I’ve got this weekend off from my game — hmm, that sorta makes it sounds like work, doesn’t it? It’s not — so I’m doing some reading on the web and in print on general campaign management sorts of things, strategizing for the next month or so of sessions. I’m moving from the opening game to the middle game at this point. The players are starting to settle into their characters, and I’m getting my DMing “sea legs” back a bit. Up to this point, the campaign plot has been fairly erratic. So, I’m taking a step back and doing a little plotting and planning.
While I’ve started weaving in some action from what I sorta put forth as the core story for the characters in a previous post, I need something bigger that all of these smaller story threads will be working toward, and I think I think I’ve seized upon an endpoint.
While the general idea for D&D campaigns seems to be that years-long slog from level 1 to level 20 (and beyond), I’ve never managed to do that, though I have tried. I’m okay with shorter campaign arcs, though, even as short as a handful of sessions. Mostly it’s because I have lots of ideas for campaigns (and not just in D&D), but I have scarce gaming time. I’m pretty much limited to one session per week due to work and family obligations (I have a rambunctious 2-year-old son), so I usually feel that I’d like to get in, get some stuff done, and get out without letting things drag on too much. Then it’s off to the next game/system/group/campaign.
My current Eberron D&D campaign was originally conceived as mid-length game, maybe six months or so, and even that would be pretty long for me and most of the people I play with. I wanted to play with a pretty definite endgame in mind, then the concept sorta wandered, and the game has been much more generic D&D in flavor than I intended or anticipated. However, I’m coming back to the idea of a definite place I want them to end up. What’s ironic, is that, for most of the characters in this group, I can see some really long-term play (e.g., one character is pretty much doomed to lead a nation or a Dragonmarked house), but I think I’m going to go for something shorter and faster and maybe more tragic.
Of course, since some of my players are reading this blog now, I can’t reveal that endgame. Yeah, yeah, I know, player knowledge isn’t character knowledge, and there are situations in which I can definitely see planning out that endgame with the players and then all of us working toward that goal together. However, this group and this game are a little old school, so more of the burden is on me for plotting purposes, and more of the burden to step on up is on the players. So far, it’s working out okay.
I’ve realized that there are a number of other sorts of games I’d like to run in the Eberron campaign setting. I really enjoy this setting, and I’ll definitely return to it in the future (and maybe not just with D&D as a rule system — I definitely see a Savaged Eberron in my future). In fact, I’m already planning a very different sort of campaign to run after this one finishes (more on that later). So, some ideas I was trying to fit into this current campaign will get filed away for that other game, and now that I’ve got some focus back, it’s time to start plotting some situations and NPCs who will — I don’t want to say “lead,” but I really do want to say that, too! — okay, play roles in the endgame. But, there are several months of gaming to go before we get there…