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Death and Storytelling

5ekyu

Hero
With respect, [MENTION=177]Umbran[/MENTION], I believe that [MENTION=6919838]5ekyu[/MENTION] 's input is constructive, even though he appears surprised of something that appears to be rather the common default approach.

In fact, if you're willing 5ekyu, you could provide some practical example of how you implement post-life story into your setting?

I thought i might have done so already but...

Last fantasy game i ran with 5e some years ago...

I created a pair of cults - both worshipping the same goddess of death and the transition.
One cult viewed the "reborn" as having been "cradled in the arms of the goddess" and therefor blessed, holy, possibly seers etc. They were revered.
Their hostile sister cult viewed the returned as having escaped the goddess and as abominations - so they viewed the returned as to be killed.
I established a feat tree that started with "been dead, got better." that included a variety of special post-death types of stuff... spotting "once dead" speak with actual dead and so on. player could start down those trees after they came back and a couple did. (it could also have been done as prestige class but yech.)

Each character who died got a post-death scene that usually ran between sessions where they encountered figures from their past and figures from their future and passed loved ones etc - always with an offer to stay and also a task to be done if they went back. These were always personal to the character and gave them a good new hook. Sometimes that hook provided new openings in the current plots for the character and/or the game - but sometimes it was exclusively personal.


So when the party got around to the rezz step, almost always the next session or later, the pc came back a noticeably changed person.

In my current 5e based scifi game, looking at how i wanted to do the tech, i did a reverse component cost onto everything above the 3rd level revive... you have to have a soulcatcher-chip installed when you die or you cannot be brought back and they are expensive. So, its the guy wanting the chance to be rezzed that forks out the cost and the procedure to keep a constant brain-map etc stored so that when he dies he can be ressurected if its more than just a few minutes. That creates a wonderful strata-element for society because most folks cannot afford that investment, some places treat it like "high end insurance" and also sometimes going into hostile jobs these are given as "perks". But the overall impact of the technology is fairly easy to track since it stratas so well instead of being "go to a cleric and why wont good clerics raise anyone or law enforcement raise victims?" kind of disconnect. Naturally it also hits home with different groups, different religions, different politics etc as to how folks feel about it. The PCs dumped a lot of cashola to get theirs inserted at about fourth level and one of them just had a haywire have to remove moment due to a plot issue where the bad guys were using the captive PC and trying to hack one of their own into his soulcatcher'ed body while it was still alive. (Adds another reason to not just kill a PC that makes sense within the setting cuz those catchers go into lock-down mode when you die.)

Life and De4ath and After are huge elements of most any campaign world - or should be. Bringing back the dead is just one of the elements of say DND magic that alters heaving any setting it is played in - or should - just like say teleport and flying dragons require management too for "old world castles" to make sense.

As stated, its fine to run a campaign where dead is dead but choosing that as well as "can be easily dead" type hardcore mechanics are two choices taken together which will serve up a clash with a heavy story-on-character type campaign... so obviously... it would seem not making all three of those choices at the same time for one game would be a non-controversial no-brainer.

Anecdote: one of the players in the 3.5 game after all was said and done and after he had run a heavy defense stay alive at all cost character and **never died** said later he did regret not getting that side of the game explored. it was one of the reasons he started branching out from always building "survive at all cost nothing matters more than not dead" characters after over 20 years of doing that over and over. he had a lot of fun in some of our future games with that change, though he did often go back to his core tank-4-life as well.

For good results long term, choose mechanics/ruleset-setting-campaign-type-pcs-hook/plot that all work together in harmony and enhancing each other - don't chose them to conflict at a basic fundamental level. How is this controversial?
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Telling other people they are or may be done here... Wow, how did you get that job? Was there an application process.

No, dude. The point is that your statement is a conversation ender, rather than a starter. Once you've said that, there's nothing really more to say. You are done, in the sense that your mission is complete, and there's nothing more to add.

Choosing the ruleset your campaign runs on can if you wish include house rules... Not just RAW.

Yeah, that still fails. It fails the situation where PC presence after death is contraindicated by genre or playstyle choice. "Just put it in the rules that a PC can be present after death," is not a complete solution.

