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New WotC Article - Deadly Dice


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Andor

First Post
Huh. That was the first Monte poll that wasn't so poorly constructed as to be pointless.

At any rate I voted uncommon but always a risk, which seems to be the majority opinion. :)
 

dkyle

First Post
I prefer PC death to be both final, and very rare. I dislike casual resurrection, and disposable characters.

What there really needs to be is a good way to have "players fail to achieve their objectives, but they live to fight another day". I'd rather the tension be on "do we succeed?", than on "do we survive?". But it's hard to have those situations, especially in games where the mechanical focus is so strongly on combat. Once a combat starts, it gets hard to justify it ending in any way other than one side being dead.
 

Infiniti2000

First Post
I have to admit that I'm a little surprised at all the comments implying that death is necessary for tension and excitement:


  • I like a fairly lethal game as they exude tension.
  • Death needs to be a possibility, or there is no excitement...
  • The threat of death must always be present or the fights turn dull.
Aren't there are things the PCs care about besides their personal health? If not, WTF is the DM doing?
 


Tortoise

First Post
I think it is important to have death of characters as something to be concerned about. Otherwise play can potentially devolve down to the party fighting anything even when logic dictates they should run for their lives.

I'm currently running a sandbox without tightly tied plotlines so death is common. In a different campaign style it would be less so, but still an everpresent possibility.
 

Didn't see it posted yet, so here ya go...

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[Monte Cook-from article]
I remember way back in the earliest days of the game how someone told me that people didn’t even bother naming their characters in their campaign until 2nd level because there was so little chance that a 1st-level character would survive. As silly as that might sound, the feeling of accomplishment at surviving such a lethal game, even for a little while, must have been great. []

Don't knock it if you haven't tried it. ;)



[Monte Cook-from article]
Of course, one could argue that the D&D game isn’t about feelings of accomplishment. It’s about creating characters and developing fantasy stories. Characters perhaps shouldn’t die unless circumstances dictate it, rather than when the dice go against them.[]

No. There are plenty of other games one can use to tell stories. In D&D, death happens when it happens. Sometimes due to certain circumstances and other times due to rotten luck.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Uncommon.

Being an adventurer is dangerous always but death isn't common. Sometimes death comes from foolishness and is deserved. Sometimes it is bad luck and unfair. But death is always there and it just happens sometimes.

Adventurers have dead friends and the number increases as they live. They mourn and remember them. They know stuff happens, yo.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
Death should be a possibility at any time. I've seen TPKs to a group of pretty suck bandits just because the party totally borked it up.

But most of the time, death should only be a very real threat on the "big fights".
 


Ramaster

Explorer
I voted for "uncommon, but the threat is always there".

Agreed.

Truth be told, death is very interesting and creates very strong reactions from a group (as long as it is uncommon enough). If characters die all the time, players get used to it. But used sparringly it creates atmosphere, tension and great roleplaying oportunities.

Just like all other things a game has, death is a tool, and a powerful one at that.
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
Aren't there are things the PCs care about besides their personal health?
Well, I'm sure there are, but it's kind of a Maslow's Pyramid thing. If you don't feel safe, you'll seek safety until you do, at the expense of other less important things. Adventuring isn't safe, and adventurers shouldn't behave as if they are in no danger when they fight mythical monsters on a regular basis.

Hopefully, when they're not fighting or after a battle is over, they can delve into other matters.
 

rogueattorney

Adventurer
It seems silly to me that when the characters enter into a combat in which enemies are swinging swords at them in an attempt to kill them that death isn't a distinct possibility. If the characters enter combat frequently with dangerous foes, death of characters is simply going to happen. Death's frequency should be determined by how dangerous the opponents are.

If the DM and players don't want characters to die, they should attempt to resolve encounters without entering into combat -- sneaking, diplomacy, bribery, running away, etc.

I think it's incumbent upon DMs not to force the characters into combat with every encounter. Opponents don't want to die as much as the characters don't want to die. So they won't necessarily automatically attack. Let the encounter breath a bit before you start slinging dice.

