The journey is done. Wizard’s character arc is complete. All her life goals have been accomplished, and at long last it’s time to retire the character. I’m sure she will make an excellent queen. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I announce that Wizard will no longer be appearing in any further… Wait… What’s that you say? She should continue the adventure?

Hmmm… Well, I suppose we could plop Aristocrat on the Ivy Throne instead. Maybe we can use the whole gender-bending plot to imply that Aristocrat really is the heir. Sort of like a Prince and the Pauper setup. It seems a bit far-fetched, but OK. If you want the character to stick around, I’m sure we can make it work. And hey, does this mean that Wizard is an elven princess now? I bet she’s got to go on diplomatic missions to the court of Elf Princess. That could get uncomfortable for Lumberjack Explosion…. OK. We can work with this. Game on!

Sorry to give you all a scare, but I’m sure you can suss out my point. There may come a time when your favorite PC’s story seems to end. A major goal has been accomplished, all is right with the world, and your motivation for adventuring seems to disappear. It is in these darkest of moments when you must dig deep for new storylines. It may be difficult, but it’s never impossible. Characters can always stick around for another arc, and there’s no reason to feel like you’re obliged to retire.

In fact, I would venture to say that “I have no choice but to retire this character” is an offshoot of the dreaded “it’s what my character would do.” As gamers, we are creative people. This is a creative hobby. It’s always possible to come up with another adventure hook and another course of action. There shouldn’t be any shame in retirement, and sometimes it’s the right thing to do. But in Wizard’s case, as another dramatically crowned monarch once said, “It is not this day!”

So what do the rest of you guys think? Have you ever struggled to come up with a reason to keep a character around? How do you know when it’s time? Conversely, have you ever wished that you’d taken the opportunity to let your guy ride off into the sunset when you had the chance? Hit us with your finest tales of character retirement down in the comments!


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