Friday, January 22, 2010

Campaign ending, wow!

Vampire: the Masquerade campaign I am running, is actually ending. This is rare, as usually I don't plan the end for campaigns I start to run. They usually are sandbox campaigns, where story developes while playing. There is no planned focus, or goal for them, just playing and seeing where campaign is going. Usually the decisions what player decides his/her character to do move campaign forth, and there can be some nice twists. As no planning at all, even I as GM/ST don't know what is going to happen in the end.

But the problem is that "in the end" part. You see, while playing unplanned, as fun as it is, there is no real focus or real goal for the campaign. Things just happen. Problem here is, that campaigns this far could run several years and there is no end for them. And there is so much things happened and story lines open, that they die in their own impossibility. As there is no end or goal where campaign should go, sadly many of my campaigns just wither. Too much things have happened, too much story hooks are open, and in the end there is just this mess what even I as GM/ST cannot open anymore to give proper ending.

Too much things happen in one campaign, and the result usually is, that there is no enthusiasm or point to carry on when certain messy point is bypassed. Great campaign ends and there is not much to hold on anymore. And even if character was fun, it is impossible to continue later without total reset. We have once tried total reset after one campaign what did never see proper end, but that new start was not that succesful. Too much unsolved mysteries, too much history for that character to start all over again. Such a pity.

But now, when I launched this new campaign I decided that how fun it is ever to play, it must end at some point. I decided the starting point for campaign, where everything starts, what is the beginning and setting for it. Then I decided what is the result ending the campaign. Everything in between I left open. So, I knew the situation to "win" or end the campaign, but left open how to get there, or what are the results of the ending. There was unlimited options for campaign to go, enough spaces for plot to grow as gaming happens, not many npc's determined and created at the beginning so there was allways space for introducing new npc's on the fly. And even if I knew what is the ending conditions for this particular campaign, I didn't write down how the end should result, or what are the results after ending. So, character could die, bad guys could win, good guys could win, no one wins. The result and aftermatch is totally determined by the course of actual play.

Now after 20+ game sessions end is near. Really near. Lurking just behind the corner. And it feels good. It feels good, because this is literally in years first campaign/chronicle what is ending. And second point is, the resolution of the campaign is the kind of that I can continue it later. This plot is solved and closed, and I can continue to GM/ST it later. Not that one, but start new one from where this one ended.

I know, ending campaigns are basic for most of the roleplayers. I have just been too enthusiastic for game I've been running and didn't have guts to stop the fun. But now I see, that when I put end for the campaign in proper situation, I actually can continue gamemastering new adventures for the character, if I want.

Now, after this ends, we keep a small break for this particular character. But there is a spin-off coming. As we played this campaign we decided one evening to play small fast game in same city and setting with another character from another point of view on what is happening in the city. So, after this campaign, we play that spin-off to see what other participants feel about the situations of that campaign. Kind of like playing small few sessions on the view of character's and character's cause's enemy. That will be something new also. I won't make it long, just a short another view of campaign.

After those, well, don't know! Maybe I will also make a character, and together with own character's we will try out Mythic: Game Master Emulator. What will be the game to run with M:GME? That should be obvious, heh.

But, after this campaign and it's spin off I'd really like to run something else than Vampire. Maybe Werewolf: the Apocalypse? All Flesh Must Be Eaten survival scenario what could end prematurely if, well, character gets eaten? Unknown Armies is praised and I own it so could be worth to give a shot. Still, had so much Fun (with big F) with Fading Suns, that it could be nice to explore again with awesome adventures. Still, after playing WoW basic fantasy with D&D 3. Edition could work also. Haven't played D&D ever and basic fantasy for 10 years. Still, Star Wars with Jedi character could be quite nice, even if SW movie episodes 1-3 suck so bad. Still, White Wolf is my favourite and there is Slasher where character is crazy murderer or fairytale of Changeling: the lost. I have no idea what to play! There is so many good games yelling for attention in my shelf.
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