I'll be honest, it took me a few days, nearly a week really, to feel this way. The place needs some things, it has some quirks, and it took Delilah (my dog) quite a bit of time to get used it. If she isn't comfortable, or happy, neither am I. Luckily, we've both warmed up to the new digs.
Posting should be a bit more frequent, work schedule prevailing.
What constitutes a campaign these days?
In a recent conversation with my good friend Dan, we both touted how much we are looking forward to being part of a new, long term, RPG campaign. Something played often, say once a week, and with regularity. Sure, there might be an occasional need to skip, but it would be nice if we knew that every Friday night let's say, barring hell, or high water, we would be meeting at his place at 7 pm to run, or play X.
While we agreed on that wholeheartedly, how long that would go on for was the subject of some friendly debate.
For Dan, a campaign should go on for 6 months or so, with each session firing on all cylinders, and all the fat cut off. He wants a game that's lean, and mean, which ends with a satisfactory conclusion.
I see campaigns differently (big surprise - I tend to have a skewed perspective on many things).
I want a campaign without a predetermined endgame; one that lasts as long as it needs to in order to tell not just a meta-plot story, but the individual stories of each of the PCs. I want it to go on, and on...until it doesn't, or needn't, anymore.
It's also hard for me to 'cut out the fat', because frankly, what is the 'fat' in this case? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to waste valuable game time, but who determines value? To put a finer point on it, I don't want twenty-four sessions of action, and adventure, with no character development. I don't want twelve with character development, and twelve with action either. I want to the adventures to flow organically, the way the best of my adventures do. If the players feel the need to get into a fight, they can, and they will. If they'd prefer to emote, and role play out a deep philosophical discussion, I have no problem with that. More power to them.
What I'm saying is, the whole idea of a pre-set number of adventures, running for a pre-set number of hours, while all well, and good, and something I've certainly done, is not really what I want to do. I want my next great campaign to be like my current Traveller campaign, in that the PCs the players have created live in this universe we've developed. Stuff should take as long as it takes, as long as the players find what they are doing entertaining.
Some years back (and I know I mentioned it on this blog before) a friend of mine named Lee had the idea that a game session should only last four hours, or so. Around the same time, Zak Smith, and some other bloggers made mention that their sessions lasted about that long.
Then, as now, I would have to ask HOW? How is that even possible? Why is it so even if it is possible? It takes me about forty-five minutes to my Traveller games now that we run them at one of the player's homes. Round trip I'm spending $5.50, and it's taking me an hour, and a half to travel to, and from (45 minutes each way). If I'm not getting at least six good hours of gaming out of the that, I'm staying home.
Also, while I will tell the gang to 'get back on track' if we veer too far into out-of-game conversations, or references too long, I rarely put a time limit on in-game conversations unless there is something particularly pressing going on (i.e: the PCs are being chased, they are chasing someone, a time bomb, or some other proverbial clock is ticking, etc.). I like to let the players (through their PCs) explore the universe, and their relationships with each other, free of some scheduled agenda looming over their heads (even if there is one behind the scenes). PCs should experience the consequences, and ramifications of their actions, in a way that feels nature to the story, and setting.
Yes, sometimes I'm running The Muppet Show, and there needs to be a more directed, well-timed, and carefully thought out sequencing to the session so that it's A) funny, and B) feels like an episode of the show. Likewise, a Star Trek game where sessions are designed to be wrapped up in a single get together are very much designed, and run, with that criteria in mind.
What I want however, is a real deal, full on, no-holds-barred, long term campaign. I want the characters to eat, drink, and sleep in that universe. I want the kind of character depth that comes after 30+, 8 hour sessions. I want time taking up by seemingly mundane activities like talking to the local blacksmith, repairing the starship's phase regulating stabilizer coils, and arguments over whether young vigilante Lady Blue is a criminal, or a misguided hero.
I've rambled on long enough. In the end, I would be happy to run, or play, in a six month, action-packed adventure series that hits that target for all of its twenty-four sessions. But...if it doesn't...and I don't see how any campaign can hit the nail on the head perfectly every time your group gets together...if it doesn't I'm going to be really bummed we didn't give it forty sessions, with twenty-four great ones, and a whole lot of good ones.