25 years later…

We open on Argos, the marginally inhabitable world (our New Caprica, if you will) which has become a thriving colony, thanks to the Kobolians and their technology. While the humans and Seraph have their own planetary government, everyone knows it’s the Olympian Council,  led by Zeus, who is in charge.

Visiting the Forge of Hephaestus, we reintroduce Nike, now the Goddess of War after Athena’s disappearance. She is inspecting the massive galleons — half warship, half ark — being constructed to protect the world by the Smith God’s multitude of mechanical assistants. Among his other toys, is a strange craft that she was not able to get a read on, but was a ship designed to reintroduce plant and animal material on Kobol — a world that had apparently been reconstructed by one of the TITAN’s leftover  hekatonchires — the great utility fogs that can repurpose entire worlds.

This led to a diplomatic party scene, where Argos was culminating its 25th anniversary since settlement. Among the guests were diplomats from the Cyrannus Colonies (the 12 Colonies of Man), Earth, and the Pleiades Colonies. Hermes was introduced, just back from his mission to the latter, where he found a culture older than Kobol, the source of the “Aurelian Heresies” — thousands of years ld prophesies that pre-dated Kobol and were frequently referenced throughout the game — and currently more advanced than the Kobolians. Other guests included the twin children of Athena and Admiral Pindarus — Athena and Alexander III, young, handsome, and smart half-Kobolians on a mission to the various worlds of Man.

We got a taste of the politics of Argos — the in-roads the monotheism of the Seraph was making, the shaky “alliance” between Argos and Earth, and the internal beefs of the “gods.” Zeus asks Nike and Hermes to represent them at Earth’s 25th anniversary of the founding of the Earth Alliance.

Six months later, we picked up on a rescue mission in the California Republic, one of the four great polities of Earth, where an earthquake has destroyed much of the City of Angels. Alala — the Seraph pilot introduced a few months back with the addition of a new player is now commander of the new basestar, Galactica, and is commanding the efforts. She is warned by one of the pilots on CAP, the daughter of Hermes and one of the major NPCs that had been a bit player throughout the game, of a tsunami coming, and is rescued by said pilot in a daring move.

When they return to Galactica, a more modern, welcoming basestar, with a much more advanced look, we reintroduce Admiral Armenta — a character that started as a pilot in old Galactica, just before the Fall, and who had wored her way up through the campaign to wing commander. She is 50, now, and older, more tired, and a bit less idealistic. After some character bits with her old friend Alala, and her operations officer, the daughter of Pindarus and Tana, his Seraph wife, she makes ready for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Alliance. The ship bearing Hermes and Nike arrives from Argos about this time.

After some politicking in the Temple of Athena, in which we meet the older version of Pindarus, now 68 and the Princep (first citizen) of the Alliance, and his wife Tana — now ruler of the Athenian Republic (the city-state where most of the people who survived the Exodus live). There were a few bits of diplomacy, but in the end, the second night of the finale saw a day where the old characters getting together for an old fashioned picnic.

We learned about the fates of these long-running characters. Pindarus’ time as defense secretary putting together the Earth Defense Force, his marriage to Tana and its near collapse after an infidelity five years ago. His widespread cancers from a decade ago, cured by a bone marrow transfusion from Tana. He is now the first prince elected by planetary vote, he wrote a massive history of the Cycle of Time, and now potters about cooking and painting.

Zoe Armenta (formerly Arden, call sign Billboard, then Boss) became a lifer — commanding the fighter wings of Earth, then a basestar, before getting knocked up by her yeoman and taking command of the Sparta Military Reservation, training the EDF soldiers. She has recently taken over the new Galactica. She is married, mostly a settling for the most stable choice sort of match after two decades of short flings and throwing herself into building the EDF.

Hermes has been the chief diplomat for the Kobolians on Argos, but is more interested in furthering Athena’s dream of the worlds of Man (in all its iterations) united. Various NPCs that had been in the game for years were referenced or seen, and in the end, the last night had that same bittersweet quality that the Babylon 5 finale had. These are our heroes — old, tired, at the end of their working lives…but still standing. Still family.

Cut to 500 yeas later, Capricorn Colony in the Pleiades Colonies of Man. Starbuck (a Dirk Benedict-esque one) and Apollo are gambling at “Casino Planet” (this was some fan service for Jim, one of the gamers, who has been lobbying for a casino planet visit since he joined the group) on the Elysium Station over the colony. They are suddenly recalled to their battlestar, Galactica, when a massive fleet, led by the ousted Leader Baltar, strikes without warning. The vessels attacking are “Olympian”, and their mechanical Myrmidon troopers invade the station. After fighting them off in the hangar bay, they take their very futuristic vipers and race back to Galactica, where the ship is preparing for battle.

Apollo meets his father, Commander Adama, who informs him that Fleet Admiral Pindarus is reporting half the fleet has already been destroyed, their worlds nuked. There are refugee ships everywhere, and Galactica has been ordered not to join the main battle, but instead take the civilians out of the combat zone to the only safe harbor they know, the only world that could stand up to the Olympians…Earth.

Thus ended 4 years, 10 months  of one of the best and longest games I’ve ever run. The pay-off — seeing ones characters having come through their epic journey, succeed at rebuilding their lives — seemed to resonate well with the players. The coda 500 years later lend more power to the Cycle of Time, and suggested that the story wasn’t truly over.

Was this episode really needed? After all, they’d gotten to Earth and found a new home. End of story…but after investing so much in their characters, letting them see them aged, well-lived, and a new generation of heroes coming into their own (the children of the characters), gave a sense of continuity and closure. As finishing a campaign — especially one of this length — is relatively rare for a gaming group post high school or college, having that glimpse of what became of your characters is important for the players.

One way to go about this is for the GM to have a plan of what the world looks like five, ten, or a quarter century out. Another is to let the players each have a moment where they tell you what happened to their characters. Either works well. In this case, I asked what the characters wanted to do, long term. I had them roll their attempts at diplomacy or whatever, then I grafted on elements of the overall story arc to show how sometimes this or that didn’t quite work out.