I am the Warden!!
For the past week-and-a-half, I've been plugging away at Killshot, producing 45 pages of material for rules and character creation and enhancement. Now I must put all that aside - everything involving the Optional System, for that matter - to start working on something I never thought would come: the end of my old Shadoworld campaign.
When I say "Shadoworld," I don't mean the campaign setting released by ICE. I didn't even learn about their work until a random Google search years ago. My Shadoworld is a D&D 3e campaign started back in 2001 with my good friends and regular gamers, Derek, John, and Kurt. It was a very intense, heavy-roleplaying, action-packed series of adventures simmered in a long-stewing backstory. Everything hinged around the PCs trapped in a prison world known only as Shadoworld to its inmates (which is Barsaive from FASA's Earthdawn game, except the Horrors actually finished off the Name-givers) run by an enigmatic figure called the Warden. Now you know where I got my name.
It's important to note that each and every character in Shadoworld was sentenced to this world. Not banished, sentenced. Guilty or not, someone specifically sent them here. Each character was locked to Shadoworld by tattoos called shadowmarks, magically chaining their bodies to Shadoworld to prevent any means of escape. Each shadowmark was connected to a Horror, an individual creature who had destroyed this original world, and would torment their linked victim as part of their sentence. Every resident of Shadoworld may have freedoms unfounded in their homelands, these were superficial at best. This world allowed me to establish a truly chaotic, mercenary setting founded on brutality, dominance, and survival for over 5 years. In that time, we lost two players and the campaign fizzled just as it was getting to the heart of the underlying story.
One player in particular, John, had provided me with so much character background, I felt encouraged to incorporate it into the campaign. And made the unfortunate mistake all GMs make in their homebrews - I thought the campaign would go on forever. Alas, it was not to be. Just as the players reached the pinnacle of story and were one session away from learning the truth behind everything, John moved out to New Brunswick and we were never able to carry on with the story.
In less than two weeks, we will be in New Brunswick to conclude Shadoworld.
Today will be spent pouring over all my old files - hard drive and printout - to review five years of RPG madness, character concepts, and story before figuring out what elements remain and how I'm going to bring everything to a close. And I can't wait to see how it all turns out.