> Are you asking how long people intend to play when they start
> in terms of length, in-game time, or real time?
No, real time.
The reason I ask is that again there seem to be three basic approaches.
(a) What you describe as "the RPG standard for fantasy that they go on indefinitely."
(b) The very specific, finite game: maybe a one-night wonder, maybe a short scenario played out over a few sessions. I'd particularly associate this with game clubs or other specific settings.
(c) Something in between, without necessarily a specific end-point, but also with the assumption that it will either reach a nice haltpoint, or else pressures of work and other imponderables get in the way.
My entirely subjective sense is that as HQ is largely played by people of a certain age, with jobs, possibly kids, and generally lives, that while (a) may be the ideal, the other approaches come into the picture a lot more. I certainly wouldn't deny, of course, that there are many long-running and open-ended capaigns like Jeff's and David's and the 'open-ended collection of finite stories' you've adopted.
Why do I ask? Well, I was giving some thought to the 'Narration' chapter of 'Mythic Russia' and wanted to introduce some ideas as to how to approach different kinds of campaign.
All the best
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