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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Hello everyone,

    I decided to post this in general for opinions from a wide spectrum of table top players, but for context's sake, this is a D&D 5e campaign.

    I have a terrific group of close real life friends. A little under a year ago, I decided to launch a full campaign as Dungeon Master. I was pretty fresh to table tops and it was my first time DMing. For some of the players, it was their first time playing. It has been a terrific ride.

    Because we're all responsible adults, the campaign has not gotten very far IC. In the span of a year, we're still level 4 (that's woefully early in a career for those unfamiliar with 5e), and the conspiracy at the center of the campaign has only barely begun to be unraveled. Unfortunately, I can't continue to DM, for at least a year. I'm taking a weekend job in addition to my ~50 hour day job to save for an engagement ring and a wedding next year, as I am certain I've met the love of my life. I'm trying to buckle down and prepare very seriously for the rest of my life.

    It's a bummer as this campaign is very dear to my heart and I know my players love their characters and the story. Realistically, putting it on hiatus and resuming a year later like nothing happened is not going to happen. However, I'd like to resume the campaign once the series of major life changes are complete. How would you recommend going about this in a satisfying way for the players?
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    Vicious Mockery: Adding injury to insult.
    My homebrew:
    The Hag Patron, a witch option for the 5e Warlock.
    Arcane Tradition of Universalism, a more generalist school for 5e Wizards.
    Circle of Ironwood, a true Gish option for the 5e Druid.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Coventry's Avatar

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I decided to post this in general for opinions from a wide spectrum of table top players, but for context's sake, this is a D&D 5e campaign.

    I have a terrific group of close real life friends. A little under a year ago, I decided to launch a full campaign as Dungeon Master. I was pretty fresh to table tops and it was my first time DMing. For some of the players, it was their first time playing. It has been a terrific ride.

    Because we're all responsible adults, the campaign has not gotten very far IC. In the span of a year, we're still level 4 (that's woefully early in a career for those unfamiliar with 5e), and the conspiracy at the center of the campaign has only barely begun to be unraveled. Unfortunately, I can't continue to DM, for at least a year. I'm taking a weekend job in addition to my ~50 hour day job to save for an engagement ring and a wedding next year, as I am certain I've met the love of my life. I'm trying to buckle down and prepare very seriously for the rest of my life.

    It's a bummer as this campaign is very dear to my heart and I know my players love their characters and the story. Realistically, putting it on hiatus and resuming a year later like nothing happened is not going to happen. However, I'd like to resume the campaign once the series of major life changes are complete. How would you recommend going about this in a satisfying way for the players?
    Do with your players what you just did with us - tell them what is going on, why it is going on and how you would like to handle it. You've said that you are all responsible adults, that probably means they will understand that your plans for family come first.

    They may present any or all of these options:
    1. Put the campaign on pause for a while
    2. Have someone else take over DMing duties of your world
    3. Have someone else take over DMing duties in a new world
    4. With or without you as a player, if your time permits
    5. Break off gaming for a while
    6. End the campaign, here


    There is no way for me to guess what they will choose - these are your friends, not mine.

    The truth of gaming is that outside influences will interfere. People burn out, lose interest, get jobs in another state, have other things become higher priority, et cetera all the time. It sounds like this is the first time that you have personally experienced it.

    Tell them the truth - you're only ditching them for the other woman/man, after all .

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Zhorn's Avatar

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Coventry has the most thorough answer you could ask for outside of the game.
    Life happens, and if the rest of your group is as responsible as you imply, then they are going to be very understanding of it.

    Now as far as IN GAME, making a good stepping off point is going to be tricky to come up with for anyone not knowing all the ins and outs of the game progress so far and the extra world details you as DM would know behind the scenes.
    Having another player take over as DM is were my vote goes, purely because it is easier to maintain a gaming schedule than it is to start up a new one, and once the regular game is not long on the weekly calendar, it might be very hard to coordinate all the players to have a regular spot to return to once you are good to relaunch the campaign.
    Coventry presenting two of the options as;
    • Have someone else take over DMing duties of your world
    • Have someone else take over DMing duties in a new world

    Are each fine options, but I suggest a best of both worlds with
    Spoiler: the only true response
    Show

