Not everyone knows this, but my campaign world almost died last week (Wednesday, January 22nd in the year of our Dog 2014). Specifically, Hekinoe, the planet we game on was almost destroyed completely and irrevocably, no take backs and no saving throw. This isn't as big of a deal as you would have thought though. Hekinoe has always been living on borrowed time.
I was venting/slash tweaking his nose, but I told Jason that day that Hekinoe had only had about two hundred years left before it was destroyed and the Orcunraytrel continent only had about fifty, so it's not like anything ultimately changed. The timeline just sped up, because that's what PCs can do. It's what makes them special. They can change things. They're not the only ones with levels or loot, everyone has that shit. What sets them apart is the ability to influence the world around thrm. To take my plots and plans and speed them up or slow them down or send them way off into an unexpected direction. Or kill them dead.
What happened (and this is obviously all player knowledge) is partly my fault. I gave Donovan access to information that would not normally be something a PC could easily learn. I did this because Donovan has made connections with individuals that possess this knowledge. Sort of. Donovan also attracted the attention of Keroen Skathos by playing at information brokering. The information in question pertains to Keroen Skathos. Keroen Skathos is something of an amnesiac. Knowledge was stripped from him for a reason. Donovan's information, if told to him, would shatter the amnesia and restore this knowledge to Keroen Skathos.
Donovan, without knowing the significance, told Keroen this information.
For the longest time, my plot/plan/etc involving the return of Keroen's memory has been the nearly instant incineration of Hekinoe, or at least within twenty-four hours of Keroen learning this. This is something I have written down. This is something that I feel strongly about enough that it was written down instead of lurking in my brain hole so I could change it if I needed to with none being the wiser. It would kill me to burn down Hekinoe, but I'd do it to stay true to the material. That's how much I love my campaign world. I'd kill it to remain true to the "story" or whatever you want to call it.
Apparently Hekinoe and I are in an abusive relationship. Hmm. That's actually a pretty fitting description of what GMing is.
I was in the process of composing an email about how everyone and everything suddenly dies screaming in fire, but I wasn't working with Fred that night. Because he's a whore. I wanted to talk to him first before I sealed everyone's doom. Fred is who I bounce a lot of my deeply hidden or secret ideas off of, and he does the same with me for his campaign. It has been an extremely positive experience for both of us. Fred has the benefit of having read my Explanation document and of having once been a player in Hekinoe, and having enough distance from the setting now to not ultimately be affected on any level by what happens to it and its denizens.
So the day passed and I texted Cary a few times about how he just killed my campaign world and the next day Fred and I spent almost the entire twelve hour shift talking about the death of Hekinoe. Fred was generally of the mindset that Hekinoe does not burn, I was opposed to this. If you have at all enjoyed my campaign world, Fred is now your god. Name (or rename) your firstborn child after him.
What it ultimately came down to was that my plan discounted Keroen's experiences on Hekinoe. The death of Hekinoe would completely negate the changes wrought on him by his amnesia and his experiences as Keroen Skathos, creator of the Nel and lover of Loria and Callifay. Now, granted, a billion zillion gigajillion years of memories just slammed into his brain hole, but he's still Keroen of the Nel. He's still in love with Callifay. He's still bored with ruling lesser beings. More importantly, he's not suicidal or stupid.
This doesn't really spoil anything, because none of you (except Jeremy and Fred) know the why or how of it, but Keroen Skathos isn't the destroyer of Hekinoe. It is the reaction to what I had thought would be his reaction to his returned memories that would have ended Hekinoe.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that Fred convinced me that the actions that would lead to the destruction of Hekinoe were no longer in keeping with Keroen's nature. He made a strong case, strong enough that in the end I came down on his side of the discussion/debate/whatever. I still cannot believe I never conceived of this being a possible outcome of the events I was setting in motion. Not once did I connect Donovan's knowledge to him having an opportunity to tell it to Keroen. It wasn't that I figured Donovan was a secret keeper and wouldn't share. It just never occurred to me. I never connected the fact that Donovan had this information to him having the opportunity to tell Keroen the information. I normally keep a good handle on the information in play at any given moment, and I find it very interesting that I lost track of the important connections among what I had going on. I swear to Dog, this is the best damn book I've ever read. I'm writing it (with some help) and it can still fucking come out of left field at me and hit me a surprisehammer.
It doesn't mean sunshine and happiness forevermore now though. The planet's survival isn't without consequences. I've had three major plots coming up on the horizon, two coming in about three months of in game time and another coming in about six months of in game time. Because of Keroen's return to himself, one is completely and utterly dead, except for one small side effect of it. Another is either accelerated or delayed, I haven't decided quite yet. I lean towards delayed though. The third is accelerated way the fuck up. It isn't coming tomorrow in game, but it is super close.
But that is all chump change compared to the wide ranging shit. Hekinoe's two hundred year death sentence is now gone, as is Orcunraytrel's fifty year death sentence. The Black Mountain is fucking gone. Sorcery now misfires in Orcunraytrel. The PCs have drawn the direct attention of the only four beings on Hekinoe with power approaching Keroen Skathos'. Vacusu are back in play. So many fucking things are up in the air now because of Donovan's words!!1! The biggest of which is that Keroen is now himself again. What he does next is something I had never planned for in this campaign. Everything about this campaign and Orcunraytrel and a lot of the upcoming events in Hekinoe's future are getting shifted around, flat out remade with different outcomes, or at the very least analyzed to see how they will be impacted. Fucking a, this shit is so wide ranging that Myrecenar will be impacted, and that continent has only been around for a year and a month of real world time.
Lance, you thought we were off the rails before? Brother, we're so far from the rails that we're actually moving back in time. Or forward. It's hard to tell from this perspective sometimes.