Monday, October 6, 2008

End of an Era

The Pendragon campaign came to a sudden, unexpected, and wholly satisfying conclusion this weekend.

After a couple weeks of missed sessions, Des and I were anxious to get caught up and press forward with the narrative. But a couple things had changed along the way. First off, the Yellow Plague had, thanks to me rolling a bunch of 6s, completely devasted the various NPC offspring that had been generated over the course of two years' play. I'm talking everyone dying except for four main characters.

That definitely changed the expectations of the campaign, and it got me thinking. Even though I was using The Great Pendragon Campaign as a framework, it wasn't a true GPC campaign, if for no other reason than we started the action in 515, not 485. So why not wrap things up a little early, rather than going all the way to the bitter end? It's my intention to someday run the whole GPC from start to finish--that would be the time, I think, to play through the Grail and Twilight periods. I ran my idea past Des and she agreed with the logic, if a bit sadly in the face of such a long campaign finally entering its "end game".

Nonetheless, I had expected things to keep going for a bit, probably up until the appearance of the Grail changed all the rules. And I had planned a little epilogue to take place in the final year of the story arc to wrap up some old enmities.

But the way things turned out, it was much better, and happier for a change. After a climactic battle against the diabolic forces of Duke Klingsor in which Des's character was quite nearly killed, saved only by the ministrations of King Oberon's healers, everyone basically "won the game". Des's first character, Dame Vivien, retired to the land of the fey with Sir Neilyn, her star-crossed lover, as did the half-fey Sir Gwadyn, Des's second character. Vivien's son Dexter, the one who had nearly gotten killed, took over as Duke of Benwick back in the mortal world.

I provided a brief epilogue that tied up the surprisingly few remaining loose ends, and we ended the campaign on a rather happy note--the surviving characters were all older, wiser, perhaps a little less quick to laugh (in the case of Dexter and Gwadyn, at least--Vivien was always a bit grim), largely free of the dark karma that befell Arthur's realm, fitting since the family was largely based out of the Continent. Of course, grim times (Dark Ages, if you will) are in store for everyone, and who's to say what will become of Vivien's legacy...but that's the story for another day.

So that's that. The longest campaign I've ever run or been involved with--two-and-a-half years of real time (counting the extended break in the middle), 34 years of game time, three generations of characters. That's going to be hard to top. So what's next? Well, I'm going out of town for a couple weeks, but when I get back, GURPS!
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