TTRPG : Your Favorite Style of Campaigns / Sessions

Started by Oexmelin, August 15, 2023, 06:22:33 PM

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Following from the "Syt plays" thread, for those of you who have played table-top RPG, what were your favorite types of campaigns / adventures?

"Monster of the week" ? Expedition to foreign lands? Dungeon crawling? Chosen one, or heroes against the world-ending cataclysm? Social role-play? Grand adventures around the globe? Are your characters "super-heroes" or do they tend to be slightly more competent ordinary folks?

I realize some of the above may be system-dependent, but I would imagine you pick systems to fit your favorite style.

My fantasy campaigns tend to be close to historical medieval Europe, so I tend to favor remaining in a specific locale - a fief, a town, with some occasional distant ventures, usually on some kind of quest motivated by the pursuit of forgotten lore, or by some more "layman" pursuits that pair well with exploration / discovery.

It has remained true in recent years, as my group and I began playing Blades in the Dark, which tends to favor one-time sessions and subgroups (which does well with grown adults with busy lives...). It takes place in a quasi-Victorian city (the designer was heavily influenced by Dishonored, the video game).
Que le grand cric me croque !

Sophie Scholl

I hate "Chosen One" concepts and overpowered super characters. I much, much prefer slice of life, average ability characters who struggle and are relatable for me as a player. I loathe min-maxing and rules lawyering in others as they are anathema to what I consider good roleplaying. I love world building and adventures that span all manner of things from the totally mundane like delivering mail or helping a village out with building things to dungeon delving, great battles, and diplomatic intrigue. I'm fine with sticking to a small area or going on world/universe spanning adventures. It really depends on what the gm/dm/storyteller wants to pursue as well as the other players. As long as it makes sense to do and it makes sense for the party to pursue it together, I'm game. I like to have an at least somewhat unified purpose in the group and not just, "we're together because we're all rp-ing together but our characters don't make sense together". I'm more into fantasy than sci-fi, but I've partaken in long campaigns of both (Lord of the Rings and Star Wars). I don't mind one-shots or long campaigns, though I prefer long campaigns so I can really invest in my character, the world, and the party. RP is a big reason why I keep playing World of Warcraft. I can engage in fun pick-up rp or pursue guild based campaigns and what not while not being beholden to the nature of finding time, players, a gm, and steady meetings for a ttrpg effort.
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I prefer "close to historical" over high fantasy. I really dislike magi-tech that's "let's play a modern super-hero game with modern technology, only it's all powered by elementals and whatnot".

I like building/ domain/ local based games where NPCs will often be reccurrent and established relationships matter. I tend to prefer underdogs and shades of gray as opposed to super-heroes and saving the world.

I should like one-shots (busy family life and all that), but I prefer longer term.

Probably close to my ideal game type would be something like an extended Ars Magica campaign with multiple PCs, but I've never actually played in a game like that so I don't know whether it'd hold true in real life.

All that said, I tend to be more of a DM than a player.

The Brain

IIRC I have never played chosen-one stuff in a TTRPG, and I don't like the concept. I prefer that the PCs are basically normal people (though possibly slightly above the average guy since not everyone is cut out for adventuring), I've never cared for super-hero stuff.

I like and have played many different genres (fantasy, horror, sci-fi, historical...), but here I'll talk about fantasy since it's the most common genre. I prefer low magic worlds, and "non-menagerie" worlds when it comes to intelligent races. I remember reading a D&D world module and magic was very common, which to my mind meant that for instance a warehouse cannot just have solid walls and locked doors to keep out thieves, but has to have magic defenses against magic users as well. That style of world doesn't interest me.

I really like campaign play, either long campaign modules or many shorter adventures with the same PCs. I have also played various one-shot RPGs, like Ten Candles and similar, and enjoyed them, they really produce a lot of roleplaying and story in a short time, very efficient.

I like travel. A campaign can have a "base" with long-term relationships etc, but travel from there to various interesting places is nice.
Women want me. Men want to be with me.


The only ever TTRPG I played was Firefly/Serenity with friends which I DMed for them. It was fun, but we mostly kept it low stakes. Usually taking on a job for an employer and getting in a bit over their head. We had a fun session of the transport ship they had booked passage on being boarded and searched by Feds, and while they had plenty to conceal the Feds were actually looking for another person (who was meanwhile trying to frame them to escape arrest). Another time I had them thrown into a penal colony mining for rocks having to make it out. Which led to them having to re-obtain their ship again afterwards which had been stolen by their nemesis (who they had stolen it from in the first place).

Occasionally I hinted at them meddling with things much greater than themselves (Hands of Blue showing up in one session to take away an artifact the players had hunted and racking up a scary bodycount, leaving them behind quite terrified but also intrigued; I was planning to bring this back up but occasionally, but we stopped playing after a year or so.) They had their own little feud with two characters that I had introduced has one-time baddies but where the encounters had been so fun and memorable that I found ways to bring them back every once in a while as recurring characters and foils to their plans.

The game system was quite intuitive, not too stats heavy, and relied more on roleplaying and character traits than intense dice rolling. Combat was fun and fast, and it was quite easy to make adjustments as needed. And of course the premise of the series has players be quite accepting of things sometimes going very wrong (like when one of the guys who was supposed to be a super cool operative and who their employer had considered the brains of the outfit rolled several critical failures during a job, leading to a rather amusing debrief afterwards).
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I like to have some overarching story arc in my campaigns, though not necessarily "save the world". I tend to have trouble getting tied down to one location, so my campaigns often feature plenty of travel. :D


That was the beauty of the Firefly setting. You could go to the known big sci-fi city planets, or just create a new frontier settlement on the fly, or anything in between. IIRC one of the books had rules for rolling dice to create colonies with various features/foibles. :D

The advantages of having only 14 episodes, a movie, and some comic books to work from, as opposed to a fully fleshed out universe like Star Trek or Star Wars that's creaking and groaning under the weight of its lore and continuity. :P

Speaking of space TTRPG - HumbleBundle currently has a bunch of Traveller books:
I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.
—Stephen Jay Gould

Proud owner of 42 Zoupa Points.