    Crazy idea, I know, but allow me to convince you
    Spoiler: The plan
    Show

    Have a big bad (either a primary antagonist, or a stand in side character) forcibly planeshift the party away. At which point you transition the role of DM over to someone else in the group, allowing them to take full reign over the type of world/setting/theme. All players make a new batch of character with their own goals in this new world. Assuming a similar progress rate, by the time you are able to return to the game, this new batch of characters should be at a similar state of level progress as the current party.
    You step back into the DM chair, and SUPRISE! this new world is the far distant future timeline of the original campaign, just if the heroes were to have never stopped the BBEG. Original party pops out of the other side of the planeshift amongst the new characters. Players have the choice of returning to their original character, or continueing with their new one, party is divided into those who are returning to the original time dimension, and those who are not are put in story stasis in the new world. Run a session or two seeking out a wizard/macguffin to send the group back to the point where they were sent off.
    If there's a TPK; you now have the secondary world story with a cast of characters all primed to continue with.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BardGirl

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    I will tell you what I did as a GM when I saw my military campaign fade out.

    I told everyone that the campaign was going to end, and told them why. That part should be easy, what with the love of your life.
    Then I decided how much longer I could be the GM. In my case it was only one session.
    After that I spend some time thinking about what I had been looking forward to in the campaign. Specific scenes, reveals, battles, and interactions. I wrote it all down, and prioritized them. Then I simply chose the top ones that I could see happening within the time frame.
    As the final session started, I told the group that today we would have 3 specific scenes, and some significant time skips in between.

    The final session was the most action packed blast I have ever experienced. No time was spend on planning details, or small talking. As soon as they became friends with the epic knight, I ended the scene, and started the next scene.
    Now I described to them that almost a year of war had passed that for the last few hours they had been fighting through the crashed space ship. The scene started when they finally came to the bridge where the mad scientist was just about to give his final monologue.


    Feel out your group if there is a specific level they like, and jump directly to that level. Then blast them with the most epic highlights of the campaign.
    On a personal GM note, it also lets you feel like you finished the story, and stops it from haunting your dreams ;)
    English is my second language, but I will be more than happy to explain myself in Danish.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Uh.... I just kill them all with a Balor Lord.

    "Well shoot. Nobody saw that coming... Oh well"
    Last edited by Drache64; 2019-09-12 at 10:17 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Quote Originally Posted by Incorrect View Post
    I will tell you what I did as a GM when I saw my military campaign fade out.

    I told everyone that the campaign was going to end, and told them why. That part should be easy, what with the love of your life.
    Then I decided how much longer I could be the GM. In my case it was only one session.
    After that I spend some time thinking about what I had been looking forward to in the campaign. Specific scenes, reveals, battles, and interactions. I wrote it all down, and prioritized them. Then I simply chose the top ones that I could see happening within the time frame.
    As the final session started, I told the group that today we would have 3 specific scenes, and some significant time skips in between.

    The final session was the most action packed blast I have ever experienced. No time was spend on planning details, or small talking. As soon as they became friends with the epic knight, I ended the scene, and started the next scene.
    Now I described to them that almost a year of war had passed that for the last few hours they had been fighting through the crashed space ship. The scene started when they finally came to the bridge where the mad scientist was just about to give his final monologue.


    Feel out your group if there is a specific level they like, and jump directly to that level. Then blast them with the most epic highlights of the campaign.
    On a personal GM note, it also lets you feel like you finished the story, and stops it from haunting your dreams ;)
    I second this advice. We had to truncate our Curse of Strahd campaign for similar reasons, and ironically wound up skipping almost all of Castle Ravenloft (skipping Castle Ravenloft in Curse of Strahd? I know, but trust me it worked).

    We cut right to the scene where they rescued the captured PC, then right to the final fight. And man, it was great. No holds barred, solid hero vs villain punch up that had been building all campaign. It turned out spectacularly, and I highly recommend it. Much, much better than letting it peter out, trapped in that mystical land of "what it could have been"

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Rocks fall. Everyone dies.

