Weekend campaigns don't need to be big

campaigns
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#1

How many people do you need to do a weekend-long campaign game? Sizes have varied over the years: Teonn was a hundred people, Crucible 150 - 200, while more recent “big” games have for various reasons gone for a smaller format of ~45 players and as many crew as they can get. But how small can you get? @Ryan_Paddy sent me a copy of the first issue of Immersion the other day, and the Mordavia retrospective had a shocking statistic:

The first Mordavia event was attended by 12 players, 10 crew and 2 GMs.

It grew to 50 people by the end, but in the beginning it was just two dozen people. Venues were cheaper back then, and production standards lower, and their budget was very, very tight - but it does give some idea of a lower bound on size.

(It would be interesting to know what size some of the other games around at the time were…)


#2

24 people, and even smaller numbers, are totally viable for a weekend game. If the tickets will pay for the costs, of course.

That particular event was the first weekend event we had run, so we lacked the learnings that came later. It was quite linear, and the PCS mostly travelled about staying together and doing everything as a party. That was probably partly because of the small numbers, but likely also because we didn’t know how to design it otherwise. These days I would try to split the players into around 3 groups of 4 and give them some reasons not to cooperate, so they have more varied interactions and can do some things in smaller groups. Same with the crew, I’d try to have more things happening in parallel now.

On the other hand, even with small numbers the players did a lot of epic stuff. Made a deal with Baba Yaga (they reenacted a historic event to help her see into the past), raised the body of the land’s greatest hero and defeated his undead legion to claim his holy weapon, and then used it to defeat a nest of vampire lords. Plus we got the unsavoury atmosphere we wanted across pretty effectively, and lots of smaller events. So smaller numbers don’t really limit the sense of scale.


#3

If you’re doing basic fantasy, how much space do you need? I get the impression some of the Mordavia venues weren’t very big.


#4

You don’t need that much space, actually, if you’ve got enough plot. But you really have to structure your weekend around the location to make it work.