Endings are hard. Difficult. Troublesome. Published scenarios have them. Storytellers are meant to provide them. The role of a good ending is myriad. A sense of closure. A final rising pitch of tension before it plummets into the Aftermath. A chance for the protagonists to really make a difference. The resolution to all that had come before it. Tricky beasts, endings.
I've always had trouble with them. Perhaps that's why I design episodic campaigns and end up with sandboxes. Oftentimes I'll craft an adventure and leave the ending open for the players to come to their own conclusions. That can work, sometimes, but if you have no clue about a potential ending than you can't guide confused players in that direction when they're stumped. You also run the risk of providing an adventure that just can't end ... or at least can't end well.
Perhaps there's no lead to the final Big Bad. Perhaps there's no way to stop the Big Bad. Perhaps the players end up in a big frustrating stone room with no feasible way out. It can happen.
So what makes for a good ending? What makes for a bad one? And what are some of the possibilities for the endings anyway?
This is the subject of my new weekly series.
Elements of a Satisfying Conclusion.
Elements of a Frustrating End.
Cultivating a Decent Default Ending.
Following the Path to its Rightful Conclusion.
Tune in next week to see the first in this series!