Some interesting thoughts on campaigns

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Today’s link: someone’s thoughts on lessons learned from Odyssey:

There’s good stuff there about the value of costume guides and rules simplicity, and about magic styles.


This write-up has an interesting bit of comparison on versions of advancement for player characters - i.e. no advancement across games, I guess “normal” advancement, and “slow” advancement. The problem being with “normal” advancement (where I guess you gather XP or levels in-game) that more established players are significantly more powerful when compared to new players, which could impact the fun of new players and result in a stagnant player base. I suppose as well, if your established character died and you had to retreat to a new character back at the bottom of the rung again, some players may decide to end their story with the death of the first.

The other thing I thought of, is that depending on the type of game you were running, even without mechanical advancement you’re likely to get disparity between established and new PCs simply due to networking. Established characters may already have the ear of powerful allies or dirt on enough other players to make a difference, whereas even with some relationship webbing new players are missing those interactions. I also think that generally when playing an episodic or ongoing campaign, players expect to be able to make their character stronger or more adept at their favourite skills or more powerful in certain ways, and removing that mechanic may make longterm play less enticing. I thought the “you can change your class” idea they had in one of the games might fix that problem a little, but it’s a hard balance.

Rules simplicity is also important, if combat has too many rules in a game I just avoid it completely, but that’s not true for everyone. Costume guides are great too, especially for setting a certain tone from the outset.


Empire (which the article mentions a lot) is definitely pay-to-win. That doesn’t mean that the goal has to be to win, though. An underpowered and relatively inexperienced character could be just the thing if all you want is to have a weekend off. You’d be amazed what people might tell you if they think you’re harmless and friendly!

The things about established networks and powerful characters vs. new ones all happen exactly like that in long-running games. But they’re offset a bit by OOC networks if you’re an experienced player: they make it much easier to integrate a new character into existing factions and groups. If you’re a new player with a new character in a long-running game, well - good luck. It may go very well, or you may have the most boring weekend of your life. It’s hard to predict.

Costume guides are a good thing, I agree! Those for Empire in particular are amazing, and amazingly useful. I’d definitely go there for inspiration and a ticklist of things to think about if I ever need to write one.