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Moritz
05-14-2009, 07:59 PM
In consideration of a few topics being thrown around and limiting or increasing the challenge of the players/characters, do you allow death in your games?

For example:

I played a game once where the DM said regardless of how much damage your character takes, you cap out at -8, giving you 2 rounds to roll a save or have friends come stabilize you. Ultimately guaranteeing that your character could not die.

While in my games, if you take more than -10, you take more than -10 and you're dead. (He's dead Jim. You take his tricorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tricorder), I'll take his wallet.)

So, what are your thoughts on this?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-14-2009, 08:04 PM
YES! Very much so. Where's the challenge and fun if death isn't a very real possibility?

templeorder
05-14-2009, 08:06 PM
I feel that without the risk of character death, i certainly have little interest in play. It can be a great story, but if i'm not gonna die, i'm just a vehicle for it. I don't get intellectually or emotionally vested in my character without the possibility of death. As a GM, i won't allow players who really try their hardest and do everything right to let a bad check kill a character. This has to be balanced out with 'stuff happens' - characters can die but i will give players a break who are doing everything right. I may not let them stay conscious, but i may let them live with a wound that impacts their resilience or attributes. Scars and wounds are cool - chicks dig 'em. :cool:

I also find that players who know their character cannot die do really stupid things and the play tends (not always though) to be inferior.

Webhead
05-14-2009, 08:17 PM
While PC death is a very uncommon occurance in my games (simply because of the cleverness and skill of my players), I do allow for it. Obviously, some systems, genres or campaigns have different thresholds for the probability of death but assuming the appropriate circumstances arise I will stick to my guns. I feel the threat of death (in most campaigns) is a crucial part of the suspension of disbelief and also a measure to keep your players careful about picking fights. If they feel that they can't die, they are much more likely to use violence as a means to solve all their problems since they will likely face little to no consequence for it.

Like templeorder, I'm also a big proponent of scars, maiming and other signifiers of a PC's mortality when outright killing a PC seems unfair but such instances are very rare.

Malruhn
05-14-2009, 10:49 PM
If you make stupid decisions, you're gonna die. The only time I consider fudging things is if the dice are not working for the player. If the dice are average - too bad - get ready to roll up a new character... if the dice are rolling steady "ones", then I'll consider relooking at the situation.

But if you are first level and you decide to charge the dragon?

Grab 4d6 and some scratch paper!

nijineko
05-14-2009, 11:37 PM
a recent character death made one of the most memorable roleplaying experiences of some time. i was strongly affected by this event for nearly a week. in the end, the death did not prove permanent, but the experience retains its strength for all that.

especially since the death was caused by three critical errors on my part, the first of which i got surprised by... the second and third, however, i saw coming and didn't move to correct them.

Dytrrnikl
05-14-2009, 11:39 PM
Character death is very much a part of the games I run. I use a -10 rule, where once you reach -1 hp or lower, you lose one hp each round, unless you stabilize or someone comes over and uses first aid or casts a healing spell/uses healing potion on you. I no longer fudge die rolls. I've seen nights where the die fall in favor of my player's, and they take what was supposed to be a challenging encounter and make it not so challenging. On the other hand, I've also seen nights where no matter what die they picked up, it was bad...those nights things don't go well for the player's. I maintain the same integrity with myself as DM. I have nights where the die factor works to the benefit of the challenges and nights where they work in favor of the player's, it happens. I have had nights with TPK. IT sucks, but it happens. THe game is supposed to be fun for the players. Fun does not mean no risk of losing your character...that falls to the idiotic notion that there are no losers, just 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place 'winners'. Gaming is not about competition, but success and failure are very much a part of it. If you take away the chance of failure or lower the risk, it's pointless to even play.

nijineko
05-15-2009, 12:19 AM
one of my dms is very much a no-fudge-the-dice dm. he always rolls in front of everyone.

Etarnon
05-15-2009, 06:38 AM
I enjoy and prefer permadeath systems, with no raise no resurrection, just bury.

Especially the more hard core military games like delta force, battletech, and such.

These days, I am running conan, which has little healing magic, and once a pc dies, there are few gods to save you.. if they even cared to.

mrken
05-15-2009, 08:08 AM
Death must be possible or I don't see the game as fun. There has to be something risked to add that zing to the game.