This becomes clear when we note that character death is a common source of this complication, but not the only one. Say one of your players gets a new job, their hours shift, and they have to drop out of the game. Or, you're playing a game like Star Wars, or World of Darkness, that has mechanics where through play, you can make your character unplayable (you fall to the Dark Side, or hit the end of your morality meter, in either respective case the character becomes an NPC). Or, heck, maybe the player just gets tired of a character, and wants to play something else.

There's several ways for characters to be removed from play, where a GM would want to consider how to manage their storylines, such that throwing mechanics at it may not be a good or applicable solution.
 

Kobold Boots

Banned
Banned
Hi All -

I'm late to the party on this thread so I'm going to focus my reply on the OP.

On PC Death:
When my campaigns are set up I either advise or suggest the lethality level of the game. Players who can commit to the game provide feedback and we come up with the final expected level of lethality. It ranges from "random final death allowed and planned for" to "only scripted death with player approval", and there's always a condition that allows for DM control of a character for tying off things if the player leaves. (This last rule is overkill and a hold over from when teenagers actually cared about such things - I've just never removed it.)

So as you can probably tell, how I deal with things really depends on what everyone agreed to at the beginning of the game. To your next question about plots it's not unusual in games I've either played in or run for a character to have their own main plot and be involved in up to 3 or 4 others associated with the other characters in the group. The caveat to this is that games where plot turns into an intricate web are generally closer to "only scripted death with player approval" than they are "random final death allowed and planned for". I think this is mostly because players won't invest heavily in characters that they expect to die on a random roll until they feel really comfy with the defenses they have and how the DM plays.

In the deep plot games, as Umbran also likely said somewhere above (haven't read this thread but he's posted similarly before) there's usually a backup plan. In my games if one character has a great plot going as their primary, there's usually more than one other player with a vested interest in that plot as one of their secondary interests and I usually know if anyone is going to want to pick it up if the player leaves or the character dies. So it's not a problem.

In the case it becomes a problem, there's an infinite number of ways to deal with it. You just have to decide what the effects of the character's death are in respect to the plot and how close to the party the effects on the plot get. (ex. A thieves guild plot may not directly affect the party. But the guild itself might suffer and cause down level effects.) (ex2. character dies and was going to be married to the princess of douchewaffle. His Excellence, High King Douchewaffle might blame the party healer.. and losing a new son in law makes the threat of the Lich kingdom worse)

Point is specific plots may die but stories always move forward. Regardless of how many characters die, it only affects the game if you're not thinking creatively.

Be well
KB
 

the Jester

Legend
But protagonists suffer setbacks all the time. Usually at the end of the second act :) The GM always has a choice, whether you know it or not: put the rules first, or put the story/fun first.

I object to your equating the story and fun. Putting the rules first can enhance fun far more than putting the story first- for some playstyles.
 

5ekyu

Hero
No, dude. The point is that your statement is a conversation ender, rather than a starter. Once you've said that, there's nothing really more to say. You are done, in the sense that your mission is complete, and there's nothing more to add.

As for your not a complete solution - i *am not* saying altering mechanics is the only way. I am saying that choosing mechanics that lead to irrevocable player death AND tyrying to run a character-centered big story game are conflicting choices. You know that,. i am pretty sure.

I have played in RPGs and seen where PC death was a mostly expected thing and players were advised to not get to hung up on characters, to not go heavy into story and backstory cuz this would be a heavy combat high fatality game. That is a case where the Gm made sure the campaign style, story-level and player investment matched the expectations and outputs of the campaign. it was happy fun time all around for those who wanted that.

this gets back to the ever present angle of players and GM being on the same page as to what the game is, what it isn't going to be and what they should expect out of it.

It would just be a sub-optimal decision to marry that iirrevocable death rate expectation to heavy character backstory and plot hinging on PC development.

As for genres, there are plenty of genres to meet various tastes.

Someone mentioned how it would be <insert negative> to try and has shadowrun to include death-and-back. Now, i wont tell anyone their take on what would be hard for them or not to their taste but... to me that statement makes no sense.

Shadowrun is a mash-up of magic/fantasy and cyberpunk with a dash of post-humanism thrown in to a modern fantasy/tech setting.

