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BYO Living Campaign
One of the comments on Delta's post has got my brain spinning, and I wanted to explore it a bit here on my own blog. Here's the quote:

Also, a 'sandbox' campaign can be run at conventions. You take your sandbox to conventions and game days. Anyone can roll up a PC and participate. Anyone who has played in your sandbox before can bring back the PC they used before. Such PCs can gain levels and much of the other advantages of campaign play.


What Mr. Fisher is suggesting here is essentially a 'build your own living campaign'. I find the concept both fascinating and terrifying. I think the appeal is very similar to the appeal of the original West Marches concept, an idea I'd love to run with but I just don't think is really tenable.

The problem with West Marches is that it requires a fair amount of interest/excitement from a large group of players. Even though I feel I know a fairly large base of potential players (Helga's has 38 members right now), I find it difficult to get more than 3-6 of them excited about anything. And with numbers like that, you're really just running a traditional rpg with a lot of rules around theoretical other players that are never going to show up.

Now, altering it to simply bringing your sandbox with you to any convention/game day you go to does make it easier. You're not relying on the players to do the scheduling any more, and I assume it would be easy to fill any given game. Though I think unless you hit a lot of conventions or your local game shop very regularly, it would be unlikely that you get many real repeat players. At that point, how different is this really from just running individual self contained convention games? In fact, the only real difference I see is that the DM is no longer catering to the current experience, having some larger world-view goals in mind that the current players may not get. The end result is simply that a larger percentage of these games won't be very fun for everyone at the table.

I can't seem to shake the feeling that the idea is kind of cool, but I also can't find a way to make it work. It seems to me that the best experience remains regular home campaign play, and that everything else is a hollow attempt to recreate the magic of such. Sigh, if only all my gaming friends lived next door and we could play whenever we wanted.
July 31st, 2009 - 09:15 am | Comments (1) | PERMALINK

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