RPG A Day 9: What is a good RPG to play for ten sessions?

That is a pretty specific question.  Ten sessions?  How long are the sessions?  What are you trying to achieve?  There is a broad number of reasons why that question would be asked and a different answer to each of them.  I do not necessarily sit down to planning a game and think “This will last ten sessions”.  I am not sure I have ever come into contact with anyone that does either unless the number of sessions is a one off.

RPG A Day
I missed the start of RPG A Day

Starter Sets?

O.K. Having thought about it for a little while there is a phenomenon in the industry big players that causes them to create a starter set.  I ran the 5E D&D starter set when it first came out and we were waiting for all of the bigger books.  The quality of it is awful and the role playing contained in it much like the plot of a video game.  But it did last around ten sessions.  So perhaps this is the answer.  If this correlates across most of the starter sets that are out there in the market place these are the things you want to reach for.  Note that every NPC will have a plethora of plot hooks causing the players to go, collect/kill/find out something and return that is completely meaningless.  But it will take around ten sessions to get to the end of the starter set.

Ten Session Decent Game?

If I were to design a “one shot” ten session game what system would I use?  Honestly, it would be a sci-fi game as all I seem to do recently are fantasy games.  I would consider games like Era: The Consortium and Fragged Empire.  Both would come very close to getting a start too but the focus on continued improvement would tempt players to want more.  In the end I would choose Classic Traveller.  In fact, I have for around two years wanted to do a ten session game in Classic Traveller!  I have always thought the Pink Floyd “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” album lends itself well to a sci-fi game.  I wanted to put together a Classic Traveller game of ten one-shots that told the story suggested to me by the album.

  1. Signs of Life
  2. Learning to Fly
  3. The Dogs of War
  4. One Slip
  5. On the Turning Away
  6. Yet Another Movie
  7. Round and Around
  8. A New Machine, Pt 1
  9. Terminal Frost
  10. A New Machine Pt 2
  11. Sorrow

O.K. It is 11 sessions – but close enough.  Yet Another Movie and Round and Around are conjoined songs so you could argue it is ten.  Perhaps I should revisit this idea.

Traveller
Classic Traveller – in my eyes still the best Traveller

Classic Traveller works well in these situations as most character development is done before the first game.  You run the character through their career (normally a military career) and push them to get the character you are happy with.  Development after starting with the character is long and not as in your face as most traditional games.  This means that players are much happier to take on a role without angling character experience over character development.

Thanks RPG A Day!

Well, that was a journey.  I started thinking about this question as a rubbish throw away thing.  Then it triggered my memory!  This is a plan I have always wanted to achieve – and now I think I am ready to work on it! It is after all the thirtieth [sic fortieth – I can’t count] anniversary of Traveller (in particular Classic Traveller) this year.  I think working on and producing this is something that I will give some priority to.  Keep rolling…

2 Comments


  1. I think its a brilliant idea taking an album and sourcing it as the game campaign, guess you’ve also answered the next question where do you go for rpg references.
    (Just an aside – its forty years anniversary)
    Awesome!

    Reply

  2. What an awesome game idea.

    Reply

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