So what was at stake then?
I'm not certain if the correct term should be "at stake" as this fallout was already pre-planned by the players upon character generation and although they had laid the bread crumbs for this story arc along the way (now evident), both myself and the other players had missed them. We had noticed the peculiarities but had not picked up that this was going to explode.
So in essence (and I'm not doing their story much justice with this one paragraph) both are followers of Bahamut, one a paladin and another a warlock. Incidents along the way began to create doubt until eventually the truth of their individual relationship to their deity and each other was revealed. The paladin had always thought of her brother as a cleric to Bahamut who shared her love and respect for the deity. Her brother so as not to upset his sister had kept up the charade. In reality he despised Bahamut for having to beg and suffer for his divine blessing which he only did to protect his younger sister who seemed to always and naively place herself in danger for her foolish ideals. With the revelation that her brother's devotion to her beloved god was not genuine and that her supposedly loving god had exercised such an ugly servitude upon her sibling - the paladin began suffering a crisis of faith as her most important bonds in her life were revealed (in her eyes) to be false. All this played out through unscripted dialogue.
Needless to say, the player of the paladin is retiring her character (for now) - while the warlock now free from the burden of the lie, looked to continue on a different path (new class). I run two groups (ToD and SKT) who are now converging due to the main storyline. The player of the paladin is to create a new character to join the others.
Might we revisit these characters down the line, realistically yes since they play an integral roll - but that will require some discussion with the players about their characters, so that we may find an agreeable way to re-introduce them to each other and the story.
If the characters being themselves isn't the main arc, then you're not describing character-driven play.What you're describing is players adding thespian touches to GM-driven play.
Ah, but that was not my initial contention though. Look again to what I responded to (cited below for ease)
pemerton said:There can't be dramatic character arcs if "the story" is already written (by the GM or the module author or whomever) and the GM already knows what is to come.
Doubly so if the GM has already decided what that story will be independently of the development by the players of their characters.
I feel the above statement is clearly false, given my above example.