D&D General If not death, then what?

Chaosmancer

Legend
When the player with a dead PC who can't be raised right now needs "to deal with not being able to play until they can get brought back or reintroduced to the campaign" they are subject to the social pressure of how that adversely affects the entire group as you say. It's easy to ignore pleading from players trying to play a support character when there's no consequence but not so much when the other players can apply pressure to cooperate more in the future by rubbing it in when someone is dead because they weren't working together as a group.

Sure there might be the occasional unforeseen case of bad luck but it's not like returning from the dead without the GM simply declaring it so is a high bar in d&d.

I would think "Not being able to play the game I wanted to play" is plenty of consequence. I didn't sit down at a DnD table to not be able to play DnD because my character is dead.

I know there are a absolute metric ton of factors to consider, I just always hesitate to bring peer pressure and "rubbing it in' into the mix. If the player actually wasn't following the plan and Leroy Jenkins'd it, then the players will call them usually, but if the player broke with the plan for what they thought was a good reason, or any number of other factors, could bring this sort of peer pressure into a really negative space.

And frankly, I've had characters died before. I feel crappy enough when that happens and ruins my game night, that adding into the rest of the party complaining about how my loss makes their lives harder would utterly suck. Especially since I'm generally not the person doing the stupid plan.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
What I'm still wrestling with is the impact on play when someone snuffs it in a dungeon or mid-adventure. This affects more than just the individual player, as the group is now weaker until they can bolster their numbers again. It really feels like not only does the dead character's player have to deal with not being able to play until they can get brought back or reintroduced to the campaign, but the party as a whole is now adversely affected.
Which in itself is a good reason not to let one's fellow party members die, isn't it? :)

What makes a big difference here is the size of the party. A four-character party that loses one will almost certainly be much more affected than would a seven-character party. There's much to be said for strength in numbers, meaning it's almost always in the PCs' best interests to recruit henches, NPC adventurers, and anything else they can find to bolster both their strengths and their raw numbers.

And if this makes combat take longer at the table, tough. It's what the PCs would do, if they were wise.
And the only real solution here is to have extra characters on hand at all times, or for there to always be convenient "guy locked in jail cell", which can be verisimilitude breaking in of itself.
Indeed; but that's not the only real solution. The other solution is to allow the players to play 2 PCs at once, unless you're running a large table. This allows for the strength-in-numbers piece and also, conveniently, allows that if-when one of a player's PCs dies or gets captured or turned into a turtle or whatever, the other one is still there to play.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
I would think "Not being able to play the game I wanted to play" is plenty of consequence. I didn't sit down at a DnD table to not be able to play DnD because my character is dead.

I know there are a absolute metric ton of factors to consider, I just always hesitate to bring peer pressure and "rubbing it in' into the mix. If the player actually wasn't following the plan and Leroy Jenkins'd it, then the players will call them usually, but if the player broke with the plan for what they thought was a good reason, or any number of other factors, could bring this sort of peer pressure into a really negative space.

And frankly, I've had characters died before. I feel crappy enough when that happens and ruins my game night, that adding into the rest of the party complaining about how my loss makes their lives harder would utterly suck. Especially since I'm generally not the person doing the stupid plan.
The gm does not need to. I assure you the players in a group who are sick of Bob's antics will have no trouble pointing it out. The difference is between all of the past times they tried to and doing it when Bob is dead & can't be revived is thst Bob is not able to shrug it off with a toxic me first playstyle 5e bends over backwards to enable.

It's pretty toxic to say players frustrated with Bob's antics should just duck up up and not mention it at a time where Bob can't just Leroy Jenkins and shrug off criticismfrom sidekick PCs aimed at the star PC when he's dead & "can't" be raised.right now for whatever reason.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
The gm does not need to. I assure you the players in a group who are sick of Bob's antics will have no trouble pointing it out. The difference is between all of the past times they tried to and doing it when Bob is dead & can't be revived is thst Bob is not able to shrug it off with a toxic me first playstyle 5e bends over backwards to enable.

It's pretty toxic to say players frustrated with Bob's antics should just duck up up and not mention it at a time where Bob can't just Leroy Jenkins and shrug off criticismfrom sidekick PCs aimed at the star PC when he's dead & "can't" be raised.right now for whatever reason.

We have VASTLY different conceptions of who Bob is in this scenario. I mean, I literally said in the post you are replying to "If the player actually wasn't following the plan and Leroy Jenkins'd it, then the players will call them usually, but if the player broke with the plan for what they thought was a good reason, or any number of other factors, could bring this sort of peer pressure into a really negative space."

Again, someone whose response to the party talking to an NPC is to axe-murder them, and who always charges the enemy getting killed is likely going to be some smug from the other players. That's going to happen, and that is the consequence on their choices. But also, let me ask you, how many times has "rubbing their face in it" actually done anything to change someone's mind? If that was how the person was acting, then I as the DM should have stepped in FAR sooner because they are being a disruptive and disrespectful jerk. It shouldn't need to get to the point where their character died.


