Over at Tankards & Broadswords the subject was raised of Episodic vs Campaign focused games. This came at a interesting time for me as I am finding myself increasingly focused on episodic style games. I know that this is a result to all of the heavy lifting I have done for my Northern Marches campaign and prior to that the work I did for my Castles & Crusades campaign.
I am enjoying the Northern Marches game immensely! It has been great to see so many things come together into a very enjoyable campaign and I am hoping it goes on for quite some time. But I have been discussing getting my old C&C group back together for some gaming and the thought of putting together another long-term campaign does not interest me. If they were interested in the Northern Marches game that would be great but they are not.
Ideally, I would like to run a series of short "arcs" each one taking approximately 6 sessions - micro-campaigns if you will. Each micro-campaign could be kicked off with a collaborative brainstorming session. What does everyone want from the game? What flavour? Epic or gritty? Sword & sorcery or high fantasy? Political or dungeon crawling?
This would also allow for players to say, "Hey, remember Oscar the fighter I played a couple of months ago? He was fun. I want to play him again and try to kill that rat bastard wizard that fireballed his horse...". Or they could say, "I have always wanted to try a political game set during a war. How about we roll up various advisors to the king and try to win a war?".
Favorites could be revisited or new things could be tried.
Now admittedly these small mini-campaigns would be slightly railroady but I don't have a huge problem with that as everyone would have agreed during the brainstorming session as to the goal of the game.
The ideal of having a finish line is attractive to me right now. The Northern Marches game scratches my ongoing campaign itch. To mix my metaphors, the horizon of the Northern Marches is vast and unexplored. I can't wait to see what is over the next hill. But for starting a new game, I want a light at the end of the tunnel.
What type of games do you prefer? what type do you usually play? Are there any pitfalls to watch out for in an episodic game?