My 9-year-old daughter is combat adverse. She ran into a group of bandits and tried to negotiate with them. When they kept threatening her, she cast Sleep on them and tied them up. She eventually took them at sword point to the local sheriff. She ran away from some stirges. She used fire and loud noises to scare away some giant rats and then set their nest on fire. Then she saw a giant spider... "Squish it! Squish it! Die! Die!"

So, I guess she's not entirely combat adverse. :)
 

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
You know, I wonder if part of the reason that people fear "death" in D&D is that later editions worked so hard to make death a bigger penalty, avoiding the "revolving door afterlife" jokes.

It's pretty obvious that in the oldest campaigns, past a certain low level, character death just meant "Dammit, now I have to sell some of my magic items to pay for that raise dead spell." Death was just a way for the DM to part the characters from their wealth.

Remember, when Gary really wanted to kill you, he didn't throw a medusa at you - he dropped you down a fire chute, dropped the ceiling on you or just disintegrated you. Any less than that - party gets you back to town, gets you fixed up, and you sell that +3 chain mail to pay for it. Back to the dungeon!
 

Lwaxy

Cute but dangerous
[


No. There are plenty of other games one can use to tell stories. In D&D, death happens when it happens. Sometimes due to certain circumstances and other times due to rotten luck.

D&D is a great storytelling tool. The GM/Player combo just has to accept that stories never hang on one character, or even one storyline that is given from start.

I dare say I get better stories in D&D than in most other games, because you can't be sure if the PC who currently carries a major part of the story will make it. Even in games full of "find your destiny and save the world" cheese, there is never only one way to achieve success, and hell yeah, they may as well fail.
 

nightwalker450

First Post
Some players like combat, that doesn't mean they like their characters to die. There's no reason that this person's playstyle should be seen as a risk to the entire group, and then to be avoided at all costs.

Deaths should be rare, and it should be obvious to players when they are in circumstances that it is a real possibility. Then there should be information (rules or otherwise) for escaping a combat, so fight or die isn't seen as the only option, when you are put in that predicament.

Also, maybe for those that have played a long time and see a character that takes 10 minutes to create no different from a character that has been played for months or even years, they don't care if they die. But for a new player who is given a sheet of weapons, and information on ways to hurt bad guys... Killing them within the first few session or two doesn't lend itself very well to keeping them as a player.

And new GM's, won't adjust on the fly, they'll do what the book tells them to do. So set the default to rare death, and its easy for the veterans to raise the die size on damage, or increase the difficulty to get it to the level they want.
 

Kynn

Adventurer
It's pretty obvious that in the oldest campaigns, past a certain low level, character death just meant "Dammit, now I have to sell some of my magic items to pay for that raise dead spell." Death was just a way for the DM to part the characters from their wealth.

I dunno about that; there was also Con loss. My 1e wizard died repeatedly; eventually his low Con became an issue.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Heh. Within every 9 year old lurks the heart of a killing machine. ;)

I'm a big proponent of "threaten the quest" style games, which Monte doesn't bring up in his blog post. Death is one of maaaany failure scenarios. IMHO the best DMs only need to use the threat of death rarely. Most of the time it's more exciting when failure has some truly unique consequences.
 

Anselyn

Explorer
Death's frequency should be determined by how dangerous the opponents are.

Risk = (danger) * (frequency of exposure) ??

So, how often you fight opponents that dangerous too....

If the DM and players don't want characters to die, they should attempt to resolve encounters without entering into combat -- sneaking, diplomacy, bribery, running away, etc.

Absolutely but I also like a lot of story before you even get to the encounters with opponents that could be fought.

I think it's incumbent upon DMs not to force the characters into combat with every encounter. Opponents don't want to die as much as the characters don't want to die.

Agree - when push does come to shove combat should be desperate and dangerous - but for those who want many more combat encounters each one needs to be less dangerous.
 

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