"Nate, where's all the stuff you've promised to write up for us?"
.... OK, so no one's asking that. But that would be nice. I do have a Mortal Kombat review in mind (not that anyone cares), so for those of you who do care hold on, I'm enjoying playing the game. Yes, it's a good game and deserves your money. But that's not what I wanted to write about today.
One of the concerns of running an RPG (yes, paper and pencil) with levels is "what level are you trying to play to?" For most players of 4th edition, the answer is usually the big 3-0: level 30. It's sort of a holy grail for 4th edition players to get as far as level 30, nevermind epic tier.*Most people dream of playing from levels 1-30, and yet always peter out around level 10, for a very simple reason: That's five months of gameplay on one story. That's a pretty long time to visit the same story week-in, week-out, and most people in our ADD-esque culture are to be commended for even thinking about the same thing that amount of time. The solution?
It's not very original, nor is it groundbreaking: take a break.
Yeah, you heard me. Start a new campaign, with someone else DM'ing if possible. Save the character sheets, and do this "other campaign" for awhile, perhaps six months. If the characters are "supposed" to go to 30th level and if you like the characters that much then the story will continue. My old highschool group ran very similar characters for five years, sometimes not even bothering to switch the names around. We constantly did variations on this one character, so much so that we actually nicknamed each other for that particular character (my name was Xenith for quite a while). If we'd actually thought about it we would have just shelved the characters and come back whenever we felt like it, which was about once a every year for a half year. Besides, most people only ever make one to three truly different characters (in my 7 year experience, anyway), so why not capitalize on it?
*While I have very little experience with games that have no levels (such as World of Darkness), I'd imagine that the same holds true for those types of games: every five to six months the players will need a re-set of some sort.