How Do You Like Your Death in D&D - Page 5

Poll: How Do You Treat PC Death in D&D?

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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Twin Cities, MN
    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Benage View Post
    Based on the bolded sentence, it sounds like you're talking about a game-heavy campaign.
    Which was my thought ... by codifying RP you've turned RP into a game, not cooperative story telling, which is it's own reward for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Benage View Post
    And for the record, I agree with this. Pretty much without exception, the storygame RPGs definitely extend the rules, structures, and other gamey bits into more aspects of the RPG experience.

    If your definition of "roleplay-heavy" is something like "play a character for whom I can collaboratively create a satisfying story arc," these extra gamey bits are useful and fun. If your definition is something like "explore what it's like to be a character in this fictional world," they're often less useful and less fun, and sometimes push back against what you're trying to do.

    Neither priority is superior to the other. Neither constitutes a universal definition of "roleplaying."
    But then you say the bolded part. That's where you loose me. For some people they couldn't give a fig about it, but for some people (myself included for some campaigns) the personal and party story arc is the most important aspect of the game. It's just not codified.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    I've been DM'ing for a couple decades now and I'm not afraid to kill a character who makes a truly stupid decision. I was running PotA for a group who greedily decided to give their weapons to the water cultists to have them enchanted. The water cultists cursed the items to create a sphere of water around the wielder on command. The whole party drowned in those spheres of water, and their bodies were eaten by the cultists' giant alligators.

    However, I have to say I'm not fond of PC death. It grinds the game to a halt for the player(s), and then I have to figure out how to integrate the new character(s) into the game. I can do it, obviously, but why should I when often there are options other than death for showing the consequences of a PC's actions. In the game I'm currently running, most of the party fell prey to dark elf slavers and are laboring under magics that force them to obey their new masters. Things have been difficult because I now have a party that's split into three parts, but it's been a lot more interesting than "Oh, you died. Make new characters."

    Ransoming the PCs back to a wealthy patron or ally is also a good option. So is simply taking all their stuff (yes, all their precious magic items, focuses, holy symbols and spellbooks too) and leaving them for dead in an inhospitable place; give them a chance to earn their survival and make a compelling story out of it.

    Now, there are certainly times where the consequences should be death, just based on the nature of the foes being faced. Invade a dragon's lair and find yourself ill-prepared when you discover it's still there, it's probably going to kill and eat you. Invade a cult and get caught trying to bring the brainwashed prince back to his father, you might be kept captive for a later sacrifice (giving you a chance at a jailbreak, and meaning your death if you can't make a go of it).


    When I do kill a character, they usually stay dead. There are rare exceptions, but resurrection is very difficult in the homebrew setting I almost exclusively run. To get a soul back from the gods you have to give one in return. This means human(oid) sacrifice, and it means most resurrections are performed by those evil enough to kill an unwilling sacrifice. It also means good characters who want to perform a resurrection need to find someone willing to die for the cause. And that's not always easy.
    Last edited by MechaPilot; Sunday, 16th September, 2018 at 11:34 AM.
    XP Xaelvaen, Rya.Reisender gave XP for this post

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    I like my death like this:

    "D&D" death is no big deal, really, because it's usually pretty clear that there are gods and a subjectively-cozy afterlife. In fact, I wonder why being subjected to a Raise Dead spell isn't more frequently regarded as a rude awakening from a nice dream...
    Modular, open source, free role-playing rules: Modos RPG
    Tweets: @MichaelTwtr
    Laugh 77IM laughed with this post

  4. #44
    Started long ago with PC death coming at the hands of randomness (with famous death trap modules like elemental evil and tomb of horrors), Mr. D's home campaign emulated those as best he could - it was just the times. I played them for a decade or more, had my fill, and now we like the rich environment of story and evolution of plot, and death is another aspect of that enrichment.

    Thus, when I want my character to go trespassing into the Hells to steal back the soul of a fallen ally, one might die; or maybe two, and that's worthy of my time of dealing with a fallen character. Or maybe a player gets bored of a character and they'll want to kill one off; nifty. Instead, the threat of failure comes with far worse stipulations than 'let's ruin everyone's fun by integrating new unfamiliar characters and dragging the story to a halt'.

    Of course, that's just our table, and this was a really awesome read seeing everyone's take on the simplest, and probably one of the oldest aspects of D&D; thanks OP!
    XP Reynard, 5ekyu gave XP for this post

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Peasedown St John
    I like mine with a kiss.~

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    (near) Dayton, Ohio
    Lifes cheap, death is a definate possibility (trough bad decisions and/or just bad luck). That risk of pc death is what makes the game worthwhile, IMO.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    London England
    Somewhere between "common/easy" and "poor/stupid decisions", but more towards the former in most games. Running Stonehell Dungeon over the past year, not many cases where PC death couldn't be attributed to a decision like "let's go to level 9" or "let's ignore the warnings" - but then making rash decisions is what adventurers do.

    Edit: If the body can be recovered, in many cases PCs can be Raised. And while PCs on
    Level 9 tend to get ripped apart/eaten/turned to stone, one of the first battles there gave
    the PCs a 2-Wish Luck Blade. Between that & regular Raises, that group has had no
    perma deaths yet.
    Last edited by S'mon; Monday, 17th September, 2018 at 06:24 AM.

  8. #48
    My ideal system when it comes to PC death is Star Wars Saga Edition. In that game, PCs all have a supply of Force Points that refresh when they level up. Players can choose to spend Force Points to achieve various major effects, and one of those uses is to declare that a PC who reaches 0 HP is merely knocked out/incapacitated, rather than dead. So as long as a player has at least one Force Point, the PC won't die unless the player chooses to have it happen. If the player chooses to spend the last Force Point on something else, he/she is effectively saying, "I value this more than my PC's life; let the dice fall where they may."

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Feywild, The
    We do the 3 death saves RAW thing at our tables.

    Some notable deaths:

    In one game, a player (10 years old, mind you) was bored of his bard and wanted to try a paladin. We conspired on a dramatic death, the 8th level Bard was killed outright by massive damage by Strahd, and I helped him create a new 8th level Paladin who showed up out of the Mists shortly thereafter.

    In another game, the squishy human wizard was killed outright by a Forest Marauder (hello Tome of Beasts). Luckily the Cleric had a Revivify scroll handy. About 8 sessions later, the same wizard and another one were outright killed by an Abominable Yeti's cold breath. The Cleric came through again, casting Gentle Repose on both. allowing enough time to get to a Temple for some expensive Raise Dead help.

    We've also had two reincarnations (one due to Wild Magic and one due to the Amber Temple Dark Gift).

    In about 80 sessions of play so far between the two groups, though, we've had dozens of 0 HP knockouts but no PC has died due to rolling three death save failures.

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Player's choice -> If you die in my games, I'll ask you (as well as the rest of the group) if you're fine with creating a new character, otherwise we make up some alternative penalty, less than death but still a significant one.

    I never really liked the idea that "bad luck" should be more acceptable than bad playing, but at the same time I think that a lot of "poor/stupid decisions" are pretty much the result of "poor/stupid adventure design".

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