This got me thinking about campaigns compared to one-offs.
I'm a big fan of the campaign. I love the 'story' that evolves from the players and their characters actions, the ever present cause and affect. I love the slow moving 'story' arcs and the re-occurring NPCs. I love the fact that PC's deaths become more bitter and have weight. And I love the fact that once you hit that sweet spot the campaign begins to run itself which I feel is a sign of a successful ongoing adventure.
"...once the campaign is set in motion, you will become more of a recorder of events, while the milieu seemingly charts its own course!"I love that there's a history and that when new players come in the veterans retell their tales. Our group's character levels are between 1st and 5th and that adds a sense of realism (if you can have realism in a FRPG) to the campaign world and a sense of ongoing depth and a passage of time.-Gary Gygax, DMG 1st ed. p. 87
Campaigns are where the concept of Role-playing games come to life as characters and events are brought are colored, explored, live for a while and then die (sometimes horribly).
Now one-offs, on the other hand, don't do much for me. I've run a few and, granted they can be fun and a good way to introduce players into the concepts of the game but it just leaves things hanging.
Players that bring their characters to life during those few hours are gone - poof! vanished at end of game. It leaves myself (and hopefully the players) wanting more. I want to know what the consequences of these players actions are! I guess it's hard for me to let go of the long term cause and affect in game. In this sense, one-offs tend to be quick quests, hack-n-slash of careless adventurers who do not fear death. Though that, of course, can be fun is almost the antithesis of the game - my concept of the game anyway.
So while one-offs have their place, for me they don't compare to the struggling saga of some poor characters clawing their way to leave some mark in their world.