Both Fantasy magic and cyberpunk are rife with the post-death-survival themes. The fantasy is easy and obvious and the cyberp[unk - well - surviving after death by net presence or by transfering to other bodies or any number of the obvious technological mechanics is a friggin staple of many cyberpunk sources - movies books games - especialy when they move into the post-human angles you would see in some Cyberpunk 2020 with the metal vs meat fanatics.

So, yes, a GM can choose to make plenty of counter-to-each -other choices that put his mechanics and playstyle at conflict... or he can just not and make choices that mesh together and the questions of how things mesh together, how they can conflict, etc etc etc seems a perfectly valid discussion point for a thread whose title is "Death and Storytelling."

It might not be the answer you prefer... or an option you would choose, but telling someone they are done cuz you dont like it is a bit over the top, IMO.



Yeah, that still fails. It fails the situation where PC presence after death is contraindicated by genre or playstyle choice. "Just put it in the rules that a PC can be present after death," is not a complete solution.

This becomes clear when we note that character death is a common source of this complication, but not the only one. Say one of your players gets a new job, their hours shift, and they have to drop out of the game. Or, you're playing a game like Star Wars, or World of Darkness, that has mechanics where through play, you can make your character unplayable (you fall to the Dark Side, or hit the end of your morality meter, in either respective case the character becomes an NPC). Or, heck, maybe the player just gets tired of a character, and wants to play something else.

There's several ways for characters to be removed from play, where a GM would want to consider how to manage their storylines, such that throwing mechanics at it may not be a good or applicable solution.

look, since i never said a thing about RAW only rulesets which was what you hinged your "go home" segment on, its just not clear what your beef is.

If you like adding in story-links and then having mechanics in play that will force clashes with those or even likely produce them over the long haul - knock yourself out.

But my advice to a Gm is choose to make all those elements work together to achieve the final goal - nopt build in roadblocks to the game-to-story play that you will then have to resolve in other ways.


Does not seem that odd a thing to advise. But clearly, not for you.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This can happen by accident when casualties lead to only one PC being connected to the plot and/or caring about it. For instance one dedicated player and a bunch of casual players who are along for the ride.
It can, but it's also fairly easy for the DM to focus the plot on the party as a whole rather than just the PC(s) belonging to the one dedicated player.
It can also happen when the DM wants to run plots and only one player habitually bites. I have found no reliable way to make all the players care about a particular plot.
That's 'cause there isn't one. :)

All you can do is vary up your plots and adventure types/settings to spread the love, so to speak. If one player, for example, just loves maritime swashbuckling but has no interest in court intrigue while another loves court intrigue and diplomacy while a third just wants to bash giants and a fourth only cares about da lootz then it's kind of on you as DM to synthesize these a bit - or at least run a maritime adventure followed by a giant bash followed by some court intrigue (each with generous treasure hauls!) and then try to string a plot through all those somehow. :)

DMs need to work with the players they have, not the players they would like to have (unless it's got so bad they need a new bunch of players). I expect only a subset of the players to care about any particular plot, sometimes only one player does, and some plots just don't gel and die on the vine.
Which is why it's best to have a bunch of plots and stories on the go, so if one doesn't capture anyones interest you have plans B, C, D and E to fall back on. Also, now and then chucking in some adventures not related to any plots can be fun too.

There can be moments of relevation when the players have to remind the GM that none of the surviving PCs were connected to the plot(s) the GM cares about, or have any investment in it.
Yep, this happens - at which point I leave it up to the players/PCs whether they continue with that plot or adventure or whatever while being ready for anything should they decide not to.

Alternatively you can have players who become plot-shy and deliberately avoid plots, connecting to NPCs and ostensibly care only for group survival or maybe personal PC survival. I find this leads to a very limited game, as the only stakes the players seem to care about is if their PCs survive or not (and in some cases not even that)
Survival is always worth caring about, but it's a smaller-scale here-and-now consideration seen mostly while in the field. Usually the big-picture stuff only really comes out between adventures, when the PCs have a chance to step back, think things through, and gather information.

