Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More campaign styles

I have been talking about Sandboxes, Story and Emergent Campaigns for a while now. Never did I imagine that someone had already made a far longer list. Take a look at this one, and see what you think.

One thing that's interesting with that list, is that it's a different level of granularity. The Poverty Campaign for example, focus more on how the game will feel like as a player. Noteworthy is also the Internet Campaign, which focus more on the arrangement for play that its contents.

The three campaign styles mentioned above approach the subject from the perspective of a GM, or at least from a top-down view. Maybe the degree of granularity in the vocabulary, and a difference of viewpoint can help us get a more useful toolbox for rpg criticism. At least the vocabulary is about using words somewhat like their everyday usage, which Forgespeak don't do.

What are the things worth considering when starting a campaign? I will try to make a list of things I think are important.
  1. What are the level of GM control?
  2. What will be the feel and power level experienced by the players?
  3. Who or what will be the engine of the game? 
  4. Which rules set will help/hinder/enforce the ideas above?
A campaign with heavy GM control, powerful characters, a strong NPC and detailed and crunchy rules will have a very different feel from a campaign with player narrative, low power level, inter personal conflicts and rules which gloss over combat. I have been a GM in a Vampire game like the former one and played in a Primetime Adventure game like the latter one. I didn't like either of them! Worth noting is that none of Sandboxes, Story and Emergent Campaign describe all the nuances mentioned. Is this worth expanding upon? Until it has left my brain I probably will mull it over some more, for my own peace of mind if nothing else.

2 comments:

  1. Interesting- I suspect this will prove a valuable source of inspiration. It'd be interesting to pick out the styles that get the least support from existing rpg systems (inasmuch as the mechanics could be supporting that particular style), and try and build a system that's specifically oriented towards such games.

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