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    Gluteus_Maximus's Avatar

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shabbazar View Post
    Rocks fall. Everyone dies.
    Or better, have them discover a whole bunch of new info all at once and then get killed in the night by the conspirators who know they've found out too much to keep living.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Coventry's Avatar

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhorn View Post
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    Ah, imgur strikes again! If that spoiler box was empty, like it was for me .. go take a peek at https://i.imgur.com/WXfuedi.gif

    Cut and paste it. A clickified link may give back a 403 error.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    I had one campaign die a slow death as players left for college, and when they came back we just skipped to the ending. Everyone who had left for college had gone on "side quests" and so were leveled appropriately, the end boss got trotted out and killed and everyone was happy. Something like that is plenty for most people, just tell them why you need to do it and they will be onboard.
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    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I decided to post this in general for opinions from a wide spectrum of table top players, but for context's sake, this is a D&D 5e campaign.

    I have a terrific group of close real life friends. A little under a year ago, I decided to launch a full campaign as Dungeon Master. I was pretty fresh to table tops and it was my first time DMing. For some of the players, it was their first time playing. It has been a terrific ride.

    Because we're all responsible adults, the campaign has not gotten very far IC. In the span of a year, we're still level 4 (that's woefully early in a career for those unfamiliar with 5e), and the conspiracy at the center of the campaign has only barely begun to be unraveled. Unfortunately, I can't continue to DM, for at least a year. I'm taking a weekend job in addition to my ~50 hour day job to save for an engagement ring and a wedding next year, as I am certain I've met the love of my life. I'm trying to buckle down and prepare very seriously for the rest of my life.

    It's a bummer as this campaign is very dear to my heart and I know my players love their characters and the story. Realistically, putting it on hiatus and resuming a year later like nothing happened is not going to happen. However, I'd like to resume the campaign once the series of major life changes are complete. How would you recommend going about this in a satisfying way for the players?
    Lots of good advice. I'm only posting to wish you luck and happiness with your special person.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGirl

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    A giant mechanical Abraham Lincoln rises from a nearby river and begins laying waste to the surroundings. Only an equally giant mechanical John Wilkes Boothe, assembled Voltron-style from a number of smaller units equal to the number of players in your party, can stop him.

    If you have to end a campaign forever and you want to do it on a high note, do it on a BIZARRE high note. We actually ended a Mutants and Masterminds campaign exactly as I described above, because most of us weren't that into it, and we'll never forget it because of that.
    "And if you don't, the consequences will be dire!"
    "What? They'll have three extra hit dice and a rend attack?"

    Factotum Variants!

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    How would you recommend going about this in a satisfying way for the players?
    Rock falls, everyone dies.
    " Death is a disease! It's like any other... there's a cure. A cure! And I will find it. "
    - Tom Creo, The Fountain

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PirateGirl

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Quote Originally Posted by Incorrect View Post
    I will tell you what I did as a GM when I saw my military campaign fade out.

    I told everyone that the campaign was going to end, and told them why. That part should be easy...
    Actually this. Each session can always be treated as the last session, you don't have to wrap everything up, just like in real life, you don't get to witness the conclusion of every thread. Just make one last session to give it an ending, don't introduce new characters, don't introduce new scenarios, just give a conclusion to the most important things in your campaign.

    Never hold back your best ideas, even if you kill your villain or resolve your most carefully cared mysteries, the story can always keep going on if you suddenly decide to continue that same campaign. New villains will rise, new mysteries will pop-up and even if the current party dies or gets too old, they can always pass the torch to new generations.

    It's always better to have a "lame" ending that not having any at all.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Malphegor's Avatar

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    The party find and inadvertently activate an end-of-AD&D-style Apocalypse Stone, except modified to exist in 3.5.

    Magic is dwindling, with each (time period of your choice) giving an additional 5% arcane spell failure chance cumulating over time. The gods have stopped answering prayers. Crops are withering. The sun has come closer, or is bigger and redder.

    Chaos has erupted in most civilizations, and all the ancient horrors of your choice are awakening as their bindings weaken. Heroes are losing faith in their abilities to solve the issues of the world, and villains are increasingly panicking over the loss of all they've attained.

    Planar travel gets 'thick' and 'goopy' according to most spellcasters, and each day it becomes harder to escape this version of the Prime Material. It quickly becomes like the magical equivalent of headbutting an adamant wall.

    The world is going to end. Everyone who didn't escape in the first few days is going to die.
    Volcanoes erupt. Earthquakes. Hurricanes. Explosions in the Underdark. The sky starts to fall, comets and meteors strike the world.

    The game is now about how will they die. When the apocalypse comes, will you go down fighting til the end, or fall to despair?