Lanefan
 

All you can do is vary up your plots and adventure types/settings to spread the love, so to speak. If one player, for example, just loves maritime swashbuckling but has no interest in court intrigue while another loves court intrigue and diplomacy while a third just wants to bash giants and a fourth only cares about da lootz then it's kind of on you as DM to synthesize these a bit - or at least run a maritime adventure followed by a giant bash followed by some court intrigue (each with generous treasure hauls!) and then try to string a plot through all those somehow. :)

This is an excellent point. The trick is to have varied content so that your game connects with all players, and these mini-plots can possibly all connect to the same over arching plot. But as you say, some may also be completely separate adventures.

My players once decided to just explore an island, and see what they could find. This lead them to a dungeon (which was a random encounter). It wasn't until they started exploring the dungeon, that I was able to sprinkle some plot points around that loosely connected it to the main plotline.

Which is why it's best to have a bunch of plots and stories on the go, so if one doesn't capture anyones interest you have plans B, C, D and E to fall back on.

This is where I feel world building can help a lot. While you don't have to constantly shove the lore in the face of your players, it gives you something to fall back on. It's sort of like your Silmarillion to your lords of the rings. Whenever you need a quick side plot, you can grab something that is loosely tied to the lore of the world. This makes it seem to your players as if everything is coherent and connected, when in fact you're just making most of it up on the spot.

So what I did in said dungeon, is have my players discover wall-carvings that portrayed various mysterious things that I was planning to introduce later in the campaign. It was a perfect moment to foreshadow future plot lines. And every now and again I would throw a callback to those ancient carvings into the plot, which would make the players go: "Wait a minute, this is just like what we saw on those walls in the dungeon!"

Then at the end of the dungeon they found a coffin with a girl sleeping inside, who was to be the new 'vessel' of an evil goddess that had not yet been introduced at that point (but would be later on in the plot). This npc joined their party, became a love interest, and every now and again I would have the evil goddess try to reclaim the girl. The girl being this vessel for the evil goddess became a pretty important plot-line that is still relevant in the campaign today. But it was originally just a side quest that was only loosely connected to the plot.
 
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Schmoe

Adventurer
I see D&D as an ensemble fantasy story where the story is greater than any one actor. Similar to Survivor, the ensemble will suffer losses and changes, but the story continues.
 

I see D&D as an ensemble fantasy story where the story is greater than any one actor. Similar to Survivor, the ensemble will suffer losses and changes, but the story continues.

Indeed. Much like with the villains and npc's, I try not to hang the entire campaign on any one particular player-character.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This is where I feel world building can help a lot. While you don't have to constantly shove the lore in the face of your players, it gives you something to fall back on. It's sort of like your Silmarillion to your lords of the rings. Whenever you need a quick side plot, you can grab something that is loosely tied to the lore of the world. This makes it seem to your players as if everything is coherent and connected, when in fact you're just making most of it up on the spot.
That, or you're dredging up plan E to see if it flies. :)

But yes, I've also found that having even a bare-bones history for the setting gives me something I can mine for story ideas; and as things crop up during play I can (usually) weave these in. Further, with the history etc. in mind I can much more easily tweak published modules to fit*, thus saving me some adventure design work. :)

* - a basic example of this: my game history has reference to the Undead Lords, five major local-ish undead whose actions shaped - and continue to shape - all kinds of ongoing events along with some parts of the campaign's plotline.

One of these undead was mentor and teacher to three of the others, driven into hiding by one of his ex-students. From the DM side he ended up becoming the lich in Dark Tower, and a PC party recently destroyed him.

For one of these I did have to design all the adventures around him myself, and he's also been destroyed by a PC party.

A third has become almost a party mentor (though some PCs still want to kill him just on principle!): an arch-vampire who has become less evil over time. This is the one who drove his old teacher into hiding.

And a fourth had disappeared - he became one of the reclusive liches at the end of the Judges' Guild module Maltese Clue; he's been met by PCs but not destroyed, and will probably become relevant again later.

The fifth was an upstart who was supposed to have been met and destroyed by PCs a long time ago in this campaign; but when they tried they got beaten back and never returned to try again.

