D&D General If not death, then what?

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
So then I have to figure out encounter design for 4-5 PC's plus their NPC sidekicks? Yeah, no thanks, I've done that in 3e and PF1e when players had Leadership and for me, it was a huge hassle.
Figure out encounter design without regard for anything but the PCs' average level. (assuming you even know ahead of time which PCs will be on the trip, information I rarely if ever have when dreaming up adventures)

If those PCs are wise enough to bring in henches etc. then good for them, the encounters get a bit easier maybe.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
In theory you were already playing the Torchbearer, right, as she was your hench?

I don't think anyone's really advocating for players taking over the henches of other player's PCs (though I've seen this done once or twice in the past with great results). But usually IME the boss PC's player also plays the hench, with just a few guidelines from the DM as to what makes this person tick.

Thus, if-when your main PC dies or is otherwise out of action for a while, it becomes a seamless transition to playing the hench as your main as you were already playing it anyway.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Figure out encounter design without regard for anything but the PCs' average level. (assuming you even know ahead of time which PCs will be on the trip, information I rarely if ever have when dreaming up adventures)

If those PCs are wise enough to bring in henches etc. then good for them, the encounters get a bit easier maybe.
It's odd to hear someone say that, since most people are always telling me how "easy mode" 5e is already!
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
Right, so you have no information except theorycrafting. Which is my entire point. You have declared it a terrible plan, while holding no information on why that plan was enacted.
Actually there is a lot of information. Nobody could heal the druid because they were too far away & unaware that he was down. The rest of the group were too far away because some of them were off the map attempting to seem like they were as many attackers as possible rather than a group. The map was a good chunk of a city including multiple buildings, it was probably not a city scaled for ants. The druid who died was so far away from the party that none of them were even aware of the druid going down to do anything about it. There's a difference between giving a story benefit of the doubt & dismissing all possible impacts of player/party choices as having any relevance in order to exclusively blame random chance.

Did the crit have an impact? absolutely but potentially getting critted by something during a boss fight is 100% something that should be an expected possibility just as potentially being attacked & dropped during a fight is a possibility that makes having group members off the map a danger that should not be ignored while a player is going off on their own.

Did the player & party choices have an impact? almost certainly a significant one that should not be dismissed entirely in order to exclusively blame the dice

Could potentially odd build choices or critical but unmentioned details like ultra low con have been involved? absolutely but those kinds of things are choices that have an impact and there are already a number of things that make some of them irrelevant.

Here's a question for you... Is there any point where you are willing to admit player choices factor into a death rather than pure DM whim & random chance? If there is not do you admit that 5e's death save rather than death at N is a design choice that sets the DM up for blame by players who believe that way?
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
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.
So that means you have "tacit approval" to edit those sheets? They left them at your house, after all.

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.
Why is death the only "true consequence"? This is a thing you keep saying, over and over. Death is not the only true consequence. Why do you keep saying it is?

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.
That's being dealt back into the game. Like I already said. Repeatedly.

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.
It's absolutely not the same, because none of those involve a character being destroyed forever, never to return. Like, literally, you've given only examples of things which temporarily remove the character.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Who says I was thinking 5e? :)
Ah well, that changes things completely! My bad, my woes dealing with henches and hirelings are a product of my modern gaming experience. AD&D is a different story, I had a character who drew the Knight card from the Deck of Many Things, and kept that 4th-level Fighter at my side forever (also, she was a great place to put magic items my Elf Wizard had no use for)!

As combat has become more complex (or at least, it sure seems to have), though, extra bodies adding action economy to encounters has become a lot more of a nuisance. Or maybe that's just old age (which, I continue to point out, has not awarded me with bonus mental ability score points, despite what D&D always told me!) setting in.
 

DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
I understand you are having a discussion, and I apologize if I'm coming across as hostile, but this is something that I feel needs to be at least partially addressed. Because the narrative of "it is almost always the player's decision that led to their death" then doesn't understand the reasoning many of us remove or mitigate death in our games. This is what leads to ridiculous statements like what Micah Sweet declared of "if I know I can't die, nothing matters, because my choices don't matter". Because the death is always seen as "well, because you as the player did X" with seeming little regard to other factors.
A bit hostile IMO, but if I am overreacting I apologize as well.

If you remove death from your game (no problem there if you do!) then the other fail states become to result of the same poor choices, etc. I outlined before. So, yes, I agree bad dice rolls can lead to your "ultimate fail state", but IME most often that is not the case.

Take this for example. You have determined that the Druid should have more health. Do you know their Con score? No. Do you know if they roll for hp and are therefore below average? No.
I said the average 10th-level druid would have sufficient HP to handle 52 damage and survive. Which, the math proves me out, at 53...

Did they dump CON? Maybe, that is the only way (on average) unless they did roll. And no, I don't know, I never claimed to know, I'm working off of averages and assumptions based on the experiences I've had and seen. We know from the CON/ HP poll that the vast majority of PCs have CON 12, 14, or 16.

