Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It was…a good death.

I started a new campaign this last weekend. It has all the potential of one of those long-running campaigns that will feature heroics that the players will be talking about years to come. But of late it is endings that I have been thinking of the most. The end of my long-running “Willow and Tara” Unisystem game a few years back, the end of my epic AD&D 1st edition game that spanned my high school years.

The end of that game ended in the deaths in many characters, but they were all good and heroic deaths. Well except for one, but I’ll talk about her later.

The deaths were honorable, heroic and did what they were supposed to do. Clear the slate for me fo when I went to college (and unknown to me at the time, pick up 2nd Edition AD&D).

That final battle was part of a war that had been building for a long time and finally exploded across the globe. It destroyed my DM’s own countries (he had some areas outside of the former Suel Empire) and tore mine to near shreds, I was HQed in Glantri on the other side of the world. Everywhere knew war. We called it the Shadow War. On my side of the world, the armies of Hell were marching in in an attempt to take the magical artifacts we were protecting. The war was long and it claimed the life of the King, his oldest son and their chief advisor. The head of the mercenaries’ guild vowed to stay uninvolved till his wife was killed and he disappeared. His son pledged his loyalty to the new 9-year-old Queen. It was a dark time.

The game took a little over two years in real time from say about May/June 1986 to mid-1989. Once I learned there was 2nd Edition coming (hard to believe we lived in a time where we didn’t know everything about a game line) I extended it. I took the individual battle scenes and played them all out. The return of the King’s son from Ravenloft (he wasn’t dead), the advisor, the guild master with an army of his own. Also, all my “lesser” characters that I may have rolled up and used once or twice in games got a chance to take center stage.

Here is one.  More to come.

Fjalar Snowcrest, was a dwarf thief. Kicked out of his homeland and disgraced and dishonored. He was in the city when the armies of hell overran the settled areas inside the walls. He was running, looking for a fight or to get away when he heard screaming. A few bearded devils (hamatula) had broken into a school, killed the teacher and were making their way to kids. Fjalar, never a brave dwarf, still hated bullies. When the war was over, Fjalar was dead. But all the children were alive. They told a tale of this dwarf with an axe of fire and muscles of stone who protected them from the monsters. Even when he was wounded and losing blood he continued to chop at the devils. Fjalar’s broken body was discovered, on top of 20 (though the children would later say 50 if not 100) Hamatula. At the end of the War of Shadows statues were raised to all the lost heroes. Fjalar’s was set in a public square where the dwarf stood majestically with several children behind him and his axe in front of him. The Queen herself invited his father and mother to come to see, they finally came 10 years later. She told them the story and said she knew of his dishonor, which is why his hands had been placed covering his family crest on the axe. The family said nothing till dozens of young adults and their collected scores of children came to the square. They had been the children saved that day and with them were their own children. Many children who bore names similar to Fjalar and Snowcrest.  The Snowcrest parents were moved. They said that they could not undo the dishonor their son had done and his name was still cursed, but that they were proud of their brave and honorable son.


Tourq said...

Sounds like a good campaign.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

It was great!

Anonymous said...

Excellent story. I love it when characters get a heroic end that lives on in the campaign.

Anonymous said...

Excellent story. I love it when characters get a heroic end that lives on in the campaign.