[RPG] My characters are in prison and don’t plan to escape. How to do for the next 14 (in game) years?


First off, some backstory. One of my players accidentally killed 25,000 people & the center of culture for this continent by dropping a hyper-intelligent ooze on the largest city in the area. This player didn't expect this outcome because he was tricked pretty good. He and the rest of the group then were put on trial and imprisoned for 14 years. Because they believe that this a fair punishment, the PCs are in prison and don't plan to escape.

I guess I could just role play the passing of the next 14 (in-game) years in prison… What are my options to deal with a disruption like this to my planned campaign? What are the pros and cons of coming up with a Deus Ex Machina versus this being our new campaign premise now?

Best Answer

Since all player characters got accused and are in prison and none of them wants to escape, you have the option to have the campaign skip forward to 14 years later. Your characters are now the Blues Brothers, dealing with whatever happened to NPCs they knew 14 years ago and what is about to happen to them.

If things are more pressing and there's a world-destruction danger going on that would need the players to stop it, have them be recruited by the government. They are now the Suicide Squad, or the Dirty Dozen (if they are believed to be bad guys) or, alternatively, they get one free out-of-jail ticket in exchange for them risking their life to save the day (if they are in because justice is blind).

(And then there's Thomas' answer, where they are now Rorschach from Watchmen.)