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Thread: Campaign ending

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    J-H's Avatar

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    Default Campaign ending

    I'm far enough ahead in my planning that I'm thinking about how to end my Castlevania campaign. The party will be level 12, technically hitting 13 if anything happens after they have an epic battle and defeat Dracula (custom-built not a "by the book" vampire -- I guarantee it'll be an epic battle).

    But then what?

    "You all walk out of Dracula's castle towards your homes, leaving it to slowly collapse into the ground behind you."
    "You rappel out the shattered window and run as the entire mesa the castle is on collapses."
    "You inspect the magic mirrors in an alcove and realize that they can be turned into portals; you arrive behind the collapsing army of undead and evil creatures besieging Vienna and (insert battle) slaughter the remaining enemy leaders."

    Or ???

    How do I handle the epilogue?

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Campaign ending

    you basically describe how all problems of the campaign are solved, perhaps describe where the characters end up in a few more years (let the players contribute to that), and tie every loose ending.
    that's what i did.
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    Default Re: Campaign ending

    I let my players describe almost everything for the epilogue of my campaign. They were really happy with that and I'd recommend it to you as well.

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    Default Re: Campaign ending

    Currently dealing with the same problem (almost, in my game the group is doomed to fail, really), so I'm curious to see where this thread heads.

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    Default Re: Campaign ending

    I don't often get the chance to run really long campaigns, but from what I've seen in my short term campaigns and from what D&D streams and such I've seen that have gotten to that point, I say a common behavior is to narrate what happens immediately after the adventure ends, then collaborate with each player to weave an epilogue story with them at the table- what they do with the rest of their lives. It gives a great sense of closure and gives the story a lot more oomph with the player buy-in.

    Unless you're asking how to narrate immediately after the final battle. A technique that myself and lot of DMs that I consider really good use is to force the PCs to keep the blood pumping and dice rolling with an extra challenge right after the boss fight, I like the idea of rappelling out or otherwise escaping a collapsing castle because it gives a feel of challenge without throwing more encounters in their way, you don't want to minimize the glory of their big epic Dracula fight with "and here's a wandering monster or whatever on your way out". Try and keep them as enthused and frantic as possible until the last minute (if time is short, you can just narrate a harrowing escape if you're confident in your delivery and its ability to convey intense emotion, but generally keeping the dice rolling and the players screaming out actions is more fun for everyone), then release the tension with well timed narration afterwards. Give them a few seconds to breathe, bask in the emotional energy, and use that quiet to add emotional impact to the epilogue weaving. If you time everything well, and pace the ending from breakneck to sudden solace, the effect is simply incredible!
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    Default Re: Campaign ending

    Quote Originally Posted by SunderedWorldDM View Post
    I don't often get the chance to run really long campaigns, but from what I've seen in my short term campaigns and from what D&D streams and such I've seen that have gotten to that point, I say a common behavior is to narrate what happens immediately after the adventure ends, then collaborate with each player to weave an epilogue story with them at the table- what they do with the rest of their lives. It gives a great sense of closure and gives the story a lot more oomph with the player buy-in.

    Unless you're asking how to narrate immediately after the final battle. A technique that myself and lot of DMs that I consider really good use is to force the PCs to keep the blood pumping and dice rolling with an extra challenge right after the boss fight, I like the idea of rappelling out or otherwise escaping a collapsing castle because it gives a feel of challenge without throwing more encounters in their way, you don't want to minimize the glory of their big epic Dracula fight with "and here's a wandering monster or whatever on your way out". Try and keep them as enthused and frantic as possible until the last minute (if time is short, you can just narrate a harrowing escape if you're confident in your delivery and its ability to convey intense emotion, but generally keeping the dice rolling and the players screaming out actions is more fun for everyone), then release the tension with well timed narration afterwards. Give them a few seconds to breathe, bask in the emotional energy, and use that quiet to add emotional impact to the epilogue weaving. If you time everything well, and pace the ending from breakneck to sudden solace, the effect is simply incredible!
    This was great and extremely helpful, thank you.
    What are your thoughts on them finding a portal and coming out behind an enemy command center at an ongoing battle, which they are now massively over-leveled for and smashing it flat?
    I think the escape bit sounds like it'd be faster and more fun.

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    Default Re: Campaign ending

    Quote Originally Posted by Anxe View Post
    I let my players describe almost everything for the epilogue of my campaign. They were really happy with that and I'd recommend it to you as well.
    This. It's the moment to give the players some closure, and the best way to do this is to include them. Now, if you already know some of the open ends for some characters, prepare for those (if one guy wants to go home to his family and return the heirloom that Dracula has stolen or whatever, definitely prepare for a scene with said family), but other than that, give them the chance to say what their characters do now (and maybe drop a hint before to give them the chance to think about that as well)

    And of course, it's important to note that "closure" here doesn't have to mean "Everything wrapped up and everyone lives happily ever after", it's quite acceptable to say "My Monk has been so scarred by what he has witnessed, he pledges his life to hunt down vampires everywhere, and for decades tales of the hooded silent fanatic roaming the countryside and karate kicking bloodsuckers into oblivion will be told all across the land" or something similar.

    The important thing is not answering every little question, but that everyone in the end can sit back, nod and say "This was good."

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    Default Re: Campaign ending

    Quote Originally Posted by J-H View Post
    This was great and extremely helpful, thank you.
    What are your thoughts on them finding a portal and coming out behind an enemy command center at an ongoing battle, which they are now massively over-leveled for and smashing it flat?
    I think the escape bit sounds like it'd be faster and more fun.
    If the battle has been set up in the story so that you can drop them there and they know what's going on and why its important, that sounds like a great option. Keep in mind, though, that they will probably spend every last resource in the Dracula fight, so they will be at quite a lower power level. How will they escape the battle? Do they have to find another portal? I wouldn't recommend making them slog through a full big combat right after a campaign-ending fight, you should probably make this scene brief and get them out of there pretty quickly through the use of skill checks and not necessarily play out the whole combat. At most, the battle should be a set piece for a skill challenge.

    Though, of course, you know your players and DMing style better than I do, and so if you or they would enjoy that big fight, then who am I to stop you?
    See that cool Teifling? Thanks, potatopeelerkin! If you want something like it, they have more avatars up for adoption in the thread with the same name...

    Hey, I have an extended signature now!

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