Have I allowed characters to die, yes. But I must also admit it has been a long time since a character has died. In a game where doing twice the damage that characters have in hit points is possible, I do have a couple of safe guards in place. Armor negates some of the damage off the top. After a certain percentage of damage a character will get knocked out for a time. After they reach negatives they are on a countdown to death if someone does not stabilize them soon enough. Generally they survive. But they will end up looking like Frankenstein's monster with scars all over their bodies, maybe even with missing parts.

Moritz
05-15-2009, 08:09 AM
In regards to Nijineko and Dyrrnikl's remarks about dice fudging. I generally roll well, almost too well; so well that I do it in front of the players on the 'big table'.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

<snip> I do have a couple of safe guards in place. Armor negates some of the damage off the top.<snip>

Damage Reduction is an incredible thing. Even if it's DR10, those 10 points could be what keeps the character from going into numbers beyond -10. And monsters with DR are even better :)

GoddessGood
05-15-2009, 10:56 AM
Players don't generally die in my games. They can get maimed, scarred or retired, but I don't think I've ever had one die. NPCs can and do die (sometimes horrifically), but what I play is exalted. the PCs are supposed to be the badassest things out there, especially if they're Solars. I wouldnt' consider death a risk to them unless I'm sending them towards something I know they can't handle. And if this is the case, I make sure they know it. Loved ones, comrades and innocent bystanders die, sometimes directly because of something the players did (or didn't) do. I think this brings the message across thoroughly enough.

MortonStromgal
05-15-2009, 12:01 PM
Yes, I'm not out to kill them per say but PCs always find new and inventive ways of killing themselves...

Sascha
05-15-2009, 01:11 PM
Players don't generally die in my games. They can get maimed, scarred or retired, but I don't think I've ever had one die. NPCs can and do die (sometimes horrifically), but what I play is exalted. the PCs are supposed to be the badassest things out there, especially if they're Solars. I wouldnt' consider death a risk to them unless I'm sending them towards something I know they can't handle. And if this is the case, I make sure they know it. Loved ones, comrades and innocent bystanders die, sometimes directly because of something the players did (or didn't) do. I think this brings the message across thoroughly enough.
This. Only replace "Exalted" with "Spirit of the Century." 'Specially the bit about the PCs being at the top of the game, by default ;)

cplmac
05-15-2009, 01:54 PM
Yes! By all means, there has to be the possibility that a PC can get killed. If there isn't, then that reduces the calibur of play as far as I am concerned. Players tend to play thier PCs better when they know that the result can be the death of thier character.

My "Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth" game group knows that death is possible. They saw a NPC get killed while they were fighting a Clay Golem. In the same battle, one of them took damage that the group's clerics have not been able to cure. Before we started, I had told them that when I played a PC in the campaign previously, that only 2 of the characters actually made it back out of the caverns, alive. Also, our last game session, the dice were being rather generous to the DM and they were taking more damage than they previously had. We will see just how many make it out this time.

Windstar
05-15-2009, 01:59 PM
YES! Very much so. Where's the challenge and fun if death isn't a very real possibility?

Short, sweet, to the point and once again I find I am in agreement with Thoth.

:cool::cool:

GoddessGood
05-15-2009, 02:01 PM
*shrug* To me, it sounds like in that kind of game you win if you survive. I prefer the you-win-if-you-have-fun model of gaming. Makes it harder on the GM than the players, tho, as they have the task of making sure everyone is having fun, rather than the players just concentrating on surviving.

Oldgamer
05-15-2009, 04:34 PM
I have no problem killing PC's and NPC's :) If there is no fear of dying, why would you play? Where would the fun be without it?

Grimwell
05-15-2009, 04:47 PM
My games have death as well. It adds to the excitement when there is a threat of lethality. Lacking that threat, rolling the dice becomes mechanical and does not include any risk.

Sascha
05-15-2009, 05:43 PM
I don't believe fear of anything should be a part of the game, death or otherwise ;)

"Challenge" and "risk" mean more things than "create a new character on failure."

kirksmithicus
05-16-2009, 12:55 AM
Yep, characters die. What's the point if you know you can do any ridiculous thing you want to and prevail.

