I finished playing Out of the Abyss and I feel empty inside

This past weekend, my Out of the Abyss game had its final session. I got what I wanted for my druid — a happily ever after with her drow boyfriend in Neverwinter Wood, with bonus noodles and fancy hats. I also had some awful/amazing tension on the road to that.

Tears were shed. Feels were had. And now I will be writing fanfic about it for… well, a long time.

But in the wake of it… I have an emotional hangover. I feel empty inside, and like I don’t know what to do with myself.

“Feeling pointless” meme of dude staring vacantly into space, with the caption “Me After Finishing Out of the Abyss.”

I need a new D&D game to play, and waiting until DM Nixon is ready to run something again seems unbearable at the moment.

At the same time, trawling /r/lfg looking for games to join is… not super productive. A game is like a relationship, right? And I just got out of an INTENSE one. So I feel like this would be the TTRPG equivalent of looking for hookups on Tinder after an intense breakup.

(But what do I know; I haven’t dated since the late 1990s).

I did start thinking, however, about what I want in my next game. This isn’t something I gave a lot of thought to before I dove headfirst back into the TTRPG pool last year, so I’d like to lay it out now.

Plus, this will be useful in the future in case I do decide to apply to certain games.

What I Want in My Next Relationship Game

  • I’m looking primarily for a campaign, not a one-shot, at this time.
  • I’m currently available Thurs/Fri evenings, and Sat/Sun afternoons Eastern time.
  • I’m mostly interested in D&D 5e — and most of these points are relevant to that — but I’m also interested in trying other games in a fantasy setting.
  • I like roleplay a lot, but I also really like tactical combat. I’d prefer roughly a 65%/35% RP-to-combat ratio. I’m not interested in playing a campaign that’s nothing more than a dungeon crawl.
  • By “tactical combat” I mean where the enemies don’t just stand still and fight to the death — where generally they act like they have two brain cells to rub together, and they have motives other than “kill the PCs.” Also where inventive tactics on the part of the PCs are rewarded.
  • I don’t mind random encounters, if it’s more than just “here’s a random monster I rolled on a table to keep you busy.” I prefer when they’re used to characterize the world, i.e. “here is a type of enemy you might fight later” or “here is a landmark that might be relevant in the next town.”
  • Also, I like a CHALLENGE. If there’s not occasionally a risk of your character dying, how am I supposed to stay invested? I don’t consider one PC going unconscious to be a dangerous fight.
  • I WANT TO FEEL THINGS. I WANT TO SHED TEARS. I firmly believe there are no emotions that someone won’t pay to experience within the safety of narrative. OotA was stand-out for me in that regard, and not just because I developed a romance plot with an NPC.
  • Relatedly, I am cool with character romance so long as all parties involved are consenting in- and out-of-character.
  • I like writing character histories; they range in length from a few bullet points to a few thousand words. I write these mostly for myself — writing is thinking, for me — but I also expect the DM to read them and, if possible, use them as personal plot hooks. If I write about a missing sibling in my backstory, I would very much like to see that come up in game.
  • I want my fellow players to be invested, too. I would hope they’ve come up with a few character bullet points, don’t spend the entire session browsing Facebook, and don’t perpetually show up late.
  • I would really like a semi-serious campaign. I don’t want joke characters, or joke names. I don’t want people to do random zany shit and call it “chaotic neutral.” That said, I’m not a humorless automaton, and I don’t mind the occasional OOC joke or derailment.
  • I am Done for all eternity with murderhobos, chaotic neutral “it’s what my character would do!” assholes, cheeseweasels, metagaming, and on-screen sexual violence.
  • I want to play with adults (18+).
  • An online game is a must. Even aside from COVID, if I have to travel to play, I’d rather play a larp.
    • No preference as to virtual tabletop — though I’m most familiar with roll20.
    • I have a slight preference for no camera, but that’s only because I like not having to put on real clothes 😉
    • A slight preference for Discord for voice chat.
    • Not super interested in text or play-by-post campaigns.
  • My next group will be woke, accepting, and anti-racist or it will be bullshit. If it wouldn’t fly on the Chaotic Good Dungeons & Dragons Memes Facebook group, I’m not interested.

Nice to Haves

  • I have a preference for good-aligned campaigns, because my no-consequences power fantasy is being able to help everybody.
  • As someone who installs a bunch of “immersion” mods in perfectly good video games, I actually enjoy some of the fiddly resource management you can do in D&D (but no one ever does), like tracking resources like rations or arrows, or dealing with encumbrance. I feel like it adds an interesting dimension of challenge to the game other than “give the monsters bigger numbers.”
  • On a scale from “published adventure run RAW” and “complete homebrew,” I prefer somewhere in the middle, i.e. a published adventure modified for the needs of the group. But I am pretty flexible on this.

That’s not asking a lot, right? 😉

Author: Lise

Hi, I'm Lise Fracalossi, a web developer, writer, and time-lost noblethem. I live in Central Massachusetts with my husband, too many cats, and a collection of ridiculous hats that I rarely wear.