in archives at various institutions of higher learning, many of which I only find out about accidently. Most of my commercial RPG material was given away to organizations for single parents and orphanages (an old fashion term) decades ago. When I see players from decades ago, they love to share their remembrances of my campaign, but they have never ask where that was all headed. As my grandson shows no interest at the age of 10 for my gaming stuff, I have made many distribution plans, and revised them almost twice a year. It is easy wasting time trying to come up with the perfect plan so I am done. I try and play with a friend, every other week, but with a free form format (a little of this a little of that). I play a lot solo as I'm a retired widower with lots of free time 8-) I use my blog to share what I'm gaming and that sharing, no matter how limited, sometimes, is very satisfying for me. Less is often times more 8-) But, I know you will figure out a solution that works for you ! Now I guess I should post my copy of Aklabeth: World of Doom (Apple 5 1/2" floppy) on Ebay.

    1. Ha! That floppy is probably worth a lot! I have a copy that was converted so it could play under DOS.

      It's hard when we put so much time and thought and energy into these, like "tears in the rain" I guess. It's such a personal world, I hate to see it go when I go.

      You are a wonderful gamer, Rick, so cool to hear of you sharing what you have. Thank you.

  3. I get where you're coming from. My campaign has been running for 36 years straight now. For the last few years, since my daughter was born, we've been "down" to once a week, but for at least the first 32 years, we gamed pretty much twice a week (or more). And my game is one MAJOR crossover, so a character from a game ten years ago might show up on a new party forming soon -- it all depends on the storyline, you know? And all that character history has created a sense of something unique and special.

    We summarize all our games and I journal them as well (you can never trust a player's version of what happened!). I'm actually working on a set of novels set in our game world. But when I quit DMing, the world ends, unless one of my kids takes up the mantle.

    Hell, I've already begun planning an apocalypse for 15 years from now, when I should be totally retired and wanting to travel...

    1. That's awesome!

      When I started out, I didn't summarize myself, because I wanted to encourage my players to do it and share. (ala West Marches style).

      Your comment makes me think I may want to make my own summaries now.


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