RPGs, by their nature, are fraught with conflict. From the very first time you log in, your character has threats to overcome. As you gain levels and delve further into the story, the threats grow bigger and scarier. And as we’ve seen with expansions and new content patches, just when you think you’ve righted the last wrong, something even more terrible rises to fill in the void.
Add to that the storylines we create for ourselves — maybe your character’s staying the hell out of Northrend, but boy are there ever troubles at home to sort out.
Yva’s mentioned the importance of giving your characters a break from the drama in their lives — it gives them a chance to have good times to balance out the bad, and to recover from whatever trauma they’ve just been dragged through. It also gives other players a chance to let their stories shine.
Almost inevitably, though, once sufficient time has passed, chances are we’re going to find a whole new pile of problems for them to deal with. Because conflict helps keep the characters fresh. You get to explore facets of their personalities you didn’t know were there. And having new adventures is just plain fun.
But what about a time when it’s all over? What if the wars ended, the biggest, most dire threats were gone, and your characters could hang up swords and shields, daggers and wands, and live a life free of the duty and obligation that comes with Saving The World?
What would they do? Would they buy a quiet little house away from it all and plant a garden? Would they chafe at the peace and go out seeking adventures wherever they could find them? Would they take advantage of the situation and start trouble?
Do your characters look ahead to a time like this even now, as something to look forward to, or do they think it’ll always be like this, with something new coming along to cast its shadow on the world all the time?
Davien hopes there’ll be an end to it, someday. She’d retire to a little house with her niece and nephew, and spend her days with her needle and thread. She’d entertain old friends when they came calling, and would still study magic, but in a quiet, scholarly way.
Threnn would divide her time between their house in the Grizzly Hills (which they have yet to really enjoy) and Stormwind. I don’t think she could ever — or would ever — bow out of the Riders’ lives. They’re her family just as much as Bricu and Naiara are. Out in the Hills she’d have her forge, and a safe place where she and Bricu could raise their daughter. Stormwind’s there for when the Hills get too quiet, when she misses the laughter and bustle of the city and the company of her friends. She doesn’t know if that day will ever come, but she and Bricu have discussed it.
Annalea wouldn’t want a quiet life. She might not exactly go seeking out trouble, but I have a feeling it’d find her anyway. She’s a bard, so travelling around wouldn’t bother her in the least, and any adventures she found would make excellent fodder for new songs. Anna, of course, doesn’t really believe such a time will ever come.
How about your characters?