[RPG] I think one of the players wants to leave the campaign


I am a relatively new DM. I am running my first campaign, which started about a year ago, with some close friends from college. We have all played D&D before, but this is the first time I’m DMing. My group is very roleplay-oriented. I’ve had a ton of fun planning out dramatic character moments and building tension for my friends. I’ve also gotten some really nice feedback from some of my players which has made me really pleased.

Over the past few months, there has been some conflict surrounding one of my players. On the one hand, the other players and I noticed she would derail or take over sessions (which I talked about with her awhile ago). On the other hand, she has complained a few times about another player having too much of the spotlight. We took this to heart and thought up ways that we can engage other players in roleplays, and I have made sure that each character gets arcs equally tied into the main plot. She seemed satisfied with our solutions.

Since these conversations, I’ve reached out to her a few times about her character. At one point she said that her character may want to travel solo later in the game and if so she would roll up a new character. But since then she hasn’t said anything to me about leaving or where she wants her character to go.

Over the past few sessions, she’s been acting pretty recklessly with her character. She (as the PC) has said that she doesn’t care if she dies, that she will go on suicide missions even when other PCs don’t want her to, and that she is uninterested in the main plot. This has been a little jarring for me, since she has not directly approached me about leaving the campaign or rolling a new character. Previously in conflicts, she seemed reluctant to talk to me, and I had to push her a little to communicate to me about the issues she was having with the campaign. This whole situation has been hurtful and upsetting for me, not only because she seems to dislike my campaign, but also because her character leaving would disrupt a lot of future plans, which were made specifically because of feedback she gave me.

I know that I will have to approach her and directly ask what she wants out of her character, but I’m putting it off because I have a lot of other stressful life things going on, and I’d rather not add new stress to the mix for now. I guess I just want an outside perspective. What can I do to keep her from leaving, and if she does leave, how can I smoothly transition the campaign? Any insight would be appreciated.

Best Answer

The first step is to ask your player if she still wants to be in the campaign

Tell her to be honest with you; but it is important to not attribute motive to her. She might be being reckless because of disinterest in the campaign, or there might be group-dynamics issues, or even problems that exist outside of the group that are influencing her behavior.

As someone who has been on the receiving end of this situation, I think it is important not to assume your player wants to leave the campaign but to ask first; assuming her motive will likely make her think you are trying to get rid of her and also may hurt any friendship you have with her outside of the context of the game as well; I certainly would have thought that my GM didn't want me around if she had just approached me asking how I wanted to leave the game when I was just suffering the side-effects of depression.

This is the best suggestion I can give.