The Generational Campaign

 An idea I’ve always enjoyed is the generational campaign. This type of campaign takes place over a prolonged period of time, with players taking many characters over the course of the campaign.  These characters relate3 in some way – typically being descendants of one another. This binds them together and creates a more epic feel for the campaign as a whole.  This is a common theme in everything from videogames (Phantasy Star 3 for the Genesis) to board games (the recently released Gloomhaven).
But it begs the question – are there other styles of generational campaign that could work?  Campaigns where the PCs aren’t descendants?  Here are a few ideas along those lines:
  • The Master-Student Campaign – In this campaign, the players take on a series of students, each teaching a new generation that becomes their next PC. This sort of campaign works with a variety of settings. Martial Arts? Vampires? Mages (Ars Magica would be great for this one)?
  • The Chain of Revenge Campaign – This campaign takes the idea that vengeance never ends. The players start agrieved and work to avenge their loss in the first generation. In the next, the players shift to playing characters that were close to the subject of the previous generation’s vengeance. This sort of campaign works across any number of settings, but it has a very Hatfields vs McCoys feel to me.
  • The Diaspora Campaign – In this campaign, the players are part of some exodus. This might be a fleet escaping a dying world or a group of refugees from an oppressive warlord. With each generation, a new stage of the larger group is told with players taking a new leader at each stage. One possible sequence might be
  1. Group escapes dying world
  2. Group wanders the stars looking for a new home
  3. Group settles new world
  4. Group has to defend new world from external threat

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