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

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Interesting thoughts all around. I've definitely had non-PC death consequences for failure. Things like the BBEG escaping, Capturing PC's, Important Objects being stolen, Rituals being completed, etc.

This leads into a further question: Does a loss-spiral have negative impacts on the campaign?

Loss-spirals are a made-up name meant to represent a situation where a previous loss compounds on to a future loss. For example, a ritual being completed might make a certain powerful devil appear or the capturing of PC's land them in the center of the dungeon of the enemy with no resources recovered.

How do you feel about these loss-spirals?
I think what you term loss-spirals are a necessary part of the definition of loss. Losing resources always makes it harder to win next time.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Having a pc drop to 0 HP and then be dragged to safety by his allies is one of the most thrilling moments in a D&D game for me.

Without the risk of imminent death looming over the party, the game would be a bit of a dull affair. It would still be fun, but the stakes wouldn't be there.
 

Yes. Otherwise the game gets boring. However, TPK's are off the table, unless everybody is ready for a campaign to be over. That keeps the main story going, even if the PC's get changed up now and then.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Alot of the time, D&D veterans may have criticisms that the game is a bit too easy. Its certainly easier than the older editions and player death isn't nearly as frequent, but the risk is there.

The question is: Do players actually want this risk?
Heck yes. Combat is the longest mechanical part of the game. If it's a forgone conclusion then rip it out and replace it with a quick resolution like unlocking a door. And that would also allow us to drop the conceit that all characters must be good in combat because it's no longer a time sink.

Really, if there's lengthy combat, we want the wins to be meaningful because the losses would be meaningful, and we want real tension. Don't steal our wins from us by covering us with plot armor. Combat either needs to be meaningful, or it needs to be trivial in terms of time.

I have personally told multiple DMs to step up their deadliness. Actually, session before last me and one of the other players where very annoyed at what we took was a DM babying us.

All of that said, one facet (not the whole thing) of the issue with 5e being perceived as too easy is because of DMs and design choices not being in sync. The first design point is that resource attrition (not the deadliness!) point is 6-8 combat encounters per day once you reach tier 2 and higher, and without that there's a lot more nova-ing and otherwise having plenty of resources to spend on combats making them easier. The second design point is the magic items are not part fo character advancement math and are fairly rare, while I see a lot of DMs following ideas from earlier editions where you get a full set of +X items and they get replaced with better ones.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
Yep. Imminent death needs to be there so the players can feel they accomplished something against the odds. Just put down two characters (group of 4 or 5) and suddenly the players starting thinking of Death as a real possibility. Works every time. No tension, no fun.
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
D&D players do.
D&D player here. Since '81. And as I stated earlier, not so much. I find death to be the most boring of consequences of combat. I accept that death is on the table. But want is too strong a word for my desires.

I absolutely, positively and emphatically state, though, that that is a personal taste of mine and should not be taken as a universal truth.

LATE EDIT: Though I should also add, it really depends on the tone of the game. If I'm playing Paranoia or 1e Tomb of Horrors, I definitely expect and even want death on the table.

I guess the more I think of it, the more complex the issue really is below the surface. I mean, it wouldn't keep me from playing in and enjoying a game. Far from it. I seek companionship and fun with friends more than a specific gaming experience, if that makes sense.

So I guess it all boils down to: Maybe, sometimes, kinda.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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?
Note that with 5e, "bad dice" can be effectively avoided with a 3rd level Revivify spell. So it's never just a bad set of roles. You can't stop thinking at the moment of death - if the removal of the consequences of death are under player control, then the fact that there may have been bad dice rolls is never the complete picture. Everything, from the choice to engage, the choice not to run, and the after effects are under the control of the players. There is no such animal as a death where they have no agency unless it's a surprise kill before they go in a place they did not have reason to be cautious that resulted in a permanent death (no body, body not recoverable, etc.)
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I think the focus on death as a needed consequence is very limiting. It puts undue focus on death as the sole motivating consequence, which means that it becomes a large focus of play.
If the DM will provide other conseqeunces for every other battle, your statement has merit. If the only consequences provided for an encounter is death vs. levels of attrition, then that's all that's being provided. Unfortunately, that's often a default place to play.

I really like how FATE handles it, in a very different way then the default way D&D does, in that regard.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Some players would even prefer death to losing an arm, but death severs almost all plot hooks related to that character.
Have to nip this in the bud, it's entirely wrong in D&D and as it's a foundation of your other statements it pulls the support out from them.

Death is a minor inconvenience in D&D 5e. As early as 5th level Revivify turns death into little more consequences than being knocked out until the end of the battle. It takes some diamonds (and see all the people proclaiming "gold is useless" to know how little of an impact that is), and a single spell slot. At higher levels or with NPCs even more options are available.

So, in the D&D paradigm, Death has no impact whatsoever on any plot hook related to the character unless the player doesn't wantto bring the character back. Because the spells do specify the soul is willing and able. In which case that character should be retired.
 

prabe

Tension, apprension, and dissension have begun
Supporter
Have to nip this in the bud, it's entirely wrong in D&D and as it's a foundation of your other statements it pulls the support out from them.

Death is a minor inconvenience in D&D 5e. As early as 5th level Revivify turns death into little more consequences than being knocked out until the end of the battle. It takes some diamonds (and see all the people proclaiming "gold is useless" to know how little of an impact that is), and a single spell slot. At higher levels or with NPCs even more options are available.

So, in the D&D paradigm, Death has no impact whatsoever on any plot hook related to the character unless the player doesn't wantto bring the character back. Because the spells do specify the soul is willing and able. In which case that character should be retired.
Well, yes. I would expect the question of whether players want or prefer character death would apply only (or mostly only) to permanent character death. Which can apply at higher levels if the PCs don't have (or lose) the spell components to cast revivify (or something higher-level) or if the people who can cast that spell are the ones to die or if the whole party gets killed.

I do agree that the spells as written allow a player to have a character permanently die (or at least be retired).
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top