I killed it on Sunday. Wrapped up another session of monster-bashing, gave out the experience points, let them sack the lair for treasure, then told them; this was the last game. Campaign is over.
They were shocked, but not too shocked, and not really, terribly disappointed, I think. To be honest, the past couple of months, things haven’t been going terriffically with the game. I’ll still be seeing some of them for bizarre board game nights, and maybe someone else will start a campaign. But I’m out of the DM business. Probably not for good, but I need at least a few months off.
This campaign was the most successful one I’ve run yet. The game ranged all over the map; political intrigue, revolution, monsters, treasure, artifacts, dragons… at one point, the party blew up a volcano. With significant world-wide aftereffects. And nobody ever got higher than level nine. I saw the party develop teamwork, respect, cooperation and resourcefulness in the course of the campaign. I threw everything from straight combat to code-breaking at them. It was a blast.
Things changed a few months back; players who’d been through the whole two-year run of the game left town, and friends of theirs took their places. The first “book” of the game finished playing out in a climactic battle over a mountain pass, a week-long battle that took three days to play out, and the next phase never really came together for me.
The new party were nice people, but they weren’t used to playing together, and so I found myself, after two years of playing, back to square one. I was teaching the party how to work as a group together, when I wanted them to be ready to move on to greater, more complex feats of role-playing. I wanted political chicanery; they wanted to kill stuff.
And frankly, I spent way too much time on the game. I counted it at between ten and twenty hours a week, between prep time (making maps, generating encounters, plotting, painting figures, making props) and game time. And I wanted a break. It’s an odd feeling, not having to play this weekend; it’s kind of like quitting a part-time job. One that I loved, but man, it’s cut into my free time.
There’s more that I wanted to do with the game; there are actually five phases, each of which would take about two years of play time to resolve, that I would like to DM. The campaign is about a war, rougly paralelling WWII, all the way from the first rumors to the aftershocks, and how a group of heroes, even low-powered ones, could affect its outcome. I never really thought that I could get through all of it, but it was a great framework within which to set adventures. There are a lot of stories left to be told, but I can put them off a while.
So, I’m left with several hundred, maybe thousand dollars worth of stuff; books, miniatures, software, printouts. With the Encyclopedia Magica, just bought off EBay, on its way. Two bookcases full of stuff.
However, now I might have time to play guitar again, or play computer games, or read a book, or maybe even get my old radio show back. I have time to hang out and relax with my boyfriend, and maybe see a movie or two a week. I have time, which I very badly needed.
But I’m going to miss the game. Who knows, maybe in a couple of years, I’ll dust off the volumes of lore, and dig back into it. But for now, it’s over.
Long live Burin.