I have a simple question - Does anyone have a good suggestion(s) for ways to wind down a longrunning game without killing off the characters? The characters are 12th level, and in the 2nd level of Maure Castle, which we will finish. I do not know if they will survive, but if they do, anyway to put them out to pasture? We have been playing two years, and the players are very attached to their characters.
I, the DM, however, is not. Over time, as some players have left, my favorite characters (with the exception of two) have left.
I would like to make them NPCs, and start again in the same area, enriching the local area. I know the players do not want to do this, they are having a ball. Therefore the ending needs to be believable, and plausible, yet make moving forward undesireable. I thought about glorious deaths, but that is contrary to several of these characters character. This is the longest I have ever consistently run one group of characters (3 years, once a week).
How about they become servents to their god? Ascend to become Protectar's or some other form of celestial?
Or, they fulfill a prophecy and their reward is to be Imprisoned (as per the spell) until the time comes when they are needed to save the world or something.
Or maybe some insane archmage imprisons them in the lower levels of some whacked out dungeon complex that exists for no real reason other than for adventurers, from a nearby, cosmopolitan city, to loot and plunder? _________________ In more modern times, only Delglath of Rinloru is known to have crafted any items from the stone of this atrocious place. Even masters of the dark arts such as Xaene and Karoolck would hesitate to follow.
Its hard if all the players arent in agreement. What we did, after a long discussion, was have our DM set us up for one last big hurrah. At the end, if successful (i.e. didnt die) we would be granted titles and be landed by the royality of the realm. In this situation we could all (4 of us) retire to our keeps and lands and take up that life. We would effectively retire those characters and they would become NPC's in our ongoing games.
But (for a while) at least once a year, for nostalgia, the DM who had seen those characters through the adventures that made them, would design a mini-game (something that could be done over 2 to 4 sessions, tops) that would bring them out of retirement to take care of a regional problem that they could only deal with themselves.
We continued this till all of our old group eventually split up as life happened. Each one taking his former character with him as well as copies of the others to use as NPC's in games they ran later.
Although we no longer play these old characters, much to my sadness since i have never had a character since i liked near as much, they all still live on in various games. Some games, of which, arent even ran by or have members of our original group.
That final line, alone, was and is a great reward for the time we spent with each other and the time invested in those characters.
But again, we were all in agreement on the direction we took.
Thanks for the suggestions, I think I will do a combo of some of these. I will imprison the unwilling, and retire the willing. Then, every so often, we will send the retired after the imprisoned. Maybe 5 or 10 years later in Game time.
They can then evolve some as NPC's without gaining levels and changing. Cool!!! I get my NPC's, they get to play them every now and then, and we all have good stories.
Let them know what you are going to do in advance, don't spring it on them. And have references to them in the next campaign. One of my players loves that his former character is a saint, especially considering how much that fact ticks off his god's right hand man.
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