In last nights game session, two characters nearly died. My character and the Druid character were both on their second failed death save, before they could be stabilized.

Made the game interesting and a little more tense. But when it comes down to it, having your character get killed is no big deal. Just roll up a new one, and move on.

BrotherDog
05-16-2009, 04:19 AM
Why leave death out? That makes no sense to me. Plus, just because the character died doesn't mean it's over for that character, not by a longshot. SO many options exist for deceased characters.

The usuals-
Raise Dead
Reincarnation
Play as ghost

Less usual but similar options exist as well. I can't remember the name of the fungus, but it resembles a cross between a tiny dirigible and a jellyfish, it was in a Dragon magazine article back in 2e. But it's spores absorb the memories of any corpse that may have contributed to it's growth and nourishment.

Due to these options, in some ways the adventure doesn't begin until death.

drewshi
05-16-2009, 05:23 AM
In my current campaign, we've had two deaths in the past year. Death is a part of life and it really adds to the story of your game when a character, especially a beloved character, dies. The first death was actually expedited by one of the other characters who didn't like him. As the character was struggling on his own with a group of orcs, his fellow party member, from a safe distance, used Magic Missile to aid the orcs.

Recently, that same character died himself at the mouth of a very hungry Bag of Devouring.

Both deaths have led to new character creation and a new dynamic to the party. The latter player is creating a bard with a very cool background. I'm looking forward to working him into the campaign and seeing how the other characters take to him.

As a kid, I remember my mom would walk in on a bunch of us playing D&D and she'd ask, "Who's winning?" And I'd have to explain there's no real winner at the moment. You just made sure you didn't die. She'd look at the stuff on the floor, nod, and then ask, "Anybody dying?"

GoddessGood
05-16-2009, 08:20 AM
I have no problem killing PC's and NPC's :) If there is no fear of dying, why would you play? Where would the fun be without it?
The fun, for me at least, lies in watching characters grow. Emotionally, statistically, whathaveyou. There are only so many ways to build a starting character (yeah sure, there are a LOT of them, but after playing a game for years, you've seen most of them), and watching which path the players choose to take them is sort of like a science experiment (or something). Kinda cool.

"Challenge" and "risk" mean more things than "create a new character on failure."
This.

I dunno. If a player was repeatedly doing dumb things to try and get their character killed, I might ask them to leave the game. At least, if there wasn't an IC reason for them to be doing it. I don't favor players who are just trying to beat the story.

mrken
05-16-2009, 10:04 AM
Hey Goddess, I have met a few players like that. Trying to get their character killed. The game is enjoyable without them. Let them die and the player can either set and watch as the other players have fun or go home. Either way I am cool with it.

Rochin
05-16-2009, 12:25 PM
A Midnight game I was a player in had the fear of character death at each and every session. There is not much healing in Midnight, so the PCs are usually not full on HP. So a party with 7 PCs was terrified of a goblin with a short sword. One lucky blow and "He is dead Jim.". This kept the game very interesting. We had goals and things that needed to get done, but we had to really weigh the cost of trying to do each. After each combat session there were always PCs that were down. Usually half the party would be dragging the down ones around. We always were asking "Should we camp here and wait a few days to get a few HP back, or do we just drag the KO'ed PCs around?"

Without that element of danger, the game would have been vastly different. The DM ran a great game and made our successes feel like we were king of the world, only to have the bad guy show up and make us run for our lives. I had 2 PCs die in that game, one because I gave up on the character due to very very poor rolling, 8 1's in a row at more than one session and that replacement PC did not fit with the party. My 3rd PC in that game was better thought out and made a good addition to the group.

I think that the players should always feel the danger of PC death. In our Midnight game if we would have had a regular cleric, or some healing potions, our deaths would have come quickly. We had to plan carefully and have an escape plan.

Sascha
05-16-2009, 01:16 PM
Hey Goddess, I have met a few players like that. Trying to get their character killed. The game is enjoyable without them. Let them die and the player can either set and watch as the other players have fun or go home. Either way I am cool with it.
Issues with players shouldn't be resolved in-game, or ignored 'til the player "wises up". Best to talk, clearly and honestly, about the goals of the game, and if there can't be a happy medium, ask the player to leave. Or, if it's the whole group, stop running games for them.

