Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This is trivially shown to be false. Many types of RPGs do not feature character death as a prominent possibility. Think superheroes.I disagree: the players set the stakes. Otherwise, its a railroad at best.
The core of a TTRPG is the survival of the PC. Sure, there are secondary goals (clouds of them in most of my campaigns), but all are contingent upon the PC remaining alive, physically viable and sane. Remove the core, and we're back to imaginary friends.
I am for character death being on the table in games like D&D where lethal combat is a common method of challenge resolution. I enjoy that risk. But saying that no stakes have meaning outside the core "did you survive" is shown false by the number of games with real stakes where your character dying isn't on the table the majority of the time, if at all.
In other words, that's one set of stakes for the assumptions of one type of game. I want those stakes in that type of game, but we can't pretend that other games must feature the same stakes to be interesting.