However, you started your previous post with "When the player with a dead PC who can't be raised right now needs "to deal with not being able to play until they can get brought back or reintroduced to the campaign" they are subject to the social pressure of how that adversely affects the entire group as you say" And to me, first of all, you didn't specify why they died, which made it sound like you were advocating social pressure for PC death EVERY TIME.

And I've been in toxic competence groups, where if you had any perceived failures they would grind into that so that you "shaped up" and "followed their lead". So, imagine for a moment Bob isn't a jerk, isn't charging into pointless fights, and playing smart. Then they die and the group STILL rags on them about how Bob's decision to die is dragging the whole party down. That's not good. That's taking a situation where Bob feels terrible, because the death of a PC sucks, and makes it worse because everyone is blaming them for everything else that happened afterwards.
 

Tallifer

Hero
This problem of trivial death is even more egregious in MMORPGs. When I played Dark Age of Camelot, I roleplayed it as all the player characters/families (since players usually have numerous alts) being in Valhalla and endlessly fighting and hunting for the greater glory of their divine faction.

On the table top, I guess I could rationalize it as special Eternal Champions and Companions in a Moorcockian multiverse who eternally manifest themselves in different lives and faces in the multiverse of the timeless struggle for the Soul of Humanity. Raising the dead and resurrection are also manifestation of the gods' favour for their chosen vessels of legend and fate.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
We have VASTLY different conceptions of who Bob is in this scenario. I mean, I literally said in the post you are replying to "If the player actually wasn't following the plan and Leroy Jenkins'd it, then the players will call them usually, but if the player broke with the plan for what they thought was a good reason, or any number of other factors, could bring this sort of peer pressure into a really negative space."
5e is designed so that bob never really even needs to listen to attempts at a plan let alone agree to one. When a PC dies is one of the few times that the ignored party members have any leverage that won't generate a self inflicted wound on the party for using it.
Again, someone whose response to the party talking to an NPC is to axe-murder them, and who always charges the enemy getting killed is likely going to be some smug from the other players. That's going to happen, and that is the consequence on their choices. But also, let me ask you, how many times has "rubbing their face in it" actually done anything to change someone's mind? If that was how the person was acting, then I as the DM should have stepped in FAR sooner because they are being a disruptive and disrespectful jerk. It shouldn't need to get to the point where their character died.
There are a ton of ways that a player can refuse to work with more supporty elements, that's only one of them. Battlefield control. Buff/debuff spells & abilities, protective abilities, even flanking or refusing to position for an aura/aoe benefit from another player in order to gain flanking. Yes I've seen players put more effort into working with the group & not treating their fellow players as sidekicks after being pressured while dead.
However, you started your previous post with "When the player with a dead PC who can't be raised right now needs "to deal with not being able to play until they can get brought back or reintroduced to the campaign" they are subject to the social pressure of how that adversely affects the entire group as you say" And to me, first of all, you didn't specify why they died, which made it sound like you were advocating social pressure for PC death EVERY TIME.
This is where you are starting with the wrong situation... Keep reading beyond the bolded bit.
ignoring it like that gives bob a whole lot more room to cry foul than he ever did when he's dead & the group has a situation where they can push back over being treated like sidekicks.

And I've been in toxic competence groups, where if you had any perceived failures they would grind into that so that you "shaped up" and "followed their lead". So, imagine for a moment Bob isn't a jerk, isn't charging into pointless fights, and playing smart. Then they die and the group STILL rags on them about how Bob's decision to die is dragging the whole party down. That's not good. That's taking a situation where Bob feels terrible, because the death of a PC sucks, and makes it worse because everyone is blaming them for everything else that happened afterwards.
This isn't about perceived failures, it's about slighted players pushing back as I described. In the span of one post you took bob from someone who ignores support classes & treats fellow players like sidekicks getting pressured to be less toxic to them & made him into someone entirely different. Your bob is simply a player who got unlucky or failed at executing a plan they took the effort to agree to & is being whipped into shape to up his game to their level by a toxic group. Now you've moved on to telling his group why they just need to pretend that bob's toxic fun is not toxic. These two bobs are not the same and it's not reasonable to expect us all to just pretend that one of them is not toxic. @overgeeked made a great comment about that kind of thing enabling toxic players the other day & this toxicity transference from bob to bob's group is a great example of how easy it is to accomplish.
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
5e is designed so that bob never really even needs to listen to attempts at a plan let alone agree to one. When a PC dies is one of the few times that the ignored party members have any leverage that won't generate a self inflicted wound on the party for using it.

No, 5e is not designed that way. And I know, you are about to list all the things you think make 5e a carnival ride for Immortal Demi-Gods who act like clowns because consequences don't exist and fear isn't in their dictionary.

I've run 5e since it came out. No one I have ever played with treated it that way. No one I have ever played with thought of it that way. I've run multiple groups with multiple people. Not a single thing in my experience backs up those claims. Don't even bother listing them, because I've read them multiple times from you, and they are actually 100% irrelevant. I'm talking about how people actually play at the table, and people plan constantly at my tables to mitigate risk. Your concept that they cannot possibly do so because 5e is too easy doesn't change the literal fact that they always do.

