D&D General If not death, then what?


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This sounds disingenuous at best and outright deceptive at worst. "Tacit approval" given to you "at character's creation"? Seriously?

You might as well say the players tacitly approve rewriting their character sheets simply by leaving them at your house so they can't be lost.
Yes truly. And guess what? They would not have it any other way. We tried your way years ago. Independant from each others or together depending on the players. It exactly this level of danger that brought them to me.

No one likes to have his or her character die. No one. But having death as a consequence either for bad luck or bad tactical assertion is what primarily brought these persons to my games. Last group died facing Demon Gorgon in PoTA. Yep they failed. After almost two years of efforts. But they absolutely loved how the fight played on. They understood that a bit of bad luck and mostly a few bad decisions brought this end. But players did love how it turned out. The second group ended the threat because the first group did such a good job. (The second group was dispatching Orcus). And nope, not all bodies were recovered but it left us with over 200 pages of notes from our two chroniclers. (Yes we have chroniclers that record and put our play in writing.)

Ho and for the last sentence. We do have a copy of the character at my place. It is the players that are important, not the characters.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
Hey! NPCs, Henchmen and Hirelings (or sidekicks) are there exactly for that! Character dies? Great, time to promote one of the former to full player character's status! The players matters way more than the character. Infinitely more.

I have a problem with this method.

Every game I've ever played, where NPCS, Henchmen, Hirelings and sidekicks showed up... they already have personalities. Worse yet, they are often depicted as bratty/selfish/the comic relief/ ect ect

I actually a have an example of this, I was playing a game where my character was a fey noble on the run (reskinned Fire Genasi) and after rescuing some slaves, he offered them employment contracts under his house. One of the ladies accepted. But since she had been a Neogi slave her entire life she was under-educated, crude, acted disgusting (which annoyed my character who was fastidious) and almost sadistically violent at times.

She was a great foil for my character to try and work off from, and allowed me to explore additional facets of my character. But if I had gotten a choice to play as her? Never. She would have been zero fun for me to play as. I'd also really be leery about letting any of the other players take her place, because that would have disrupted the dynamic going on.

So, in theory, you can always grab a torchbearer and now that is your PC, but since the Torchbearer has a name, personality, desires and goals already established... it can be incredibly disruptive to have them taken over by a player who may not want to follow through that arc.
 

Who said "shenanigans"? Who said I "made" them? You keep projecting all these nasty things onto my position. Please stop. I don't do that. Everything I do as an adjudicator of the rules is above-board. I play with my cards face up. I do preserve in-world information as mysteries (e.g. NPCs can deceive the players, players can draw mistaken conclusions and I won't correct them, etc.)

And, as I said, players can still succeed or fail. Failure or success just doesn't consider "will you be able to keep playing the game as this specific character?"


How so? Calling the analogy bad doesn't tell me anything. You have to say why it's fails to be an analogy in the relevant way. I have demonstrated that it has relevant similarities.


But that's not what happens when someone loses a character, is it? People don't leave the campaign entirely. Folks in this thread have been adamant that a dead character doesn't mean you're booted out, never to return. It means you write up a new character. Which is exactly what I was saying


Again: your analogy fails because you, yourself, have said that players are NOT booted from the campaign if their character dies. Thus, clearly, we cannot analogize losing a character to losing a game of chess in a chess tournament, nor to losing all of your betting money in a poker tournament, because losing your character doesn't force you to stop playing. Instead, it forces you to wait until the next hand is drawn, doesn't it? Which is exactly what I said. You have to wait until you can draw again, and then you continue participating.

Hence why I said above, you have to actually show why the analogy is bad, if the person giving the analogy has already shown that it has relevant characteristics. Which I have.


Okay, Helldritch, I'm going to say something very, very clearly here. I hope that this tells you what I'm trying to say as succinctly and explicitly as possible.

Stop insulting me by saying I hand my players their victories. It is extremely rude, and is exactly the opposite of what I'm doing.

I do not--EVER--"hand" victories to my players. I do not--EVER--make it so that, if my players suffer a loss, that loss is somehow wished away. I would not--EVER--manipulate the dice, fudge rolls, rewrite the story, railroad, or any of those other tricks, because I consider them completely inappropriate (to an extent that others, some in this thread, have found problematic, e.g. I consider these techniques to be lying and cheating.)

