Living Campaigns are part marketing tool, part volunteer campaign settings, which allow people all over the world to play role-playing games in a shared universe. While the earliest living campaigns were run by the RPGA (Role Playing Gamer's Association), a division of Wizards of the Coast, many groups around the world run active living campaigns.

Overview Edit

Living campaigns are a shared campaign setting with a codified set of rules for the campaign that govern how to build and advance characters as well as how the campaign will handle rules elements of the setting. Campaign staff create, distribute, and manage new adventures in that campaign setting, and quite often administer a player database and promote various products. A living campaign lets players build and advance characters, develop their personalities, and forge relationships. Living campaign games are run at conventions, game days and other gatherings. The rules for character tracking allow a player to take their PC they created for the campaign to any of these gatherings and play it in the adventures offered. It is still common for adventures to be offered at conventions with premade characters that fit to the story, but Living campaigns allow for additional options.

Some people have expressed displeasure that Living campaigns are rigid in their administration and do not allow for much gamemaster choice on rules or setting; Gamemasters are not at liberty to change and/or ignore rules that they do not like or agree with. They are not allowed to go "off script" in adventures or allow items in the campaign that aren't approved by the campaign staff. For some people, not having the ultimate control of a home campaign is a significant draw-back. Some living campaigns, such as Living Planar are an exceptions to this rule, allowing dungeon masters a great deal of flexibility in running their games, giving it a feel somewhere between a normal living campaign and a home campaign. (It is possible that continued stretching of this flexibility could bring the definition of "living campaign" to include such organizations as White Wolf's Camarilla fan club.)

The original Living campaign was the Living City, set in the Forgotten Realms city of Ravens Bluff. The campaign ran in its original form in Polyhedron magazine starting in the mid-1980s, and continued until shortly after the advent of 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in 2000. It then restarted under the auspices of the company Organized Play, but lasted only two years under that license and then reverted in 2003 to Wizards of the Coast.

What is a Campaign-Style Game? Edit

WOTC began, with Legacy of the Green Regent, to offer a living style campaign that was a slightly different play experience. An campaign-style game follows many of the same conventions as other Living campaigns such as Living Greyhawk, but differs in a couple areas:

  1. All accounting/book keeping is done on the RPGA website.
  2. The campaign provides periodic level bumps so everyone in the campaign is the same level
    1. In traditional Living campaigns, you cannot level without gaining experience from playing in adventures
  3. Your character in the campaign isn't as static, meaning you can change a lot of details in between play opportunities.

Providing adventures to retail locations through their retail support packs and providing fast play characters on the campaign's official website, even if you never played in the campaign before you can pick up a character and play in the adventure right away without having to deal with sometimes cryptic and/or complicated character creation rules.

There is much debate amongst players over whether campaign-style games should truly be called Living campaigns or not. They are generally lumped into the same category, although WOTC/RPGA very obviously left the term Living out of the campaign titles.

Campaigns Edit

RPGA Living Campaigns Edit

WOTC/RPGA-sponsored Living campaigns:

Non-RPGA Campaigns Edit

There are many campaigns that are run either by the members or by non-WOTC companies responsible for the game world. Some of them were at one time part of the RPGA.

Extinct Campaigns Edit

The following campaigns are no longer in existence or have ended but still have adventures available:

Where to Play? Edit

Living and Living style camapigns are played all over the world. Campaign adventures are offered at conventions (such as Origins, Dragon Con and Gen Con), at retail locations, and also for home play. A current popular trend is to play them online using a variety of software that range from simple chat programs, to open source projects such as OpenRPG, to full scale retail applications that provide a reasonable simulation of a tabletop to game at, including mapping features, miniatures, and in some cases, dice you can roll.

Part of the lure of Living campaigns is the ability to take your character to any of these places and play it in the adventures offered and continue to advance that character.

External links Edit

References Edit

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