Unlike their fantasy role-playing counterparts, western role-playing games have traditionally been limited to one-off adventures, with players getting together, rolling up some characters and quickly finding an excuse to fire their guns and shoot things up. Robbing a bank, taking on the evil cattle baron and his men, or ambushing the payroll stage can be great fun, but usually lead to the death of several (if not all) characters. When the session is finished so is the adventure.
This is unfortunate. As a setting, the Old West provides an abundance of untapped adventure opportunities. And although Aces & Eights lends itself well to one-off adventuring, it has primarily been designed with the on-going campaign in mind.
When you grow tired of racking up a body count and start longing for something more substantial, you’ll be happy to know that Aces & Eights has been designed from the ground up with the on-going campaign in mind. This book (and later supplements) will allow you to do much more than stumble down the path of an outlaw, or simply finding yourself getting gut shot week after week.
A campaign is a series of sessions (or adventures) where events and action from the previous session carry on to the next. Rob a bank one week and your characters must deal with the consequences (or avoid them) the following week. If a character dies, a new one is introduced to join up with the other surviving characters and the campaign continues.
In the campaign, players concentrate on establishing their characters in the world they live in and making them more powerful and successful. Players can pursue just about any profession their hearts desire, or any avenue of opportunity that presents itself. Maybe your character would like to own a saloon, or run for mayor. How ‘bout both? Or maybe rumors of a gold strike in Indian territory suddenly have you thinking of trying your luck at prospecting.
Perhaps the land-grabbing antics of the much hated cattle baron is more your style. How about founding a new town and naming it after yourself?
Then again, perhaps your character has simpler ambitions. Just to own a piece a land he can call his own, stake his destiny and raise a family while making an honest living.
There’s no one way to play Aces & Eights. Players are free to choose their own goals and pursue them with nothing stopping them but the iron of their own determination and their god-given abilities. Running a full campaign takes more work for everyone involved but it's also more rewarding. ★