Let me see if I can tell you how my previous campaigns ended. In the first few campaigns, I had in mind some much larger story to tell. We would play a few sessions, and then everyone (including me) would lose interest. I had one mid-length campaign in the Star Wars Roleplaying Game Revised Edition. In that one, we actually played through an entire story, but it ended very poorly. What happened was the player characters seemed to grow unreasonably powerful as the campaign went along. I would try to give them challenging encounters, but they kept breezing through them like they were nothing. So, for the final battle I figured I would have to make the main villain ridiculously strong in order to even challenge them. Turns out, I made her too strong. Within a few rounds, half of the player characters were dead and the other half were hightailing it out of there. Lame ending. Since then, I’ve GMed a number of other games. Mostly, these just fizzled out like the others. On a couple of occasions I switched to a more episodic format for my campaign. This made the loss of interest less disappointing, because it wasn’t like an ongoing story was left unresolved, but it was still a little lack-luster.
Fast-forward to three weeks ago, when my Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition campaign, “Flames over Iridonia”, came to its dramatic conclusion. After about nine months of biweekly game sessions, all of the mysteries were finally unraveled, all of the secrets were uncovered, the villains were defeated, and the heroes saved an entire planet from destruction.
So, what made this campaign a success, where so many have fallen short in the past? First, I had a really great group of players. Everyone was really fun to play with. People were interested in the story, and they became invested in their characters. Second, I really think I’ve improved as a game master. A little over a decade of experience has sharpened a few of my GMing skills. Helpful advice found online and in various RPG products made a difference, too. I still have stuff to learn – I learned a lot from running this campaign – but I think I’m definitely a better GM than I was when I got started.
In the future, I’d like to share some of the highlights of this campaign and talk about some of the lessons I learned as a GM. I want to thank all of my players for the great times I had with you guys. (Thank you guys!) I’ll be taking a short break from GMing while I adjust to some important life changes in the coming weeks (moving and getting married), but I hope to get back into gaming soon with another great campaign.