And so it was that last Saturday, Kieron brought an end to “the only Warhammer campaign ever to be an extended riff on Naomi Klein’s Disaster Capitalism.”
It’s been an emotional couple of years. We’ve been playing this Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay campaign since autumn 2010, which has seen the four of us through a total of five rental properties, one house purchase, one break up and one wedding. Our characters have gone from brash young fools to champions of the Empire, and in the final session saw us exiled as the foundations of our campaign crumbled around us.
Kieron helped us to tell a story that felt like an HBO series. Our first arc was very much about flexing our characters, and understanding our group dynamic, before we heroically saved the city that had caused him such pain as a roleplayer years before.
After that things got a bit darker, with my character tested in the heart of this fictional land. That sowed the seeds for a tremendous third act. The adventures that made up that segment ramped up the threat level, almost besting our characters though never quite succeeding, and wounding us along the way. We picked up one companion we never truly trusted (and rightfully so, it turned out) and another who we christened Newt, just one sign of the the bleed from other stories and memes that pockmarked our travels.
In the final segment of the final session Kieron whipped the rug from under us. We were, as a unit, pretty much committed to the idea we’d die protecting something noble and important. Not until it was too late did we think Kieron might let us live, only to see the things we’d beaten armies for ripped apart.
I never thought roleplay would be politically literate, or that it could ebb and flow with the culture blasting through trending topics. I’m really pleased I was wrong.
I asked Marc to draw the four players. Click them to embiggen them. That’s my character, Karl, on the left, next to Gril‘s character Grok. Next up is Heinrich, Quinn‘s character, with Kieron on the end looking a lot like Kieron.
If you’ve never done anything like roleplaying then do. It’s a lesson in pure storytelling. I’m not especially great at it, if I’m honest, but I think I did well for a first-timer.
And I might have said this before, but the campaign made of us four firm friends. We bickered, and talked about family illnesses, and ate an awful lot of curry, and washed it all down with tea, and it was awful and brilliant. I’m shocked I made time for it. I’m pleased I made time for it. I didn’t know Gril before we started, and I’ve seen more of him this last couple of years than I’ve seen most of my family. In a good way. I’ll miss it.
And I’ll miss Karl. He was a bit afraid of most things, and a bit paranoid, and a bit scared that he might be the most evil thing he’d ever known. He was quite lost, and didn’t much like anyone really. He flitted between being the luckiest creature in the campaign and the most miserable sack of flesh in the Old World. And you can make of all that what you will.
Because, in the end, he kinda-sorta won. All of them did. They sailed off into the sunset on a boat of their own, and you can’t really ask for a better ending than that.