Absolutely none of that, not one single thing, means that "loss" MUST EQUAL DEATH. You keep doing this! You and almost everyone else here! You keep mocking me and what I do by straight-up telling me that my players must win at everything forever simply because their characters cannot permanently, irrevocably, randomly die. That is WRONG. My players suffer setbacks FREQUENTLY. They have usually had the wit and wherewithal to fix their mistakes and recover from those problems, but it absolutely could and has gone the other way in tense moments. It is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case that I just "hand" them victories.

I just don't permanently kill their characters, with no chance of resurrection or restoration, unless the player is okay with that. That is the one and only thing I will guarantee won't happen. EVERYTHING else is on the table. Everything. And I absolutely WILL exploit that if they screw up badly enough. They've taken some massive gambles in the past, and gotten through by the skin of their teeth sometimes. They've also absolutely done things that, without realizing it, have empowered or assisted their enemies. Whether they discover those errors of judgment is an open question, and they won't be happy about it when they find out....particularly because it will have permanent consequences they won't be able to undo.
If you feel I am mocking I am sad. I am not. You are not your position.
Having constant second chances for me equals to handling victory at no permanent costs. A set back? Ok. For how long? At what costs? If none of these set backs have any permanent effects, how can they be set backs? For me they are just minor inconveniences. I do that all the time myself. And delays in the outcome might be frustrating, but it is hardly worth calling these permanent setbacks. Inconveniences at best...

And again, you assume that my players are victims. Again they come to me exactly because I play the way that I play. They got tired of other DMs handling them victories as in the end, it feels as if the players are just in the novel the DM wants to write but dare not put to print. So they act as the DM because they can't die. You say you do not railroad? You do not fudge? And yet, no one dies? Strange, I do not railroad. I do not fudge because I roll on the open. And still, even if I do, sometimes, underplay some foes, characters can and do die. You claim you do not the previous things? Great! You found a way to do it without ever killing character. You like that and they like it too. Great for your games!

And just in case you do not understand. I perfectly understand your style of play. I simply can't agree with that. I would leave a DM that gives me this kind of play as soon as the first true death that should have happen would, well, happen. I need true consequences in my games and so are my players. We see the characters as simple characters that are in our story, if they die, they die. New ones will take their place. Our focus is on the players and how challenges are overcome or failed. We have as much fun seeing a character die heroically than we have seeing the villains being put the sword, redeemed or banished.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
We now avoid long background stories like the plague because: ...

2) It slows down play as a player will tend to ask that "his or her" background to be integrated into the story at hand even at the expend of other's backgrounds
This can be a headache, I agree.
3) It often prevents the story to organically emerge from play. The longer the background, the more the chances are that it will interfere in someway with the story at hand.

4) It is easy for the DM to "forget" what is in the background of every single character under his/her games. I run three games with 12-18 different people (one of these game is Friday night dungeon about twice a month), imagine one minute to remember all background stories? No way. Strangely, I can retell every strong moments of the story of each groups and characters...

5) To follow up on 4. Some players will get absolutely mad because the DM forgot that their character backstory included obscure references that could have meant an advantage (or not) for the story at hand!
For these three, IMO it's on the player to integrate the background (or some key element of it) now and then into what the character says and-or does, even if it sometimes might get a bit repetitive: "When I was in the Legions..." "We never did it this way in the Legions..." "Legate Grautus marched us 15 miles a day...", etc. If done this way I can't see how it would or could iunterfere with the emerging story in play.

As a side effect, this will serve to remind the DM in the moment about said character's background.
 

I have a problem with this method.

Every game I've ever played, where NPCS, Henchmen, Hirelings and sidekicks showed up... they already have personalities. Worse yet, they are often depicted as bratty/selfish/the comic relief/ ect ect

I actually a have an example of this, I was playing a game where my character was a fey noble on the run (reskinned Fire Genasi) and after rescuing some slaves, he offered them employment contracts under his house. One of the ladies accepted. But since she had been a Neogi slave her entire life she was under-educated, crude, acted disgusting (which annoyed my character who was fastidious) and almost sadistically violent at times.

