5.15.2012

Season 2, Episode 8 - Season Finale

How to End a Campaign

The finale of season two is a somber one - how to successfully end a campaign.  We give lots of ideas on how and why.



First, after our intro, we recapped our Dungeon Master's Credo, a declaration of sorts of how the game of Dungeons and Dragons should be approached from an interpersonal relationship sense.  We introduced the credo two years ago.  Try not to do the math on how many episodes/month that is.

After dealing with William's abandonment issues, we begin on the first of many plots spoilers in this episode. Then into a number of emails from listeners that with regrettably unreplied-to.

  • Notes from emails:
    • Jonny's article recommending the The Last Unicorn on paperflyingmachine.wordpress.com.
    • Dave (from episode 4) wrote in twice in two days.  
    • Sam the Kiwi asked about more tactful player background exposition.
    • Chuck gave us a review on iTunes and sent us some sweet smooth bumper music.
    • Robert from Australia sent an upside-down email to tell us he got his gaming group back together, but not before airing his personal grievances against Bruce. Then he exemplifies the "savage noble" char concept.
    • Adam wrote in about MythWeavers and dropped his handle on that site, ocelotdie, and requested more PbP podcast episodes.
    • Shawn (there are multiple ways to spell it) asked if there are any new podcasts planned.  Dick.  (Yes.)
William then stepped up on a soapbox about a great article, "You are responsible for your own orgasm."  In summary, it is the player's responsibility to engage themselves and their character in the game.  It is not the GM/DM's responsibility to pull your character concept out of you with forceps.

Summarized, the main topic of the podcast can be summarized with "How to change out the PC's," because that's really what the end of a campaign is.  No campaign is your last campaign.

Tips to ending a campaign:
  • Address each character, loose end, and plot thread.
  • Make sure every character feels important, even if in a small way.
    • Make sure the characters' past lead towards their destiny.  
    • Pregnancy?  Just a trope.
  • The epilogue is a time to do something that couldn't be roleplayed "in engine."
    • Keep things relevant and realistic enough to see the impact that characters had on the world.  
    • Point out unseen connections that might have been.
    • Align the ending of the story with credibility with the past.
  • Don't get us wrong.  We think you should end your campaign.
    • Ending you campaign well can be extremely satisfying.
Tools you can use to end the campaign:
  • Novelize the ending 
  • The final, climactic battle featuring cutscenes within/around
    • Insurmountable odds, but the honor of brotherhood leads you to battle to glorious death
  • Reintroduce old characters that come back to aid or oppose
    • Remember that little girl with the puppy you punched?
    • The NPC's help the characters make a final discovery
  • It was all a dream.  (Like when Patrick Duffy walks out of the shower.  Don't do this.)
  • Cataclysm - a perverse version of your previous campaign's world.
  • Two kind of fast-forwards:
    • Peaceful fast-forward to the future (LOTR, Harry Potter)
    • The less-peaceful fast-forward (you die a week later and/or go on to battle gods)
  • The cliffhanger gamble (be careful of taking too much power away from your players)
  • Thanks, but no thanks.
    • Fallout and the water chip, the end of the cold war, Dragon Age and the quest where you can't go back.
Gadgets of the Podcast:
Big Thanks:

For music, once again big thanks to the Diablo String OrchestraThe Kobolds, our listener Chuck, and mega-fan Joshua Bentley, who provided some more great voice work for us.  He's done all of this pro-bono because he loves the show. If you want some voice work for a project, follow him on Twitter at @voiceofthebigjb and drop him a line!

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