Day 13 - What makes a successful campaign?
Oh dear, this is a tough one for me...
I think there are several factors that go into a successful campaign. First of all, there's the characters themselves. Most game campaigns involve the same characters, where they evolve and develop over the course of the campaign. Continuity can be a part of this as well, where the group plays a long (game time) campaign in which they get to play the children of their original characters, or even their grandchildren! (Some folks out there won't agree with me on this last point, but that's okay.) It's also important for the player characters to fit the game world the GM is setting the game in; you don't play a librarian in a fantasy world where libraries don't exist, though it could be interesting to do so in an altered form.
Secondly, the game should be played with friends. There needs to be a good chemistry between the members of the group, and not just between the GM and the players. If there's too much...friction between members of the group, it will likely disintegrate and that will be the end of the campaign, right?
Third, and somewhat important for the GM, is what I will call adaptability. Each group of players is a cultural microcosm that has its own personalities, needs and desires, and of course, availability. Something that works with Group A will not work with Group B, and vice versa. So the GM needs to be flexible, and adjust to the various aspects of the gaming group.
And finally, there is communication (which in some ways, may be the most important of all when it comes down to it). The GM has to be attuned to what the players want in the game, what they're expecting out of the game, and the types of stories/adventures they want to experience. In this regard, it's also important to bring a game campaign to a conclusion if the group runs out of interesting stories to tell or the GM hits the wall with scenario and plot ideas.