My campaign has been having unusually long breaks between games lately. For many games, this is the end. Players will lose interest, they’ll forget what’s been happening, and they’ll plan away the time that used to be reserved for D&D. It’s not always someone’s fault. Sometimes people move, sometimes they get new jobs, and sometimes it just becomes harder to play as often as you once did. Time moves too far, life gets in the way, and the game gets left behind. In this age of data and communication, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a multitude of ways to keep your players informed, in touch, and, engaged.
One great way to keep everyone in touch, even when they’re spread out, is a campaign wiki. Wizard’s has their own offering, but I prefer Obsidian Portal. It allows you to make pages for the important characters and places in your game. These pages can include pictures, stats, maps, and anything else you could want. It also gives you the ability to add a forum for you and the players to keep in touch, an adventure log so you can keep track of the happenings in your ongoing game, and a calendar to keep your players updated on when things are going to happen. My old group really responded to this. It was an easy way to keep them up to date with when we met and when we played while also giving them a resource to keep track of the game. The various character pages allowed them to easily keep track of who was who and what they were doing in the world.
Facebook is another powerful resource for you and your group. The ‘groups’ feature allows you to keep in touch with your players in a private and open ended way. The ability to post pictures and videos allows you to share both game related and fun things with your group. The ability to post links allows you to share tools (or great blogs) from across the internet. And the group chat allows you to communicate with all of your players at the same time. I use it with my current group; it’s probably the main reason why we’re still playing with our three week plus breaks.
The best thing you can do is just keep in touch with your players. I have all my players’ cell phone numbers, I’m friends with all of them on Facebook, and I talk to all of them regularly. I’m aware that my situation isn’t typical here. I’m not saying you have to be best friends with your entire group, but it doesn’t hurt to talk to on the regular. By talking to them often (and occasionally bringing up your game) you keep the campaign on their mind so even when you’re not playing, it’s still on the mind of you and your players. One thing I like to do is tease my players with upcoming events in the game. Not only is this fun for me, but it gets their minds on what will happen the next time we play.
If you keep your players’ minds on the game even when the game isn’t happening, you’re sure to avoid the problems that come from too long between sessions. But remember, don’t inundate your players, a careful balance will keep them thinking about the game, but keep them from getting annoyed.