Re: Denouement desired!

From: frank_rafaelsen <frank_rafaelsen_at_RHvokP4KBoYjVl--m0y8dFLaQch3HQ9UPsfTdI5vaB7LtFUM4mC1yUCp8Sj6>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2008 12:09:33 -0000

(This is also posted on the HeroQuest-rpg list since that was where the original discussion took place)

Well over a year ago I asked your help to brainstorm an end to my old Loskalm campaign. This Saturday it ended. And what a glorious end it was!

Three of the four original players participated, and two players were new. Based on the excellent advice I got from the good people on the glorantha lists I didn't plot out how the scenario should end – or even could end. I made some notes on things that could be important in resolving the crisis, but that was about it. The bulk of my preparation was in making the conflict seem important and personal to the players/characters.

The new players got to play roles that had access to information that could be important for Loskalm's fate: Clues to the identity of Lord Death on a Horse and clues about the connection with Zoria. The point here was to involve the new characters in the ongoing story, without dictating where they went from that.

The original cast consisted of two Grand Knights and a Baron. I prepared for the scenario by trying to extract the core narrative from the old campaign for each character. What elements of the old campaign, had been important for that particular character. Based on this I gave the player the power to choose his character's fate.

In the original campaign the Baron had been a chivalric prodigy and a family man. The player had the power to guarantee the survival and prosperity of the character's family or to have the character perform a heroic deed that would be remembered to the end of time. One of the Grand Knights was a half-Altinaelan, and the player had to choose between his human ancestry and his altinaelan ancestry. In effect, choose between loyalty to his friends, country and chance to reach Solace or the power of his altinaelan blood and eternal life in Altinaela. The second Grand Knight had been horrible abused by the KoW in the original campaign. They had killed his brother and father, his wife and children and they had tortured the knight to within an inch of his life. This player could chose to let the character have his revenge on anything or anyone from the KoW at the cost of being consumed by it, or be guaranteed that the character would find peace of mind and soul.

This might sound heavy handed, but the unanimous response from the players was that this was exactly what defined their characters. I kept the specifics of the choices open, and made it clear that they could invoke their right to choose at any point in the game.

I won't bore you with the details of the session. But in the end the new players had been important and the old players all confronted their choices. The player with the vengeful knight chose not to take his revenge on Lord Death on a Horse. His struggle with the decision became a very emotional moment, just barely within our comfort zone. In fact it strongly reminded me of the end of the movie seven, except that he didn't shoot. This moment alone made the session a roaring success for me! The player of the half-altinaelan chose to make his character mortal, share his friends' uncertain fate and turn down the power of his altinaelan blood. The player felt that this laid to rest a lot of the internal conflicts his character had gone through in the old campaign. The player running the Baron surprised me and chose his country over his family, and decided to sacrifice himself (and his family) to perform the epic deed of giving LDoaH the gift of forgiveness.

In the end LDoaH was defeated, the KoW routed, one character taken bodily into Solace and a new golden age for Loskalm was ushered in by the survivors. Writing this, it all seems very melodramatic and cheesy, but in play it was a very powerful and satisfying end to a great campaign. I guess you had to be there.

The End            

Powered by hypermail