I have played both Masks and Monster of the week.
I find D&D/PF to be very different. Instead of like 3-4 moves, I have 3-4 class features, 3-4 ancestry features, 3-4 skill features, etc... I have a tool kit that isnt specifically defined, but is generally useful to be applied in a myriad of ways. I think the main difference is that the playbook moves being specific is actually a really good role play motivator. Something D&D/PF games lack, or when they do employ, only on the most surface and superficial levels and is not very motivating.
Thanks, payn, for the clarifications. This is really helpful.
I do think that when it comes to D&D and Pathfinder, at least when it comes to WotC era, there is a certain element of "deck building" when it comes to your character. Your ancestry, class, feats, and skills provide you with various tools and bonuses. You are essentially building your character, which is especially true with 3e/PF1/5e style multiclassing. And I can see how that may not be as satisfiying if you are playing PbtA, where I feel that abilities or class moves can more like edges or advantages that the character has. Though there are numerous exceptions, PbtA tends to be a little more interested in the experience of dragging a character through the coals rather than building a character designed to withstand and escape the coals. There are some PbtA games that treat moves more like abilities and/or tools.
I did not mean to imply that episodic is bad, and serial is good. I really enjoy a short lived round of Masks or Monster of the Week. However, I don't enjoy playing them in perpetuity like a I do a campaign of my other favorites PF and Traveller. The PbtA games become routine, expected, and repetitive. I will say there is a good chance the GMs I had just ran the game that way and were not good at moving the plot, introducing new elements, being serial. Its a preference for me, and not a general statement of fact I'm making.
I feel the PbtA game mechanics don't really encourage serial play. I've felt the same about other closely related games too like Blades in the Dark. I really enjoy the role play encouragement and how the mechanics have a hand in that, but the play loop kills my long term interest in these games. I'm not entirely blaming the systems, but that has been my experience.
So do I understand you correctly that when you use the term "serial" you mean long-term play such as a campaign?
I'm not sure if I would agree, based upon my own personal experiences that PbtA games are repetitive, but I can see how they lend themselves to shorter-term campaigns rather than some of the longer-ones that D&D/Pathfinder cultivate. That said, I have been in many PbtA games that have lasted longer than most of my D&D campaigns, which in my own personal experience tend to end before reaching even 8th to 10th level. Sure the potential for longer-term gameplay exists, but IME it rarely reaches that point because either the GM or players burnout or become bored.
You may want to check out Ironsworn
. It's free, and you can run it solo. It is meant for running campaigns of various lengths depending on how strong of a vow and oath you swear, which affects how long it takes to achieve it. But you can build your character in some interesting ways in the game, as you can select assets, abilities, and so on that can shape or improve your character.
I also will always recommend Stonetop
by Jeremy Strandberg, though it isn't fully published yet. It is a hack of Dungeon World, which makes it a little more familiar for D&D players. The characters are inhabitants of an Iron Age village looking to improve its lot. The village gets its own playbook for upgrading it, somewhat similar to BitD. It's meant to be played across seasons and years. So you can even rotate characters in and out of play.
Even though there is a Masks-like quality to how Magpie Games designed Avatar Legends
, characters are also expected to go out into the world and learn combat techniques. I have not played a long-term campaign of Avatar Legends, only a one-shot to get my feet wet, but maybe this would help contribute to making character progression feel a bit more like gaining new tools for your character.