The Side Campaign

Posted by Labyrinthian in , ,

I love playing games every week. I look forward to it, and am disappointed if the game get's canceled. After all, sometimes life get's in the way and people just can't make the game. This is not necessarily a problem if that person is a player in the game, PCs can be run by the GM. But what is the GM can't make the game?

It is for this reason that my group and I always have a side campaign that we play any week when we cannot play out main campaign. I certainly recommend this to other groups as it avoids gaps in play and offers a refreshing change of pace from the regular campaign.

Here are some of the most important factors in running a side campaign...

Choosing a System
When choosing a system for your side campaign you want to make sure that everyone in the group who will be playing it is familiar with the rules, this isn't a good time to introduce a new rules set to the group. Remember, this game is going to be played infrequently and everyone should be able to pick up the game after a long absence without a lot of review in terms of rules.

Choosing a GM
After all you'll need someone to run the game with the normal guy away. Ideally the person you want running your side campaign is an experienced GM who is familiar with the rules you'll be using and takes excellent notes. The most important criteria for this position is consistency in the attendance department. This job is only important when your regular GM cancels so it is important to know that even if he does cancel your backup GM will still be there.

Building the Campaign
As far as side campaigns go I've found that plot driven games, rather than character driven games, work best. Also remember that less is more. This game will be played sporadically with large gaps of time in between, so do not make the story too complicated or it will difficult to pick back up down the line.

Keeping Notes
Detailed notes are crucial for running a sucessful side campaigns. Little recaps of what took place work very well to refresh everyone's memory. I have also found that collecting player's character sheets and keeping them with my notes works best when I run a side campaign. This prevents players from forgetting their character sheets, or even worse, losing them during the off time.

Be Prepared
Games can be canceled for last minute due to emergencies, so the side GM must always be prepared to run his game. He should always have the next phase of the game ready to go!

So there you have it. Those are the keys to running a successful side campaign and keeping the group playing even when the GM is away.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 10, 2009 at Friday, July 10, 2009 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



that's a great idea...i think i'm going to bring this idea up to my group...thanks!

July 12, 2009 at 2:10 AM

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