Abandon the Campaign: Play shorter D&D sessions with single adventures


One of the core ideas of roleplaying games is the campaign. Your game sessions are interconnected and weave together to tell a single, ongoing story that can last over years of gameplay.

But what if you, well, didn’t do that?

Look, we all strive to play in that epic campaign that we’ll never forget as long as we live. But in all honestly, it ain’t easy for players or Dungeon Masters to do that and playing shorter adventures can make things a lot more exciting.

For starters, campaigns almost always fizzle out. Many D&D campaigns start at first level and go for a while, but most never ever make it all the way to 20th level (or beyond, in the case of some games). You stop when players stop showing up or the game runs out of steam or the DM simply becomes bored.

So, what’s the point?

We suggest switching up adventures much more often. You can run single-session adventures every time your gaming group gets together or slightly longer adventures that may take a few sessions to get through.

The whole point is to keep things fresh by avoiding the long-running campaign.

Why? Well, for starters, if you’re always rocking a new adventure, you can change up the flavor.  

Long RPG campaigns typically take on a particular kind of gameplay, and you’re stuck fighting vampires in a gothic horror setting, chasing down dragons in a high-magic fantasy setting or scrounging for resources to depose a king in a more political, epic setting.

But if you run shorter adventures every few game sessions, you can play whatever kind of setting suits you.

It also frees up the DM. You can rotate between the entire group or a few individuals who are interested in being DM. Whenever it’s one person’s turn, they can play the adventure they feel like tackling.

Players also won’t get bored. Certainly, some players like playing the same race and class over and over. We all have the friend who insists on playing an elven thief or a half-orc barbarian in every campaign.

Those of us who enjoy trying a new class every time or testing out multiclass combos would love the opportunity to try something new every game session or two. It gives the chance to try new things and find something we really like.

Perhaps best of all: If there are players who can’t commit to gaming on your set schedule (we all have friends like that), running short adventures lets you switch out players and characters whenever you want. Whoever shows up gets to roll.

For 5th edition, Dungeons & Dragons has focused on releasing adventures meant to be run as long campaigns, but you don’t have to do that. You can pick your favorite encounters or elements out of those books and run them as standalone adventures.

Or you can use your Dungeon Crate.

Every month, Dungeon Crate includes a new adventure written by our team at Dungeon Crate Adventures. They’re designed to be completed in a single play session, so they’re perfect for trying something new at your game session. Some are interconnected and follow a storyline, but many are just fun adventures to toss on the table. Subscribe to Dungeon Crate, and you’ll get a new adventure to play with your pals every month.