First Character Death

Yaarel

Adventurer
The players in my homebrew campaign had their first TPK a month ago. They fought a homebrew CR-13 Fire Drake, and it roasted them with dragonfire.

Being the evil overlord he was, the dragon’s master brought them back to life to serve as gladiators for his entertainment. The PCs’ allies tracked them down and managed to free them, and the players in turn were able to take their revenge by leading a slave revolt, killing both the dragon and its master in the resulting chaos.
That is the definition of failing forward.
 

Mr. Spade

Villager
Back in high school I had a half giant gladiator in dark sun. He was bitten in half by a black dracolich he had 1 hitpoint remaining, passed a constitution check with a natural 20. Dm gave him a final strike with his twin scythes 2 more nat 20s. He ripped through the dracolich's jaw they both died in a puddle of acid...

RIP big guy you may have been cursed at birth to be half a man, but you died a glorious death every giant should aspire to...
 

cmad1977

Adventurer
I don't remember my first character death (would have been sometime in the 80s), but I do have a most memorable character death (which I've shared here before).

A couple of years ago, I was teaching my now 13 year old son some basics of DMing, and he was running Death House for me as a solo character. I was exploring the 3rd floor of the house, and had just defeated a specter in the nursery room. After I left the room, I opened a storage closet, and I was immediately attacked and beaten to death by an animated broom (I missed on all of my attacks, and the broom hit on all of it's attacks). I failed all 3 of my death save attempts, and that was that.
That broom almost killed a PC in my game. Evil broom!
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
That is the definition of failing forward.
I’m not familiar with this term. Is it a bad thing? It sounds bad.

It was my first campaign as a DM for more than one player, and reviving the PCs and turning them into his slaves was completely in character for the villain, whose defining characteristic was “nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing my enemies suffer under my rule.”

I had already established in previous sessions that while he himself was physically very weak, he did have access to extremely powerful magic and could bring people back from death even if their spirits were unwilling.

Also, over the course of the campaign the PCs had gone on a number of missions that made them his enemies.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
I’m not familiar with this term. Is it a bad thing? It sounds bad.

It was my first campaign as a DM for more than one player, and reviving the PCs and turning them into his slaves was completely in character for the villain, whose defining characteristic was “nothing gives me greater pleasure than seeing my enemies suffer under my rule.”

I had already established in previous sessions that while he himself was physically very weak, he did have access to extremely powerful magic and could bring people back from death even if their spirits were unwilling.

Also, over the course of the campaign the PCs had gone on a number of missions that made them his enemies.
‘Failing forward’ is advice for the DM. It means something like, dont let a setback shut down the game. Figure out a way, how the setback can be an interesting step ‘forward’ toward what happens next.

‘Failing forward’ is something that a skilled DM does.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
‘Failing forward’ is advice for the DM. It means something like, dont let a setback shut down the game. Figure out a way, how the setback can be an interesting step ‘forward’ toward what happens next.

‘Failing forward’ is something that a skilled DM does.
It can also be something a hard-railroading DM does, so as to prevent PC failure(s) from interrupting the pre-set story.
 

Bitbrain

Adventurer
It can also be something a hard-railroading DM does, so as to prevent PC failure(s) from interrupting the pre-set story.
Well, at least I can say it wasn’t railroaded. I had three outcomes planned (escape, victory, or defeat), and escape wasn’t possible because the PCs had decided to make a stand and fight.

If they killed the dragon, their castle would have come under attack by the master’s forces, and the PCs would have had to defend their headquarters from being besieged a second time.

Sadly, the Druid’s conjured animals missed every single attack roll against the dragon, so the fire drake defeated them.
 
Cleric character in 3.0, died at 1st level (though not first session) from the Death Touch attack of an evil cleric of Death.
 

Smarmot

Explorer
My very first character was a thief in basic d&d. My brother convinced me to play it and I wasn't enthused at all for this character (why would I want armour made of leather?) or even at all for a game with no board and no visuals. I kinda liked the dice though. He had, I think, three hp and was killed by an arrow after he failed his very low chance to move silently past an enemy. I did not feel loss.

My second character was a dwarf and I was much more attached. He was killed by the minotaur in the Caves of Chaos. I cried. Then my brother DM had a "wizard" appear and resurrect him on the spot. I dried my eyes and continued the battle and... The minotaur killed him again.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
My second character was a dwarf and I was much more attached. He was killed by the minotaur in the Caves of Chaos. I cried. Then my brother DM had a "wizard" appear and resurrect him on the spot. I dried my eyes and continued the battle and... The minotaur killed him again.
That's always noteworthy, being killed twice by the same opponent, as it's rare that an opponent in D&D survives to fight you again another day...and that the same PC is around to fight it again. :)

In all the many years of our gaming here, dying twice to the same source has only happened 4 times:

one was a Dwarf killed twice by the same beholder on two consecutive in-game days
one was a Ranger-Mage killed twice by the same dragon, a few in-game months apart
one was a Cleric killed twice by the same dragon half an in-game year apart (this one was my own PC)
one was a particularly unlucky sod killed twice by friendly fire from the same other PC, a few years apart.
 

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