Sunday, February 5, 2012

Campaign Management

I believe that for any role-playing game, the goal is longevity. It is easy to come up with one good idea, expand that idea into an adventure, then reach a conclusion. For convention gaming, that is the ultimate goal. Five or six people walking away with a smile and saying they had an enjoyable experience.

The ongoing campaign presents the larger challenge; creating something that can grow and adapt to the both the GM's ideas and the players' whims. I tend to think of a game that I start as either a movie series with multiple sequels, or a television series with multiple seasons. The story is not over when the goal is achieved.

"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans"
~originally attributed to Allen Saunders in 1957, more often attributed to John Lennon

Some of the most enjoyable games I have run is when the players spend an hour or two on the real-life. Buying a building that they want to turn into a magic shop. Putting their heads together on the staff they will need to run the magic shop. Pulling together the money to pay the staff for the first 3 Months. Interviewing the prospective employees. Buying the equipment or furniture needed. And then at last, going off to adventure to find strange new items to throw on the shelves.

A spot of real life, or what happens between adventures, is a good interlude. Like a standalone episode in a season. Sometimes those standalone episodes are the highlights. Something that breaks the monotony a bit and hands some of the power of creativity over to the player. Character building at it finest, as long as the GM is willing and eager to go along with it and allow this to occur openly and freely. It is not an easy thing to do at times.

If you are an X-Files fan, which are you most fond of - the 'Mythology' episodes, or the stand alone episodes? For me, I can watch  "Jose Chung's from Outer Space", "Dreamland", "Triangle", and "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" over and over. The stories are more appealing and dynamic. They are not so much tied down by what has happened before.

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