Without worldbuilding ahead of time I'd never have been able to pull this off. :)

Lanefan
 

Les Moore

Explorer
Shy of straight-up Murderhoboing, there is a name for what we all participate in, on a D&D quest:

We kill the bad guys, yes. (and who would be able to say if that's strictly legal, given any such setting) but we also plunder for loot. There's a real world name for this
behavior, "Brigandage". I'm not calling upon the legal or moral aspects of it, as it is in a fantasy realm. But this type of lifestyle and action goes hard on a
person, in real life. Being a "land pirate", simply put, historically, has a high mortality rate. We call it "Adventuring" of course, and it is in a fantasy realm,
but if we are to be realistic about the life expectancy of our characters, we have to embrace the simple fact of the survival percentages of a Marauder.

So, while TPKs are a bit of a downer, and tend to be disruptive to a campaign, we have to expect a certain amount of
party attrition, through loss of PCs, over a period of time In essence, this adds to the clarity and reality of a campaign.
 
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Aenghus

Explorer
Shy of straight-up Murderhoboing, there is a name for what we all participate in, on a D&D quest:

Except we don't all participate in this, at least not in the same way. Throughout the editions, game style and genre have varied amazingly from group to group and campaign to campaign. A significant minority of campaigns avoid the sort of behaviour what would label them brigands, whether that's the decision of the participants or at the insistence of the GM.

GMing murderhobos or even neutralish extreme self interest can be wearing, and limiting on the type of adventures that can be run. It's possible to keep uglier stuff off camera, or in soft focus, and zoom in on more accessible activities.

D&D, like any other RPG, can be what we want it to be, and can omit content we want to omit. There's no need to focus on content that any of the participants feels goes too far, quite the opposite in fact IMO.

We kill the bad guys, yes. (and who would be able to say if that's strictly legal, given any such setting) but we also plunder for loot. There's a real world name for this
behavior, "Brigandage". I'm not calling upon the legal or moral aspects of it, as it is in a fantasy realm. But this type of lifestyle and action goes hard on a
person, in real life. Being a "land pirate", simply put, historically, has a high mortality rate. We call it "Adventuring" of course, and it is in a fantasy realm,
but if we are to be realistic about the life expectancy of our characters, we have to embrace the simple fact of the survival percentages of a Marauder.

So, while TPKs are a bit of a downer, and tend to be disruptive to a campaign, we have to expect a certain amount of
party attrition, through loss of PCs, over a period of time.

This doesn't have to be the case, if the participants don't want it. Shock horror, campaigns, house ruling and rule zero apply in all directions, and can facilitate content you personally aren't interested in.
 

Les Moore

Explorer
Except we don't all participate in this, at least not in the same way. Throughout the editions, game style and genre have varied amazingly from group to group and campaign to campaign. A significant minority of campaigns avoid the sort of behaviour what would label them brigands, whether that's the decision of the participants or at the insistence of the GM.

GMing murderhobos or even neutralish extreme self interest can be wearing, and limiting on the type of adventures that can be run. It's possible to keep uglier stuff off camera, or in soft focus, and zoom in on more accessible activities.

D&D, like any other RPG, can be what we want it to be, and can omit content we want to omit. There's no need to focus on content that any of the participants feels goes too far, quite the opposite in fact IMO.



This doesn't have to be the case, if the participants don't want it. Shock horror, campaigns, house ruling and rule zero apply in all directions, and can facilitate content you personally aren't interested in.

You are delving into morality, which is not the issue here. The point is it's a hard-knock life, and people have a higher accelerated death rate than the norm.
It, as I tried to explain, unsuccessfully, before, has nothing to to with morality and ethics, "right or wrong".
It has to do with mortality, and frailty, wear and tear.
 
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Aenghus

Explorer
You are delving into morality, which is not the issue here. The point is it's a hard-knock life, and people have a higher accelerated death rate than the norm.
It, as I tried to explain, unsuccessfully, before, has nothing to to with "right or wrong". It has to do with wear and tear.

But the amount of wear and tear can vary a lot from game to game, and there are no police that enforce a particular rate of wear an tear. I've been in plenty of games where the PCs could have been called "brigands" with a varying degree of vaildity, but plenty of other games where that wasn't the case, and where the PC casualty rate was distinctly lower, or even zero.
 

