View Full Version : Living Campaigns

2007-12-24, 01:45 AM
I've played lots of convention games throughout the years, but I've never done a Living Campaign. So... what's it like?

My experiences with convention games really turned me off of the idea, but with Living Forgotten Realms coming down the pike, I'm willing to take another look.

What turned me off was... well, to be quite frank... dealing with strangers as the other players, as well as poor GMs and bizarre modules that require you to know the inside joke to be able to progress. For example, I distinctly remember a game at a smal convention (in Waterloo, Ontario, where I went to University) where the party arrives at the deserted castle, and the only way to find the secret door to the actual adventure was to stick an iron bar liberated from a stair rail, up a gargoyle's nose. This was apparantly something that all the full members of the some club was already aware of, and it was an attempt to keep non-club convention go-ers from getting into the tournament finals. Far from being an isolated incident, I kept running into this kind of stuff in the convention games I've played al across Canada and the US.

Basically, how restrictive are these games, on average to you think they play well, and how much effort do you have to put into it?

2007-12-24, 03:29 AM

I assume when you are talking about "living campaigns" you are you talking about ongoing campaigns that last for weeks/months/years. ( Let me know if I am wrong.)

How restrictive a campaign is, tends to mostly depend on the DM and his style. He may be more story focused and bend the rules to fit, or he could be more mechanics focused and enforce the RAW even when they don't quiet seem realistic/logical. He may favor hack-n-slash dunegeon grinding, or games of politics and intrigue.

As a long as you have a DM that works with your playing style a campaign shouldn't feel restrictive.

How well a campaign will play depends a large part of the dynamics and functionality of the party. If the players in the party work well together the campaign can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. If the players don't mesh well and there is a lot of PvP conflict the campaign can end rather quickly.

As long as you have a group of people you enjoy playing with, the game should be fun to play.

For most campaigns you get what you put into them. Though generally I have found that the longer the campaign, the more important it is to have regular and consistent attendance.

Hopefully this has helped. Let me know if you have any more questions or would like some clarification.


2007-12-24, 03:51 AM
I've playtested a Living Greyhawk module that was written by my chem professor. Since I was adapting it slightly to fit into the campaign in progress, I found the amount of references to other modules was really difficult to keep track of, and ended up removing a lot of it since my players wouldn't have a clue in hell as to what was going on. I as the DM was getting very confused as to which person was which and what their relevance was--and this was with all the explanation included. The players would have been lucky to get half of it (if they didn't have a bard or someone with Knowledge: Bandit Kingdoms up the wazoo, they'd have been totally in the dark.)

Also, it seemed very easy to "screw up" if you didn't know exactly what the module writer wanted you to do. I looked over another 3 of the same professor's modules (admittedly, another 2 of those hadn't been playtested either), and it was the same way with them. Some seemingly valid decisions would terminate the module quite early.

I realize that this is just one writer, with a non-convention group (instead, a group of college friends of mixed D&D experience), but that's my experience with it. Hope it helps. :smallsmile:

2007-12-24, 07:38 AM
Having played a single character through about 15 adventures in Living Greyhawk I can say that Living campaigns are a different kind of animal than homebrew campaigns.

If you find something during an adventure, you will not necessarily be allowed to keep it. Treasure is something you buy. When you complete an adventure you are given a certain amount of 'cash' with which you can purchase items made available during the adventure. I believe you have to purchase said item within 3 adventures or you lose access to it.

Another thing is that you will have a history of your character through their adventure record sheets. Kind of a nice thing if you are into role-playing because it can refresh your memory as to what you have been through. If you lose these record sheets, getting copies is problematic. You will not be able to play a character unless you can explain how they got every item they have (if someone challenges the character).

Characters are created with point-buy, and there are often severe limitations on what classes, feats, and books are available to get stuff out of. Be warned that most livng campaigns have severe anti-cheese limitations.

Kurald Galain
2007-12-24, 08:01 AM
My overall impression of Living Greyhawk is that it's really not all that interesting, and generally not worth the money that the events tend to cost.

Indeed, there are a number of poor GMs and bizarre modules out there, but more importantly nearly all of the adventures are a simple railroad plot and/or dungeon crawl. Aside from that, too many of the players either don't know what they're doing, or are munchkiny rules lawyers.

It gets boring pretty quickly, leveling tends to be really slow given the mandatory recommendations for XP per session, and character development is problematic since your group changes all the time.

My recommendation? Get a real group. Start one, if necessary. It's way more fun.

2007-12-24, 08:57 AM
what the hell is a living campaign?

2007-12-24, 09:07 AM
what the hell is a living campaign?

An official campaign that they run at D&D conventions. That's the short of it.

2007-12-24, 11:34 AM
The thing to remember "Living" series are an already established campaign. Not having played certain modules is a lot like having "missed" a session. To the point that certain modules require your character have certain "certs" in their records. Partially so you'll know what's going on, partially for internal consistency.

You're also going to have to accept that you're a part of an open beta test. As that's where WotC gets a lot of feed back. Given that, depending on your region, there's can be a lot of munchkins there, that can be a good thing for WotC, as just how broken the system is is on pretty constant display.

How fast you level will be dependent on which modules you play.

2007-12-24, 12:28 PM

I assume when you are talking about "living campaigns" you are you talking about ongoing campaigns that last for weeks/months/years. ( Let me know if I am wrong.)

Nah, I'm talking about the RPGA 'Living' campaigns that are played at conventions and the like, like Living Greyhawk, Living City, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Living_campaigns