Lag: the End
Begin with the end in mind, right? Here is a section on how to wrap up a campaign of Lag.
Finishing a game
As the game progresses through scenes, each character’s Arc will be explored through their Mission and Calls Home. Throughout this process the characters’ time zones will move from Home to local time, with an accompanying shift in Lag.
Character Arcs conclude in one of two ways:
- Going Home. The character returns to their point of origin, either willingly or not.
- Stay behind. The character could become naturalised, they could move on instead of going home, they could die, or they could abscond.
Which conclusion happens may be well signposted during play, or it may be a surprise. But one character will always Go Home, and one always Stays Behind.
The game enters its final stage when at least one character’s personal Time Zone equalises with Local Time (i.e. minimum local Lag, and maximum Lag for Calls Home). At that point the character may have two further scenes of their choice. One scene must resolve their Mission, and the other can either resolve their connection Home, or bid farewell to one or more PCs in a Hotel Encounter. After the second scene, they will take their Avatar off the time zone track and place it on the Going Home tile, and narrate their exit.
Following the first character’s exit, all other players must then resolve their Arcs within two scenes of the first character’s scene as before. The last character to conclude must Stay, and the other characters get a free choice.
There are two Exit Cards on the table: one for Going Home and another for Staying. The first character to end their Arc picks whichever card they want and narrates what happens after they leave the Hotel.
The second character must take the other remaining card on the table; so if the first character Stays, they Go Home.
We now have two players holding Exit Cards. They may intrude on the remaining player’s final scenes as themselves, as NPCs, even as characters from Home by spending Drama Tokens as usual; and just like the other Dramatic Scenes this character wants some concession from the leaving character. If the leaving character grants the concession they accept the card and narrate their exit accordingly. If they refuse they must take the other card from the other player, who narrates that character’s exit and hands their card over.
Once the leaving character’s player has accepted a card they may use it in play in the same way.
I think I prefer the second option because it’s in keeping with the token economy of Dramasystem; but it’s reliant on leaving characters holding excess drama tokens on their exit for it to work. Playtesting needed.