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12/02/2017 12:08 pm  #1


End of a great campaign

Finished up a 5 year campaign last evening!  With second edition coming out we will be restarting with a fresh set of greedy reavers!

I learned a lot about reffing over the past 5 years mainly from mistakes made.  

Still mulling over the new campaign and will begin posting the details here more for my sake than for fellow refs. I have no illusion that my write ups will be as entertaining or detailed as some I have seen here but they will help me track and expand on details uncovered in play.

Here's to the next 5 years!!
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
 

12/02/2017 4:06 pm  #2


Re: End of a great campaign

Congratulations!

Another 5 years, scary!

 

12/02/2017 9:59 pm  #3


Re: End of a great campaign

Kudos for keeping a 5 yr campaign going. That's impressive.
Looking forward to reading the write ups on the new campaign!

 

 

12/03/2017 8:54 am  #4


Re: End of a great campaign

mabon5127 wrote:

Finished up a 5 year campaign last evening!

Congrats! That's a good run. Longest one I've had was an AD&D 1E game that ran my 24 months back in 2010-2012 timeframe.

mabon5127 wrote:

With second edition coming out we will be restarting with a fresh set of greedy reavers!

Greedy reavers - I like it already!

mabon5127 wrote:

I learned a lot about reffing over the past 5 years mainly from mistakes made.

Agreed, man. Same here.  

mabon5127 wrote:

Still mulling over the new campaign and will begin posting the details here more for my sake than for fellow refs. I have no illusion that my write ups will be as entertaining or detailed as some I have seen here but they will help me track and expand on details uncovered in play.

Sounds good. We look forward to hearing them.

mabon5127 wrote:

Here's to the next 5 years!!

Good luck!


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

12/03/2017 9:35 am  #5


Re: End of a great campaign

Excellent! I took a somewhat different approach, but it is the same one I've used for years. Every player has at least three characters. Each character belongs to a different character party (with ample opportunities to change which character is with which party). My players never know which character party we are going to be using on a particular game session, and sometimes (rarely) we end up using more than one party -- and in one case recently, two parties became one big party (i.e., each player with two characters). Well, due to a few character deaths and other fragmentations, we were down to two character parties and some random stragglers in various parts of Hyperborea. Shortly before the release of AS&SH 2E, we started up a new group of first level characters, and I ran them through The Black Moss-Hag of Lug. Once that reached a logical point of conclusion (or transition between adventures), we went back to one of the mid-level parties, and they are exploring Chainsaw's Lost Treasure of Atlantis. But due to a seemingly endless pattern of foolhardiness, greediness, and lack of forethought, I suspect this party is not going to survive it. ;) 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

12/03/2017 10:28 am  #6


Re: End of a great campaign

Ghul wrote:

Excellent! I took a somewhat different approach, but it is the same one I've used for years. Every player has at least three characters. Each character belongs to a different character party (with ample opportunities to change which character is with which party). My players never know which character party we are going to be using on a particular game session, and sometimes (rarely) we end up using more than one party -- and in one case recently, two parties became one big party (i.e., each player with two characters). Well, due to a few character deaths and other fragmentations, we were down to two character parties and some random stragglers in various parts of Hyperborea. Shortly before the release of AS&SH 2E, we started up a new group of first level characters, and I ran them through The Black Moss-Hag of Lug. Once that reached a logical point of conclusion (or transition between adventures), we went back to one of the mid-level parties, and they are exploring Chainsaw's Lost Treasure of Atlantis. But due to a seemingly endless pattern of foolhardiness, greediness, and lack of forethought, I suspect this party is not going to survive it. ;) 

Caveman, Ar'Pharazon, and Chainsaw, thanks for the encouragement!!

Ghul, I like the idea of having a couple alternate parties.  This helps in lots of ways. Each of the players will roll up several characters as replacements and alternates.


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

12/03/2017 2:55 pm  #7


Re: End of a great campaign

mabon5127 wrote:

Finished up a 5 year campaign last evening! 

Congratulations on running a campaign for five years! Only someone who has sat in the DM seat knows how much of an accomplishment that is (DMing isn't a skill, it's a lot of different skills and hard work). Please share the lessons you learned from your experience. I am particularly interested in the finale- in my 30 years of gaming most campaigns seem to die out with a whimper instead of resolving with a climax.

Ghul wrote:

Excellent! I took a somewhat different approach, but it is the same one I've used for years. Every player has at least three characters... 

That is some pro-tier DMing. I don't know if I have the chops to try something like that with my game but I'd like to give it a shot. If you ever have the time and inclination to elaborate on your campaign structure, I'd like to hear it. 
 

