I’m going to admit it. I woke up this morning feeling a bit bereft.
Last night was the final session in our Rotten Under Oozetown campaign and my final fling with Timi, destroyer of bloody everything. Saying goodbye to a character that I’ve played for nigh on a whole year is worthy of some serious Sarah Brightman warbling (if you recognise the title, you’ve just both aged yourself & likely got some terrifying insight into my musical childhood!). Yes I am singing this as I type.
So, what do you do when a long campaign ends? It’s very easy to feel like that’s it and the fun is over, but I’m going to use a metaphor from the other me and add some advice from someone who’s spent the last 11 years saying goodbye at the end of July.
Here’s looking at you kid
Put a group of people together who don’t really want the fun to end, add a year of giggles and a pinch of social awkwardness and what you get is no idea how to end shit. Even though last night’s awkward goodbyes were indeed painfully awkward, it was a genuine reaction from all of us. Mainly surprise that we actually managed to achieve something aside from grusome murder & shopping!
The last lesson of term is never easy, and the same applies to TTRPGs – you’ve gone through some weird shit together and whilst you’ve always known that the end is in sight, it never really registers until it happens because you’re all too focused in the moment. If your players don’t seem enthused, it’s because they’re suddenly faced with an ending. Change is hard. We fear change.
WWW & EBI
Two acronyms feared by all educationalists. But actually, really useful. Having played the longest campaign in the history of time, we can use this to plan the next one by being proper grown ups (ha!) and evaluating our success.
What Went Well? I can only speak for myself here (I’m pretty sure Thirsty has some thoughts to add). There are certain world building aspects of the past year that I have loved – Oozetown is as much a home of my soul as Ankh Morpork now. Butts will forever be remembered through the Bar / Medical Centre that Anita built over the charred ashes, Bungo’s House of Boys I’m sure will find a way back to life (even if a few of the employees might not), and the food stalls & market…
These visuals really were only made possible by a descriptive PM who added depth to the sessions through a variety of voices which turned NPCs into real people. Now, a caveat here – just like Timi, I have hearing loss IRL, so accents are an interesting addition. I hear vowels & use autocaptions. This makes for lots of fun when we use accents that travel more than a lost Amazon package. The trick here is to have a tell that only your PM will pick up, who then describes what’s going on without the accent.
Even Better If?
Probably, if the players stopped shopping and did their goddamnbloody jobs. Well, as that is clearly never going to happen, let’s just move on…
I’m going to voice the unpopular opinion that I quite like maps & graphics. One thing that this campaign has done is helped us to build more of our world, and maps are in development to help us remember where we are, but also to give people watching a visual shove off the cliff of their disbelief and into the murky sea of the PMs imagination.
At the end of the campaign, we also relaunched StreamElements on Twitch and started to reward people for watching. Ever the data analyst, I kept a bit of a tally of our viewing figures & engagement and it does indeed make a difference. I feel like a grandparent trying to understand email when reading through the StreamElements documentation, but never fear my delicious miscreants, we saw the data and we will add more fun stuff for you to mess with during the streams!
Coming back to where you started, is not the same as never leaving
We may have finished with this campaign, but we’re now back at BTP Headquarters planning more crimes to bring to you on various nights of the week, starting next Monday! And if you think you’ve seen the last of us as a group, think again!
You can watch the entire campaign on YouTube right here:
So, to (badly) quote another thing that ages me horribly, I’m not much good at giving speeches, and I know I wasn’t always easy to get along with, but I just want to say… that over the last year I’ve come to regard you as .. people.. I met.
More than that. You guys as a group were fucking awesome.
Time at the bar bitches.
Sources for various quotes: Casablanca, Sir Terry Pratchett, Red Dwarf (you figure out which one is which)