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You just killed the BBEG! Now what? *Spoilers*


Pathfinder Adventure Path General Discussion


This is a question for anyone who has successfully completed an AP or has an idea for what would happen. So the PC's are successful: they've defeated the Runelord, ended Nyrissa's scheme, stopped the Firebleeder from awakening, and the DM has just finished narrating the death of the villain.

Then what?

Ok, so I think its safe to assume that a butt-load of healing magic will be used, probably some Resurrections too. So what after that? Does the DM just montage you guys out of the final dungeon and we go to epilogues? Do you role play getting back to safety?

I know about the "After the Adventure" articles at the end of most AP's, I'm just asking what you have done/imagine you'll do the moment after the BBEG is defeated.


OmegaZ wrote:
Does the DM just montage you guys out of the final dungeon and we go to epilogues?

I drop directly into the epilogues.

Something that worked really well for Carrion Crown was writing out every single group or major NPC's ending condition and reading it to the PCs in random order (they rolled for it) using that major NPC's voice, in some cases. It helped solidify the ending of the campaign very well.

This music was used.

You can tell what I took inspiration from pretty easily.

Hey, it worked!


I haven't completed an AP yet, but for both campaigns I ran from start to finish I mostly skipped to the epilogue after the final fight. In one case (my previous forgotten realms campaign), I even took a shortcut in the combat, since running it was pointless and would inevitably result in the destruction of both parties (a 19th-level frenzied berserker trapped in the shadow plane with one of the BBEGs as he was already both in deathless frenzy and deep in the negatives with no means of healing himself).

Details aside, I think that it's one of the parts when the narration has to become strong again, leaving the system and dice behind. I always prepare my epilogues very thoroughly, because it's such an important part of a campaign for the players. The deal is to have them accept to leave their character behind (putting an end to one's character story) as well as ending the global story (the campaign itself) in a satisfactory manner.

Grand Lodge

I haven't finished an AP yet, but when I do I will most likely continue the adventure. Just because the AP ends, doesn't mean your story has to. I've always run what people here call homebrew adventures. This is my first time running premades. I'll be adding in lots of my own subplots and side plots, so once the AP is done, I'm sure the players will have plenty of other things to do.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm currently a third of the way through Legacy of Fire, but I've started planning an epilogue to take my players' characters through 20th level.

Spoiler:

Right now it's just a loose outline (at the rate we play, I might have as much as 4 years to get this thing ready), but the premise is that long after the PCs' triumphant defeat of Jhavhul the heroes are drawn back together to destroy the slowly awakening heart of Xotani once and for all. Design goals are to treat this very much as an epilogue rather than a direct continuation of the story, so as not to detract from their accomplishments in The Final Wish, to act as a "victory lap" for the PCs, revisiting certain themes and concepts, and to resolve a few dangling plot threads.

Additional Details:
Either 14, 21, or 28 years after The Final Wish (I'm working on the assumption that I'll make it 21 years for my group), a major incursion of divs and daemons emerge from the House of Oblivion, determined to revive Xotani. It's a huge undertaking, even for the lords of Abaddon, and dependent on an unusual, fragile truce between "generals" in service to Ahriman and the Horseman of War. They've been working on this plan since the day Jhavhul was defeated.

The divs want to revive Xotani for the sheer delight of the destruction it'll wreak across the continent, hopefully wiping out entire hidden cities of jann. The daemons have a secondary goal in mind--they're hoping that Xotani's rampage will provoke the creation of a new League of Wands, uniting the nations of northern Garund in a deadly war that will funnel countless souls to their master.

Part One: The Oblivion Ember ("chapter seven of six" of the AP): A premonition of Xotani's rebirth reunites the PCs, now 15th level, and I provide boons to represent whatever the PCs have been up to in the intervening years, ranging from settling down with a family to joining the Templars of the Five Winds to having died alongside Jhavhul.

Alerted that their enemies have somehow been roused, the div-worshiping Usij send an envoy to "warn" the heroes that the spirit of their old foe, Jhavhul, was stolen away to Abaddon after his demise, along with the souls of any PCs who died in that battle. Daemons have been torturing and corrupting those spirits ever since, and if the PCs don't act quickly, Jhavhul--and maybe even their late friends--will be reborn as fiends.

The PCs pop off to Abaddon to infiltrate a prison of the damned, and do indeed discover Jhavhul, now corrupted into a great ghul. They can finally destroy Jhavhul once and for all and, as a bonus, recover the souls of any slain foes and even rescue an imprisoned peri who can tip them off that this whole rescue mission was just to distract them from the major invasion force headed for the Brazen Peaks at that very moment. In the distance, the PCs also see the Abaddon end of the House of Oblivion looming in the angry sky, with swarms of fiends swirling around it on their way to the Material Plane.

