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Desslok

how long do your campaigns last?

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A point of clarification: the term campaign is pretty vague when talking about RPGs. To some it's a tightly knit series of stories that have a beginning, middle and end and a finite lifespan. Sometimes it has an end goal, but is also has a more episodic feel about it (think Babylon 5's run). Or sometimes it's just a series of adventures with the same characters, occasional reoccurring bad-guys and themes (think the James Bond movies - well, up until they ruined them with the last four).

 

So, how long do your campaigns last? The question spins out of a thread over in F&D where someone said that a game at 600 points was a good wrapping up point (or more accurately, said that the GM and players would be sick of the game by 600 points). Meanwhile my game just broke 675 - and I still could easily spend another 100 points just to get to the concept! More importantly, my story is far from finished!

 

Further, at 1.5 years my game is kind of on the short side - I've had campaigns that ran years and years. Our Padawan game kicked off in 2000, after we had enough information about the Old Republic to run a game and we played, on and off, until just after Revenge of the Sith came out., 2006.

 

So what's your average. How long do your campaigns last? 

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Difficult to say.  Short answer (without any sarcasm) is as long as they need to.  I don't think you need an XP-based limit (unless you're thinkin' the PCs may be too powerful by the end of the campaign?).

 

Our Edge of the Empire ran for 34 sessions for about +510xp (an estimate based on our average of 15xp a week).  Characters felt badass by the end but probably not overpowered (if we'd been powergaming it may have been, but even the Marauder branched out into non-combat stuff (Slicer, in his case)).

 

Everything else we've done in this system is still on-going.

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Ideally, my campaigns last two years. I've only got about seven years of GMing experience, so I can't be sure of it, but so far that is feeling about right. Our first run we had a Call of Cthulhu game that lasted probably three years, including interruptions and detours for other games. That felt a little on the long side; we had to kind of bull through some of it around the two-year mark to ensure that the principle characters survived. We ran a Pathfinder game that lasted just over one year, and I'd say that was about halfway done (we stopped because we'd all just gotten fed up with the Pathfinder d20 system).

My current game, my EotE game, is wrapping up sometime in the next few months. It will probably have been exactly two years since we started when we end. I've had plenty of time to mess around in the universe with these characters, and also we've told a pretty epic story. Our Big Rock Ending is coming up, and it feels right to end the game on that note.

So, assuming mostly consistent play, I'd say two years.

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It really depends on the group and I don't think a base limit really works for most groups. Especially in this system. 

 

For me it would probably average 1.5 years.  

I have played in a number of short campaigns that went only 4-6 months. 

Longest Campaign being 5.5 years. 

Shortest Campaign being 1.5 Month (We played 3 times a week)

 

With one of of the groups I regularly play with we do routinely have campaigns that link back to previous ones. (Never have we returned to the same characters, but our previous characters have made appearances in new campaigns. As in one I am in now I am playing the grandson of the current GM's character from a previous campaign.)

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Recently, my campaigns have all been fairly short. We'll play a system for about six months, then hop to another system. Sometimes we'll come back to a system to re-visit characters we really enjoyed, such as with Fate, where we've had the same group of characters run through three different adventures, also with GURPS Infinite Worlds.

 

I suspect we'll stick to Star Wars for another three or four months, maybe more. If so, that will about six months total.

 

The longest campaign my group and I ever had was a AD&D2 game that ran through a good portion of the '90s, with the characters hitting about 11th or 12th level.

 

And we've done more than a few one-shots over the years.

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I've noticed that as I got older the campaigns got shorter due to player fallout.

 

When I was first getting started (with ADnD back in 80) we ran a single continuous group of characters for about 12 years until we all went to different universities. We ran a Star Wars game as well from 85 to 92, so 7 years there. During university I had a few campaigns that lasted for 6 months to a year, then one that lasted for about 2. Through the 90's I had a couple of campaigns (1 star wars and another White Wolf). 

 

We've had a lot of 4-5 year campaigns through the ages, where I was telling sweeping epic stories (ran Pathfinder characters from level 1 through level 20 in about two years), but about 5 years ago that changed when we moved into our current house. we needed to get a new gaming group together and it's been hit or miss with people joining up and then dropping out (because of moving, or work schedule changes etc). It stopped me being able to tell really involved stories with overarching character development, so we have been doing a lot of shorter campaigns in the 3-6 month range, but I've noticed a steady decline in campaign length the older I've gotten.

Edited by Kyla

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Most of my campaigns don't last more than about 8 sessions. I think my friends don't have much sticking power, either that or I'm a rubbish GM.

 

Occasionally we come back to a campaign for a little while after a break.

 

As the previous poster mentioned, it gets harder as the players get older, since free time becomes harder to find.

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The weekly one I'm running now hit a year back in September. As long as there is interest, I'll keep GM'ing it. For the first year, we were firmly Edge of the Empire, but at the one-year mark, we transitioned to Age of Rebellion.

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The longest campaign I ever ran was a RIFTS (yeah, I know) campaign, and that lasted about 2.5 years.

 

I've been part of a D&D campaign that lasted about 2 years.

