The long campaign

I’ve looked over my adventure log and realized that our homebrew campaign of Terrene has gone on for over a year now. Most of my campaigns have gone on for 4-6 months. Granted I think when I was younger I could get a near weekly game in. Right now I try to run our D&D game every other week, and a handful of times we’ve only managed to get something going once a month.

Still it has been a long time. The group is currently level 5. I think I dragged out the leveling curve a bit when it all started. Most were new to the game (or new to 4ED), so I wanted players to have a bit of time to understand the mechanics of the game and their potential. Since then I’ve noticed the group is really getting some synergy in combats, and all of their characters have grown a lot, fleshing out their motivations and backgrounds more.

To be fair I’ve also run a sandbox game of sorts. There is an overarching story, but at the beginning I always gave the players an option B. So at a potential plot crossroads they could always stick to the main story and tackle the next objective, or run off and do the second option. Granted I do drop in some small elements to build on the main campaign plot, but most of the time it was a designed as a diversion for the main story. I think the players like this, as they have some direction but still have some opportunities to explore the world. The downside is that it can drag things out a bit for the main story of the campaign.

As things have gone on, I think the group is ready to try something different. As for myself, I’ve found Terrene is losing its luster. I’m ready for a change of scenery and want to run a different campaign. I’ve been chomping at the bit to run a Dark Sun campaign, but I think my group is leaning towards Eberron. I’ve stolen a lot of ideas from that setting for the current game, but I might explore the idea of subterfuge among the dragonmarked houses.

No mater what I’ve decided I’m going to stick to a shorter campaign run. I’m also considering throwing off the idea of a major story arc all together. I’m thinking instead of running a sandbox type of game, with the main objective of the group being to raise their status within one of the houses (or at least raise the status of their chosen patrons). I think I want to try and narrow down the scale and work on the PCs backgrounds also.

I really want to explore the concept of making the player’s backstories fodder for adventures. I’m sort of going down this road now, and I think it’ll help add some closure to the campaign if some of these issues are resolved. When starting this new campaign, I think I’ll require something meaty from every player.

So I am curious do folks run a longer game? If so what has make you wrap it up? Or are shorter campaigns of 4-6 months something more people like?

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