This might tangentially tie into The Disorientated Ranger's latest post found here:
There has been a trend for a while no within the group I game with. Some of our characters come with endings. Even if the end game is known it doesn't mean we know how the game will end.
The wilhelm example:
In our last game Wilhelm the Dwarf, finally tracked down the band of thieves who "ruined his life.*"
The party gained entrance to their hideout, talked to a massive snake, avoided some traps, stole a large nutria, bashed some heads and cornered the thief guild's leader. After some talking, the thief leader offered to restore the connection between wilhelm's wrist and his hand. The thief leader also offered to bring Wilhelm into the guild. They could work together and make some money on Wilhelm's triumphant return. I'm going to be honest here. I really thought Wilhelm was going to growl something dwarfy and hit the weasel thief in the face with his hammer once he got his hand back.
What happened instead was a great end to a character. The dwarf told the guild master, (I'm paraphrasing now) "Since you ruined my life all those years ago, I've built a new one for myself. It's a life I'm proud of and a life I love. I don't need my old life, this hand, or you." Wilhelm then ripped the freshly bonded and not quite ready for prime time hand back off his own wrist, threw it at the guild master
Only then did he proceed to start hitting things with his hammer.. because D&D dwarf.
Wilhelm was basically refusing the resolution to his quest. A quest that has taken him from level 3 to level 8 and spanned many months of real game time. The player latter described that he pictured Willhelm thinking about all of the things they did to get to the point of him getting his hand back. Large Battles fought, drained a lake into a bottle, saw their friend violently killed by a remorhaz, killed that remorhaz, settled a town, turned ruins into a jungle, poisoned by naga, and so on .. Wilhelm did and saw more on his quest than he ever could have done as a rugby star.
It was an excellent example of the player looking at the character from afar and asking, "How is this character built? What really makes this character tick?" To me that is the ultimate in player agency over their character. Not just the ability to do go anywhere or partake in whatever part of the game world they want. The player having the freedom to look at their character more deeply just their alignment or what the game's backgrounds say. Then the player using that insight to conclude, "This is what that character would do based on their experiences and motivation in any given situation and here's why."
So what of Wilhelm? At the end of the game he got in a skiff and sailed alone into the city of Torin. Intent on wandering a bit more to clear his head.
I can see in the future a "lost adventures of Wilhelm, game being run," or something along those lines. I will implore Jay to NEVER LOSE THE CHARACTER SHEET, because I know we will see him again.
Thanks for reading
There's a story here, TLDR version: Dwarves are rare in my game. Wilhelm is a dwarf and was an athlete. Picture rugby or blood bowl, being the only dwarf playing he was damn good at it. His friend Clavin embroiled him in a gambling scheme with the thieves guild, when things went sour the guild cut off his hand with a cursed knife. Having only one hand effectively ended his sporting career and sent him into a life of wandering, plotting violent revenge, and hitting things with a hammer.