Living campaigns

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Living campaigns, or shared campaigns, are a gaming format within the table-top role-playing game community that provide the opportunity for play by an extended community within a shared universe. In contrast to traditional isolated role-playing games, living campaigns allow and encourage players to develop characters that can be played at games run by many different game masters, but which share a game world and campaign setting, as well as a plot line that is overseen by a central core of professional or volunteer editors and contributors. Many living campaigns serve a dual role of providing a creative outlet for highly involved volunteer contributors while also serving as a marketing tool for the publisher of the game system that is the focus of the living campaign. While the earliest living campaigns were run by the now defunct RPGA (Role Playing Gamer's Association),[1] many groups around the world run active living campaigns which are independent or sponsored by other publishers.

Overview[edit]

Living campaigns are a shared campaign setting with a codified set of rules for the campaign that govern how to build and advance characters as well as how the campaign will handle rules elements of the setting. Campaign staff create, distribute, and manage new adventures in that campaign setting, and quite often administer a player database and promote various products. A living campaign lets players build and advance characters, develop their personalities, and forge relationships. Living campaign games are run at conventions, game days and other gatherings. The rules for character tracking allow a player to take their PC they created for the campaign to any of these gatherings and play it in the adventures offered. It is still common for adventures to be offered at conventions with premade characters that fit to the story, but Living campaigns allow for additional options.

The original living campaign was the Living City, set in the Forgotten Realms city of Ravens Bluff, and created by the RPGA.[2]: 13  The campaign ran in its original form in Polyhedron magazine starting in the mid-1980s, and continued until shortly after the advent of 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) in 2000.[3] It then restarted under the auspices of the company Organized Play, but lasted only two years under that license and then reverted in 2003 to Wizards of the Coast.[4][3] Living City proved to be a popular concept and "the number of Living City events actually surpassed the 'classic' RPGA tournaments — possibly as early as late 1993".[5] In the first decade of the twenty-first century, RPGA created a variety of living campaigns.[5] The largest was Living Greyhawk, played by thousands of people around the world from 2000 to 2008.[6][7]

Organized play programs[edit]

Shared campaigns have occurred for multiple role-playing games:

Name Year Setting/system Notes Ref
Ashes of Athas 2011 – 2013 Dark Sun (4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons) Administered by Baldman Games at conventions such as Winter Fantasy. [8][9][10]
Chronicle for Vampire 2019 – present Vampire: The Masquerade (5th Edition) The official campaign produced by Modiphius Entertainment. [11][12]
Cypher Play 2016 – present Numenera, the Cypher System, and The Strange Organized by Monte Cook Games.. [13][14]
D&D Encounters 2010 – 2016 Forgotten Realms (4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons) An official Dungeons & Dragons organized play program launched by the RPGA and then administered by the D&D Adventurers League after 2014. [15][16][17]
D&D Expeditions 2014 – 2016 Forgotten Realms ( 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons) An official Dungeons & Dragons organized play program launched by the D&D Adventurers League; envisioned as the living campaign successor. [18]
Legacy of the Green Regent 2003 – 2006 Forgotten Realms (3.5 Dungeons & Dragons) The first of the RPGA's Dungeons & Dragons Campaigns program; it also included digital tracking. [19][20]
Legends of the Shining Jewel 2003 – present World of RAIA (3.5 Dungeons & Dragons/Pathfinder) Transitioned to Pathfinder in 2009. [21][22][23]
Living Arcanis 2001 – 2009 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons Originally a part of the RPGA, it was then relaunched as a separate program by Paradigm Concepts. [24]
Legends of Arcanis 2010 – present Arcanis Roleplaying Game system Paradigm Concepts relaunch program. [25][26][27][24]
Living Arcanis 5E 2016 – present Arcanis (5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons) [24][28][29]
Living City 1987 – 2003 Forgotten Realms (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons) The first Living Campaign launched by RPGA; it was a series of adventures set in the city of Raven's Bluff. [5][30][31]
Living Death 1997 – 2007 Masque of the Red Death (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons) A RPGA Living Campaign; the campaign was played in seasons assigned to specific campaign years, from 1890 (1996) through 1899 (2007). [32][5]
Living Divine 2011 – 2012 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons [33]
Living Force 2001 – 2012 Star Wars Roleplaying Game A RPGA Living Campaign; the campaign was set in the Mid-Rim Cularin system one year after The Phantom Menace – it jumped forward in time after the release of Attack of the Clones. [34][35][36]
Living Forgotten Realms 2008 – 2014 Forgotten Realms (4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons) A RPGA Living Campaign; this living campaign utilized the new 4th Edition rules and replaced the 3.5 Edition Living Greyhawk campaign in organized play. [37][38][18]
Living Greyhawk 2000 – 2008 Greyhawk (3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons) A RPGA Living Campaign; the largest RPGA living campaign. [6][7]
Living Jungle 1995 – 2003 Forgotten Realms (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons) A RPGA Living Campaign; a spinoff from Living City set in Kara-Tur. [39]
Living Spycraft 2002 – 2007 Spycraft A RPGA Living Campaign; in 2005, the campaign converted to the Spycraft 2.0 ruleset. [40][41]
Mark of Heroes 2004 – 2006 Eberron (3.5 Dungeons & Dragons) The first RPGA Campaign set in Eberron. [42][43]
Pathfinder Society 2008 – present Pathfinder The official Pathfinder organized play program. [44][45][46]
Sarbreenar the Living City 1992 – 2008 Forgotten Realms (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons) A RPGA Living Campaign; a spinoff from Living City specifically for the United Kingdom. [5]
Shadowrun Missions 2004 – present Shadowrun (3rd - 5th Editions) The official organized campaign setting sponsored by Catalyst Game Labs. [47][48][49]
Starfinder Society 2017 – present Starfinder Roleplaying Game The official Starfinder organized play program. [50][51][52]
Star Trek Adventures Living Campaign 2017 – present Star Trek Adventures The official organized campaign setting by Modiphius Entertainment. [53][54][55]
Virtual Seattle 1996 – 2004 Shadowrun (2nd - 3rd Editions) The first non-Dungeons & Dragons RPGA-sponsored campaign; it was replaced by Shadowrun Missions. [56][57]
Witch Hunter: Dark Providence 2011 – 2013 Witch Hunter: The Invisible World A Paradigm Concepts convention program. [58][59]
Witch Hunter: Revelations 2007 – 2010 Witch Hunter: The Invisible World A Paradigm Concepts convention program. [60]
Xen'drik Expeditions 2006 – 2008 Eberron (3.5 Dungeons & Dragons) The second RPGA Campaign set in Eberron. [61][62]

References[edit]

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