A lot of the blogs I read, especially the ones that profess to give advice about GMing, talk about having a goal for the campaign. That it is important to have an end goal for the party, some overall purpose. Which I admit is a little odd for me. I can really only think of one game like that in my career as a player, where I was trying to track down and defeat one big bad guy. For the most part the games I have been a part of, or run, have just been open ended explorations.
And maybe that’s why a number of them fizzled out rather than ending triumphantly. It does make sense to have a an overall plan, and some kind of end game to it all. A goal or end point where you as the GM and the players can say ‘there, we did it, we rescued X, killed Y, saved Z and we can move on.’ That is a real, worth while goal when creating a game, and agreeing to run a game. And that is probably why some people like buying written modules, because these adventures do have an end game.
And in listening to some of these podcasts I have been thinking about what direction I would like my game to go in. Where do I want it to end? And the more I think about the clearer it is to me that I do not want it to just remain an open ended tale of a group of characters murder hoboing their way across the land.
I do know that this week I am going to start challenging the boys to think about what their characters do. Not just the missions they undertake, but what are they doing in their down time. Do they have hobbies? Something they do at the camp fire at night? When they get back to town and wait for a new mission. And that will help feed into the campaign goals.
Here is what I do know, this campaign has been about exploration. About being on a frontier, and learning what exists out there in the unknown. And what they find, and how they interact with it, will have consequences.
And longer term, these consequences will lead to chaos. Because I have created a number of threats, or potential threats, that the group has encountered already or will encounter. And those are not static threats. They are active behind the scenes. And eventually chaos will erupt around the party, and they will have to cope with that. Because about the time everything begins to boil they will have reached the point where they are Heroes, people that the civic leaders and people look to for answers. And how they deal with that will determine how things wrap up.
That’s my goal: chaos, and figuring out how to cope with that chaos. Will they fix things? Or will they make things worse? Will they sort it all out before it gets too late?