Last Words

One of the most fun design series I’ve worked on has been the Adventurers’ Last Words series. The very simple idea was this: there are times when roleplaying (particularly in D&D!) when someone says something and you groan, saying, “famous last words,” just knowing you’re about to die. For example, your characters find a “Deck of Many Things” (magical cards that can grant you treasures (or misfortunes) when you draw them), and after getting something good, one character says, “I draw one more card.” You just know that next card is the one that’s going to wipe out your entire group! Adventurers’ last words can also apply to fantasy stories, adventure stories, and so on.

Without looking through all of our designs, sit down with a piece of paper, set a timer for ten minutes, and free-write all the “famous last words” you can. (If you want to look at ours afterward you can, but try to do your own list with a fresh perspective.) They don’t have to be fantasy-oriented. They could apply to your own fictional universe, or they could come from everyday life. They also don’t have to be life-or-death things; the saying ‘famous last words’ has come to refer to any utterance that immediately strikes you as potentially ironic.

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