 

12/03/2017 3:01 pm  #8


Re: End of a great campaign

Ghul wrote:

Excellent! I took a somewhat different approach, but it is the same one I've used for years. Every player has at least three characters. Each character belongs to a different character party (with ample opportunities to change which character is with which party). My players never know which character party we are going to be using on a particular game session, and sometimes (rarely) we end up using more than one party -- and in one case recently, two parties became one big party (i.e., each player with two characters). Well, due to a few character deaths and other fragmentations, we were down to two character parties and some random stragglers in various parts of Hyperborea. Shortly before the release of AS&SH 2E, we started up a new group of first level characters, and I ran them through The Black Moss-Hag of Lug. Once that reached a logical point of conclusion (or transition between adventures), we went back to one of the mid-level parties, and they are exploring Chainsaw's Lost Treasure of Atlantis. But due to a seemingly endless pattern of foolhardiness, greediness, and lack of forethought, I suspect this party is not going to survive it. ;) 

I have tried to do this as well, but my players complained about not "seeing things through to the end", so we're back to the main party. Even though I tried to ask the Socratic question of "what is the end?" it fell on deaf ears. They want to stay with the main party, which is several sessions into my version of Barrowmaze (it is an old Atlantean burial ground, and perhaps something even older). We'll turn back to the "henchmen" party at some point, or maybe start up the Viking-themed game using AS&SH 2e.


"My virtue is of the quintessential sort, being distilled from the erudition of the ages. How can I be other than virtuous? I am dispassionate to the ordinary motives of mankind."
Jack Vance, The Eyes of the Overworld
 

12/04/2017 8:50 am  #9


Re: End of a great campaign

mabon5127 wrote:

Caveman, Ar'Pharazon, and Chainsaw, thanks for the encouragement!!



Brock Savage wrote:

I am particularly interested in the finale- in my 30 years of gaming most campaigns seem to die out with a whimper instead of resolving with a climax. 
 

I had a campaign in Faerun 3.5 which had lasted on and off for about a year and a half. The final boss (in which I use the model of Sauron from the LotR film) was in a large hall; stretching about 200 ft. towards his throne at the end (they, the PCs are between 7th and 9th levels and there was about 7 players around the table, not including myself). Evil-Lord had cast a "time stop," and then cast multiple spells as he heard them approach (fire walls, spanning the hallway, etc., protection spells, etc.). Well that effort ended badly as most of the PC, fled, leaving the rest to die.

6 month later in real life, we tried again, I guess the players knew what to expect now! I know many will relate to this, "I play the monster as if they wish to live to fight another day, and they (I the GM) fight with equal determination as the players."

I know the players would remember the last fight for many years after, for they had to put effort, tactic, etc. into winning. But, yes I know some climatic fights do end in a shock "what was that," ending. One campaign "The Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil," (I played two halfling rogues, while the others only had 1 character each, I retuned the favour to that GM, by letting him play a paladin and Necromancer duo. Indeed? in another campaign I started). Still, last boss, and in first round, 50 points of damage was done to boss from one of the players, and he the GM rolled a fumble "1" for the Bosses saving throw. The GM, played by the rules, not pretending it never happened and it died instantaneously! What can you do, I appreciate him for playing by the rules, for if it can happen to PC, why should it not happen to others, but I think the rule should be, "Never to a Boss!"
 

 

12/04/2017 9:45 am  #10


Re: End of a great campaign

Brock Savage wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

Finished up a 5 year campaign last evening! 

Congratulations on running a campaign for five years! Only someone who has sat in the DM seat knows how much of an accomplishment that is (DMing isn't a skill, it's a lot of different skills and hard work). Please share the lessons you learned from your experience. I am particularly interested in the finale- in my 30 years of gaming most campaigns seem to die out with a whimper instead of resolving with a climax. 

The one thing that made it easier is that I have great players!  

I can think of a few things that I learned over the 5 years:
     Use RAW.  The major tweaks that I made did not enhance game play and became unbalancing.
     Match player expectations. My fun did not always equal player fun. I did a lot of work that did not generate player fun.  I changed a little and got lots more energy from the gaming experience.
     Move to Episodic Play. I ran lots of one or two night adventures with some character time in between.  I did not have an over arching story (which is very difficult for me), and kept things fast and loose for quick changes. I would have 5-9 players on any given Friday night so consistency made long "stories" hard.
     Taking notes:  I will be starting the next campaign by using Campaign Logger.  My memory fades..... We play every two week so notes become very important. I swear I'll do it this time.

As for the finale I would say not a bang or a whimper. They finished the current adventure of warding off a Frost Giant invasion.  Had a great battle and wrote epilogues for their characters.  Not the most memorable but fun.  

