August 9, 2017
RPGaDay Question #9
Question #9: What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions?
Honestly, there's quite a few of them that work, provided you as the player aren't too hung up on character advancement. So in that vein, my answers are going to focus on RPGs where the characters start out highly competent and really don't have to fret too much about failing tasks that are within the character's niche unless it's something well and truly difficult.
To go back to the olden days of RPGs, WEG's D6 Star Wars was one such game, and according to Bill Slavicsek the game was very much intended for what these days are referred to as "mini-campaigns" that often only last for a dozen sessions at most. And unless you're playing a Force user, there's not really a point where your character feels less than competent within their area of expertise.
Of more recent fair, I'd have to say that 7th Sea 2nd edition is a solid choice. As I noted in an early blog post, Heroes in this game start out quite capable, and with the way character advancement works it's entirely possible for a Hero to accomplish a major personal goal by the time the mini-campaign wraps up.
I could also see various FATE Core and FATE Accelerated games being good for mini-campaigns. Depending on how you set up your skills/approaches, it could well be that your character only occasionally needs to invoke an aspect to be able to succeed at tasks, which is good because depending on how the GM handles the milestone system, you may not be seeing a whole lot of growth in terms of your skill ranks.
Now one RPG worth mentioning with regards to this question is Shadow of the Demon Lord. While the overall mechanics fell much too clunky for my liking and the characters generally start out as 0th level scrubs, the game itself is very much geared towards the mini-campaign model, with the notion that each successfully completed adventure (i.e. session) gives the characters a level advancement, and with it capping out at 10th level, once that last session is in the books, it's pretty much time to retire the characters and embark on a new mini-campaign.
Another contender is FFG's Star Wars RPG. While it might seem that you need loads of XP in order to really make your character capable, the introduction of Knight Level play in the Force and Destiny core rulebook allows a group to make characters that are a good deal more capable than your typical starting character, including the option for much better gear than what most starting characters can afford. And such, if you only play for 10 or so sessions, you're not as worried about your character's advancement since you already start off with about 10 session's worth of XP under your belt. In fact, I'd posit that the main characters from A New Hope and The Force Awakens all started out as Knight Level characters, with Luke and Rey not spending all their XP right off the bat so that they could later spend them on Force-related abilities as they came to learn more about the Force.
Alright, so that's my answer to #9. Tune in tomorrow for Question #10, and where this gamer goes to get the skinny on new entries into the market.