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How do you run an ongoing campaign?

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  • SignalGK
    started a topic How do you run an ongoing campaign?

    How do you run an ongoing campaign?

    I want to ask how other refs plan out your long-term campaigns? Do you generally have just a series of relatively unlinked encounters, adventures and sessions with the players being the primary common denominator, run as linked adventure series with lots of foreshadowing of what's to come being revealed in earlier sessions or as a soap opera with each session just following on from the players actions in the previously session?

    Also do you do much foreshadowing of future events in your sessions or just let it happen? I.e. I recently decided to introduce the teleporting pouch from Super Powered Legends Agartha into a bluebook session only to then find I'd already been considering something similar some time ago when I mentioned to a player that there was a massive reward being offered for a missing Nepalese Dragon Dog! Not all of my earlier links are coincidental or throwaway, some actually are planned by the way - I had several rumours running over several months that connected to my Halloween special adventure last week.

    My campaign has been running for a year (yeah us) and is going well with regular fortnightly face-to-face sessions and lots of character development bluebooking (a type of PBM) in between and I've generally tried to run a number of specific adventures (such the start of the Emerald Knights adventure, Time of Vengeance etc.) intermixed with adventures designed to make for good character development...

    Their adventures to date can be found at http://www.mm3e.wordpress.com but I'd love to hear how others maintain their campaigns long-term.

    How do you keep the game fresh for the same players and player characters over time?
    Last edited by SignalGK; 11-07-2017, 11:27 PM.

  • SignalGK
    replied
    Re: How do you run an ongoing campaign?

    Thanks for that. My players appear to be enjoying the ride so far which is more like a Dr Who series with lots of variety so far but with strong links back to the primary story line though we had not touched on the core storyline for several sessions so time to start pulling things back towards the series 1 finale.

    Leave a comment:


  • Rush
    replied
    Re: How do you run an ongoing campaign?

    Originally posted by SignalGK View Post
    I was to ask how other refs plan out your long-term campaigns? Do you generally have just a series of relatively unlinked encounters, adventures and sessions with the players being the primary common denominator, run as linked adventure series with lots of foreshadowing of what's to come being revealed in earlier sessions or as a soap opera with each session just following on from the players actions in the previously session?
    I usually have a "grand story arc" for the campaign, then minor stories and even minor arcs within that. The grand arc may be planned out for a (roughly) set number of sessions, or just until a certain event happens or a specific issue is dealt with. The end of the arc is always at least vaguely defined ahead of time.

    Within this grand arc, there will be a few one-shot sessions as a change of pace, but even with those I try to drop clues as far as what's going on with the main story arc, if they've become aware of it (they rarely start out aware of it!) Sometimes there are minor arcs which are dealt with in 2-3 sessions and which may or may not tie into the grand arc, but with those I usually make sure to have elements of the grand arc appear to show that it's still an ongoing thing (or drop more clues leading to the revelation of the grand arc.)

    The grand arc--typically several months to a couple years in real time at most--then ends, which leads to another grand arc within the same universe, with the villains (new and repeat) being the primary drivers of the story arc, but with the PCs contributing to changes in the game world and even within the villains' machinations.


    Originally posted by SignalGK View Post
    Also do you do much foreshadowing of future events in your sessions or just let it happen?
    I always try to do at least a little for any major events, but the amount depends on the type of campaign. Generally there's not much foreshadowing unless they discover the hidden clues that reveal the future event, and they have to grow more aware of happenings over time. Currently though, the players are in a more street-level campaign where they're doing much more sleuthing and are having to ferret out information for others, risking their lives to do so. While there are still twists and surprises, they often see a lot of what's coming, and have opportunities to prepare as much as they can or to plan out how to approach a problem villain. (This is actually kind of new for me, having the heroes be more aware of the villains and their schemes than vice versa, but it seems to work well when the villains can definitively crush the heroes at will.)


    Originally posted by SignalGK View Post
    How do you keep the game fresh for the same players and player characters over time?
    One thing I've found with my players (and that I experience myself when playing) is that, even when we play characters we really enjoy, we like to occasionally change it up and try another character.

    This actually fits in well with my "grand story arc" style of running; once the grand arc is over, we generally take a break, sometimes going to another RPG, while I mull over the future of the game world. When the players and myself are ready, we start another grand campaign (same world,) but usually--not always--with new characters (or even a mix of old and new.) Depending on what's happened before, this may mean we play a new superhero group in a new city, or we revisit a previous city but with changes in the lineup. This allows the players to try new character personalities and powers, while facing new surprises, and often dealing with the fallout of past events.

    All in all, this seems to have worked well for the current group, although we've recently come to play two different RPGs at a time to give us GMs opportunities to play as well.

    During one of our between-campaign breaks, the players actually played as villains who had just gotten powers and were trying to carve out a niche for themselves. This was intended to be a shorter run, but one where their actions would still carry over to future games when they were heroes (but where I'd run their villain characters, if they were to appear again.) It was quite a bit of fun for everyone involved, and I'm still gleefully waiting to spring some of the repercussions of their villainous actions on them.

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