Follower of the Way
I don't understand this response.For the bolded part.
Good! Me neither.
But I am not going out of my way to save it either. It is exactly because there are risks involved in my games that my players play with me.
If I tell players, "I will not take away your character unless you're okay with that," that cannot mean anything other than that that event won't happen. You will not lose your character, ever, unless that's what you want. Everything else is fair play. The people you love? The locations you call "home"? The signature items you rely on? The class features you exploit ruthlessly? The factions you favor? The villains you love to stymie? All of them, every last one, can be turned against you or taken away from you (whatever is relevant), and you may never be able to un-do the damage. Maybe you die on the way to stopping the Big Bad, and the party takes a day to save your butt. That's a day the Big Bad has just used to get stronger, or kill someone you love, or destroy a resource you were relying on acquiring, or, or, or.
Who knows what might happen? There could be all sorts of horrible and non-fixable problems that result from you dying and then coming back later. Learning how to address those problems or finding a way to start the healing could be a new adventure, but sometimes there is no fixing it. Sometimes a person you loved is just Dead Forever, and you'd better believe I'm going to milk that for all the pathos and grief that it's worth.
But the one thing I won't take away is the character you brought to the table. As long as you want to keep playing that character, you can. You may pay hefty prices. You may have to work with your enemies or compromise your moral stances or do things you absolutely hate doing. But it will always be possible to choose to keep going with that character if you really want to.
Death is rare enough that I haven't seen anyone who decided "I would keep going but the prices have grown too high, so I guess that's the end," but it is part of it.
For those who like the whole "responsibility" and "you earned this result" etc. logic, I pose for you a poker parallel. Why is poker still exciting or worth playing, if you cannot be ejected from the game due to a random card forcing you to fold? Because that's exactly what people are saying here. That the only way a game can be enjoyed for the stakes is when there's a "you have lost, quit playing or wait for the next deal" card. Why is poker, or chess, or any of a number of other games, still a thrilling experience despite your ability to keep playing not being put on the chopping block?