My biggest campaigns back in the day were in the Forgotten Realms actually, with its massive amounts of lore. That was the reason why there was a lot of travel, because you could always find something on any place you went to. :D

crazy canuck

I liked to create a theme based on an historical time period, and then world build from there, in a low magic environment. When the players know the theme and the historical context, they can better picture what is happening in their own minds, and actively participate in world building. As a GM I tried my best to fit encounters into the context of the world the players had helped build through the decisions they were making.  I really dislike premade worlds and dungeons.



So let me be clear - I haven't played a table-top RPG since sometime in the 90s, and most of the ones I played were in the 80s.

So for starters: who didn't start out with a good, old-fashioned dungeon crawl in D&D?  Who didn't have fun doing it.  I know I sure did.  As a kid we wound up playing much more "Basic" D&D as opposed to AD&D.

My favourite though is the only one I never got rid of and still have down in my basement: Traveller.  I think I "played" it far more by creating characters / creating worlds, than I did in actually playing campaigns.  Character creation was always interesting though (is probably far too random) - instead of playing some fresh-faced 18 year old you created a whole backstory, oftentimes being a grizzled vet.  There was a huge backstory to the universe, but since it's jus that - a whole universe, it was never a "chosen one" scenario - you were just some poor schlub up against the universe.

I remember having lots of fun with Steve Jackson's Toon - where you play as animated cartoons.  Not really suited to long campaigns but great fun for a session.

Vampire.  Ah yes.  I played that a few times.  I even LARPed it once (only time I ever did that).  I actually preferred the related game Mage, although it got kind of meta and weird.

Well, those are just a few of my favourites.  But you name a game from that era and I probably played it.  :nerd:

Edit: oh one more: Twillight: 2000.  Fun and games playing in post-apocalyptic wasteland!  It was fun in that the setting was pretty well based in "reality" there was some other game (quick googling: Gamma World) that took a much more fantastical approach.  You were former soldiers trying to survive in the aftermath of WWIII, set obviously in the year 2000.  The setting kind of lost it's appeal after the end of the cold car and as the year 2000 approached.  You had whole sourcebooks just of the different types of NATO and Warsaw Pact weaponry and vehicles you might encounter.
Posts here are my own private opinions.  I do not speak for my employer.


Another 'vote' for traveller, because it seemed 'real'.

Incidentally if you haven't got access to any rule books, there's a facsimile version of the original starter set available for free here:
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again"


Quote from: mongers on August 16, 2023, 04:43:27 PMAnother 'vote' for traveller, because it seemed 'real'.

Incidentally if you haven't got access to any rule books, there's a facsimile version of the original starter set available for free here:


I, of course have access to the rule books.  Hell, I have Traveller, MegaTraveller, Traveller: The New Era, Marc Miller's Traveller (aka T4).  I understand there is a T5 but even I have limits.

Posts here are my own private opinions.  I do not speak for my employer.


I never had fun with D&D.

I think I mentioned it before, but I encountered RPG differently, mostly because of the availability of French translations. I knew of D&D because of the cartoon and toys, not as a RPG. The RPG I encountered were the Dark Eye (a German RPG) and Dragon Warriors (a British RPG) because both had been translated into French by the same publisher who published most "Choose your own adventure" books. I had a cousin who played the Dark Eye, and we eyed those books each time I walked into the local bookstore, because I found the covers to be amazing. But ultimately, I picked up Dragon Warriors, because that's the one the local library had.

It's realistic conceit (places were transparent analogs to medieval Europe, with just enough "wondrous locations", magic was rare and frightening, clerics were more "Jedi knight/Asian sage" than channels of existing divine powers) ruined D&D for me.

Each time I played, i did not enjoy it. Perhaps because i think I preferred  different sets of clichés ;-) or perhaps, strangely, because the other players were really into "the rules", and I never really was.

I never really was into comics either - and it seemed to me there was some sort of connection between both. Every time I have played D&D, for instance, I have encountered "murder hoboes" - and never in any other sets of rules or settings. Which may simply be bad luck in finding groups.

But I think, as Syt mentioned and Brain alluded to, that the D&D setting isn't terribly well fleshed out as a working, living, breathing society that has drawn the consequences of having so much available magic, and so many power mad people running around, despite having a ton of lore-related material.
Que le grand cric me croque !


I usually GM so it depends on what sort of characters my players are playing. I always make the world darker than the characters so for example in my current 1-on-1 game my son is playing a CN thief so the world is LE and has conspiracies and plots and secrets and things for my son to break and all that.

So I guess most of my games are: the players is struggling against more powerful and more malevolent forces to get whatever they want.

And I do play D&D but I play 2nd Edition (sort of...I play pretty fast and loose with the rules and anything I do like from later editions I just steal...and also most 2nd edition stuff is now online for free so that's nice as well) since I find from 3rd edition onwards the characters are too magical and powerful. I want my players mundane and the forces arrayed against them to seem mysterious and powerful.

But that is just me and it isn't like I have much time to play these days anyway. My poor son is always like "can we play tonight?"

I also have only dabbled in other games.

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