Les Moore

Explorer
Doesn't sound like D&D, to me. Do you battle monsters? Do you plunder valuable,rare, and highly sought-after treasures? Do you spend any time in a dungeon,
sneaking about town, investigating anomalies? Do you ever fare poorly in an encounter? Do you ever have a critical failure? Does a plan ever backfire?
It all puts on mileage, unless it's all Faeries dancing through the Lilacs.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
However, most popular heroic fantasy storytelling in particular, outside of gaming, does not usually see its main protagonist(s) die: Conan, Drizzt, Bilbo, Aragon, they all survive their ordeals. In a game where each player's PC is the main protagonist, how to reconcile PC death with the storytelling?

Serial books need to keep selling. Kill off the main character, and you won't sell any continuation book, you'd have to find a new idea for another story. Tolkien obviously didn't need to do that because he didn't write book series, but for example Forgotten Realm novels won't likely kill off the most popular characters.

Also, what do your games look like with regards to personal agendas/quests for PCs, as opposed to common quests? I love it when PCs have individual reasons to be in the story, and individual goals, as long as the group has reason to stick together and pursue a common goal of course, and the personal agendas don't interefere too much. Does this happen in your groups? If so, how do you reconcile the loose ends, or unifinished chapters of those personal agendas or quests, when those PC's die?

Not every player is interested in personal agendas, but for those who are, the agendas are neverending. Reach one goal, they figure out another. It doesn't matter if they die between goals 3 and 4, or between goals 7 and 8.

There is a thread presently running on the question of fudging dice, and this topic somewhat coincides with this one: in my experience, a lot of die fudging by DM's occurs to avoid PC death. I have no survey to rely my assumption on, but it seems to me like a DM saving a PC from death by fudging the dice, has little to do with avoiding the creation of a new PC by the player, a task that is usually quite enjoyable. I think it probably has more to do with (a) the DM expecting that the player is attached to his or her PC and would not take well to the PC dying (I won't go into this aspect here), and (b) to the point of this thread, that the story spun around that PC will not work anymore.

I don't fudge dice to save a PC from death.

Instead, I just let a player choose between death and some other penalty.

Of course, the tension in the RPG is often a result of the possible death of PC's. There is suspense in not knowing whether you PC will survive, as a player. And you must select your strategies when you enter battle, instead of being foolhardy or disinterested, if only because you wish for you PC to surive - notwithstanding having fun playing and wanting to create an interesting story during that battle also. So the possibility of death is always present and, moreso, is an interesting part of the game.

The tension is still there, even if I would let live a character that has technically died. Players don't like penalties, and they don't like feeling they are bad at the game.

That said, I've played in several short and campaigns of the last 4 decades where no PC died. And in others where many PC's died. In both cases, there is the real or perceived impression that the PC's can die at any time. This is part of the RPG premise, at least in a vast majority of games presumably. Have you played in games where PC's simply don't die? Where the DM deploys sometimes obvious efforts to make PC's survive? (I have.) If so, does this kill the suspense and otherwise negatively affect the gaming experience for you?

Yes, the DM fudging or helping with ex-machina intervention has a negative effect. That's why I don't do those.

Negotiating a penalty instead of death is not the same. A price to pay for the player is still there.

And actually if you think about it, when you enforce PC's death, there is nothing a DM could do to prevent a player create a new character that is basically identical to the previous. If the DM just says no, it feels an unfair intrusion over character creation, and will have a negative effect on the game too. If the DM says yes, it still feels very sour from a story point of view (e.g. the old "turns out my PC had a twin who is now taking over" is really bad).

So if the player has the intention of creating essentially a copycat PC, it's just better to let her keep playing the previous. It is generally accepted by players to receive a penalty in exchange for this.

Before that however, I actually encourage players to let their PC go, and see it as an opportunity to play a different characters. There are 12 classes, 9 races and 40 archetypes in the PHB to try!

