Question 3: What gives a game ‘staying power’?
Again that would be background, setting, premise. Something rich enough to sustain the interest of both GM and players going forward.
There’s no point playing the game if the group’s not having fun. We all need a sandpit to play in.
The players need to feel engaged with the world, and also feel like they’re achieving something. At the very least they need to be meeting their short term aims even if they can’t hope to reach their long term goals. I mean, Call of Cthulhu doesn’t tend to be a game about saving the world for good.
You get to stop this particular band of fanatics, prevent this immediate plan for catastrophic apocalypse. Obvious really, if there’s no ongoing challenge it’s not much of a game. Unless it’s a game about micro-managing the archives at a small New England college.
And it needs to have a system that doesn’t annoy me; either with mechanics or with oh-so-quirky lets do things differently for the sake of it.
Of course, this all relates to ‘staying power’ in respect of ‘thing my gaming group will continue to play’. In terms of the wider longevity of particular roleplaying games I guess it’s down to background, setting, premise and also having a system that in some cases adapts with the needs of the ‘gaming community’ of the day (see various editions of various things with radical overhauls of the mechanics), and in other cases hearkens back to the purity of systems of long ago (see OSR everything all the time).
I guess what I’m saying is people need to want to play them.