#RPGaDAY 2016, Day 13: What Makes a Successful Campaign?

First, define “successful”. Also “campaign”.

Back when we played the post-college Shadowrun game, I had the whole campaign outlined[1] to create story arcs, season arcs like a television show. Each season started and ended on certain points. When we played that game, we went through the first season and had a good ending. Then we tried to do play-by-email once we started all moving away in the second season and that one didn’t have a satisfying ending.

My answer? Endings make a successful campaign.

Plan for an end point.

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  1. Remember, this was back when I was still thinking of roleplaying games as primarily the GM’s story where the players enter with their characters to see what happens, rather than the collaborative play style I enjoy now. []

#RPGaDAY 2016, Day 11: How did the tabletop RPGs you’ve played shape how you play now?

Oh, I love this question (again, supplied from Tracy Barnett): How did the RPGs I’ve played shape the gamer I am now? It’s a different question from the real question for day, “Which gamer most affected the way you play?” But there is a bit of overlap.

There are moments in one’s gaming life where something clicks and is so profound it changes how you run (or play) the games you enjoy so. Here, I’m thinking about five different games: InSpectres; Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; (a game session of) Shadowrun, 4th Edition; Burning Wheel; and Apocalypse World.

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#RPGaDAY, Last Year: Day 28 – Scariest Game Played

Ah, for Scariest game I’ve played, there’s not many to choose from — I usually run the games. Last year, when coming up with an answer to this topic, I went with the Don’t Rest Your Head game that my friend Brian ran. When preparing to run it, he asked each of us for a recurring nightmare we had. We told him, because we trust each other. We knew that the nightmares were going to manifest somehow in the game, so it would be interesting to see how they would come about in that dream world. Brian went away and came back next week to run the first of two DRYH sessions.

That first session was incredibly tense. He didn’t incorporate our nightmares in the game. All that game, we were wondering When? When is this going to happen? What is it going to be like? and it kept getting delayed and stretched out and… Suspense.

That whole session was crazy spooky.

Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_-_The_Nightmare_-_WGA08332

Anything to follow-up on that topic, Thomas?

Most of the games I run also aren’t horror games, but there have been a few. We did a Chill one-shot in Venice which had some horribleness happening that creeped out the players, with a Headless Horsemen-like creature that could only be seen by the person it was going to kill (yes, concept stolen from Doctor Who, sure). The Lacuna game I mentioned in an earlier post. My friendly guy-next-door character in the Shadowrun/CthulhuTech mashup game where he kept his “wife” locked up in a room in the basement whenever he went out of the house.[1] Oh, and The Armitage Files, but I’ll talk about that in just a little bit.

Horror is like comedy in a game. You can’t force it. It just happens.

Unless you’re playing Dread (which has that Jenga tower in the middle, threatening to kill your character off) or you share secrets, like we did in Don’t Rest Your Head.

  1. I actually played in a game! []