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Posts: 46
Joined: Thu 09 Dec 2021, 00:21

Campaign length?

Thu 13 Apr 2023, 19:05

Curious as to how long folks run until characters feel too competent. It's hard to judge since there are no "levels" and there's pretty much always something to spend XP on and yes a lucky hit can still drop a character but at a certain point it gets hard to challenge characters. That is not a slight against the game in any way whatsoever, I'm just curious as to whether or not folks find there's a finiteness to a game or if they tweak things to continue to challenge characters for years to come.
Mr Oldtimer
Posts: 378
Joined: Sun 14 Apr 2019, 12:01

Re: Campaign length?

Fri 14 Apr 2023, 01:22

I ran Raven's Purge for three players, three years of weekly game sessions. One or two character deaths but revived by the druid, so no loss of XP there. Needless to say, they where quite experienced at the end. We even played for months, not bothering with raising talents/skills, just accumulating XP, because my players didn't feel the need to train that often any more. Now, I don't give out a lot of artifacts, magic/master crafted weapons and armor, but of course they managed to find the odd one here and there during the campaign. It worked quite well till the last couple of months of the campaign, much thanks to there being three PCs and without excessive armor, a few good hits will still be a threat. That said, it took some effort to build encounters, with various mixes of ranged/close combat enemies. Also, enemies with talents ups the opposition quite a bit. Don't forget that most monsters can be made much more efficient if they get more than one initiative per round. Or toss a few more monsters in there.
Also, I started to use the environment as a part of encounters, with collapsing ceilings or floors, innocent bystanders in danger and so on. Let the PC fear for other peoples lives if they don't feel threatened themselves. To give bigger monsters, like dragons and manticores more strenght and armor works quite well. Biggest problem I found, was that one of my players is a real min-maxer and the others, not so much. This made it worse for me because I had to balance encounters to challenge the min maxer but at the same time, I didn't want the others to be doomed if he went down. Took some thinking to do right.
Don't forget that if the PCs are too powerful, people will no doubt hear of them and most enemies will try not to fight them but rather sabotage their plans, use subterfuge or manipulation to get to them. Or magic. There are ways to challenge them still. But sure, most often, the combats grew bigger over time, with more and more opponents.

Right before the end of the campaign, my players spend all their XP, got really good equipment and so on. The final sessions where... interesting. They where so powerful, there was no way the fight against the BBEG and his minions would have been more than a breeze, had I ran the finale out of the book so to speak. I had to do some serious changes to strenght, armor and action economy in order to keep the game interesting and challenging.

That said, most games are prone to a constant arms race between the players (PCs) and the GM. Seems I have to have a talk with my players, in every campaign we do, as to why I don't throw powerful items at them. I try to keep them satisfied with what they have, so we don't have to do the arms race in order to keep the game interesting and when explaining it thusly, they agree. At least for a while, then we need to have the talk all over again. The game is most fun when the players feel their characters are powerful, but the world still poses a threat to them. I try to find that point and then keep us there.

So, for my table, I rather keep tweaking the adventures in order to have them challenging and interesting to the end.
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Posts: 158
Joined: Mon 02 Oct 2017, 02:02

Re: Campaign length?

Thu 25 May 2023, 04:48

My campaign has run over 70 sessions so far and the players' characters are quite powerful: more than 200 experience points spent per character.

At this "level", monsters (if meant to be dangerous) need to be heavily beefed up in encounters - about 2x to 3x more STR than the listed values. I don't tell my players the stats of monsters, so they still enjoy it. Even with that, "bosses" stand absolutely no chance in single combat against such powerful group so I have to add large numbers of weaker foes to make big battles challenging.

Ravens Purge and the other Forbidden Lands campaigns aren't really designed for player characters past a certain level of experience, perhaps around 40 game sessions or 100 experience points spent per character, but the game can still be fun if the challenges are tweaked and the setting remains engaging and mysterious.
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon 15 May 2023, 10:52

Re: Campaign length?

Thu 25 May 2023, 09:10

We have been running Raven's Purge, too, for almost two years now, probably 15+ sessions of 8hrs and more each, and with five PCs who have "earned" now around 90 XP each. Things really "escalated" when the first Rank 3 Talents were unlocked, and our GM ran into serious power level adjustment problems to keep encounters challenging but not per se (too) deadly. We had two fight scenes along the way that were good experiments for what the PC troupe is capable of, and it's both scary and a ride on the razor's edge - for both sides. Good thing is that the respect for any open confrontation and its consequences is still there among the players, but many smaller fights so far ended in a "what goes first kills first" scenario. Really tough job for the GM.
Additionally, we recently decided to adopt the Reforged Power expansion to add more versatility to the PCs and more "XP sinkholes", e.g., through the Rank 4/5 Talents, the requirement of certain Skills for Talents at a certain Rank. We adopted multi-classing as another option, because the OOB Professions feel very archetypical and can only progress into a certain direction. If your idea for a character does not match with the Professional Talent options, you either ignore them and waste (technical) character potential, or you adopt them even though they do not fit your idea of the figure.
At around 90XP, most of the players felt that the essence of their PCs had been "reached" (e.g. a druid who had the opportunity quite early in thew campaign to learn almost every Path from the basic PHb at a high level), and we recognized that the PCs all started to become quite similar beyond their core professions/interests. We'll see how things will evolve with the now heaavily expanded setup, though, because we decided to allow a "re-building" of characters from the start with the multi-classing option, and this might (IMHO) yield some weird results. I am curious how the encounter balance (see above) now is, it might have become even more challenging.
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Joined: Mon 06 Nov 2017, 20:06

Re: Campaign length?

Sun 28 May 2023, 10:47

The campaign endet in autum, it took about thirty episodes. I had 5 characters in it, and because they where very powerful in the end they each developed a second character so they journeyd through the lands in two groups.
It was lot of fun, ravenhole, stoneloop mines, valley of the dead and grond in the end are very good adventure sites.

In the end, we played through 11 adventure sites and the players where very strong. The healing druid is a mess, because he takes the death out of the game.

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