    When the world ends, do you still adhere to who you were before it began to end.

    It doesn't matter.

    The final words of the final session will be:

    "the world swirls away into the cosmic dust from which it was created."
    never piss off people for who one of their main hobbies involves aggressive and thorough note-taking.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    This is the point where someone will undoubtably chime in to say, “Pull out and nuke ‘em from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    Looks like that someone was me.

    Seriously, congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. But really, love should never mean that someone ceases to be and enjoy who and what they are. As someone who’s enjoyed almost 30 years with my better half, I can tell you that love is about supporting and encouraging each other in every aspect of life. I doubt the love of your life would want your lives together to begin with you abandoning an activity and friends which bring you joy, any more than you would want the same for her.
    Yes, times change, and yes, we do grow up. You do have and will continue to see adult responsibilities in your life. But the true measure of adult responsibility is to recognize that you also have a responsibility to restore and replenish yourself. Alas, our society all too often mocks hobbies as “unimportant.” But they aren’t such at all— in fact, they are vital to the health of mind, body and spirit. Everything needs to have the proper balance, of course, but departing entirely from activities which renew your spirit is by no means anything close to “proper balance!”

    Now, as you state the group has reached a point of slowing. But is it truly at an end? Perhaps it is merely a recognition that the time for certain activities needs to alter or reduce, but not that it needs to stop. My own parents have been a member of a monthly bridge group that has met regularly for at least 40 years. Those friendships sustained them, and continue to do so.
    They are an example to me of the importance of such activities to a healthy life.

    So don’t give up your gaming because you think you “have to” or that it’s the “adult” thing to do! Far from it.
    As C.S. Lewis said, quoting and expanding upon St. Paul, “‘When I became an adult, I put away childish things’— including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

    Talk with your beloved first, then with your friends. But whatever you decide, find a way to keep your spirit restored by things you enjoy, and never give that up.
    “New rule! DON’T PICK UP THE EVIL NECROSTICK!”— One of my teen players.
    So of course, one of the others immediately did.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Phhase's Avatar

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    Default Re: How would you end a campaign prematurely?

    Quote Originally Posted by KOLE View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I decided to post this in general for opinions from a wide spectrum of table top players, but for context's sake, this is a D&D 5e campaign.

    I have a terrific group of close real life friends. A little under a year ago, I decided to launch a full campaign as Dungeon Master. I was pretty fresh to table tops and it was my first time DMing. For some of the players, it was their first time playing. It has been a terrific ride.

    Because we're all responsible adults, the campaign has not gotten very far IC. In the span of a year, we're still level 4 (that's woefully early in a career for those unfamiliar with 5e), and the conspiracy at the center of the campaign has only barely begun to be unraveled. Unfortunately, I can't continue to DM, for at least a year. I'm taking a weekend job in addition to my ~50 hour day job to save for an engagement ring and a wedding next year, as I am certain I've met the love of my life. I'm trying to buckle down and prepare very seriously for the rest of my life.

    It's a bummer as this campaign is very dear to my heart and I know my players love their characters and the story. Realistically, putting it on hiatus and resuming a year later like nothing happened is not going to happen. However, I'd like to resume the campaign once the series of major life changes are complete. How would you recommend going about this in a satisfying way for the players?
    Honestly? As long as you left a mark on them and they're available at the end of your hiatus, then things could very well just start up again as if nothing happened. Just save the notes, save the character sheets (make backups!) and leave it at that. As long as you remember where it is you left off, it should be no problem to pick up there. I had a group of college students from out of state in a campaign last spring, really excellent people. They had to leave for summer, but come this fall, I messaged them again and sure enough, they were eager to resume. We picked up right where we left off - in the fens, on a quest to stop the shelling of a city, having just finished a fight with a neo-otyugh (The Barbarian having unknowingly contracted disease during the fight).

    I can't speak for your friends or your situation, but sometimes, things really do just wait for you to be ready again. As long as you can answer the question "Would I want to come back one day?" with Yes, then resist the urge to say it's over, and toss out your progress! You'll thank yourself later.
    Last edited by Phhase; 2019-09-23 at 09:28 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crisis21 View Post
    Phhase he played four
    He played nick nack on my door
    With a nick nack paddy whack
    Give a dog a bone
    Phhase came rolling home.

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