A few months ago, we ended my Dragonlance campaign. We had to end nowhere near the ending of the Age of Despair storyline (the original module storyline from the early 90s and the Chronicles trilogy) because of life stuff, but I’m finally getting around to writing a bit about the ending and the experience overall.
Timing: Exactly as Advertised for DL1-DL4
I ran a flexible version of the first four modules from the original Dragonlance series published by TSR back in the 90s: DL1 through DL4. Once thing I noticed, which was interesting, is that the number of sessions it took to get through those modules, even though at times I changed them, skipped parts, or added to them based on the players’ in put, was exactly what they predicted: 24 sessions. I just thought it was interesting that the estimate was so close, even going from AD&D to 5th Edition.
No Kender, Gully Dwarves or Gnomes
Krynn is famously ridiculous for the number of comic-relief races they have in the setting: kender, gully dwarves and gnomes all serve as different kinds of comic relief in the setting and stories, and all three of those races have some profoundly annoying features. Kender basically beg players to steal from each other, behave randomly and completely sabotage any attempts at gravity in the story. Gully dwarves are offensively stupid, and an excuse for all other races to have a race that they treat with contempt at every turn. Gnomes are supposed to talk so fast that their words string together into huge run-ons without pauses, and while this can be funny a couple of times in a book it is beyond annoying to have at the actual table in play. Additionally, they are zany inventors who are steampunk when everything around them is pseudo-medieval fantasy. None of their inventions work, but they are obsessed with them anyway, and so on.
This campaign had no kender, no gully dwarves, and no gnomes, and no one missed them. The few gully dwarves who come up in the original modules I altered to make into goblins, who were not necessarily stupid but spoke in simple sentences because they didn’t have a strong grasp of Common most of the time. They were even sometimes empathetic characters because they were either living on their own in tribes or were beaten and intimidated into service by the Dragon Highlords. It worked fine, and you still had your Sestun and your Bupu and so on.
Because we had to end early, we ended with an epilogue for each of the characters. This was probably more than our two players who were kids could really manage – they were upset that we had to end the game because of Grownup Stuff, and didn’t really get the idea of an epilogue (one was 9 and one was 13 at the end of the campaign, having started at 8 and 12). Still, it was the best I could do. I feel like if you have to end early, the least you can do is try to provide some closure. Not easy at the end of the 4th out of 14 D&D modules, but there you have it.