Moritz
05-16-2009, 03:27 PM
Players don't generally die in my games. They can get maimed, scarred or retired, but I don't think I've ever had one die. NPCs can and do die (sometimes horrifically), but what I play is exalted. the PCs are supposed to be the badassest things out there, especially if they're Solars.

What does Exalted actually mean?
-Do they have the highest scores for their level in your world? All 18s? Or do you weigh all your NPC's and Monsters at their CR to have less points in their characteristics?
-Do they never face anything above their challenge rating?
-At 1st level, do they never encounter 2-20th+ levels?
-Is it like in WoW being 50th level and killing Cows?

Sascha
05-16-2009, 07:44 PM
Exalted (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exalted) - White Wolf's epic fantasy game. Draws from old stories like Cúchulainn, Gilgamesh, the Ramayana and even the Bible, newer stories in the pulp fantasy vein (Edgar Rice Burroughs, R.E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, etc.), and tries to match their over-the-top exploits. Its main design goal was a fantasy game with no Tolkien trappings.

DM_Running_Farland_3.5
05-16-2009, 08:27 PM
I make it a mission every 1d4-2 Friday night per month to kill every single PC.

They just keep surviving.
BASTARDS

tesral
05-22-2009, 12:18 AM
Present? Yes. Frequent? No. I have a bunch of very smart players that avoid death well. However, it is there.

Personally I think to remove death as a component of the game is to cheat the players on a certain level. Actions must have consequences. If that isn't the case then the actions themselves are lessened. NPCs die all the time, if the PCs are not looking at death as well, they are not part of the world.

Rook
05-22-2009, 11:24 AM
We all get one life for the price of one death (with the exception of those who believe in reincarnation).
I keep magics that can restore the dead to life very rare in my campaigns, and they always come at a very high cost. I want the players to know that if there is a very real risk that their beloved character will die if they act foolishly which encourages more realistic gameplay. True heroism cannot exist without the risk of death and I want my players to have the opportunity to develop their characters into true heroes.
While I never bought into the Gygaxian perspective of DM vs. PC, with each trying to foil the others well-laid plans, I wanted my players to know that if they decided to attack the sleeping dragon that guarded the entrance with their low-level characters rather than coming up with a plan to bypass it, they were looking at almost certain death.

gajenx
05-24-2009, 10:23 AM
For my games it is present though not common. I seem to end up in any of my long running campaigns to have 1 - 3 character deaths due to combat. My players know I do not mean to kill a PC off, unless they ask me to so they can change characters, so when it happens they go o.k. that stunk well time for my backup concept character.

Some even are so prepped for character death that they keep a back up character with them for when it happens. The games that I normally have death occur most often are DnD, Scion, and Runequest. DnD being the least time it occurs due to how much harder it is to die in that system than the other ones.

Baldwin Stonewood
05-24-2009, 06:31 PM
Yes, there has to be the possibility of death. Death is part of the game.

DragonmagRT
05-24-2009, 07:04 PM
Death is a part of any RPG simply because it is probably one of the parts of the game that usually helps heighten the tension, and ultimately the enjoyment in the game. It is also a good means of getting rid of any PC that has a tendency to disrupt a party by doing things that will bring danger to the party on purpose.

Baron_Samedi
05-30-2009, 03:03 PM
Death should be a factor in adventure gaming...it prevents these power gamer Halo-types from running into a room and hacking their way into oblivion. However, with a character death, i do add a little something into the mix. If said character, was of redemable worth, then the group has the option to get that character back. As a rule, they have as many weeks as the character has aged in years...to travel to Hades before they reach their ultimate afterlife destination, and retrieve them...Its only been done a couple of times, but mostly the group just shrugs and usually forgets about it. I guess that character isn't that important to them...

korhal23
05-30-2009, 03:14 PM
With the group I play with, someone has died in every game at some point.... In Shadowrun one of our players attacked another for no good reason and got killed by everyone else... In Star Wars, I was the only player standing at the end of one fight, and I just barely survived... In Aces and Eights, god people die all the time in that game if you aren't SUPER careful...

