Friday, May 26, 2017

Gods of the Fall - End of the End

"I told you not to feed it after midnight!"

When does the Apocalypse end? No, I'm not just asking a silly sounding question (though I agree at first blush it seems a bit much), but really, at what point does the Apocalypse transition into the Post-Apocalypse? In the case of the world of Gods of the Fall it seems that transition was about 42 years in the past, but who decided as much and what is it that signaled that change?

The timeline in the back of the book says that Elanehtar's Fall marked the first year AF (After the Fall). The Fall of the world lasted a bit longer however. War and strife and death as mortals bereft of the gods who once walked among them spun out of control. For me the end of the apocalypse and the beginning of what comes next is seven years after the Fall when Nulumriel comes to power. Nulumriel began the process of stabilizing the Nightlands and the rest of the world began to follow, slowly. For all of her apparent evil (maybe I'll get into that in another column) she did help stabilize the region by proclaiming herself empress, and having the power to back that claim up.

What's my point here? Well, much like how the end of the world takes time so too will the end of the post-apocalyptic.

Case in point: along come the players and depending on how things proceed they may well put in the effort to kill Nulumriel while proclaiming themselves gods. Doing so is likely to be the capstone of a campaign. The final event that fulfills prophecy of the Return. But what about what comes next? As GM you can wrap up the story with simple narration, you could leave it open to the imagination, you could even allow the players to take it in rounds to describe how their gods save the world thereafter.

Narration on your part isn't a bad thing, and leaving things open can be appealing for parties with varied views, but I think that a collaborative narration in the round is probably the wisest choice for many groups. It will give the players a chance to say goodbye to their characters by putting them through their paces. The player a of god of death can describe how they restore the underworld. A player of a god of crafts may describe how they build a new kind of seraph to serve their pantheon. This kind of open ended storytelling will bring out a richer ending than any single player could describe, and allow everybody at the table to put a touch of their own into the setting.