The traditional style of play for most RPGs focuses on the long-term campaign. A compelling storyline that both players and DMs invest in. It’s a shared experience that develops over the course of months and in some cases years. Typical campaigns require a level of commitment from all involved to attend regular gaming sessions.
With 4e and the introduction of Dungeon Delves, the traditional view of what it means to play Dungeons & Dragons has changed. While long-term campaigns with engaging storylines are still the norm, short one night adventures have a great deal of appeal.
There are currently 18 core character classes in 4e D&D, with 8 more coming next summer when the PHB 3 is released. Add in Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies and there are a lot of choices available for players to use when creating characters.
In my mind this increases the appeal of short one or two night adventures. It allows me to try the various character options at various levels. It provides the best of both worlds. The short adventure will have a plot device that I can buy into and I’m still able to create a character with a vivid background.
I’m still a fan of long term campaigns. I enjoy the level of commitment they require, the work that the DM puts in to create an engaging long-term story, the effort players take to enjoy that work. Undoubtedly, the most memorable characters I’ve played have come out of long-term campaigns. However, every time I’m in a long-term campaign I’ll come across an interesting character concept and I’ll have the desire to try it out. Unfortunately, I’m not willing to retire the existing character in the campaign. After all, I’ve put a lot of work into them.
Right now my gaming group is on a break between two campaigns. We’ve opted for a few delves, followed by a short mini-campaign before we launch into something long-term again. This provides a nice balance, though I think I’d like an extra week or two of delves. I have more characters I’d like to try out.
What’s your preference? Do you enjoy long-term campaigns or shorter dungeon crawls? Vote in our poll below and let us know the style of play you enjoy most.