So I finally managed to finish a roleplaying campaign. Last week we had the seventh and final session in our Hunter: The Vigil game. Its a pretty big milestone for me as I haven't finished a game before. I don't think any of my players finished one before either! I have started loads of campaigns with massive plots and world shaking events. This time I didn't do that. The game went really well and everybody is eager for more. I am attributing this to the shortness of the game and the fact that it had a clearly defined story. I took on the idea of using seasons for the game with each season being a contained story.
With Christmas looming on the horizon I think it is best to take a break and to begin again in the new year. Otherwise we would end up having around a four week break in the middle of a story and that wuld just result in killing the game. Even I wouldn't be able to remember the more subtle facts and happenings and that would make for a really bad game. The story arc I was going for was able to be brought to an end, maybe not a satisfactory one for my players, and using a seasonal approach it fitted perfectly as the end of a season. The players know that there is the possibility for more and that despite the fact they got their revenge they didn't get satisfaction. This can fuel season two a little and with the correct seeds planted season two doesn't end up as a monster of the week style game.
I have been listening to the THAC0 podcast a lot recently and they have covered approaching roleplaying games in the same sense as a TV series. I think this is a really excellent way to approach things. You can set up a story with a good view to an end and then play towards that. As long as you keep it a resonably achievable story it can finish in under ten sessions allowing the players to take a break. This gives you a season and as long as everyone is willing to keep going it is possible to continue playing, in my opinion, for much longer than games normally last.