There are a ton of ways that a player can refuse to work with more supporty elements, that's only one of them. Battlefield control. Buff/debuff spells & abilities, protective abilities, even flanking or refusing to position for an aura/aoe benefit from another player in order to gain flanking. Yes I've seen players put more effort into working with the group & not treating their fellow players as sidekicks after being pressured while dead.

None of this has anything to do with the point? Whether or not they are a team player because they listen to the plan or because they invest in buff spells and don't fireball the party has absolutely nothing to do with the point.

The point is that it is quite dangerous to approach PC death with an attitude that is only a hair removed from "PC death is good because we can bully the player of the dead character into acting like we want, because they died when they didn't". For the following reasons

1) You don't know that their death WASN'T because they were being a team player. One of the most common near-death expeirences I've seen in DnD is the tank sticking next to the enemy because their job is to take the hits so the rest of the party doesn't have to. I actually did this myself not too long ago, allowing my barbarian who had been bounced back up from 0 to stay next to the enemy, because the enemy made 3 attacks per turn and the only people left in fighting shape included a wizard and a low-con ranger. Yes, my character might have died, but they might have died because my plan was to NOT let the enemy freely assault the only people left who could take them down.

2) Weaponizing peer pressure is a very dangerous thing. Sometimes it is necessary, but social situations are complex and dynamic. Generally, if a PC dies and the player was doing something obviously stupid, then they will feel stupid. Having everyone rag on them about how stupid that was could very easily lead to hurt feelings and problems at the table. This is not a goal.

3) People will likely be ragging on them anyways. They've likely been calling them out for making these decisions, and when they are proven right, they will generally point that out. As a DM, I'd be far more concerned about it going to far, than seeing this as a positive way to change behavior, because if their behavior needed changing, then it is something we should have been working on the entire time, not waiting til they died to "rub it in" that they were "playing poorly"

This is where you are starting with the wrong situation... Keep reading beyond the bolded bit.
ignoring it like that gives bob a whole lot more room to cry foul than he ever did when he's dead & the group has a situation where they can push back over being treated like sidekicks.

Right, but this still assumes Bob was in the wrong. Which is not a given. Which is the point I keep trying to hammer home. Death may not have occurred because Bob made the wrong call. In fact, Bob might be dead because Jim made the wrong call. And if Jim starts ragging on Bob about how Bob should be a better player and work more like a team, then we have a serious situation.

I'm not saying you never have a discussion of the team dynamics and how the players are approaching the game. Obviously, you should do that, especially if there are problems. But approaching PC death with the lense that is a good time to rag on the player about not playing "correctly" because they are dead and thus cannot ignore you and your complaints has so many layers of poor communication and problems to it, that you've had deep issues long before the PC hit 0 hp.

This isn't about perceived failures, it's about slighted players pushing back as I described. In the span of one post you took bob from someone who ignores support classes & treats fellow players like sidekicks getting pressured to be less toxic to them & made him into someone entirely different. Your bob is simply a player who got unlucky or failed at executing a plan they took the effort to agree to & is being whipped into shape to up his game to their level by a toxic group. Now you've moved on to telling his group why they just need to pretend that bob's toxic fun is not toxic. These two bobs are not the same and it's not reasonable to expect us all to just pretend that one of them is not toxic. @overgeeked made a great comment about that kind of thing enabling toxic players the other day & this toxicity transference from bob to bob's group is a great example of how easy it is to accomplish.

Did you read the very first line of my response to you? I said:

"We have VASTLY different conceptions of who Bob is in this scenario."

So, stating that my Bob is less toxic than your Bob... is 100% the point I was making.

You took @James Gasik 's post about how a player's death can impact the entire party, and constructed it a call to punish toxic non-team players who are spotlight hogging and treating their team like sidekicks. But, Jame's point had nothing to do with toxic players or spotlight hogging. Because a team that works like a well-oiled machine, who is fully into buffing their fellows and every other good thing you can imagine? They are impacted MORE by the death of a member of that team, than a team with a toxic player they weren't counting on anyways.

Yes, Toxic Bob is a problem, but he is a problem you start dealing with right away. And sure, he may ignore you until his character dies and he has a wake-up moment. But again, that doesn't mean character death was the only way.

And focusing on Toxic Bob and his character dying ignores that maybe Toxic Bob led to the death of Jim, who did nothing wrong, except try to be a team player. Or maybe Bob is Non-Toxic Bob who is a key member of the party, and now that he has died the party is severely tactically limited, and thus ragging on Non-Toxic Bob accomplishes nothing except making him feel worse.

This is why I've been pressing on this idea that PC death isn't always the fault of poor players or poor decisions or Toxic Bob's. Because if your conception of PC death doesn't allow for a team who works well together and doesn't have a toxic spotlight hog to still suffer PC death, then you are never going to understand why some of us work to prevent PC death. Because you will only ever see it as us excusing poor behavior and Toxic Bob's spotlight hogging, and pay no attention to the reasons we actually do it. Because you can't imagine a good team actually having a PC die.
 

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