Breaking the Mold: Keep Adventuring

Okay, so I just wrote about ending campaigns. Yes a big climax would be a notable piece of a campaign, but if you’ve really done it well, your players won’t want to leave their characters or even just the world they’ve become invested in. No fear! There are ways around the finality of a campaign.

1. The literary character rule: Many characters were created in a canon of stories created out of any particular chronology (Conan, Sherlock Holmes, the Shadow). They were akin to truly episodic television where the core cast of characters and premise did not change from story to story. Conan walked alone in the ancient lands seeking glory and his own kingdom. Using these concepts, why not weave an adventure into the history of the player characters? Take them back to when they were mid-way through their adventuring careers (dig out the old character sheets) and construct a “Never Told Tale of the Untouchable Trio+1!” as Knights of the Dinner Table would put it. It could be a side adventure with no relevance to their overall story, or it might even weave in foreshadowing of the campaign climax that they would enjoy with their knowledge of the future.

2. Now that you’re King rule: If there is enough support for it, you could start a new era of the campaign with the character’s beginning at the height they achieved with the first climax. (Don’t talk about this with them unless they lobby to keep the campaign going… you don’t want to diminish the satisfaction and accomplishment if they just want to let the campaign stand as is.) Rethink the campaign from the point of view of their new positions in the world. Is one now king with all the attendant responsibilities, perks, and dangers? Are there evils in the world far more menacing that old Lord Bone and his skeleton-men? It would be a rare occasion that the king, the high priest of the church, and the Lord Mistress of Rangers need to step together to journey and adventure. (Well, in any other genre it would be ridiculous, but in fantasy, you can pull that sort of thing off.)

3. And that’s their story rule: The campaign ended and the original PCs were made legend. They are now the background for a new campaign set in those lands. Perhaps a lowly soldier on the line against Lord Bone witnessed the victory of the king and was inspired to follow his footsteps. The original PCs could have children, some of whom might take up their parent’s path to glory with sword, spell, or voice. Whether the characters are tied to the first PCs or wholly original, take advantage of the player knowledge of this campaign world and build on it. And when the bard in the tavern begins to sing the tale of King Roger and Lord Bone, they know all the words.

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