My group’s Stargate SG-4 campaign has just two episodes left. Last night’s game was awesome, and our GM is clearly leading up to one hell of a season finale. Don, our GM, is ending this campaign according to plan. He’s told us that he’s leaving the door open for future adventures, if we decide to come back to Stargate (as we’ve done once before).

On an intellectual level, I grok get all that. I’ve written about the different ways you can end campaigns (collected in the free PDF How to End a Campaign: Six Approaches), and I understand the pros and cons of the different approaches — including Don’s planned finale approach.

What I wasn’t expecting was the feeling of satisfaction that comes with knowing that a) we’re headed for a grand finale, b) the game will end, not peter out or wither on the vine, c) we can pick up the campaign down the line, if everyone’s amenable and (most importantly) d) this campaign will have closure. That’s a surprisingly powerful thing.

I think of it like watching Firefly or reading the Harry Potter books, to use a couple of recent examples. After loving the first few episodes of Firefly, or getting solidly into the HP series, there’s that double-edged realization: “This is awesome, and it will end.” Applying that to our Stargate campaign really brings home for me how rewarding campaigns with defined endpoints can be.

Have you had a similar experience with a limited campaign? Do you dislike limited campaigns, and prefer open-ended games with no predetermined endpoint?