Poor Vengeance! Our perpetually pissed-off Anti(?)paladin is still stuck in brooding mode. He’s been like this ever since the death of poor Patches the Unkicked. And that presents something of a problem for this joke-a-day comic. I quite liked the trio of kick-ass lady adventurers in the original Team Bounty Hunter. How are we supposed to get back to normal with an incandescent fire genasi glooming it up in the background?

At some point we all become sitcom writers. Serving as tabletop roleplayers, we run into the same problems.

Our audience likes the status quo. Hell, we like the status quo too! Our loveable band of misfits snark at one another in the local bar/coffee shop/office/dungeon! But now Plucky Newcomer is in a relationship with Jaded Grifter! Irascible Old Person has been offered a gig on another channel! We killed off the primary antagonist last season, but that tension was holding the show together! Maybe we can just say it was all a dream and start over? 

To a large extent, this is the same problem we talked about back in “Quittin’ Time.” The same strategies apply. You can press on with the story and hope the fun sticks around. You can reboot. You can swap systems, or start a brand new game, or even break up the band and seek out a new cast of lovable misfits. But in addition to these strategies, there’s an underlying psychological fix: Embrace change! 

This hobby is built on leveling up, gaining XP, and taking on new challenges. Raiding dungeons and haggling with innkeepers over “the good rooms” may be fun at level 1, but it gets old at level 9. At some point the story moves on. You begin to conquer nations, fight gods, and save the goddamn multiverse. That means the status quo is almost impossible to regain. But then again, that’s the fun storytelling.

So what do you say, Handbook-World? Have you ever seen a campaign shift away from the comfortable status quo? Did you manage a return to perpetual stasis, find new pleasures in unexpected plot developments, or mourn the jumping of your shark? Whatever your experience, tell us your tale down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Thrice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.