You’ve been playing in the same campaign world for years. You’ve bested dragons, conquered kingdoms, slain gods, and mourned fallen companions along the way. You know and love your characters, but…. Things have been a bit stale lately. Maybe high level combat is just too much of a mechanics headache. Maybe you had your happily ever after ten sessions ago and are struggling to find the next arc. Maybe you’ve been itching to try out the hot new system, but the old game just keeps on chugging along. Knowing when to quit is hard. Happily, we’ve got today’s blog to try and unpack the decision-making process.

A few primary options should get the conversation started:

  • Press On: This is the default tactic. You’ve put too much time and effort into your game to let it peter out, and that involves coming up with ways to refresh the story. Maybe that means inviting new players, introducing new PCs, or opening up new territories. Undiscovered continents, parallel dimensions, and outer space can all work here. Of course, you might just be slapping a new coat of paint on your problem, so make sure that your exciting new direction actually excites the other people at the table.
  • Swap Systems: When you’re talking about rebuilding a campaign, everything is on the table. You’ve got an opportunity to try new things, up to and including a new game system. Each time you change it injects new life and mechanical interest into play. Be warned though: having done this one a couple of times myself, there’s a very real risk of losing out on the feel of an existing PC. Some systems just can’t cope with esoteric powers and unique builds.
  • New Game: When a long-running campaign begins to lose steam, you might want to try something new. Swapping GMs, starting a new adventure path, and rolling up brand new heroes characterize this option. It’s a shame to discard all the work you put into that old campaign, but sometimes the energy just isn’t there. That’s nothing to be ashamed about. It just means the group is ready to try the next thing.
  • Disband: There are plenty of gamers in geek blue sea, and you aren’t bound to stick with the same four dudes you’ve been playing with since high school. Maybe your coworkers have been dying to try out that weird “D&D” thing they heard about on Stranger Things. Maybe there’s a seat open at another table’s long-running game. It may take some leg work to find another group that fits your playstyle preferences, but there’s nothing like a new constellation of gamers to bring new energy to your hobby.
  • (Soft) Reboot: The term comes from the film industry, but it’s no less applicable on the tabletop. Ima quote the wiki article on this one, because it offers a nice concise explanation: “In serial fiction, the term ‘reboot’ signifies a new start to an established fictional universe, work, or series that discards continuity to re-create its characters, plotlines and backstory from the beginning. It has been described as a way to ‘rebrand’ or ‘restart an entertainment universe that has already been established’ A reboot that retains a certain degree of continuity from previous works is known as a ‘soft reboot.'” On the tabletop that might mean new characters in the same setting, an entire alternate universe, or starting over with the same dudes from level 1. Can’t imagine where I’ve seen that one before.

I’m sure that this list ins’t exhaustive, and that of course brings use to our question of the day! When a game is getting a little long in the tooth, how do you go about deciding on the next thing? Tell us the tale of your own restarts and reboots down in the comments!


GET YOUR SCHWAG ON! Want a piece of Handbook-World to hang on you wall? Then you’ll want to check out the “Hero” reward tier on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Each monthly treasure haul will bring you prints, decals, buttons, bookmarks and more! There’s even talk of a few Handbook-themed mini-dungeons on the horizon. So hit the link, open up that treasure chest, and see what loot awaits!