In a traditional dating back ten years, I like to inventory the ‘games I’m itching to run someday’. This particular list focuses on settings that have robust and concise commercial campaign adventures. I have dozens of settings I’d love to run someday, but the list I picked all have campaigns which provide 2-4 pages of adventure text for each session, which will make it easier to run. The 20-30 page of adventure text for each session (the more typical format for D&D adventures) is not my preference, I find the shorter stuff easier to prep for and easier to run.

Interesting how things evolve: see my posts in late 2023, early 2023, early 2022, late 2020, early 2020early 2019, 2017, 2016 and 2014 of things I was itching to run in prior years.

Without further ado, here are my top five settings which have campaigns which provide 2-4 pages of adventure text for each session.

Pendragon (Fantasy Medieval/Game-of-Thrones vibe)

Play an epic campaign that spans multiple generations and over 80 years. Set in the mythic world of King Arthur, pursue quests, build your house, become nobility, seek glory, and fight the forces of evil. It’s sort of like Game of Thrones, but more noble. Ranked the #1 out of 7,500+ roleplaying titles on and said by many to be the best campaign of all time.

RULES: We would use the Pendragon rules, maybe the new 6th edition, or maybe an older edition like 3rd or 4th edition.

50 Fathoms (Pirates of the Caribbean Fantasy Water World)

In the world of 50 Fathoms, where the seas have risen to swallow entire lands, adventurers set sail across a mystical archipelago full of perils and wonders. Players can play unique races, from the aquatic Kehana, who weave their homes in the great kelp forests, to the enigmatic Scurillians, sentient crab-like scholars with a thirst for knowledge. As a Kraken mage controlling the very elements, a formidable Grael pirate with unmatched strength, or a cunning Masaquani smuggler, your party will navigate treacherous waters, uncover ancient secrets, and challenge the wicked sorcerers whose magic floods the world more each day.

RULES: Either Fate or 24XX rules.

Solomon Kane (1600’s Fantasy/Horror/Monster-Hunters)

Cut a righteous path in a world of evil! You have seen the path to redemption, a road paved in the blood and bones of the evil you must defeat to save the world from its unholy taint. Face that which preys on men’s dreams, their fears, and their very souls. Your enemies span the globe, reaching out from every shadowy corner across four continents. Men, magic, and monsters of the darkest hearts and basest desires threaten the very world you tread. Play a puritan, a Native American, a pirate, and many other period archetypes.

RULES: This would use the Fate Condensed rules with some house rules I’ve used over the years.

Mines of Moria (Fantasy/Middle-earth)

For long ages, the great city of the Dwarrowdelf was the seat of Dwarven kings, and they were rich beyond measure in gold and Mithril. But a thousand years ago, Durin’s Bane arose and drove the Dwarves from their halls. The city fell into darkness, becoming an abode of Orcs, Goblins – and worse. Maybe there are piles of treasure there, waiting to be claimed. Maybe Mithril still glimmers in the mines under Caradhras. Cross the dread threshold, adventurer, and delve deep!

RULES: The One Ring, 2nd edition.

Mutant Superheroes (Dystopian Marvel Super Heroes)

The PCs are heroes in a dark future ruled by the giant robot Sentinels, where mutants are being herded into death camps and most of the established Marvel Universe characters were killed long ago. The campaign would use the four classic Marvel adventure modules Nightmares of Futures Past inspired by the classic X-Men story “Days of Futures Past” (X-Men, issues 141 and 142), that continues with The X-Potential and Reap the Whirlwind before concluding in Flames of Doom.

RULES: The 1980’s Marvel Superheroes RPG (aka FASERIP) from TSR, or one of its many retroclones.

UPDATE: Survey Results

We have survey results from my game group. I did both the average rating, as well as a NetPromotor analysis (which is % of those passionate about the topic (rating it 9 or 10) minus % of those not really wild about it (ratings 1-6). Both produced the same results! So the games I will be reading and trying out at conventions are:

(1) Middle-earth / Mines of Moria (awaiting publication),

(2) Pendragon, and

(3) Marvel Super Heroes.