When Are Campaigns ‘Long’?

Tonight is session 20 in the Mystamyr campaign that started a year ago and which has been played more consistently than any game I have run in a very long time. But here’s the thing I’ve been wondering: When does the idea of a campaign become a ‘long campaign’?

It seems that this is an entirely subjective judgement: if you run one-shots and find it hard to get to session three, then surely twenty sessions will feel like an enormously long experience? On that level, 20 sessions is certainly an achievement for me because it’s a game that got through my anxious six-session barrier. Thanks to all the players who have made that happen.

But it might be deeper still. For me, Mystamyr began back in 2016 and is a world that has grown over 6 years into the game that we are playing today. How much does the continuation of a game over multiple groups but set within the same world count when we are considering the concept of a continuous campaign?

It’s has been vitally important to me to develop the world through play and maintain the consistency of detail through each iteration of the game. Is this commitment to the realm of Mystamyr more important than the number of sessions played with any one group? Surely the accumulated lore, experience, and detail that grows through play is not simply thrown aside when one particular group of players steps aside?

What is the Mystamyr campaign? Is it the particular series of sessions we have been enjoying this past year? Or is it something larger than that? Is there a meta-campaign, or is this the essence of what a long campaign really means?

Some would argue that Blackmoor has been played for more than 50 years, though different people have sat at the table and even the GM has changed. Is this what it means to run a long campaign?

I am not sure I have any easy answers. Thoughts welcome.

Game on!

One comment

  1. Possibly all those things.
    Of course it will be different from the varying perspectives.
    The GM and creator of Mystamyr can enjoy its continued development, the development of the setting/world and the wealth of lore, maps, PCs and NPCs that exist within it.
    Players may only see their glimpse through their character for as long as that lasts.
    An external viewer or one that dips in and out as a player may see more… toward the Blackmoor perspective u described.
    I’m certain that Mystamyr has left a strong enough mark now, that it will never be gone from your memory, has an identity and form beyond a number of games played, or the people who played it.
    Thank you for letting us walk through that world as you see it.

    Like

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