Wednesday, August 9, 2017

#RPGaDay 2017 Day 9: What is a Good RPG to Play For About 10 Sessions?

Day 9 of #RPGaDay covers a question I don't fully understand the justification for.

"What is a Good RPG to Play For About 10 Sessions?"

Is ten sessions the benchmark for successful campaign play?  The completion of an over-arcing storyline?  The goal to reach for long-term play? 

Let's look at my actual plays that are posted on the blog:
  • My Call of Cthulhu Campaign hit some major changes at session nine, with the characters moving from Coal Country to New York City.  There's at least 31 more entries after that.
  • My College 2nd Edition AD&D Campaign Ballad of the Pigeon God had a dramatic climax to the storyline in its tenth session.  I'm still compiling the later episodes, but we've got at least fifty more sessions after that. 
  • And as a sub-directory from that, the special visit/conversion to Talislanta during that campaign last ten true sessions (#16-26, with the last episode to tie up the loose ends). 
  • My first Hackmaster campaign had most important storylines resolved (or outright ignored) by session ten, before getting wiped out in a TPK on session 12.
  • My second Hackmaster campaign had a more sandbox feel to it... so session ten didn't seem to reach any important point in the campaign.  On the other hand, no TPKs either.
  • The Savage Worlds/Showdown Pulp campaign with the kids is set up by twelve episode "Seasons" that run overlapping storylines.  I can see significant but definitely not epic character growth
So, the classic old-school (and old school derived) RPGs seem fit this benchmark storywise, while the newer concept was more mechanic-driven.  You mileage may vary greatly.   To be honest, I remember two attempts at CoC (one Delta Green, one 1920s) that fell apart halfway to ten sessions, so there's no guarantee you'll always reach ten).

And reviewing the list of RPGs on Wikipedia, outside of AD&D 2nd Edition, CoC, Hackmaster, and Savage Worlds, none of the metric crapload of RPGs I've played over the years have reached past four or five sessions in a campaign.

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