Maybe because they want to honour their now-dead companion by fulfilling the quest? Maybe because the quest itself piqued the interest of other players/PCs? Maybe because there's plans afoot to revive the dead character later? There could be any number of reasons, all of which are as valid as the table decides to make them.
Okay. For examples 1+2 though, you're talking non-material value, things valued for themselves, not their utility. (#3 could go either way but leans material/instrumental, whatever the plan does
.) The given purpose for the proposed rules is to make survival motives categorically outweigh everything else. Piqued interest and honoring the dead are irrelevant to survival. I
certainly want players to care about inherent/non-instrumental/non-materialist value.
While I get your point, the specific example you chose isn't the best; in that I've long held that healing is something that shouldn't really be something done during combat (at least, not without very high risk) but should instead be done afterwards.
Chosen for being in-thread, not for quality. Better but not seen in-thread: Buffing allies. Even buffing max-level 5e Fighters is weak. Consider elemental weapon
, a stock "Wizard makes Fighter better" spell. Even over two rounds with
Action Surge both times, that's only (hit rate)x(16d4) = (hit rate)x20 bonus damage. With a generous 70% hit rate, it's only 28 damage. One enemy hit by fireball
(same level) takes 28 damage up front. At 2nd level, scorching ray
's 2d6 with 3 hits. Even at a rather bad 50% hit rate, it does almost as much damage in one round (10.5 vs 14) as elemental weapon
does with zero other resources invested.
Buffing < directly solving problems. Treantmonk's (in?)famous "God Wizard" guides expressly note that you should keep these buff spells, not because they're good
, but because they keep the "BSF" (Big Stupid Fighter) from feeling left out of the game
Sorry if it came across that way, I was referring only to myself.
Thank you for apologizing. Water under the bridge.
So I then ask: how often are those dice liable to fall in such a way as to generate a true-loss condition: a character death, level loss*, major item loss*, limb loss*, or complete mind loss? I'd guess not very...maybe not at all as it seems you don't like character death.
I took mind-loss mostly
out because that wigs out one of my players (long story, not mine to tell.) Haven't considered limb loss, just...hasn't come up? I'm not opposed (love "silverhand" stuff!), it just hasn't followed from the fiction thus far. Party's adventures tend toward a political or social edge rather than pure combat.
Major item loss has happened. Most losses involve allies, resources, reputation, or especially morals
faces an agonizing choice/difficulty every 3-4 months minimum. Giving in to dark temptation, revealing terrible secrets, debts to hated enemies, violating your own principles to succeed. Facing horrors that shake the players deeply (a recent big one there). Giving up chances for answers or power etc. to do the right/needed thing. No physical
scars, but still losses.
In part, it seems you define "true-loss condition" in a narrow, purely material way. That's...reductive. Many "true-loss conditions" aren't about mind/body health, instead about the world they reside in, the people/places/things they care about, or the ideals to which they have committed themselves.
Contrast this with the WotC editions (all of 'em), where it's trivially easy to build a character who can dabble in absolutely everything through unrestricted multiclassing and almost-unrestricted feat choices, while still being baseline effective due to additive levels.
Even 4e? Few are so willing to give it a break on that front! Most complain bitterly "you can't be a Fighter who does damage" (even though you totally can.) IMO, niche protection requires both roles that aren't shared (without major effort) and
chars who can't do everything.* Plus, are you sure
that the sneaky stuff was hard Thief-only? Because people have usually told me that that is a misconception or even outright falsehood, that the old Thief skills were meant only to offer a guarantee
of certain competencies, which anyone could attempt
but would usually be much less good at (e.g. the difference between "you have a 55% chance to unlock locks" vs "if you roll 6 on a d6, you can unlock it.")
*"Major effort" means, to me, spending permanent character resources that cannot be recovered. In 4e, that's something like investing several feats and your Paragon Path into it, things that would normally be going to making you better at your core shtick. Conversely, "chars who can't do everything" forbids old-school Clerics, because Clerics can take and deal hits very nearly as good as the Fighter, dish out spell damage almost as good as the Wizard, and
do healing that no one else can provide. Final Fantasy actually recognized this and limited its Cleric to something more like "priest" in the White Mage: great at dealing with undead, buffing, and healing; weak at almost everything else.
In the game, the design gently encourages teamwork but the players still want to play individualists.
I disagree. The player is doing what is highly effective within the rules. Most people quickly pick up on anything but very obscure rules interactions once they actually start playing. It's harder to pick up on things purely from looking at rules (e.g. folks thought 3e Monk was OP before actual play happened.) The rules permit
teamwork, but give no reason to pursue
teamwork. Instead, under most circumstances, the advantage is always to doing the most personal impact as fast as possible. A lack of real, synergistic teamwork is likewise only punished indirectly if at all, and such punishment is often not that
hard to mitigate. I've got first-hand experience of what happens in 4e if you don't use teamwork. Characters die
. Fights become horrible unwinnable slogs. Flip that teamwork switch, and suddenly the game springs to life and fights that seemed unwinnable become totally doable but not totally free of risk.
Fantasy takes many forms; and basing it on reality, at least to some extent, serves to make it far easier to relate to and share.
Then it is on you to defend why this specific
, ugly, unpleasant part of reality should
be part of it. It seems you agree realism is but one tool in the toolbox; a strong one, but not the only or even the best, valued because it makes things relatable/sharable/etc. Other concerns exist besides how relatable/shareable the fiction is. If realism can be piecemeal (include realistic things A, B, C, but not X, Y, Z) and is instrumentally valuable rather than intrinsically valuable (valuable because it adds other qualities, not because realism itself is inherently needed), then responding to "that's an ugly, unpleasant thing I don't want in my game" with "well it's realistic!" is a total non sequitur
. You need to defend why this element ought to be included despite
the stated instrumental faults, and why other alternative sources of realism (perhaps socioeconomic class divides or anatomical realism) could not be employed to make up the difference.
I've had 1st-2nd level parties move heaven and earth to get a character revived, usually because it was a character that the rest of the characters genuinely liked in-character.
Firstly, to quote your own above response, "Which in itself is great! Kudos to you." More importantly, my problem is that the proposed rules (and the rules of old-school D&D, such as "GP = XP") discourage
that kind of thinking. They reward players who don't behave that way (greater survival rates, faster levelling, etc.) and punish those who don't (much higher likelihood of death or failure, delayed or even lost progress, etc.) The rules themselves encourage viewing people as things. How are you getting the players to not
do that? If they're choosing to simply because they want to, that's nice and all, but you have to recognize that your group will be an outlier in this way, and people playing the game based on what the actual game does/says will predominate. That's one of the biggest lessons from game design in general: dominant strategies, where they exist, will
be employed by most players.
If you want the players to not be murderhobos, to value their fellow PCs, to care about the world they're in, to treat laws and those who enforce them with respect (even if they dislike/oppose them), to recognize that there are serious and deleterious consequences for reckless and dangerous behavior, then you need to provide rules which reward
the things you want players to do and punish
the things you don't want them to do. When you do that, and especially if you can do it while also making it fun/cool/exciting/neat, you no longer need to worry about whether the players will play along. They'll do so enthusiastically
, because the effective action is
the one you desire them to take.