Before I begin, I would like to point out that there will be no post tomorrow (July 4th, 2012) as it is the 4th of July and a holiday in the U.S. I will likely have something up here (random video or discussion) but not a longer post. I hope everyone in the U.S. enjoys their 4th of July.
That said, today I want to talk about something a bit more personal to one of the games I'm running. It is a generational L5R game, and we're coming up on the first generational shift. Before that shift happens though, I want to give my players a chance to say good bye to their characters with style.
The concept I have in mind is this: at present we're rapping up the Winter somewhere between the years 1090 and 1100 (I lost track. sad face for me :( BAD GM!) The characters who are still playing their day 1 characters (2 of them are day 1 PCs, 3 of them are on their first character) have been with their character for nearly 20 years of the characters life already. Starting with the character shortly after gempukku and now crossing into the "middle" of their lives where they are at their peak ability.
Winter itself is going to last maybe another 2-4 sessions depending on how things play out, as almost all the major story threads that were started for it have been told. After wards, there is going to be a fifteen year skip followed by a 2-3 session "last hurrah!" for all the characters, and then the generational shift where people bring in new characters. Maybe low ranked, maybe not. I'll decide that after.
The goal for this last hurrah is for it to be the Swan Song of the character. The last truly meaningful tale involving the character before the game - for that character - ends and the player gets to write their epilogue...if they get one. For three of the characters, providing they survive the rest of winter, this would likely be a tale of their character in their old age - but before they are completely disabled by age (think Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, aged but not out of the running yet.) For the other two characters, their characters would be where the older PCs are right now, at the peak of their life when it is really their time to shine. For everyone, the idea is for this to be a meaningful tale that - in someway - shows the culmination of their life and goals. Ultimately, it is also to give the player a chance to say goodbye to their character, and leave it all out on the table without having to worry about problems that could show up as a result of their actions.
The Possible Problem
The idea for this last hurrah is for the players to help me with developing the story idea for this last hurrah. I want it to be a story that they are happy to go out on, and that means that they need to be involved in the idea. However, this could be a problem if someone isn't sure, or isn't aware of how they want the character's story to end. For example, right now I couldn't tell you how I want either of my two characters in play to go out at the end of their story, they're both too young in my head to really have that.
Now, granted, this is more for the people whose characters have made it through the devastation and challenges to this final arc with their character, but I want it to be a meaningful goodbye for the younger characters as well, and that could pose a problem.
My Hopeful Solution
My hopeful solution to this is two fold. One, I've already told all the players that this is how I am planning on doing things. For those who I may have missed telling, they can read this blog post. This gives the players time to think about how they want to go out, and we can communicate on that. The other solution is to give the player a lot more control than I normally do during this last time skip. This should, I hope, let the player set things up the way they need to be for the end game to have a chance at playing out how they want to.
And Then There's The Dice
The last problem then will be to see how the dice show up to play. I doubt this will be much of a problem. Rokugan is a world full of tragedy and tragic tales. It is possible to have a tragic ending and my players are all mature enough to handle that. Still, hopefully the dice will play along.
Going into this, do any of you have advice for how to handle it as either a player or as the GM? Have any of you done this before? If so, how did it go?
As always, please sound off in the comments with your advice, questions, or comments.