She was a great foil for my character to try and work off from, and allowed me to explore additional facets of my character. But if I had gotten a choice to play as her? Never. She would have been zero fun for me to play as. I'd also really be leery about letting any of the other players take her place, because that would have disrupted the dynamic going on.

So, in theory, you can always grab a torchbearer and now that is your PC, but since the Torchbearer has a name, personality, desires and goals already established... it can be incredibly disruptive to have them taken over by a player who may not want to follow through that arc.
If it is how you have ever seen NPC being played, I truly feel sad.
I have had players litterally sacrifice their characters for an NPC simply because that NPC saved their lives more than once and went beyond and above the call of duty. If your DM only used NPC to give you weaknesses or to betray or to act as comical relief, it is very sad.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I do not--EVER--"hand" victories to my players. I do not--EVER--make it so that, if my players suffer a loss, that loss is somehow wished away. I would not--EVER--manipulate the dice, fudge rolls, rewrite the story, railroad, or any of those other tricks, because I consider them completely inappropriate (to an extent that others, some in this thread, have found problematic, e.g. I consider these techniques to be lying and cheating.)

Absolutely none of that, not one single thing, means that "loss" MUST EQUAL DEATH. You keep doing this! You and almost everyone else here! You keep mocking me and what I do by straight-up telling me that my players must win at everything forever simply because their characters cannot permanently, irrevocably, randomly die. That is WRONG. My players suffer setbacks FREQUENTLY. They have usually had the wit and wherewithal to fix their mistakes and recover from those problems, but it absolutely could and has gone the other way in tense moments. It is ABSOLUTELY NOT the case that I just "hand" them victories.

I just don't permanently kill their characters, with no chance of resurrection or restoration, unless the player is okay with that. That is the one and only thing I will guarantee won't happen. EVERYTHING else is on the table. Everything. And I absolutely WILL exploit that if they screw up badly enough. They've taken some massive gambles in the past, and gotten through by the skin of their teeth sometimes. They've also absolutely done things that, without realizing it, have empowered or assisted their enemies. Whether they discover those errors of judgment is an open question, and they won't be happy about it when they find out....particularly because it will have permanent consequences they won't be able to undo.

Exactly, I've told more than one person sitting at the table "Death is far from the worse thing I can do to your character"

There are consequences to being defeated in battle. Those consequences do not need to be "You have Died"
 

This can be a headache, I agree.

For these three, IMO it's on the player to integrate the background (or some key element of it) now and then into what the character says and-or does, even if it sometimes might get a bit repetitive: "When I was in the Legions..." "We never did it this way in the Legions..." "Legate Grautus marched us 15 miles a day...", etc. If done this way I can't see how it would or could iunterfere with the emerging story in play.

As a side effect, this will serve to remind the DM in the moment about said character's background.
Yep, nothing a short background does not do. These are details that can and will come up during play. And here, I must repeat. These details will come up during play. Glad to see I am not alone.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Are you not "out of the game" if your character dies and cannot be brought back? Do you not have to be metaphorically dealt back into the game in order to continue playing?
Only if you-as-player leave the game at that moment. Otherwise: you could have a second PC already on the hop, or you could roll something new up on the side while the game progresses to a point where your new PC can be introduced, or you could take over rolling for an NPC for the session - all is not lost, by any means.

It's exactly the same as having to sit out for a while due to your character being paralysed or put to sleep or teleported to another room or whatever: it's simply a part of the game. It happens. No big deal.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
If it is how you have ever seen NPC being played, I truly feel sad.
I have had players litterally sacrifice their characters for an NPC simply because that NPC saved their lives more than once and went beyond and above the call of duty. If your DM only used NPC to give you weaknesses or to betray or to act as comical relief, it is very sad.

Often does not equal always, remember?

Sure, there have been good NPCs. Many of them weren't adventurers. Some of them had bad character flaws, some didn't. But the point wasn't "there is no NPC ever who has been shown in a positive light" it is "taking over the roleplay of an existing character with character traits may not always work, because they have a character and have been being role-played by the DM"

Have you ever attempted to swap people's character sheets and have people role-play as the other members of the party? It never quite works, because they aren't those people. This was my point.
 

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