Your best campaigns ever!

Gamer Life General Discussion

Inexorably, as I near 50 years old, I come slowly toward the end of a long gaming career. What are some of the coolest campaigns you've ever run or played in?

Here's my list:

FASA Dr Who - Back in the mid 1980s, Dr Who was a big deal to geeks and completely unknown to everyone else. I picked up this game when I was in my mid-teens and both ran and played Timelord characters solo with one of my best friends. Pretty typical sci-fi fare, but back then it was just Amazing to play in the Whoniverse.

Triumph campaign (DC Heroes RPG) - This campaign, started in my college years, lasted over 10 years; at the beginning, players played Super versions of themselves in our college town. The players, characters, and game-world expanded over that decade, and I wrote three years of blog recapping those adventures in prose form.

American Revolution D&D (modified Advanced D&D) - set during the American Revolution if there were Elves, Orcs, and Magic in our world. The player characters were the rebels, of course, and the theme was patriotically, self-awaredly myopic. My fav was a Ravenloft episode where the Hessian mercenary's player was RP'ing so hard he was cowering under a table!

Crisis in the Ran-DC Universe (cross-system) - I ran a multi-night cross-over where players played whatever characters they wanted from multiple different campaigns/game systems, fighting to save all known existences from an evil GM. I used a comparative system where each character acted against difficulty levels in his own system. It was the finale to my college era gaming.

Collisions (D&D 3.0) - In this campaign, I pondered what would happen if the D&D universe collided with our own. The world was much similar to ours, except that science had failed once the magic from the D&D universe spilled in. All technology could now only be powered by magic. Instead of massive nations we had devolved to city-states. Dungeons from another universe had overlaid themselves on ours.

Call of Cthulhu (D20 Cthulhu/D20 Modern mashup) - I was a player in this one. I played a divine caster, a Kabbalah powered version of Tori Spelling! As with all Cthulhu games, I'm sure we got our butts kicked in the end.

Kingmaker (Pathfinder) - My second Pathfinder campaign, the first one set in Golarion. Pretty much ran by the modules. The main hero was a half-fiend, which lead at one point late in the campaign to a conflict with an army of Paladins flying on Crystal Dragons. As the heroes won, the Druid's player shouted "Whooo, we kicked those Paladin's asses! Wait. Are we the bad guys here?"

American gods (Pathfinder, Mythic) - Not a direct copy of the Gaiman series, but a similar concept. I was a player, and we were destined to become a modern day pantheon. I started with an evil but lovable Lex Luthor-like businessman/scientist. My comparitive physical weakness became more and more obvious as the game went on, but with abilities like Dominate and a Diplomacy score so unbelievable it may as well have been dominate, I ruled social interaction.

Alien Invasion (Pathfinder/Modern Path) - A post-apocalyptic campaign where the Mi-Go devastated Earth during an invasion.

Arzata Abnormal (Pathfinder/Modern Path) - My first campaign on Paizo's website, the characters were paranormal investigators in the fictional town of Arzata, NM. They fought zombies, secret societies, efreeti (on the elemental plane of fire) and more.

So, those are SOME of my best games. What are yours?

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
rando1000 wrote:
Inexorably, as I near 50 years old, I come slowly toward the end of a long gaming career. What are some of the coolest campaigns you've ever run or played in?

Hey! I'm (slightly) older than you, and I'm NOWHERE near the end of my gaming career!

Here are some of my campaign highlights...

The Lirikos Campaign
System: AD&D 1e/2e
Time: 1988-92

When I was in college, I joined the campus gaming club. We met every Friday night at one of the academic buildings, and had full access to the classrooms and comference rooms for gameplay. Most of the roleplayers were in the same D&D campaign: one of the GM's homebrew setting ("Lirikos") that he wrote in high school. At any time, there were between three and eight GMs each running different parties in the same world, at the same time. (GMs would either write their own adventures or run modules.) The GMs got together often to discuss what was happening in their games, so that events in one group affected others. We even wrote some metaplot that affected the world. Toward the end of semester, we'd arrange for all of the parties to converge into a grand event. (We called that the "Ballroom Brawl" after the first such session that happened at a fancy gala event.) Afterward, the players could reshuffle themselves into different groups. Many of the GMs (including me) would shift back and forth between being a player and GMing.

We didn't have a term for it, but we essentially set up our own little organized play society!

Operation: CONDOR
System: GURPS Espionage/Illuminati/Cthulhu/Mage: The Ascension
Time: 1994-96

The PCs were US government agents assembled into a joint-agency task force investigating paranormal activity. Those from agengies without domestic police powers were deputized as US Marshals. Over time, the agents developed latent psychic or magical powers as they uncovered a conspiracy that threatened life on earth: A rogue faction of the Bavarian Illuminati had contacted aliens from a planet orbiting the star Algol. These aliens promised this faction vast power (and a spaceship) in exchange for helping them summon Hastur the Unspeakable to Earth, using New York City as a vast blood sacrifice. The PCs allied with a cabal of vampires to stop them. I played Anton "Tony" Bednarov, former CIA intel analyst and psychic.

H.E.R.O. Squad
System: Champions
Years: 1996-1998

4-Color, Silver Age Comic-Book ACTION!! When the city of Heliopolis, jewel of the American Midwest, is threatened by nefarious super-villains by the dastardly Professor Orbit, only the combined forces of the city's greatest heroes can save the day! Join Cat-Man, Maverick, Phaedra, and Cpl. Punishment in the pages of H.E.R.O. Squad! Published monthly by Splendid Comics.

