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My character died. It was mainly my fault, and I believe the DM gave me several chances to get out of the situation myself. I just didn't think of it and was, like oh, yeah. We went over this. I did what I could.

It's the first time my character has actually died in something, and so I'm not doing well. Incredibly bad luck and situational panic on the other players' behalf ended up with me dead.

I thought I was emotionally mature enough to handle it, but after having dealt with an awful week and just my emotional response to things, I'm starting to reconsider whether or not I should continue playing. I get too attached to things and people. With this particular system, I can very easily end up in this situation again and I'm not sure whether it's the best when I'm not the most emotionally stable.

I actually think I need to take the loss here and kind of gracefully bow out before I become a problem. I like everyone in the group, but is there a way to do this without hurting people's feelings?

Clarification

This is a group of relative strangers whom I don't hang out with much outside of the game, with the exception of one player who is my significant other. I do not think she'd be mad at me for leaving, especially when she knows how exactly I get with things like this as I tend to invest a lot of myself into my writings and characters. These are moreso her friends than mine because she's played with them longer and I essentially had this character for about maybe a month and a half.

Conclusion - 7/7/2022

Told the dm I was out because I can't handle that happening to another character again and I was as nice as possible when leaving.

GF will still be playing in the game and that's her prerogative.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a great question, and a common experience for quite a few role playing game players. Becoming overly attached to a PC in a role playing game has its risk; it is great that you are self aware enough to recognize that. I've seen to many people not handle it well at all. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 5 at 19:28

2 Answers 2

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Give a Quick Explanation

Based upon my own experiences quitting campaigns after character deaths caused me to stop having fun, I recommend contacting the group and saying something similar to:
"I need a break from this game. It's stressing me in unexpected ways and I'm going to stop playing for a while. Keep having fun."

If you're friends with the group outside of the game then continue to be friends away from the gaming table. Make it clear that this is about you, not them.
If you're not friends away from the table then make some effort to keep in touch and maintain interest.
But do not engage with the campaign(s) until you're ready to absorb character loss.

You want to avoid:

  • A protracted exit from the campaign. Dragging it out will just sour the experience of everyone until you quit.
  • Blaming anyone at the table. Regardless of their complicity, casting blame will cause the hurt feelings you are trying to avoid.
  • Getting upset if members of the group avoid you. I quit one campaign and 5/6 of the table didn't speak to me again for 14 months. When communication resumed, we were good; but they needed that cooling off period as much as I needed to get away from that campaign.

Good luck!

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Whose feelings do you need to worry about?

First off, yours. And by recognizing that your over-identification with your character is not helping you right now, you are taking care of yourself. Good on you.

Second, your SO. After you, she is more impacted by your decision than anyone else at the table. How this 'break-up' is managed has the potential to affect her much more than any of them. These are her friends, and she will presumably be interacting with them long after you are gone, both in the game and socially. She will also continue to interact with you, and a bad exit may leave her feeling trapped between them and you.

Third, your DM. Fair or not, they may feel more responsible than the others about your playing experience.

Lastly, the other players. "...situational panic on the other players behalf" isn't clear whether you are including them as being in part responsible for the events leading up to your character's death, but they might feel that way - or they might feel like that is an unjustified accusation - and it would be good to address.

What I would recommend

First, a long conversation with your SO. Give your perspective on what you think happened that led to your character's death and why that is difficult for you to deal with and why you need space from the group at least for now, and possibly for good. Make sure you use 'I feel' statements instead of asserting details as fact. Then actively listen to her perspective on the same things. Then talk about the most important thing; how your decision here affects your relationship - this activity not good for you right now, but does over-identification come up in other aspects of your relationship? Does your changing 'plans' mid-stream affect her, and is this a common occurrence? Finally, an affirmation that you support her continuing with the group, that you want her to have fun, that this is not a test of her loyalty and you don't expect her to choose between you and the group.

Second, a brief communication with the DM. This could be over the video/phone, face to face, or simply written, but I would avoid a text as too short and too easily misunderstood. Key points: you recognize that they gave you several chances to get out of the situation, you recognize that your character's death was a consequence of the character's actions (and your choices), you understand that this is a normal part of the game experience - but that this aspect of the game is something that is not good for you, right now. Thank you for the experience, I won't be coming back.

Finally, no communication is necessary with the other players. Your SO gets to spin this however she wants to them, and you support her decision here. Maybe she uses it to talk about party cohesion and decision making and how their game can be improved by being more supportive of each other. Maybe she is uncomfortable sharing aspects of your relationship with them and she just says you are too busy to rejoin them. Maybe she uses it to talk about her relationship with you from her perspective and why this was not a good situation for you to continue. Whatever her decision, that's her business, not yours. She has a long-term social relationship with these people, you don't, and you trust her to do what is going to make your departure from the game the best situation for her.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the speculations about OP's personal life and relationship with their girlfriend under the heading "First, a long conversation with your SO", and in the line "Maybe she uses it to hint at some of the challenges of her relationship with you and elicit some sympathy" are inappropriate here. They haven't asked for couples therapy, and it feels presumptuous and unnecessarily critical the OP when they've specifically clarified that their SO understands. \$\endgroup\$
    – CabinetCat
    Jul 7 at 21:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CabinetCat I know nothing about OP's personal life or relationship with their SO - beyond what they have said. I hear your concern and would be open to suggestions on how to rephrase my answer to sound less critical. However, I also trust their own assessment of themselves when they say that they get too attached to things and people, and that they question their own emotional maturity and emotional stability. That is what they have chosen to share with us about themselves, and I would not be respecting them and their question if I did not account for that in my answer. 1/3 \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jul 7 at 22:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CabinetCat 2/3 I don't think I am speculating to say that their relationship involves challenges (all relationships do). I have enough experience being in relationships with people who are not emotionally stable to know some of the challenges involved, which include how to present your partner's feelings to third parties - it is speculation to say that the SO might not want to talk about it, but then again, she might, but that is a pretty broad range of possibilities clearly labeled as such. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jul 7 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CabinetCat 3/3 I am not a couples counselor, but this person has come to us saying 'here is how I am as a person, how do I get out of this situation without hurting people's feelings?' If my answer does not address their own perception of what they are like, then I am not giving them the advice they are looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jul 7 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @CabinetCat In any event, I have made some edits to hopefully sound less judgmental / critical. I would be interested in your thoughts. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Jul 7 at 23:23

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