Would you quit a game if....


Staff member
But if Spock had died in episode 2 of the TV series he would have just been another red shirt biting the dust.
Again, it depends.

If Spock's importance to Kirk was clearly established in episode 1, his death in episode 2 could have been a defining moment for Kirk and the series as a whole.

The movies I cited- as well as Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series- kill off seemingly important characters early in the action. This let's the audience/readers know that anyone could die. The Phantom and Green Lantern comics do this as well, albeit as background to the current characters- they're just the latest in a long line.

The 007 movies with a mortal James Bond or Die Hard movies with different heroes each time would have been different, but not necessarily bad. If "James Bond, 007" is- like the Phantom- just an assumed identity, it puts a darker spin on the series.

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So invested in his character that he can't distinguish between reality, fantasy and a game. I'd back away from him... slowly.


First Post
The characters in novels; Conan, James Bond, etc. don't know they can't die. Conan has run away from many encounters because he didn't want to die. James Bond was no different. James Bond wouldn't have bluffed Goldfinger if he knew he couldn't die, he was trying hard not to.

While the fiction they were in assumes the reality that they won't die, the characters themselves didn't know the mechanics or the verdict. Consequences and rewards give weight to a characters actions. So while you as a GM may know the characters won't die the players shouldn't be aware of it. They should know victory and death or very possible, even if that's a lie.

Players should act boldly because their character would act boldly, not because they know the system is on their side. The same goes for acting cautiously.


My group has an unspoken pact: the DM doesn't put the characters in impossible situations. If a player gets his or her character into an impossible situation by doing something stupid, then fair game, they live (or die) with the consequences. There's a great deal of leniency towards death from bad luck, but not from stupidity.

The last PC to die in my campaign was a thief/mage who turned invisible and ran ahead of the party into a temple, knowing full well that another PC was going to blast the entrance with a series of fireballs. Both players accepted the consequences.


One thing he says bothers me, though. He says that, (he's warning me up front), if his character dies, he will quit the campaign. He's says he does this because he's got so much invested in his character that he just can't have fun running a different one in the same world. "Conan doesn't die," he says. "James Bond doesn't die. And, when I play Skyrim, if my character gets killed, I get to reload and keep playing with the same character."

What level is your group? Because D&D allows for characters to return from death at a pretty low level - and presumably he'd be okay with that?

Am I alone in my opinion. Do others agree with him?

I don't think he's unreasonable to state a preference for not having his character die. And if his character does die, he's within his rights to walk. Heck, a player is always within his rights to walk, for any reason he wishes, or even for no reason at all.

But I'm with you - IMC, PC death is always on the table. I even go so far as trying really, really hard not to fudge the dice to protect PCs, so with a bad sequence of rolls your high-level Fighter can indeed be taken out be Minion #2.

(And I also agree with you on the flip side of the argument - I don't create encounters intended to kill PCs, nor do I actually want to see PCs die, as it's actually rather a pain when it happens.)

At this point, all I would do is explain to him that you respect his preferences, and you'll understand if he chooses to leave the game now or in the future, but that death will remain on the table if the dice or the circumstances dictate that it should happen.

And do not, no matter how tempting it might be, deliberately seek out a means to kill his character, out of some misguided notion to "teach him a lesson". Player issues (of which this is a fairly minor example) should not be solved with in-game actions.


First Post
In general, I prefer to play in a game where the characters do not have such plot protection that nothing we do will get us killed. I don't want to die to a simple bad roll of the dice, because that's just lousy, but getting my character killed because I bit off more than I could chew, ignored warning signs, or did something foolish is expected.

That said, in current game I am a player in, my character recently almost died. If he had, I would have left the game simply because there is absolutely no way I could work a new character into the "party". There are a couple of NPCs I could take over, but none of them particularly appeal to me to play. We're just too deep into what's going on and there's no way to shoehorn in someone else without it being blatantly and painfully metagaming. (It would stick out more than when they changed what actor played Darren on "Bewitched" like we wouldn't notice.)

Coincidentally, I was just having a conversation tonight with some people at the game store and one of the players talked about how he does not like to continue in a game if he's had a character die because of two reasons. 1) That he's made a big investment of time and energy into the character and so doesn't want to lose that. 2) It's really hard to have that new character feel like a different character in the campaign unless you make them radically different than the first, which isn't always fun.

I can see his point, and it's part of why I don't kill characters as a GM unless they either know going in that this is likely to kill them or unless they are just blinding refusing to see any of the signs laid out before them. (Oh, we weren't supposed to go attack that dragon head-on with no prep beforehand? Ooops.)

Overall, I can and do understand this player's attitude. As long as the approach to me as GM was more, "I really don't want this to happen and it will kill a game for me," and not, "I demand that my character be immortal," I'd be okay with it. I would point out to him that if he does foolish things, it's on his head if the character dies, but otherwise I'd keep right on playing.

Of course, if it's some game systems, death is only temporary anyway...


I can see why you're irked. D&D is not an appropriate game for this sort of attitude, unless it's heavily drifted into being a different sort of play experience than the one it has been designed for.

And yet... I have been there, as a player. I once played a very deep, heavy-roleplay Midnight d20 game. Problem was, it was both 'deep, intense roleplay' and a bloody meatgrinder. I loved my PC, Zana Than. When she died leading the attack on an orc fort, she was the last of the original PCs to go. I really had no interest in rolling up and playing a new PC. Things kind of sputtered on a bit from there, but I had lost all enthusiam for the campaign. The GM brought in a Fate Point system at that point, but it was too late - with hindsight, the kind of game she wanted to run had needed Fate Points or a similar PC-protection mechanism right from the start.

My general advice to you would be to not worry about it, run the campaign you want to run, and be ready to say goodbye to the player, with no hard feelings, if his PC dies.
However, there may be some ways to give both of you what you want. You can possibly, for instance, run a sandboxy game where the PCs have plenty of choice in the level of challenges they wish to take on. If they choose the easier challenges, they lessen the risk of PC death, but also earn less XP and advance more slowly.

Or if you are running a more linear 4e D&D campaign, you could stick closely to the encounter-building guidelines and keep most challenges in the -1 to +1 EL vs Party Level range; then run the encounters as hard as you normally would.

But don't try to run a game you don't really want to run.


My players think I'm a leathal DM. In reality, I'm not. Even in this (very deadly by default) Conan game we're playing, I boosted all the PCs to 9+ Fate Points at the start of the game. As long as you have one Fate Point, it's a 99.99% chance that your character will not die. He may be captured and lose all his equipment, but the character will amazingly survive.

I ran a 2-year Lost City of Barakus campaign using OGL Conan Fate Points, and we had zero PC deaths. I think you're already running a pretty low-lethality game, so tell him that PC death is rare but possible, and don't change your style.

Doug McCrae

You watch the new James Bond movie and you know Bond will never die. And you wonder: why does he even duck when bad guys shoot at him. After all....James Bond could walk right up to the bad guy, let them press the gun to his chest and empty the clip....and low and behold Bond would not be hurt
Yeah, what's up with that? How come the protagonists in long running adventure fiction don't come to realise they are immortal? Maybe they do know and are just going along with the ruse.

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