Quickly returning to Garund, the PCs have to head off a multi-front attack intended to eliminate foes and wear down the PCs. First, powerful foes attack Nefeshti's remote, mountaintop citadel, the HQ of the Templars. Next, a trio of div-possessed unchosen lead the Al'Chorhaiv gnolls to attack Kelmarane. Finally, the Usij assault the House of the Beast, which may or may not be under PC control.

Eventually, the fiends deliver their payload: The plane-hopping Sunset Ship sails in from the sea of dreams, its nameless Captain emerging with at least a dozen emkrahs, each one of them having absorbed the souls of powerful worshipers of Rovagug. This is Ahriman's plan: Rather than 1,000 wishes, the fiends will merge these empowered rough seeds with Xotani, "feeding" it the spiritual energy required to be reborn. One of these emkrahs may be the one last seen devouring Father Jackal.

The PCs take on the denizens of Leng and destroy the emkrahs--but not before one or two reach the heart and are destroyed, their essence absorbed by Xotani. The denizens are purely mercenaries here, so the PCs might wipe them all out, or they might be able to turn a few to their side once the payload's delivered.

In the end, the spark is lit--while the PCs have prevented Xotani's immediate rebirth, the spark of life has been relit. The heart is slowly coming back to life, and it's a matter of weeks before Xotani is reborn. Even worse, Ahriman is reaching out through the House of Oblivion to protect the heart until its rebirth.

Tracing the fiendish army's path back to its source in Thuvia, the PCs lay eyes on the House of Oblivion, recognizing it from its mirror image in Abaddon. Unfortunately, even here on the Material Plane, it's surrounded by a defensive army of divs, daemons, Usij, and worse. To deal with Xotani's heart, the PCs need to sever the flow of magic protecting it. To that, they need to close the portal within the House of Oblivion--and to do that, they'll need an army.

Part Two: The All-Consuming Fires of Fate ("part eight of six"): After fending off the fiendish excursion, the PCs should be 17th level.

Even at these nearly epic levels, taking on the entrenched armies of Abaddon by themselves is probably a suicide mission for the PCs. They only have a few weeks before Xotani revives, however, so now the PCs must race to build an alliance to take on the House of Oblivion.

I envision this adventure as practically an "anthology" of short, high-level adventures as the PCs race around to perform missions that will earn them allies to send against the fiends. At the same time, they also need to learn the ultimate secret of how to permanently destroy Xotani's heart.

The nations of northern Garund are the easiest to recruit--really each government just needs to be convinced of Xotani's threat to realize that it's in their best interests to join the alliance. But, these armies are slow to mobilize and ultimately of limited utility.

Naturally, the adventure assumes that the PCs can travel basically anywhere at will, but if not, they do have the Sunset Ship at their disposal. Created by the denizens of Leng, the vessel sails through the Dimension of Dreams, and can go anywhere mortal minds can picture in a matter of hours.

I don't have a lot of details here, but I'm thinking that recruiting Thuvia is practically a given, but they personally don't have much to bring to the table. They do, however, know the location of a phoenix's lair; perhaps the legendary creature could be won over...

If the PCs go to Osirion, it's fairly simple to convince the Ruby Prince to commit an army to the league--but the Ruby Prince also confides to the PCs that one of his ancestors, an ancient pharaoh, was a member of the original League of Wands. The location of that ancestor's tomb remains a family secret to this day, but the Prince gives it to the PCs; perhaps it may still hold tools that may be of use. In fact, the tomb is filled with magic traps and undead and construct guardians, all protecting the tomb's occupant--a powerful mummy mage. The PCs can either defeat this mummy and loot his treasures or convince him to lead his undead legion into battle.

Once the PCs have nailed down the aid of mortal nations, it's time to go farther afield. The PCs may have connections in the City of Brass and may have allies among the other genie courts. These otherworldly forces are harder to motivate, but the rewards are greater. If the PCs go for all the Garundi armies first, they should be 18th level by the time they move on to the Great Beyond. Regardless, after a few missions the leaders of the Usij start running interference, adding to the PCs' problems. The PCs could even appeal to Sarenrae's heavenly demense or call upon the forces of Hell for help. (The latter would be... unwise.)

Each army recruited earns the PCs Victory Points, which can be allocated to whittle away the House of Oblivion's defenses (basically, each ally recruited negates some enemy force during the battle). The PCs can keep recruiting allies, but eventually they run out of time and the battle must be joined.

The PCs can also earn Victory Points by chipping away at the unusual alliance between the divs and daemons, turning the fiends against each other; the races of Abaddon don't normally get along, and their ultimate goals don't entirely mesh.

With the new "League of Wands" battling the armies of Abaddon all around them, the PCs press into the heart of the House of Abaddon, perhaps even approaching the portal from the Abaddon side of the portal. There they face and defeat the div leaders, closing the gate and cutting the connection between Ahriman and Xotani.

