“I just want to feel the sun on my — well, I just want to see the sun for once.” Wrapping the arm of a legless warforged over her shoulders, she and the remainder of the party made their way to the outside of the facility to get a view of the landscape. They placed the unnamed bot down, leaned it up against the base of a statue to a long forgotten god, and let them bask in the sunlight for the first time in its life. They sat beside it and silently enjoyed the moment with it, admiring the sprawling outdoor vista through the lens of someone who had never had the privilege to do so before. The light flickered and faded from its eyes, and the bot slumped slightly to the side — motionless.
“This sucks,” said one of my players, breaking the silence.
It did suck. That was the point. We had spent a massive portion of our campaign inside of a place that was supposed to be miserable and oppressive, but I was never able to truly make things feel as bleak as I wanted it to. But right there, right at the end of our campaign, I was able to gut-punch them real good.
But the truth of the matter is that I also gut-punched myself, because I realized that moment was the last non-combat thing they were going to do before they sailed off into the final encounter. I’m proud to know that the last role-playing moment they’d have was seeing their characters finally experience sadness, which is a huge accomplishment for me. Bittersweet as it is, this marks the end of our Eberron campaign.
As of writing this, we still haven’t actually done the final battle, but we have exhausted all of my prepared content, something I thought I’d never actually be able to confidently say. I’ve tinkered and fiddled with the final session plan over and over and finally have it at a place that I’m satisfied with, but I still wonder if it’s going to be good enough?
Did I make good on the story? Did I help the characters grow? Have I accounted for every plot point I put forward over the course of the past two years? Definitely not that last one, but even if I somehow did I still would be tense at the very notion that this thing is finally ending.
I think what I’m going to miss the most about our campaign is the world that we crafted together. Our version of Eberron was fairly by the book when we started, but the story and the player’s actions have so dramatically changed the world around them, that it’s going to be really tough going back to a vanilla setting that my players haven’t thoroughly sullied. I’m positive that whatever we do next will get just as filthy, if not more so than our Eberron world, but it’s going to take time.
I don’t know about my players, but there’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in this final session for me and I don’t know how to process it at the moment. This is by far the longest creative project I’ve ever worked on, and to finally be able to complete it is a massive accomplishment for me. It makes me wish I had been documenting our journey better, something I’m considering doing for our next endeavor.
Ultimately, I’m not looking for my players to have an epiphany or anything from the conclusion of this campaign, but I am curious to see how they react. This is the ending their characters have earned, and I hope that what I’ve prepared for them meets at least some of their expectations. Although, all of this could be for nothing considering they still have to survive my devious gauntlet. So maybe the ending they earn could be a shitty one, and that’s on them — mostly.