May 22nd, 2005


The Grand Finale!

So tommorow is the last session ever of the oft mentioned Steampunk/Fantasy Savage Worlds game I've been running for the last damn near year and a half.

It occurs to me, that I've had very few games in the 20 years or so that I've been GMing actually finish. Most games I've run or played in have just sort of fizzle out and we end up playing something else or people move or whatever.

But after tommorow, I'll have players who (hopefully) get to retire their characters after saving the world from impending doom and all that. Our heroes will get to walk off into the sunset, dance with the Ewoks and the music can kick in and final credits can roll. (Assuming they all don't die horribly when the Mad God Awakens and the Pirate Army collides with the Steamtech Army and all that.)

Let's see, previous games I played in/ran that actually came to a real ending:

A Sabbat VtM game set in Baltimore, that lasted for a year or so. At the end, most of the characters died attackin a raging Methuselah, except one who fled town for LA. Meanwhile, the city's undead powerstructure disintigrates under civil war.

The 1000 Year Monsrosity, a Vampire game that ran from the Dark Ages to modern day, and incorperated much of the Transylvania Chronicles and the Giovanni Chronicles. Ended with the rather overblown James Bond Heroic ending of the Transylvania Chronicles, where our heroes, 1000 year old undead monsrosities, save the world from a giant demonic thing, and nukes heading towards new york. Yeah, nukes to new york. Looking back, I really wish I had time to think up a better ending, or that Lair of the Hidden was out, because that would have been a great ending.

The West Coast Vampire Game, where our fledgling Archons managed to hold off the sabbat invasion of San Francisco while unravelling the plot of the Kindred of the East invasion. One PC died, after he betrayed the others to the sabbat.

Before that, the last campaign that actually came to a conclusion was a Vampire game I ran back in highschool, set in Boston, where one of the PCs betrayed everyone and became an infernalist and the other PCs barely managed to stop him after most everyone died.

(You know, I used to run Vampire a lot. And invariably someone would betray everyone and PCs would die. This might be why I'm enjoying a high fantasy epic action game where the PCs are all more or less heroes and more or less get along.)

I think that's it. Back when I ran D&D in highschool and junior high I don't think we ever actually finished a game. We just quit playing something and rolled up new characters, our previous adventurers still off in some dungeon or far plane or whatever. I'll hopefully wrap up Evernight this summer, and I'd love to go back and run the rest of the Orpheus campaign, but since 2000 I've run 2 and a half Vampire campaigns that died without proper endings, a Demon game that we never got to finish, a Werewolf game that died after two sessions, and I've played in a Savage Worlds game that ended with one or two sessions to go, an Eberron game that crashed after just one adventure, and more.

Hell, I even managed to run a Wraith 2 parter that we never got around to playing the second half of.

But anyway, enough of my ramblings. Tell me of your games and endings. Have you had a significantly greater or smaller finish to fizzle out ratio? Share your stories of grand endings and all that good stuff! Did you go back to the same characters and world or did you move on to all new stuff? Did you save the world or die horribly? Did one of your Vampire PCs betray everyone else?
  • Current Music
    Bauhaus "She's In Parties" (man, I'm such a cliche)

Do you plan an end?

Related strongly to the question posed by inscrutable, perhaps even a rewording. I am curious how many of you plan games to have an endpoint and if so how do you go about it?

My own games tend to use a combination of player independent plots and player motivated plots. Neither of these lend themselves to any specific endpoint. For better or worse it's never been a problem for me because the games have always fallen apart, usually due to schedule conflicts or a loss of resources.

[EDIT]I've just posted some general ideas concerning how to run a role-playing game in my own journal. Your input, even negative, would be appreciated.
  • Current Mood
    curious curious

The End of the World

Speaking of big end games...I'm sort of frustrated by end game importance creepage.

So many endgames (especially fantasy) revolve around the heroes saving the world from certain destruction.

While that is an interesting plot and can be all just seems to have gotten old. It seems 90% of the games I play in involve saving the world from doom. With the stakes always so high, they become meaningless.

So at the moment, as a GM, I'm trying to think about smaller stakes. Finding ways of making conflict about other things than the end of the world.

I'm planning a short adventure (probably a 4 session affair with a beginning/middle/end)...where the mission is to protect a scientist from assassination. No End of the World, just PCs trying to do something important for their community.

Have y'all also noticed the overuse of the End of the World Plotline?

While We're On Endings

Here's my all time favorite Non Ending.

Last year I ran a very short Demon the Fallen chronicle. I had an idea for a shorter game, and I ran it as sort of a break from the main game I'd been running. I'd planned on the Demon game to last maybe a couple of months, but in the end we only went through the first adventure, but the ending was so perfect and so cinematic that I had to just leave off there.

The PCs began as Death Row Inmates in Texas. Some more guilty than others, none of them particularly wholesome. Things start going weird, food starts getting sparce, the guards get all paranoid, deliveries stop showing up, inmates start dissapearing, and things just get all around nasty. We ran one session where all of the PCs were mortal, and at the end a Fallen Angel NPC takes them and his buddies possess them.

Turns out the prison was home to an Earthbound (big nasty evil demons who live inside objects. This one possessed the entire prison.) and the PCs fight off his minions, and discover that the sky is actually a solid dome all the way around the Prison, that changes to look like day and night and clouds moving and all that. So our PCs use all of their cool powers to break through the wall, taking lots of damage on the way from their demonic captor. Upon emerging, they discover that the entire prison had been covered over with a massive hill, oh and the end of the world was going on outside.

They make their way to a nearby small town, steal some clothes and a car and whatnot, and end up at a small town diner, where our waitress Fran explains to them all of the Time of Judgement chaos going on around the world, that New Orleans is quaranteened off and Atlanta is burning to the ground and there's a giant Red Star in the sky and Mexico City is hell on earth and a Lake has formed around St. Louis, with the city an island in the center and lots of death and chaos and destruction and oh do you want more coffee hon?

So the PCs use their cool powers to see how some different places are and what might happen if they go X or Y, and they discover that Las Vegas is completely free at the moment of chaos and desruction. So they hop in a stolen mustang, some of the PCs now wearing cowboy hats, and drive off into the sunset towards Vegas, blasting the Rolling Stones on the tape deck.

Fade to black, roll credits.

I had planned on doing a short Apocalyptic Preacheresque Road Trip game, but that ending was just so weird and perfect, a car full of demons heading to Vegas, wearing cowboy hats and blasting Paint It Black in a mustang with the top down, while the world was ending; that I had to just let it end there. Anything that I followed up with wouldn't be nearly as cool as the possabilities that the players could imagine after that ending.

So yeah, have you ever had a game that ended before you planned on it, but the ending was just so cool that it worked?
  • Current Music
    The Beatles "Ob La Di, Ob La Da"