But I am asking about these things, not just saying "this is the way it should be and you're wrong if it isn't."

You then state that since they should have more health, they must have entered the fight injured which is a "tactical error" unless they had no choice. Well, do you know how many fights they had that day? No. Do you know what healing options that they had available to them? No. You may assume the druid had spell slots left and could have maybe healed them... but you don't know if the druid has healing spells prepared. You may say that was a tactical error, but maybe they had a stock of healing potions and simply burnt through them before the fight.

You don't acknowledge that maybe before the druid cast Heat Metal and hid, that they may have been injured by an earlier spell or attack. That would also account for their hp, and in which case they didn't make a tactical error, they went in to the fight fully prepared.

You don't know, and cannot know, so many factors of this fight. But at every turn in your responses you have put forth theory after theory of how Sabathius misplayed his druid and that led to the death.
Again, I am not saying they should have done this or should have done that. I am asking why that was the case? If you are going into what you suspect is a BBEG fight, yes, you should be as fully prepared, healed up, etc. as possible. Otherwise, you are courting defeat IMO.

I even told Sabathius I saw no point in discussing this further because unless they want to provide a play-by-play of the encounter and the state which they entered it, there are too many variables, too many unknowns.

So, my "theories" have been challenges and questions to gain more information, nothing more, nothing less.

And here is another factor I've never seen you even touch. There is one more tactical decision that could have saved the Druid's life.

What if the DM didn't cast Sunburst? What if the DM had cut the Giant Zombie's hp by half? What if the DM had drawn the map differently? All of these decisions could also have saved the player's character. We can only speculate, but it is awfully strange that "your decisions as the player led to your death" is such a common refrain, while unless the DM is egregiously out of line like in Oofta's example, they aren't even part of the discussion.

I don't mean this as blaming DMs, I don't want to blame anyone, because I know that there are so many factors involved that it is frankly impossible to decide why it happened. But that's why this idea that it happened because the player made the wrong decision drives me nuts.
If the DM hadn't cast sunburst, he wouldn't have died, sure. But I am speculating on what happened that might have been responsible for his death on HIS part, not the DM's.

I have discussed the DM being out of line. I've mentioned how the DM can miscalculate a fight and cause a PC death without intending to. In fact, it was one of my earlier posts in this thread (or maybe the other one...) IIRC.

Yes, at times you can't pinpoint one choice or decision or factor that led to a PC death, but IME I can pick it out more often than not. In the example we're discussing there are a lot of unknowns, certainly, but splitting up is one of them. With four PCs they could have moved in teams of two, instead of spreading out so they were each alone. Two teams, assaulting from different angles, could have accomplished their goal most likely and would have protected any individual from a "bad luck death".

So, they should have known that their plan would fail, because 95% of the time their plan would succeed. Do you bring an umbrella with you on days with a 5% chance of rain?
How do you know 95% of the time it would succeed? If a party splits up like that in my games, I can almost guarantee a PC will be seriously injured or killed. Going alone is almost always a bad choice IME. Even when scouts go ahead, they often do it in a team of two for this very reason.

You seem very put out by this whole line of discussion, so I am not really sure why you want to continue it. You won't convince me that I am wrong when I say the vast majority of the time PC death is cause by poor choices because that has never been my experience (at least in 5E). Does bad luck/dice rolls kill sometimes? Certainly! But there are usually underlying causes as well.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Did the crit have an impact? absolutely but potentially getting critted by something during a boss fight is 100% something that should be an expected possibility just as potentially being attacked & dropped during a fight is a possibility that makes having group members off the map a danger that should not be ignored while a player is going off on their own.

Did the player & party choices have an impact? almost certainly a significant one that should not be dismissed entirely in order to exclusively blame the dice
If we're going to analyse this combat to death (pun intended), this is the one part of it that to me in hindsight is a player/PC mistake: sure you don't want to be all together in fireball formation but I-as-DM love it when PCs separate themselves such that they lose track of each other and-or what they're doing. Here it seems two of the PCs had put themselves out of sight of all the others, and in opposite directions as well!

They gave away their best advantage, that being strength in numbers, and couldn't co-ordinate well on the fly as some were trying to remain unobserved. I'm not surprised one or two of 'em went down. :)

Isolated PCs are easy to pick off if the opposition is smart/lucky enough to catch one; and by pick off I don't just mean kill. Charming such a character against the party with none the wiser is IME far more effective in both the short and long term than just making it dead. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's absolutely not the same, because none of those involve a character being destroyed forever, never to return. Like, literally, you've given only examples of things which temporarily remove the character.
At low level death is usually permanent. But, at low level one isn't usually too attached to one's character anyway.

After that, death is usually* temporary IME unless the PC in-character declines revival when asked via Speak With Dead. Revival effects have always been part of the game, and if you're playing 5e are more accessible (and cheapert!) than ever.

* - usually but not always in my game; I still have the Resurrection Survival roll as a mechanic and always will, and failing that means you're almost certainly dead for good.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top