It is said that you can give a story a more satisfying and powerful ending by simultaneously closing multiple story arcs at the end of a story (per screenwriting coaches like Robert Mckee – the teacher who inspired Peter Jackson to rewrite Lord of the Rings into what we saw onscreen.) For example, it was recently reported that the writers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker found 24 unclosed character arcs that they could close with the final movie. They closed those arcs to give the movie more narrative impact.
I have been brought in as a substitute DM to finish the last 2-3 episodes of an almost eight month campaign of Tomb of Annihilation spanning over 30 sessions. (I was chosen to help maintain continuity because I am a former player with knowledge of their campaign.)
It would be great to give the ending of TOA a great sense of closure and feel epic as if the PCs have accomplished something important and the world recognizes it.
But, reading ToA it is clear that there are a variety of unclosed story arcs. As written, the ending feels a little abrupt. There are a few comments about how if the PCs saved a particular character then they receive treasure as promised and a few words about future adventures, but that’s about it. It feels a bit unfinished – like Star Wars: A New Hope might feel without the throne scene or Return of the Jedi without the scenes of celebration across the many planets.
The ToA authors left a variety of open story arcs for the DM to close.
That said, there are hundreds of pages of adventure – and clearly the authors opened a variety of arcs, many of them closed, and some portion left open – but it can be a challenge to find and remember all those arcs even having been a player.
It would be great to have a list of those unclosed story arcs so we as DMs can create scenes to close those arcs to help give that more satisfying “Mckee-an” sense of completion.
So the question is, what are the story arcs that are opened in ToA’s story that were unclosed in the module?
We are looking for a bulleted list of opened arc story elements that the authors left unclosed or for which the authors didn’t outline the scenes for closing them.