Originally Posted by veti
And when a fictional story introduces an 'evil', it needs to describe the defeat of that 'evil'. (See the quote in my signature for another way of putting it.) In the case of OOTS: no matter what the cost - even if the whole of the OOTS dies tomorrow, the story isn't over until Xykon is beaten, even if that takes another 30 years and 10 more adventuring parties. If Rich chooses to 'end' the story before then, we'll all assume he's just setting us up for a part 2.
That is true, but ONLY because of convention. There's no reason a story couldn't end on the villain winning. After all, a story is also about its protagonists, and a lot of the time they're left alive at the end of a story, perhaps with a love interest and some regrets at the cost of victory and stuff like that, but the story leaves them alive.
The finish line doesn't have to be drawn at a victory or loss or even any kind of ending at all - short stories are good for that, they often set up a premise and leave us to consider where it goes without doing all the work for us.
So yeah, fiction ending with all the loose ends tied up, villain defeated or sealed in a can or whatever is very common, but it isn't mandatory, just incredibly common, so common that it's perceived as mandatory!
My entire point this whole time has been that things can go ANY OTHER WAY and still be a satisfying story. Someone else mentioned Stephen King's IT as a great story in which it appeared the villain could win; Stephen King's Pet Sematary is a story in which the "villain" (granted, a nebulous intangible concept) DID win. And it was awesome.
I think at this point we've said everything that can be said on the matter. It's been interesting, but let's drop it.