RPGaDay is an annual celebration of tabletop roleplaying.
Week Four: Past and future
- Name a game that had an impact on you in the last year.
- Your gaming ambition for the next year.
25th: Name a game that had an impact on you in the last year.
Sticking with the first answer that jumps to my mind, I’m going to say the conclusion to our Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I mentioned the party from that campaign in my post on art last weekend. As a reminder, here’s what they all look like, as depicted by Melissa Trender:
It’s not the most straightforward story, but here are the main beats (with as little unnecessary detail as I could manage):
In the penultimate episode of the campaign, we successfully defeated the big bad demilich that we’d been hunting since the start, but in the process my character Kylie, an aasimar paladin, was turned to stone by a death tyrant. Kylie’s Father, a solar, appeared through a portal and healed her, but said that in requiring his help to survive she’d forfeited the right to continue resisting her destiny and charmed her into returning to the celestial planes with him. I got one saving throw, failed it, and started moving towards the portal.
That was the end of the session and the campaign could have ended there: we’d ended the main plot of the campaign, and there was some resolution to my character’s arc. But the DM pushed for one more session to wrap everything up, and thank goodness he did.
In the final session, Kylie’s mortal, dragonborn (half-)sister, Pipaa, interrupted Father’s attempt to take Kylie, snapping Kylie out of her trance, and the two sisters went on the run. Both sisters had invested a lot of effort in fighting Kylie’s destiny, and weren’t about to stop now.
At this point, all heaven broke loose when an angelic host arrived through more portals. Pipaa had a slight fiendish aura after previously making a deal with a devil, so the angels might have killed her. Despite Pipaa’s protests, Kylie volunteered to go to the celestial plans and accept her destiny if the angels would spare Pipaa (and her other friends) and deal with any remaining undead abominations in the demilich’s lair.
This was a far more satisfying note to end Kylie’s arc, even though the end result was the same. This time, the ending was a result of her choice, and she got a chance to say farewell to her sister, who was just as invested in the story as Kylie herself.
But that’s not all! (I’m not entirely sure all of the players in the campaign know what happened next… so, maybe D’ and D. should skip this bit?)
Pipaa refused to be left behind. Earlier in the campaign, Pipaa had travelled to the domain of the Raven Queen and literally wove Kylie’s fate together with her own. She found a portal to the celestial plane, used the fate weave to magically switch places with Kylie and crash the ceremony of investiture, and made it clear that wherever Kylie went, and whatever destiny she was facing, Pipaa was coming too.
It’s the epilogue that really elevates this moment in my mind. Until that point, the story of Pipaa and Kylie hadn’t really ended, it had just been suspended for a while. But with them together, facing Kylie’s destiny as a team instead of having it pull them apart, and having both chosen it, the arc was beautifully resolved. It might be nice to check in with them in a future campaign, but I no longer feel I need to. They’re out there, doing good in the multiverse, together, and I’m cool with that.
26th: Your gaming ambition for the next year.
I’m hoping to run more games (I’ve already started!) and also play a wider variety of games. I’ll hopefully have a little more time on my hands to make that happen. (Wow, this answer was a lot shorter than yesterday’s!)