The Quintessential Climax

The climax is that turning point, during the final conflict resolution, before the subsequent conclusion, when the hero finally gains some significant advantage and the hand of fate turns against the villain. Important decisions are made. Great feats of daring are attempted. The hero wins or is defeated. It's the big finish.


THE QUINTESSENTIAL CLIMAX TYPES

All Hope is Lost
Bloody Battle
Divine Retribution
Escape in Time
Gauntlet of Villains
Race Against Doom
Retreat to Succeed
Scattered Duels
Sudden Escape Attempt
Throne Room Duel

All Hope is Lost
The hero and his allies have attempted to alert the powers that be (authorities, officials, or agency) about the villain's evil scheme and how it threatens them or their agenda. Unfortunately, they've received no response. Regardless, the hero and his allies must face the villain's overwhelming forces.

They're loosing the battle, on the verge of defeat, and all hope is lost. It looks like the end. Then, at the last possible moment, reinforcements arrive and reignite the hero's fervor.

Bloody Battle
This climax type functions best for an adventure involving the clash of mighty armies. The master villain and a large force of minions confront the hero and his allies for the final showdown. This finale is characterized by a massive clash between the two forces. The hero and his allies must savagely chew through enemy ranks to face the master villain and his elite guards. It's strenuous, fast paced, exciting, and classically simple.

Divine Retribution 
The hero and his allies have attempted to alert the the gods about the villain's evil scheme and how it threatens them or their agenda. Unfortunately, they've received no response. Regardless, the hero and his allies must face the villain's overwhelming forces.

They're loosing the battle, on the verge of defeat, and all hope is lost. It looks like the end. Then, at the last possible moment, the gods bring down their divine wrath on the villain, causing a massive earthquake, tidal wave, flash flood, lightning storm, landslide, avalanche, sandstorm, volcanic eruption, tornado, hurricane, monsoon, meteor strike, or plague of monsters.

Unfortunately, the hero and his allies are too close and must escape the catastrophic cataclysm of destruction. Alternately, this could simply be a natural disaster, karma, or fate. The gods need not be involved.

Escape in Time
The hero and his allied are captured, tortured, imprisoned, or placed in a deathtrap. The villain confidently proceeds to execute the final phase of his evil scheme. Battered and bruised, the hero and his allies must somehow extricate themselves and race against time to reach the villain before it's too late. Just as the villain reaches his goal, the hero arrives and the final duel commences.

Gauntlet of Villains
The hero and his allies arrive at the master villain's fortress and must now face a gauntlet of villains. To reach the master villain, they must defeat a series of villains, each more lethal than the previous. Every villain or group of villains should possess a distinct personal identity, unique individual personality, unusual combat style, and bizarre weapon type.

Each encounter is a lethal battle for heroes and villains alike. The villains never flee. Even if the tide turns against them, they fight to the death.

This scenario becomes a war of attrition. The increasingly difficult villains gradually weaken the heroes, seriously injuring or killing some of them. It should become clear to the hero and his allies, before this is finished, one side or the other must perish.

When the hero and his allies have already faced a gauntlet of villains while traveling to the villain's lair, they probably won't expect to face another upon arrival. This particular scenario could be a serious meat-grinder for the hero or the villains.

Race Against Doom
The hero and his allies discover how to defeat the villain's evil scheme and race against the clock to do just that. Just as the hero reaches his goal, the villain's allies, henchmen, reinforcements, or minions arrive and the final duel commences. Frantically, the hero and his allies must stop the evil scheme while simultaneously fending off this massive assault.

Retreat to Succeed
After a series of encounters with the hero, the villain retreats and is on the run to some place safe, some place he can acquire more power, or accomplish his dreaded ultimate goal. In hot pursuit, the hero must deal with whatever obstacles the villain leaves behind. Just as the villain reaches his goal, the hero arrives and the final duel commences.

Scattered Duels
The hero and his allies have infiltrated, or escaped from imprisonment within, the villain's fortress. Just as the master villain is about to achieve his goal, the hero and his allies are forcibly separated. Perhaps, they're unexpectedly forced apart by a trap, emergency security door, or enemy forces. Perhaps, they must split up due to time constraints. For example, the bomb is about to explode at one location while the villain is making his getaway to another location. Once the party has split, each member must confront the enemy or enemies he most deserves to face, his personal enemy, the henchman which defeated him previously, etcetera. This results in a series of grand climactic duels.

Sudden Escape Attempt
This climax type functions best when the Master Villain's identity remains unknown until near the adventure's end. Once his his identity is revealed, he attempts to bolt for freedom. However, the hero gives chase. Typically, this results in a perilous and extended chase scenario and includes fantastic vehicles, incredible feats of physical prowess, much destruction, or any combination thereof.

Alternately, the hero and his allies have infiltrated, or escaped from imprisonment within, the villain's fortress. Battered and bruised, the hero and his allies must race against time to reach the villain before it's too late. Just as the master villain is about to achieve his goal, the hero confronts him, his henchman, and minions for the final duel. When the master villain realizes the tide has turned or his scheme has been foiled, he attempts to make a last minute escape. Typically, this results in a perilous and extended chase scenario and includes fantastic vehicles, incredible feats of physical prowess, much destruction, or any combination thereof.

Throne Room Duel
The hero and his allies have infiltrated, or escaped from imprisonment within, the villain's fortress. Battered and bruised, the hero and his allies must race against time to reach the villain before it's too late. Just as the master villain is about to achieve his goal, the hero confronts him and his henchman for the final duel. This is the most common classic climax type.


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