Then as a GM for 4E, I killed the Warlord who kept getting nailed by AoEs and went down to the negative of her bloodied value and therefore died before anyone thought to save her. Solos are pretty powerful :P

William Murderface
06-06-2009, 12:17 PM
My last DM allowed death but after a person died he/she was allowed ONE Resurrection
but after that if you died that was it, he often said that the twice dead cannot come back

gajenx
06-06-2009, 02:41 PM
Death in my games has always happened and usually is permanent as no ever plays clerics or druids in DnD or characters who can resurrect another. Though I did have players go and fetch 2 of the dead characters from the underworld and make deals for their return, 1 with Hel and 1 with Hades. But that was in a game of Scion and so Death there is not as permanent or as hard to get over as in other games since you are related to some deity.

The gropup just hated being linked and hated the deals they had to make with those death deities.

jade von delioch
06-06-2009, 04:53 PM
I have killed PC's before by had them helped by a NPC of mine. But yes, the threat of death is very real. They did not remain permanently dead because i only had to players ta the time (both had died) and didn't want to start over completely.

Parzival
06-12-2009, 11:10 AM
Characters die, and they don't come back.
<shrug> Without high stakes, where's the drama?

I don't buy into the GM vs PCs mentality. That's a gamist orientation. I'm a simulationist. My settings do have sharp edges, and I keep consequences as realistic as possible.

Arkhemedes
06-12-2009, 12:20 PM
I recently read somewhere on someone's post that most characters in his campaign don't make it past 5th or 6th level! Sounds to me like this GM could write a book on how to lose friends and frustrate people. GMs who think its him against the player are surely missing the point. The number one objective is to make sure everyone has fun. And if its an exercise in futility who's having fun? Sure, make it challenging - but it takes no real skill for a GM to kill off the PCs. Anyone can do that. The real skill is making the battles close enough to be exciting but not so deadly that characters are dropping in every fight. Characters in my campaign die on occasion - but its usually because the player has made some bad decisions or the dice gods really have it in for the player that day.

Harwel
06-12-2009, 12:39 PM
Characters die, and they don't come back.
<shrug> Without high stakes, where's the drama?

Exactly. Though I do think that in some genres resurrection is OK. Fantasy and supers come to mind. But resurrection should be a real pain in the arse. In a Planescape campaign, we once had to go to the Gray Wastes and bargain for someone's soul to bring them back.

Zzarchov
06-12-2009, 03:11 PM
I recently read somewhere on someone's post that most characters in his campaign don't make it past 5th or 6th level! Sounds to me like this GM could write a book on how to lose friends and frustrate people. GMs who think its him against the player are surely missing the point. The number one objective is to make sure everyone has fun. And if its an exercise in futility who's having fun? Sure, make it challenging - but it takes no real skill for a GM to kill off the PCs. Anyone can do that. The real skill is making the battles close enough to be exciting but not so deadly that characters are dropping in every fight. Characters in my campaign die on occasion - but its usually because the player has made some bad decisions or the dice gods really have it in for the player that day.

Fun does not equal "never losing" or "always winning"

Having your character die is not the same thing as "ruined fun". If it is, then there is a good chance you may be poisoning everyone elses fun.

First off "fun" is a worthless term for discussion. Its like saying something "tastes good". Its meaningless.

If I someone asked me what the game "Mazes and Monsters" was like and I said "Oh, you'll like it, its fun" I'd have been better off not speaking as I added nothing helpful.

If I said "Its failure oriented, rules lite and focusing on action over drama, so I found it fun" then thats ALOT more useful. If they like the same things they too will find it "Fun" if they don't like the same things they won't find it "fun".

Its no different than describing a pasta sauce as "Tasting good" versus "I thought it tasted good because it was spicy and had alot of garlic". If they don't like spicy food or garlic they won't like it, but if they do they know they probably will like it.


Where was I going with this? Having fun.

Having fun is not the point of a game. A game should fulfill a type of gameplay. People who like that type of gameplay will find the game fun, people who don't like that type of gameplay should play another game.

