This is my fifth article in my final five series. That means that it is also my last article for Gnome Stew. I have chosen this comment by reader Janus as the inspiration for my final article:

Goodbyes are always sad, but i think everyone wishes you well for the future. (me too!) Also you may find a spark to ignite a flame for something new. :-)

Since the topic is right, what about a article about endings? Ending a campaign, adventure or the parting of a character. (maybe player too?) How to make it memorably for everyone involved and to set up a good climax and maybe a epilog.

There is so much potential to endings… and every ending is the beginning of something new, right? ;-)

(sorry for my english, have to write more often.)

The more that I contemplated this comment the more that it perplexed me in the creation of a response. There was something that nagged me about the idea of advising others on how to end a campaign, an adventure, or a character’s part in the story. How do you bring such things to an end?

Eventually I came to the conclusion that you do not end anything. Instead things transition from a current form into another. Your campaign does not really end. The main conflict may be resolved, but there is always the next chapter in the story that can be told if you want it to be told.

Finished adventures may result in hooks for new adventures. Characters that exit the story may still have an impact upon future events in the story if the characters leave a legacy behind. Campaigns do not have to end if the players and the GM decide to answer the question “What happens next?”

With the idea that there is no such thing as an ending in mind, my advice is that GMs not focus on “endings” of any type. Instead the focus of a GM should be to make it possible to eliminate priorities for the PCs and players. The adventure concludes because the PCs have a large enough impact on the situation that it is no longer a matter worthy of their attention. The campaign no longer moves forward because it reaches a point where the players and the GM feel that all of the major story points have been addressed adequately. A character exits the game when its role in the story results in the resolution of a conflict.

You can always pick an adventure, campaign, or character sheet back up again at a later date. The secret is to remove the sense of urgency that something else still needs to be done. Once the sense of urgency is no longer present, the fun and challenge fades away and all of the players (the GM included) are willing to move onto something else.

I feel that I have met all of the challenges that were laid before me as one of the contributors for this site. I will now transition to another set of challenges, but I hope that others take what I have provided here and develop it further. Please comment with your own ideas and thoughts on how endings should be handled, and may your gaming never end!