Hello again and welcome to my campaign diary that I post every week here on npccast.com. Last week we talked about making your campaigns epic from the ground up and this week I would have loved to talk about my campaign further but last week real life got in the way and we had to go a week without playing. During that time though, something amazing happened: I got my copy of 13th Age.
Now I am not here to say that 13th Age is a better game than Pathfinder. Some people like things about game systems that I think are flaws and vice versa, but I have been excited to get my physical copy of 13th Age for some time and I like the game system better. Unfortunately I also REALLY like the plot of our Pathfinder game so far. This left me with a dilemma, but I quickly realized that both were medieval Fantasy games and that I could just port over the characters and we could play the same campaign in a new system.
Last week we talked about building interesting encounters. This week we’re going to increase the scope and talk about building a campaign that feels truly epic. But first we need to talk about the general goal of that type of campaign.
What Makes A Campaign Epic?
When building a campaign about heroes we often want to capture a certain feel. We look to movies and video games and we want the climax of our campaign to feel like they do. We want all the characters to be truly invested in defeating the big villain and we want the encounter to have unprecedented gravitas. There are some campaigns where this type of end is not appropriate, but a lot of heroic fantasy and sci-fi campaigns are going to strive for this. We want the feeling of a summer blockbuster or a Final Fantasy style game at the end.
The key to this is that the scope of the game needs to be big. The journey to the epic climax needs to be long and full of twists and smaller conflicts that cause the player characters to be invested in that final showdown. Creating that through traditional storytelling is difficult, but doing it with a shared narrative like a roleplaying game is nearly impossible. That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying though and I thought I should share the experience I’ve learned from my own efforts.