By the time the House of Oblivion has been overcome, the PCs should be 19th level. All that remains is disposing of the heart itself--but even now, the beating heart of Xotani is eating its way down through the mountain's core. The PC return to Pale Mountain and collect the heart from the deadly Wormhollows, involving a swift, frantic fight against tricksy gnolls as showers of lava pour down all around them. Then it's off to the frozen reaches of the Plane of Water!

One last obstacle: Their own allies, the marids. When Xotani's heart is released into the Plane of Water, its death throes will flash-boil everything within 100 miles in every direction. The marids consider this an apocalypse, and confront the PCs before they can complete their plans. Even as Xotani begins to reform aboard the Sunset Ship, the heroes must win over the protective marids, and perhaps even hold the fort for a few minutes as the genies do their best to evacuate the heart of the ocean. But in the end, the PCs send Xotani plunging into the deepest, coldest depths of the Plane of Water.

The PC have done what the League of Wands could not--permanently destroyed one of the Spawn of Rovagug. The PCs may return to their lives, or may follow their genie allies into the realms of legend...

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

This is always a tough one. Our group has only finished one AP (CotCT) and is was a great, fun adventure... except the end. The DM did a great job running the adventure, had some fun sidetreks and kept us engaged the entire time. Then we got to the end, killed the BBEG and got:
"Good job. That's it. Adventure's over" and he puts his books away.

... what? That's it? And unfortunatly, that's most of what we remember about CotCT: the lack of any kind of wrap up.

THAT is why some kind of epilouge is so important.

Now my plan for my current campaign is to go around the table and ask each player: what is your character doing now? What are your plans? And kind of montage the end and come up with a quick epilouge for each of them. Some of them I've got a pretty good idea where they'll end up, but other's I'll leave up to the players. It's *their* ending after all. I'll just help steer them on where they want to imagine their characters sitting back in their retirement (or adventuring off into the sunset).

Sczarni

Ice Titan wrote:

I drop directly into the epilogues.

Something that worked really well for Carrion Crown was writing out every single group or major NPC's ending condition and reading it to the PCs in random order (they rolled for it) using that major NPC's voice, in some cases. It helped solidify the ending of the campaign very well.

This music was used.

You can tell what I took inspiration from pretty easily.

Hey, it worked!

I like it! It's a good idea to wrap up all the subplots.

I don't have a specific plan of what I'm going to do; I'm in the middle of Book 3 of Carrion Crown right now. We'll see what happens!


John Mangrum wrote:

I'm currently a third of the way through Legacy of Fire, but I've started planning an epilogue to take my players' characters through 20th level.

** spoiler omitted **...

I seem to recall that it was called Legion of Wands, but could be wrong, I don't have my books with me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Toadkiller Dog wrote:
I seem to recall that it was called Legion of Wands, but could be wrong, I don't have my books with me.

Legion, League... two-by-four, two-by-five... whatever works. I wasn't checking my books when I typed this up either.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

I generally monologue to tie up any loose ends - explaining things the PCs may not have learned, the fallout from their actions, the adoring crowds thanking them.

I also ask players to email "retirement notes" for their PCs and give them wide latitude in that = do you become king? become head of the church? retire peacefully? marry the barmaid and settle down? Usually 1 or 2 of my 6 players will do it.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

You just killed the BBEG! What are you gonna do now?

Well...what is the Golarion equivalent of Disneyworld?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
DMFTodd wrote:
I also ask players to email "retirement notes" for their PCs and give them wide latitude in that = do you become king? become head of the church? retire peacefully? marry the barmaid and settle down? Usually 1 or 2 of my 6 players will do it.

This was something else I had planned on doing, the "closing email". I run alot of the side adventures and personal quests via email during the week between our sunday games. Some of my players love it and are involved during the week. Others I only hear from when we meet Sundays.

I was thinking that for those that sent a nice "closing email" maybe giving them an extra starting trait for the next adventure. Just something extra for getting more involved in their character. Shrug. I would expect similar participation: maybe 3 or 4 of my 6 players getting on board.

Scarab Sages

Since I know my players aren't going to read this, I plan to take them another level or two in order to wrap up some loose ends and to give them a sense of closure.

As Jenner said, CotCT was a huge let down. I was hoping to go back and do some set up stuff for "retirement".

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
Sanakht Inaros wrote:
As Jenner said, CotCT was a huge let down. I was hoping to go back and do some set up stuff for "retirement".

Which just stunk because the adventure was fantastic right up to the point of ZERO epilouge. Sigh.

Lesson Learned: epilouges are very important for leaving a lasting impression of the AP on the players. Even if it's just the GM going around the table and letting the players dictate what they want to do and where they want to leave their (hopefully) well-loved PCs after a hard won victory.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Pre-epilogue can help with that (an idea from Roleplaying Tips).

When the PCs get to the BBEG, be sure to stop and explain that "this is it, you've finally found the BBEG. All that you've done the last two years has lead to this moment. Stop him now and save the world. Fail at this and his nefarious plans come to fruition.".

At the end of the fight the players hopefully then go "hooray!" rather than "oh, that was the end?"

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