So, in the end, how do you reconcile death with the storytelling? Not all deaths are heroic gestures that save the day to the expense of the PC's life. Some seem pretty insignificant, sometimes the consequence of a sequence of unlucky rolls or bad decisions. The PC death is likely to leave some loose ends and unfinished business: that PC had reasons to want to achieve the general goal, and reasons to interact with some PCs and NPCs that are still part of the story. How do you reconcile that, in your gaming groups?

I remind the players that for every unfinished business they have, as a DM I probably have at least 20 unfinished businesses :)

Other than that, agendas and goals are good also when they are aren't achieved, because they serve as a compass. I always say that, as most things in life, the journey towards a goal isn't a mean to the end... it's the goal that works as a mean to make you take the journey, which is the real end.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
GMing murderhobos or even neutralish extreme self interest can be wearing
I get this; even if I don't necessarily agree with it.
and limiting on the type of adventures that can be run.
But this makes no sense.

You can run a group of the most murderous of hoboes through a high-heroism adventure any time you want; or through any other adventure for all that. All you have to do is set the type of hooks that'll grab their interest. Hell, Han has no interest at all in rescuing Leia until he's told she's rich...

You just have to be prepared for if-when those adventures don't necessarily turn out like the adventure writers (or you) expect. Happy-ever-after might be a very rare event. :)

Lanefan
 
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Aenghus

Explorer
Doesn't sound like D&D, to me. Do you battle monsters? Do you plunder valuable,rare, and highly sought-after treasures? Do you spend any time in a dungeon,
sneaking about town, investigating anomalies? Do you ever fare poorly in an encounter? Do you ever have a critical failure? Does a plan ever backfire?
It all puts on mileage, unless it's all Faeries dancing through the Lilacs.

Actually, I can run entire sessions with no combat or overt danger, there's plenty of other RPG material that can be captivating for the right players. Mysteries, social networking, research, sneaking, wheeling and dealing can all happen without combat being triggered regularly or at all. Plans can go badly wrong without immediately triggering violence, and yes, the players felt it was a real failure.

It's entirely possible to run D&D for a variety of genres, including dangerous dungeoneering, but the degree of danger and violence can vary from extreme to none. I freely admit most D&D games involve violence, but it is possible to run less violent games.

Strangely enough, my most recent non violent game involved my party being lost in the feywild and encountering weirdness, there were faeries and flowers in there, there could have been lilacs.
 

Aenghus

Explorer
I get this; even if I don't necessarily agree with it.
But this makes no sense.

You can run a group of the most murderous of hoboes through a high-heroism adventure any time you want; or through any other adventure for all that. All you have to do is set the type of hooks that'll grab their interest. Hell, Han has no interest at all in rescuing Leia until he's told she's rich...

You jaut have to be prepared for if-when those adventures don't necessarily turn out like the adventure writers (or you) expect. Happy-ever-after might be a very rare event. :)

Lanefan

Been there, done that, as a player and a referee. It's just that I don't like running PC-created ugly situations and ruthlessness most of the time. It messes with what I get out of the game. I soft focus or move off camera much of this stuff, so anyone who wants it will be disappointed in my game. I like old fashioned good guy plots, and conscripting grittier parties into such adventures mostly seems forced IMO.

But I have a right to enjoy the game I'm running as well, and in most cases I deliberately restrict character concepts to broadcast-tv acceptable protagonists, so good and neutral types. Players who feel overly constrained by this are free to leave. Some of the PCs in my game have occasionally done dodgy things, but so long as it feels it arose organically from the situation and the PC personality I generally let it ride.
 
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But this makes no sense.

You can run a group of the most murderous of hoboes through a high-heroism adventure any time you want; or through any other adventure for all that. All you have to do is set the type of hooks that'll grab their interest. Hell, Han has no interest at all in rescuing Leia until he's told she's rich...

You just have to be prepared for if-when those adventures don't necessarily turn out like the adventure writers (or you) expect. Happy-ever-after might be a very rare event. :)
That's the point. A campaign isn't just a set of situations, it can include themes, genre expectation, etc. The murder-hoboism D&D seems to engender in some players is incompatible with many of those.

Though, you could always put out the hooks like you say, let the PCs do their thing, and then TPK them with a group of NPC heroes to whom they are only a 'moderate encounter...'

... repeatedly.

I expect it'd get old.

Eventually...
 

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