Campaigns I Want To…. Errrr….

When I saw this month’s RPG Blog Carnival topic, Campaigns I’d Like To Run, the first thing I thought of wasn’t of campaigns I’d like to run. At least, not entirely. For one thing, I’m already running some undefined number between one and three, and I’m not even sure I want to think about adding another one. For another, most of the things I want to run aren’t because I want to run them, but because nobody else is going to run them and I want to play in them.

One of the things I most love in my games is complexity. Lots to puzzle out, lots to explore, nuances for everyone. This definitely shows up when I’m running, and three or four different plots are piling over each other to get at the PCs like puppies. (It could, come to think of it, explain a thing or two about why I’m slightly burnt out on running games—the plots I love are a lot of work.)

Most of them tend to involve, in some way, the long, complex process of building something—a structure, an organization, a reputation, a core of knowledge, it really doesn’t matter. It’s something that lasts; it’s something that matters; it’s something that was earned by the PCs. Granted, most of the games that have mechanics for the nuts and bolts of building up most things tend to get downright tedious about it, and my taste for that sort of thing is not other people’s taste, so what I run tends to involve rebuilding cities reeling from disasters or attempting to establish a social standing and some political power in a new and decidedly alien organization.

The games I run—particularly the games I choose to run, rather than the ones that happen to me—tend to have a few character types in common. The antagonists are cunning and charismatic, and if given half a chance they will find some character to preferentially engage in conflict with. The cast in general is usually liberally peppered with profoundly broken people patching themselves back together, typically with varying degrees of success and mostly keeping their cracks and crevices out of the main storyline unless invited.

What it comes down to is this: I want to run a highly complex game where the PCs’ impact on the world around them is both variable and visible; where the backdrops are memorable whether they manifest as breathtaking, mundane, or downright quirky; where the antagonist is intimidating, perversely admirable (at least in a couple of respects) and prone to character dynamics beyond “Oh, hey, you’re foiling my plan, you die now”; where what is created within the story will last far beyond the lifespans of the characters. But I want to play in it even more.

3 comments

  1. I’m just coming to the end of my current GMing run, and actually looking forward to taking a break from it, at least with regards to long campaigns. At the moment, I want to run some short form games with new systems, just to try out something new.

  2. UZ says:

    “and mostly keeping their cracks and crevices out of the main storyline unless invited.”

    You are *baiting*. :)

  3. Ravyn says:

    Shorty: Yeah, know what you mean.

    UZ: Not my intention. My group’s fully aware of most of them and their cracks and crevices and rather prone to inviting them. The phrasing’s mostly so as to be clear that I’m not spending all session shoving NPC character development in people’s faces.

    …but hey, if it encourages them to go see how one of the somewhat less regulars is doing, I’m not going to argue.

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