(I played Cat-Man, an amalgamation of Batman and Spider-Man. No, he wasn't bitten by a radioactive cat, please stop asking that!)

Barogen 3039
System: GURPS Space
Years: 1998-2000

The campaign setting was a deliberate pastiche of sci-fi tropes, especially Star Wars, Star Trek, Dune and Babylon 5. In the year 3039, it has been a scant 20 years since the Second Federation broke away from the decadent Galactic Empire, bringing back a sense of hope and freedom to the galaxy. A tenuous peace holds, but conspiracies boil below the surface. The Federation Council has assembled a team of specialists to root out the threat: an undercover security operative posing as a frieghter captain, a ranking officer of the Psi Corps, a decorated marine (and his power armor), and a mystically-endowed sister of the New Knights Templar. Together their journey brings them to the center of the Galaxy, where the Emperor still holds sway.

Full Circle
System: D&D 3.0/3.5
Years: 2000-2004

Long ago, the Great Orks and the High Elves brought their war from the Realm Beyond to the Earth. Their war ravaged the lands, shattering the great Human Emprie. The Orks and Elves divided the lands between them, imposing their rule over the Earth. From a meager river town, a band of plucky adventurers cast off their bonds and seized their own fate, working their way out to a fabled New Kingdom, where humanity owns its own destiny. But the Council of Wizards has its own agenda...

System: D&D 3.5
Years: 2005-2008

The PCs were agents of the King of Splendaria, the most powerful kingdom in the Nine Realms. An episodic campaign of quests and conflict, intrigue and guile, song and dance. I played Baron Drax von Stryker, a hero of the light who bore a blade forged in Hell.

Infinite Amber
System: Amber Diceless Role-Playing Game
Years: 2009-2010

Twenty years after the Patternfall War re-shaped the multiverse, the third generation of the Amber Family balance their loyalty to King Random and their own machinations of power in the infinte worlds of Shadow. But an incident in one of the lands of the Golden Circle raises new threats and new opportunities: Could Amber itself be a Shadow of an even higher-level reality?

Rise of the Runelords
System: Pathfinder
Years: 2010-2013

Returning to the GM side of the screen for the first time since the early 1990s, I ran the first four books of the "Rise of the Runelords" AP. While the group broke up due to three players moving out of town, I really enjoyed running this campaign.

Champions of Old Korvosa
System: Pathfinder
Years: 2014-2016

This campaign was a heavily-modified version of TPK Games' module The Reaping Stone, set in Korvosa, with much of the content replaced by bits-and-pieces of "Curse of the Crimson Throne," "Shattered Star," several PFS scenarios, and a couple of 3PP modules, all tied together with my own additions and modifications. An ancient foe of the city has returned to exact vengeance for past wrongs, releasing a zombie plague into the city. The PCs had to track down a heretical priestess of Urgathoa and her followers before the city became a necropolis of the walking dead!

Heroes of Parsantium
System: Dungeon World
Years: 2016-17

This was the game that changed everything for me as an RPGer. After my PFRPG group broke up for the second time, a friend invited me to join a group that mostly played indie and narrative-focused games. They were just starting a new DW campaign-- a game I hadn't even heard of. The campaign was set in a loose interpretation of the third-party Pathfinder campaign setting Parsantiuim: City at the Crossroads. The PCs started out as low-level anti-heroes, but as the plot progressed, they became more and more heroic, ultimately saving the city from a secret cabal of shapeshifters.

But for me, the big change was in game design philosophy, and how DW encourages the players to have a hand in world-building, where conversation and consensus between players and GM set the agenda and the action, and the GM still leads without knowing where things are going. Since this game, it's been very hard for me to return to traditional RPGs!

Sixguns and Sorcery
System: Fate Core
Years: 2017-8

A "Weird West" game! It's 1885. Returning home after bringing a herd of steer to market, the PCs found their town a smouldering ruin and everyone they loved dead: And all signs point to a dragon! Strapping on sixguns and spurs, calling to the Ancient Spirits of the Land, and reading hermetic lore, the three heroes embarked on a journey of vengeance and discovery, as an ancient evil returns to Wyoming Territory.

I'm in my early fifties and getting back into gaming after a five year break. Three campaigns for me. The first was set in First ed. Somewhere we all aqquired nicknames of Ye Holy followed by what our character was famous for. Mine was sharpshooter being an archer in the back. Back then Precise Shot didn't exist so if you missed the bad guy you ran the risk of hitting your own party. I did a few times. DM seemed to favor me hitting the one character whose player didn't like me.
The second campaign was in Rifts. I started running it as soon as the books came out. Add the fact I had almost no experience as a GM I made mistakes. My one friend played a dragon while another played a mortal knight. From that small group of three it expanded to include my friend's son and wife and several others.
The third campaign was in Pathfinder. I ran it using the Sun Orchad Elixer to start. I made the mistake of letting them get six vials of it. The party became richer then sin. The fact the party was at best neutral didn't help. Before the end of the second session everyone had slid down to evil. We ended up becoming devil worshippers trying to become devils ourselves. We ended the campaign due to our power level too difficult to run at the time. It was being evil that was the most fun of it. None of us were Chaotic and our one neutral evil was more greedy then evil. The biggest challenge for me as a GM was motivation. What motivates an evil party to go adventuring to save innocent lives?

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