Next week character creation!

 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

12/04/2017 9:52 am  #11


Re: End of a great campaign

mabon5127 wrote:

     Move to Episodic Play. I ran lots of one or two night adventures with some character time in between.  I did not have an over arching story (which is very difficult for me), and kept things fast and loose for quick changes. I would have 5-9 players on any given Friday night so consistency made long "stories" hard.
      

I couldn't agree more. I was convinced of this during your game at Gary Con IX and have planned the entirety of my next campaign around this. Now, I just need to run my next campaign, lol. 
 

Last edited by Ar'Pharazon (12/04/2017 9:55 am)

 

12/04/2017 9:58 am  #12


Re: End of a great campaign

Caveman wrote:

The GM, played by the rules, not pretending it never happened and it died instantaneously! What can you do, I appreciate him for playing by the rules, for if it can happen to PC, why should it not happen to others, but I think the rule should be, "Never to a Boss!" 

The Frost Giant Jarl in the final battle of the campaign missed two saves and ran off slowed and feared.  They finished off the minions and other giants and took their time dismantling the the Jarl.  
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

12/04/2017 10:04 am  #13


Re: End of a great campaign

Ar'Pharazon wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

     Move to Episodic Play. I ran lots of one or two night adventures with some character time in between.  I did not have an over arching story (which is very difficult for me), and kept things fast and loose for quick changes. I would have 5-9 players on any given Friday night so consistency made long "stories" hard.
      

I couldn't agree more. I was convinced of this during your game at Gary Con IX and have planned the entirety of my next campaign around this. Now, I just need to run my next campaign, lol. 
 

Hahaha!  The hardest part but also the best!  
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

12/05/2017 7:46 am  #14


Re: End of a great campaign

mabon5127 wrote:

Caveman wrote:

The GM, played by the rules, not pretending it never happened and it died instantaneously! What can you do, I appreciate him for playing by the rules, for if it can happen to PC, why should it not happen to others, but I think the rule should be, "Never to a Boss!" 

The Frost Giant Jarl in the final battle of the campaign missed two saves and ran off slowed and feared.  They finished off the minions and other giants and took their time dismantling the the Jarl.  
 

Typical dice rolls!
 

 

12/05/2017 9:18 am  #15


Re: End of a great campaign

Caveman wrote:

mabon5127 wrote:

Caveman wrote:

The GM, played by the rules, not pretending it never happened and it died instantaneously! What can you do, I appreciate him for playing by the rules, for if it can happen to PC, why should it not happen to others, but I think the rule should be, "Never to a Boss!" 

The Frost Giant Jarl in the final battle of the campaign missed two saves and ran off slowed and feared.  They finished off the minions and other giants and took their time dismantling the the Jarl.  
 

Typical dice rolls!
 

It happens to the best of us....The characters certainly spent their share of time in the embrace of failed saves.
 


“How can I wear the harness of toil
And sweat at the daily round,
While in my soul forever
The drums of Pictdom sound?” 
     Thread Starter
 

12/05/2017 11:25 am  #16


Re: End of a great campaign

mabon5127 wrote:

I can think of a few things that I learned over the 5 years:
     Use RAW.  The major tweaks that I made did not enhance game play and became unbalancing.
     Match player expectations. My fun did not always equal player fun. I did a lot of work that did not generate player fun.  I changed a little and got lots more energy from the gaming experience.
     Move to Episodic Play. I ran lots of one or two night adventures with some character time in between.  I did not have an over arching story (which is very difficult for me), and kept things fast and loose for quick changes. I would have 5-9 players on any given Friday night so consistency made long "stories" hard.
     Taking notes:  I will be starting the next campaign by using Campaign Logger.  My memory fades..... We play every two week so notes become very important. I swear I'll do it this time. 

Thaks for the feedback. Managing player expectations is the most important part of the job IMHO.
 

 

12/06/2017 9:16 am  #17


Re: End of a great campaign

 

12/07/2017 5:16 pm  #18


Re: End of a great campaign

Ghul wrote:

one of the mid-level parties, and they are exploring Chainsaw's Lost Treasure of Atlantis. But due to a seemingly endless pattern of foolhardiness, greediness, and lack of forethought, I suspect this party is not going to survive it. ;) 

Looking forward to this! :D

Allan.

 

12/10/2017 5:53 pm  #19


Re: End of a great campaign

Nice one, Mabon! That's great.

We also rolled up some new characters, more to replace the results of a 10HD fireball in Maze of the Blue Medusa than to get a new campaign going, but then the players decided they wanted to get some experience for the new characters . . . so now we're doing something kind of like Ghul.

 

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