Campaign (role-playing games)

In role-playing games, a campaign is a continuing storyline or set of adventures, typically involving the same characters. The purpose of the continuing storyline is to introduce a further aspect into the game: that of development, improvement, and growth (or degeneration) of the characters. In a campaign, a single session becomes a scene or an act within an overall story arc. At its inception, a campaign may or may not have a defined conclusion. A campaign by definition spans more than one session of play. Certain aspects of the game are nearly always constant throughout a campaign: the campaign setting, the players, and the gamemaster. The gamemaster for a campaign is said to run the campaign.

Aspects of a campaign

A campaign is characterized by the following aspects:

  • The rules – What underlying game system is used? What changes, additions, or subtractions has the game master made to the rules? How will the game master interpret those rules?
  • The game world or setting – Where do the adventures take place? What makes this world or place unique?
  • Realism – Will the game attempt to closely simulate the real world? Or will unlikely or fantastic happenings be commonplace?
  • Humor – Will the game be silly or comical? Or will it be serious and dark?
  • An underlying storyline – Are the players a part of larger events occurring in the game world? Not all campaigns have such a storyline, but most at least have recurring characters.[1]

Differing amounts of emphasis on any of these factors help set the flavor of the campaign. A campaign, including its characters, settings, and history is created collaboratively by players and the game master.[2]

Types of campaigns

  • A hack and slash, kick in the door, or dungeon crawl campaign focuses on slaying monsters and finding treasure. This type of campaign is often very episodic. Many players of Dungeons & Dragons favor this type of campaign.
  • A wargame campaign has a focus on military and political activities, generally involving the affairs of entire fictional states. Miniature wargaming overlaps and dovetails into role playing at this level. Games Workshop started life as a roleplay company, but through an analogous process have transformed themselves into a miniatures manufacturing company with support material for entire fictional worlds – all to support their own role/miniature campaign concepts.
  • A four color or superheroic campaign is similar in flavor to comic books. The players are often given tasks, such as supervillains to stop, by their superiors.[3]
  • A detective campaign focuses on mysteries that must be solved by the players or that unfold as the game goes along. These may be ordinary crimes, or mysteries of the paranormal. Certain games, such as Call of Cthulhu, are designed specifically with this type of campaign in mind.
  • Numerous variants of the above campaigns are created by the players. The exact nature of these variations are usually exposed by providing a descriptive prefix to the word campaign. For example: a villain campaign where the players are the bad guys or a kiddie campaign where the players' characters are still children.

Other names

Some published games have deliberately used different terms for the same concept. For instance, White Wolf uses the word Chronicle for its World of Darkness and Exalted games.[4]


  1. ^ Jackson, Steve (2004). GURPS Basic Set 4th edition. Steve Jackson Games. p. 486. ISBN 1-55634-730-8.
  2. ^ Rouchart, Sandy; Aylett, Ruth (2003). Thomas Rist, ed. Solving the Narrative Paradox in VEs — Lessons from RPGs. Intelligent Virtual Agents: 4th International Workshop. Springer. p. 245. ISBN 978-3540200031.
  3. ^ Stoddard, William (2007). GURPS Supers 4th edition. Steve Jackson Games. pp. 94–98.
  4. ^ Rein-Hagen, Mark (1992). Vampire: The Masquerade (Second ed.). White Wolf. p. 62.

Campaign or The Campaign may refer to:

Advertising campaign, a series of advertisement messages that share a single idea and theme

Civil society campaign, a project intended to mobilize public support in order to instigate social change

Military campaign, large scale, long duration, significant military strategy plans incorporating a series of inter-related military operations or battles

Political campaign, an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making process within a specific group

In agriculture, the period during which sugar beets are harvested and processed

Campaign setting

A campaign setting is usually a fictional world which serves as a setting for a role-playing game or wargame campaign. A campaign is a series of individual adventures, and a campaign setting is the world in which such adventures and campaigns take place. Usually a campaign setting is designed for a specific game (such as the Forgotten Realms setting for Dungeons & Dragons) or a specific genre of game (such as Medieval fantasy, or outer space/science fiction adventure). There are numerous campaign settings available both in print and online. In addition to published campaign settings available for purchase, many game masters create their own settings, often referred to as "homebrew" settings or worlds.


MegaCon, short for Mega Convention, is a large speculative fiction convention that caters to the comic book, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, and gaming communities, often occurring between late February and early March at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, USA. The 2016 event was held in late May.

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