10 TTRPGs Perfect For Playing Long Campaigns (That Aren’t D&D)

A collage of logos, artwork, and advertising imagery for several TTRPGs

Long-term tabletop roleplaying campaigns have the potential to become the stuff of legends. As a group of people works together to play the game to the best of their ability and follow where their characters’ narratives may lead, they can create a truly magnificent story that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

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However, maintaining a TTRPG campaign long-term can be an ambitious and demanding endeavor. Even if the frequently encountered obstacles of scheduling and interpersonal relationships at the table work out, the game itself has to facilitate extended play. TTRPGs have different strengths, but some are better suited for long campaigns than others.

10 Fate Strives For Narrative Development

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Fate from Evil Hat Productions — whether the Fate Core System, Fate Accelerated, or Fate Condensed — is ideal for supporting the collaborative storytelling aspect of tabletop role-playing and is adaptable to any genre or setting. The different versions and various toolkits available for Fate make it easily accessible to new players.

For those who prefer to run pre-written modules, many complete adventures are available in multiple genres for the Fate system. As the campaign progresses, players can change or replace their character’s aspects to match their character development.

9 Dungeon World Streamlines High Fantasy

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>A softcover copy of Dungeon World.

If players prefer their TTRPGs to be in the swords-and-sorcery genre, they can always take a stab at Dungeon World. This title builds on the usual Powered by the Apocalypse system pioneered by Apocalypse World and applies it to the escapades of adventurers seeking gold and glory.

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Everything a table needs to play Dungeon World is available for download through the game’s website but can also be purchased as physical or digital copies that include full-color art. The more they level up, the more moves a character has at their disposal.

8 Monster Of The Week Rewards Failure

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Art from the cover of Monster of the Week, a monster with tentacles is controlled by a little girl spirit and captures a hero.

One of the most integral elements of a long-term TTRPG campaign is how the player characters become more powerful over time. In Monster of the Week, characters level up through trying and failing. When a roll doesn’t meet the required result, they mark a slot on their experience tracker.

Once they’ve filled all the available slots on their experience tracker, players erase those marks and count them towards leveling up. This is a method that Monster of the Week uses to give players’ choices increased value, even when their dice rolls don’t succeed.

7 Burning Wheel Approaches Fantasy From Another Angle

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The cover art for Burning Wheel TTRPG.

Burning Wheel‘s biggest strengths lie in its uniquely character-focused task resolution systems. Rather than focusing on the numbers players roll at the table, Burning Wheel centers every action on its effects and implications on the characters’ overarching journeys.

Burning Wheel‘s iconic character creation system includes every event and determinative experience they have from birth until the moment the campaign begins. This prompts players to make decisions and take actions that are directly informed by the past. In Burning Wheel, every moment carries high stakes and could have a world-changing impact.

6 Pathfinder Second Edition Was Made For TTRPG Fans

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The front cover of Pathfinder Second Edition's rulebook

As the second biggest name in the TTRPG industry, Pathfinder has been an icon on the scene ever since its original publication in 2009. Ten years later, in the summer of 2019, Paizo released the second edition of Pathfinder, commonly referred to as Pathfinder 2e.

This new edition made several crucial and long-awaited improvements to the mechanical structure of an already-beloved title. Tabletop enthusiasts have been playing long campaigns with Pathfinder for years and will continue to do so as Pathfinder Second Edition makes its mark.

5 Monsterhearts 2 Captures Coming Of Age

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Monsterhearts cover several teenage werewolves and vampires

Iconic coming-of-age stories often show the protagonists going through the most formative parts of their young lives, such as their tenure in high school. Monsterhearts 2 follows in the footsteps of these tales by constructing a world where the supernatural and the mundane are equal elements of the characters’ journeys.

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A long-term campaign in Monsterhearts 2 could follow the table’s constructed homeroom through all four years of high school and all the changes they undergo along the way. The string system facilities inter-character interactions by giving the bonds they share mechanical weight at the table.

4 Call Of Cthulhu Establishes A Frightful World

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Three investigators exploring in Call of Cthulhu RPG.

Maintaining the same level of unease through a long horror campaign can be complicated. However, Call of Cthulhu gives Game Masters everything they need to guide their Investigators into the unknown.

Holding its place as another established face of the TTRPG industry, Call of Cthulhu has been played at gaming tables since its publication in 1981, evolving alongside its player base. Gamers can build off existing published scenarios or create unique tales of terror. The longer the campaign goes on, the stronger and more terrifying problems the Investigators can face.

3 Index Card RPG Is An Underground Hit

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>A header advertising pages from the new Master Edition of the Index Card RPG on DriveThruRPG

Even though it’s less well-known among the community as a whole, many gamers recommend the Index Card RPG, or ICRPG, for long-running campaigns. Several expansive worlds have been created specifically for this system.

However, its base text teaches the ICRPG as more of a methodology that can be applied to tabletop roleplaying on a wider scale. The index card simplifies the rule process and empowers players and Game Masters alike to create their adventures without worrying too hard about whether their concepts fit the rules.

2 Vampire The Masquerade Develops Realistically

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The cover of Vampire the Masquerade, one of many World of Darkness RPGs

Since its publication in 1991, Vampire the Masquerade has made a distinctive and lasting mark on the TTRPG community. The element of this game that makes it ideal for longer campaigns is the ease with which it adapts to changing situations.

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Vampire the Masquerade and other World of Darkness games have always modeled themselves on how the supernatural might realistically intersect with and parallel real-life societies. As a result, they’re well suited to long-term campaigns with lofty goals that may take the characters years to accomplish.

1 GURPS Was Built To Do Anything

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>An image of GURPS Fourth Edition.

The Generic Universal Roleplaying System, referred to most often by its moniker GURPS, was introduced in 1986 by Steve Jackson Games for tables whose adventures didn’t fit in any existing systems. Its intention was for the only limit to be the players’ imaginations.

This intentional approach let players bring any story they could think of to the world of TTRPGs, regardless of genre or narrative specifics. GURPS‘ focus on points and skills rather than classes and levels allows it to acclimate to almost any situation, including a long-running game.

NEXT: 15 Tabletop RPGs That Are Simpler Than D&D


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