D&D General Do players even like the risk of death?


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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I think players want consequences. They want their actions to result in something. Some consequences will be positive, some consequences will be negative, but that's all fine... it doesn't matter what the consequence is, so long as one occurs. It gives their actions meaning.

Death is one of those potential consequences, and thus it can be included.
 

I’m not sure players can be said to universally “like” the risk of death in the game of D&D - but it is a baseline assumption of the game that PCs are adventuring in a dangerous world. So whether or not all or most or some or none “like” it, millions still meet around tables (virtual or otherwise) to play and have fun.

also, what @DEFCON 1 said
 

Asisreo

Patron Badass
Allow me to go a step further, then.

What type of player death risk is tolerable?

Is it just the ones where no agency is had between how their character dies? If so, does that include the swing of dice?

What about deaths that occur because of a mechanic that players simply forgot?

What about deaths that were preventable but only through some obtuse method, like having counterspell to avoid the cleric getting PWK'd?
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
Allow me to go a step further, then.

What type of player death risk is tolerable?

Is it just the ones where no agency is had between how their character dies? If so, does that include the swing of dice?

What about deaths that occur because of a mechanic that players simply forgot?

What about deaths that were preventable but only through some obtuse method, like having counterspell to avoid the cleric getting PWK'd?
Check and see what edition the player is playing or really likes. That'll tell you a good amount about what types of death they find acceptable.
 
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payn

I don't believe in the no-win scenario
Depends on the type of player. Some folks consider adventuring dangerous business and want the game to reflect that. Others, assume a much more narrative approach where death is something negotiated as part of the story if it happens. Im among the former.

I like 3E/PF1, which is admittedly swingy. Certain situations can take a character out without them being able to act at all, which can be unsatisfying. I like to temper this with a hero point system resource the players can manage. If they save their points they can stave off a random death, but if they dont, the dice fall where they may.

If a death occurs because a player forgot a mechanic, I'm willing to retcon to a certain point. Really depends on the context of the situation.

Part of the game is about preparing and facing danger. If something comes up the players didn't think of, they will remember it next time.
 


Oofta

Legend
Ask the players. Death will never be completely off the table in my games, but I always try to get a sense of how lethal people want the game to be. Personally I've never liked the "oops you did something you had no idea could be dangerous and now your PC is dead" style of play as a DM or player. But beyond that? It can be more difficult to provide a challenge while not killing off PCs left and right if that's the preference than to have multiple deaths every few levels for me.

As far as 5E, you can make it as deadly as you want. Focus fire, double tap, limit long rest opportunities, target the cleric once the enemy knows who they are, drag unconscious PCs off to be killed and eaten out of sight.
 
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