August 14, 2017
RPGaDay Question #14
Question #14: Which RPG do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?
Huh, this is a bit of a tough one, as I generally don't do a lot of "open-ended" campaign play these days. As a GM, I'm not that great at running truly "open-ended" campaigns as I prefer my campaigns to have a definite starting and ending point. That's not to say I'd be adverse to returning to a previously ended campaign, but that would be a new and separate story arc as opposed to an ever-continuing one.
Back in the day, I had what I guess you could call an open-ended campaign in the form of a long-running WEG Star Wars campaign that went across generations, starting out in the early days of the Galactic Civil War, then after a while skipping ahead a generation with the players taking the roles of the children of their previous characters, and then after a bunch of sessions jumping ahead another generation to take up playing the grandkids. It ran for quite a while before the group in general kind of got tired of it and we at last put the campaign to bed. It was fun, and I wound up coming up with a lot of stuff that in hindsight makes me cringe, but it wasn't as out there as some of the stuff that authors came up with for the New Jedi Order or other Legacy series, but like I said it was a lot of fun.
Now a days, I'd probably go with Green Ronin's Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition for an open-ended campaign as the way it operates you can very easily have a PC whose Power Level never really increases beyond their starting point but still be effective, with their experience being spent not to boost their main abilities but instead to broaden their capabilities. Which is not unlike how the main heroes in most comic books tend to operate, especially Marvel. Tony Stark might constantly tweak and upgrade his Iron Man suits, but they generally have the same set of powers, often with broader range of effects, and Spider-Man is pretty much the same wise-cracking webslinger in terms of his powers.
Another viable choice would probably be FFG's Star Wars RPG, since there's almost always something for your character to spend their XP on, especially if you're a Force user. And with the way specializations and talent trees operate, you can have characters with hundreds if not thousands of XP that aren't grossly overpowered, but instead becoming broadly competent in a breadth of different areas.
Yet another possible choice would be John Wick Presents' 7th Sea 2nd edition. With a character's advancement tied to Stories, be it personal or GM-based, there's not really any such thing as forgettable XP awards, as each Story a Hero completes allows them to grow and develop. As long as the GM and the players can keep coming up with fun and interesting Stories, I could see a campaign of 7th Sea going for years.
Tomorrow's question should be an interesting one to answer, given how much of a self-avowed tinker-monkey I am when it comes to RPGs. Tune in tomorrow for what's likely to be a long and rambling answer.