Like many other gamers I know, Real Life™ now demands an increasing share of my time. In the few occasions when I do get the opportunity to game, I want a quality experience – and part of that is wanting closure. I want to play in, or run, a story that actually ends. I also appreciate being part of an evolving saga, however, and it’s easier to slip into a famliar character rather than create a new one every time I play.
Thus my preference now for the episodic structure in my games. Similar to the story structure of many TV series, an episodic adventure is a self-contained story that can be strung together with more such stories using a common cast of characters. For me, the benefits of running my games in this manner include:
- Ease in introducing new players – less commitment burden, and they get the satisfaction of having been in a complete story;
- Freedom to start with a one-shot, and grow it into a series if the players liked it;
- Freedom to have a revolving cast of characters – you don’t need to have all the player characters from previous sessions, and new ones can come in any time;
- Freedom to explore many story possibilities, as the player characters aren’t tied down to a strict long-term plot every game session;
- Players can still enjoy playing the same characters through multiple adventures and seeing them develop.