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Best Way to End a Campaign

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  • Best Way to End a Campaign

    My group is approaching the end of our current "season" of our campaign, and it got me thinking about the best way to bring a roleplaying campaign to a close. While we actively plan to pick this campaign back up in a few months (as the primary GM of our group I will usually run a campaign from May to November and then the other members take turns running their own games until I'm ready for our next "big" game), it will still be an ending of sorts.

    But knowing that the next 5 or 6 sessions will be the last for a while, the question is, what is the "best" way to end a campaign?

    Personally, I try to bring in some of the bigger elements of the campaign to a close (of course) but also leave a few things open. I like the idea of a living universe where events don't stop happening simply because the players have stopped watching. That means that not every villain necessarily is captured at the end. They may have stopped the villains latest and greatest scheme, but you never when Captain Nefarious might try to evaporate the world's oceans again. Our games are more focused on the character arc of the PCs (and some of the more beloved NPCs), so having the story end "happily ever after" isn't really our style because we like the idea of our characters continuing to grow and evolve even after we stop playing.

    To that point, I always offer my players an "Epilogue" moment for their characters. I'll ask them to describe some X increment of time for their character after the last session in which we can see where they go next and bring their character arcs full circle if that wasn't addressed in the actual campaign. If it's particularly poignant then we will even roleplay those encounters out, and those character-focused moments are our true ending.

    But that's just how my group like to role. What about you guys? What do you consider the best way to end a campaign?

  • #2
    Re: Best Way to End a Campaign

    I think the epilogue idea is the best one, an ending chapter that shows how the PCs fare after reaching their goals (or otherwise failing to do it). Like one of them finally making peace with himself after losing his family, while another PC is retiring from the superhero business, or becoming a teacher in a superhero academy (or having a sidekick), and the other becomes a lone wolf after sacrificing everything for the better cause, perhaps even earning a status like a fugitive from the authorities, etc. The epilogue not necessarily signs an end for the character, only for this specific chapter of his life. Like a movie.


    • #3
      Re: Best Way to End a Campaign

      With a bang. Always with a bang.


      • #4
        Re: Best Way to End a Campaign

        I like the idea of the epilogues.

        Also, if appropriate to the characters and situations, ending on an event, be it a wedding, a funeral, a birthday party, etc. can be a good idea. As can going full circle, where the PC's finish the season meeting at the place where they first came together or fighting the villain they first faced as a team.
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