Ending A Campaign

News – Is there news? Well, there might be.

As of next week, Podgate PG1 will be release on iTunes and a bunch of other platforms, and on a Wednesday night, we’re adding Podgate PG1: Live and Uncut to our Twitch channel!

The Friday Night SPICED crew are going to have Roastie and Spanners as guests this week on Thirsty’s one shot “We’re Getting Too Old For This Shit”. An action hero movie type deal. Rad as hell!


Talking about One Shots, we finished Bringing Home the Bacon a fortnight ago.

Yup, twenty-four sessions of a campaign that had a definite ending – nearly a hundred hours of a campaign did we play. Coincidentally, I also had the season finale of The Void on Videostorecowboy’s channel last week and finale of The Void (different game) on our friend Skaggeth’s channel this week.

What I really wanted to talk about today, was ending a campaign, and ending it on a good note. Now ending a campaign doesn’t always happen – people drift away and the game dissolves, or you’re playing game without an intended finish – however, sometimes, you know it has to end. I’m talking about that moment.

So what constitutes a good note?

Resolution of an individual character’s story

Each character, when developed over a campaign, will have an individual story. Something they are striving for, an open plot hook or a pathway that is clearly signed. Something that when completed, absolutely screams that this is the end of their ultimate story. When your character has that moment, it’s a great feeling. Yay, they resolved, good or bad.

Pushing a character beyond this point can sometimes feel like you’re dragging your heels roleplaying wise – their story is done. Not so bad when it’s right towards the end, but at a point, you know when their story is done. As much as we love them, we should let them go.

Resolution of the main story arc

This one might be obvious. If you’re running a main story arc, or have concluded a sandbox style thing where the story they’ve created comes to it’s end, this is a perfect point in which to end the campaign. Make sure you’ve wound up as much information as possible to ensure that the players know as much as possible in game. It’s a tough order, but worth taking the time to explain in game. People like to know what;s going on – how they got here, how their actions may have affected the decisions and answer some questions.

Doing this and respecting the narrative can be hard, but give it a shot. Learning something after the game has finished can feel a little cheap – it hasn’t been learnt by the right person – the character!

Why end it there? Well, we’ve all watched series that have run out of content and should have finished on a high. Throwing that food for thought – I hope you catch my meaning.

Any goodbyes

Saying good bye. Oh yeah. This can be a real doozey. That ‘before we do battle’ speech, the ability to leave each other notes in case the worst happens, and genuinely saying goodbye when characters go about their separate paths.

It’s all about closure – for you the PM, you the player and you the character.

However, Flipside.

Now, on the subject of resolving main story arcs, on Skaggeth’s “The Void”, we do not know everything, no where near everything, nor the effects of what our ultimate acts were. One way or another, they did get to say their goodbyes though. A lot of personal stuff was wrapped up too – a lot but not all.

Although very few of the points I mentioned actually were hit in that finale – it was a great satisfying ending. I loved it. Even the worst moments.

Even in our finale on Bringing Home the Bacon I made mistakes. I didn’t manage to get all the background plot points out. I just couldn’t have the right people in the right place. Mainly because many were in jail – and I totally forgot to wrap some of the smaller threads. Dumbass.

The individual wrap ups did mostly work to be honest – our players got the chance to decide how they wanted their character’s stories to play out, even though I often threw a little twist at them from time to time. Even the one out of the blue – major props Dev puppet, major props. My only regret was not having the nerve to sing the kid’s song live – admittedly, it would have slain. An note for improvement there – don’t be scared!

And goodbyes – well, we didn’t really do that. Especially with Helena, our cardboard NPC of the game. Everyone was in jail or on the run, or, in the case of Quinn, dead. 

Finally…

All good things come to an end and they’re given more importance when you know that there is an end. Imagine saying goodbye if you know you’ll be seeing them again. It doesn’t have the same emotional tie to it. 

When you reach that end, my advice? Don’t cheat yourself out of it. Finish, get closure and don’t let the game or characters drag on because you still want to play the game. Let them go.

There’s no sure fire way to end a campaign, but the few basics here might be something you want to consider.

 

Although counter point – you might hate the game and can’t wait to see the back end of it. What do I know?

Time at the bar, drink up bitches.
– Blood, I am emotionally distraught, thanks ending of campaigns.

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