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D&D General What do you do (as GM) if a PC dies in the middle of a session

Oofta

Legend
Player death is fairly rare in my current campaign based on player preference. It is never completely off the table.

So I give players basically the same options. Bring in a new PC, run an NPC if I have them statted out, help DM. Frequently people will still just hang out for the rest of the game and bring in a new PC next session.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Player death is fairly rare in my current campaign based on player preference.
Hardly surprising, as I'd guess most of your players would prefer to survive the session and continue with their non-gaming lives.

Their characters, on the other hand... :)


As for what I do, if it seems at all likely the character will be revived before long then the player just has to wait. If the character declines revival or revival isn't an option, the player will IME usually dive right in to rolling up a replacement, which will be introduced at the next reasonable opportunity in the fiction.

At low-mid levels I usually allow players to run two characters side-along, such that if when one dies the other is still there to play.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
So, for those of you who prioritize role playing and story continuity over participating in the action and decision making for the group during the session, would you even allow allow a character to die? (permanently)?
In some campaigns where it makes thematic sense, such as in my serial pulp action Eberron game, I just take death off the table unless the player decides it's the right time. If the rules would otherwise indicate you are dead, you are instead taken out of the current scene and come back in the subsequent scene. Often that means you suffer a penalty of some kind until you do something to get rid of it. For example, you might have a -dX penalty to your attack rolls, saving throws, and ability checks, until you complete a quest or the like. Thus, there is still a cost to "dying" sufficient to work toward avoiding it, but the continuity of the game, as far as a regular cast of characters is concerned, isn't interrupted.
 

Larnievc

Hero
If I'm running a one-shot adventure, there will be some pre-gen backups prepared ahead of time for players to grab and get back to playing.

If I'm running a campaign, the players are asked to create a backup character (or possibly more than one). In some campaigns, they can swap the characters from session to session to level them up a bit.

In either case, the other PCs know the character that is being tapped in, and they have a reason to be wherever they are, so there's no awkward "Gettin' Ta Know You" scenes or sitting around waiting for the "perfect" time for the new character to join the party. The goal here is to get the player back into the primary mode of participation with the game as quickly as possible.
Bit like the 2nd ed Dark Sun character tree?
 


Shiroiken

Legend
It depends on the situation, edition, and level, but if there's an absent PC (missing player), they usually take over control of them. In case of perma-death, where the character can't/won't be revived, the player will normally spend the time making a new character (this is particularly common at lower levels). If the character might be revived at some point later in the session, the player will usually just listen in, read, or (these days) play on their phone. If the character might be revived at some point after the session, the player can either build a temporary character, run an absent PC, or simply depart the session until next time.
 



el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
So, for those of you who prioritize role playing and story continuity over participating in the action and decision making for the group during the session, would you even allow allow a character to die? (permanently)?

Not sure what those have to do with each other, but yes. In fact, in my games, most deaths are permanent as accessing resurrection magic is rare in the setting.
 

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