 

Since becoming gainfully employed and having a family, it gets increasingly challenging to manage longer campaigns, but I find with discipline and dedication they can last as long as they need to. Right now, I'm hoping this particular Star Wars campaign I'm building will last at least a year (which is about 24 gaming sessions, based on how often we're able to play).

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My longest campaign started on the year 1999 and stills active yet (16 years).

 

A campaign must end (if doesn't have a "planned ending" by players and GM) when one of the parts considers that it must end. If the campaign still have emotion, mysteries and adventures, then, the show must go on ;)

 

I don't care so much about XP limits. The main char have more than 2.600 XP and still have tons of challenges to beat. I give XP just when my player ask for it or when both consider that he needs to purchase something in particular.

 

So, don't worry about time, consider another progression method and create an epic story mate ;)

Edited by Josep Maria

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I am a horribly fickle GM and we are lucky to get 5 sessions before I have some new hairbrained idea and want to do something else. My players do not mind, they like the change up.

 

That said, the longest I ever had was a D&D 2e campaign, that converted into 3e that ran on and off for about 4 years.

 

Likewise, the WEG Star Wars D6 Campaign I was running about Criminals... with all PCs wanted by the Empire (Obligation before Obligation was even a thing)... it convienently got converted to the EotE Beta after the first year, ran for a little over 2 years.

Edited by BrashFink

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My group usually gets 6-18 months in a campaign, although this game has been on the shorter side. What usually ends our campaigns is when a new game system or enough new options come out that make us want to change up what we're currently playing. Once someone really wants a change, it doesn't take long of talking about the new option to get the rest on board.

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Current in-person campaign is about to hit the 2 year anniversary and has had 36 sessions.

Current online campaign is about 8 months old and has had 15 sessions.

 

I don't expect either of them to end any time soon.

 

We tried a Clone Wars campaign that only lasted 8 sessions, mostly because it was difficult to balance Jedi and non-Jedi powers in combat, and it was done before F&D was released, so some of that stuff was still pretty rough.

Edited by Jaspor

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I've had "campaigns" that lasted a month or two and others that lasted for a year and a half or more. It really depends on the group. In the case of shorter campaigns it is usually caused by the group breaking up or lacking interest to keep going (if we miss 3 or 4 sessions in a row from people deciding to do other things, then away goes the game).

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When i was younger campaings were long. Like 2-3 years per campaing. Now it's about 4-6 months. Probably due to the fact that i was less forgiving. So few campiangs ended when player characters died. But also mostly that we don't have so much time anymore and players tend to come and go. From my initial team formed 1 year ago after a few years of break from rpg's. Only one player remains, others shuffle, some come back after a time and some are gone forever. That's why i don't think i could start campaing that could last more than few months at best. And why bother with longer campaing when no one except GM (and maybe one player) will experience the full story.

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My campaigns tend to be very open-ended affairs, with the same group of characters going from one "mini-campaign" (by my standards, anyway) to another. I'm currently running a F&D campaign that's built more like a Pathfinder adventure path, with a definite beginning, middle and end, but that still leaves the possibility of another campaign later with the same characters. I like telling longer, more complex stories, and I think my players also enjoy getting to see their characters get really powerful as opposed to always starting a new group of noobs.

 

My EotE campaign currently has the PCs at around 750-800 XP, and no one's tired of their characters yet (at least not that they've told me about). I also have a campaign in the old D6 system that I'm planning to convert; it's been running since the fall of 1994 and still has several of the original characters alive and kicking. They actually got so badass that they've thoroughly broken the D6 system, which was never meant for high-level play in the first place.

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Ours tend to peter out due to RL obligations, although we managed to meet on average once a month to play since the Edge boxed set came out.  Some months we play twice, others not at all.  We at least try to keep to a regular schedule for dates (every other Thursday evening.)  

 

I'm looking to take this group virtual as a result of my impending move, we'll see how that shakes out.  

 

[edit: this is with group 1, my primary group.  Group 2 maybe got a session or two down before the fortunes changed, and group 3 was regular for years but different games, never more than half a dozen sessions per system. ]

Edited by themensch

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The story is the thing. I have ran for years and for months. I used to do a halloween game that was usually a one shot with a horror theme. I don't think there is an exp limit or a time limit. I think you run until the story, the players or you are done. The thing I always watch out for is not getting too attached to the campaign that I cannot be objective as to it quality. Sometimes you start with a grand epic idea and your players are not looking for that. I think each campaign has an end point and it might not always be where you think (or even want) it to be. Like a television show sometimes you need to just wrap up the lose ends and consider doing something different before you get too carried away and ruin what came before.

 

As long as you and your players still feel there are good stories to be told then a campaign is alive and well.

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I think there are a few factors that affect the longevity of a campaign:

 

- Dedication of the players

- How much they like the system

- How much they like the setting

- If there is a good GM

 

If all of the above are positive then I think a game can go on indefinitely. If one of the things above is negative, then from experience the campaign tends to fizzle out after a while.

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It's also a question of group stability: Two of my players, I've been gaming with them for more than 30 years. Our "newest" acquisition has been with us for about seven years.

 

Also, most of us have been living in the same city all the time. When I was away for a few years, I made sure to fly in for one weekend a month, or at least a day (there with the first plane and back again with the last).

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