You cannot make a game thats fun for everyone. In my case I would prefer a game where rarely does one make it to 6th level then one where you can't die unless you try. Its only fun for me if I beat the odds, if the odds are in my favour the whole time (or worse if the DM just cheats to keep me alive) I won't have fun.

If you want to have fun the trick isn't to make the game easy, its to make sure the game is the type of game you want (which may be easy) and that everyone else playing ALSO wants the same type of game.

We call them RPG's and act like they are all the same, but RPG's are as varied as video games. Someone who likes "Killgore 7: Zombi-Nazi Massacre" may not like "Peggle" and fans of either game may not like "Civilization VIII: Don't ever bother leaving your computer chair"

tesral
06-12-2009, 04:42 PM
Where was I going with this? Having fun.

Having fun is not the point of a game.

Remind me not to play with you. Having fun has always been the point of the game. If it is not fun, why am I doing it?

Arkhemedes
06-12-2009, 05:02 PM
Ditto Tesral

"Fun" is a rather vague term I agree. But the GM should know his players well enough to know what it takes for he and his players to have fun. And speaking of people who have missed the point...

korhal23
06-12-2009, 05:40 PM
Remind me not to play with you. Having fun has always been the point of the game. If it is not fun, why am I doing it?

Actually, tes, it sounds like he's saying that games are not inherently fun, which I'd agree with, to a degree. It may be your favoritest, funnerist game in the world, but if I don't like the style or the subject or the game mechanics, I may not find it fun at all.

Sometimes around these boards I see people talk down on rules heavy simulation type games, but I like those. I try not to talk bad about rules lite games, but I make it plain that typically they aren't for me.

I also tend to dislike games where players are terrified of every corner and shadow... I like games like 4E D&D or Spycraft or Star Wars where your character is badass but there's still plenty of threats, and tend to dislike games like older D&D or Call of Cthulhu or the like, where you punt the gnome out in front of the group and see if he sets off any traps that do a zillion d 12 damage to him. But that's just personal preference.

ZZar, I see your point, but I think you worded it wrong. Playing a game IS supposed to be fun. But it's supposed to be fun because as you said it fulfills what you're looking for in a game in terms of gameplay, whatever playstyle you prefer.

For myself, I vary the difficulty and threat of death as the game goes on. Sometimes fights are easy, sometimes they aren't. Some areas of my campaigns (incoming hyperbole alert), about the only way a player could die is suicide...(/hyperbole) and in others a TPK is a very real and imminent threat. Some players have told me I seem too nice of a GM initially because of that mindset. Then they hit one of my hard points and they know how tactically I think and how cunning some of my setups are, and they tend to change that tune.

But like ZZarchov's flavor analogy, it's all a moot point to try to argue because it changes from person to person, and there is no empirically correct "Level of Threat of Death/Failure" or "Fun Quotient" or any other vaguely science-y thing I think of on the subject... only subjectivity and taste.

tesral
06-12-2009, 07:42 PM
Fun is what the GM and players bring to the game. A pile of books is not fun, but that isn't "the game" either.

The game is created by the GM and players. If fun is not the point, why are you bothering? "Dude, I can't wait for the Saturday night game, I haven't been bored and frustrated to tears all week!"

Yes the definition of fun will vary, but so with the game itself vary from group to group. Take exactly the same game, but insert different gamers the dynamic will change and the game will change. Fun is still the point.

I don't know anyone that describes a game as just "fun" without explaining why they see it as fun.

korhal23
06-13-2009, 12:22 AM
True, and to be honest, I'm not sure where ZZar's point was directed, but I see what he was saying. Yes, fun is still the point, and there I disagree with him, but I agree that the game will only BE fun if it's the type of game you want to be playing. The burden of making a quality game is on the players and GM, but the burden of making a quality game system is on the writers. ZZar finds the mechanical challenge of a game to be the main selling point for him, you do not, and I personally fall somewhere in the middle. Yet none of us are right, and none of us are wrong because you can't be either one.

Zzarchov
06-13-2009, 03:03 PM
Nominally I believe you should play a game of a style that you find fun, and no game style can be fun for everyone.

That said, sometimes you don't play a game for fun. There can be other reasons. It can be you friends birthday and he likes rules lite story games and you like crunchy simulationist games. You play a rules lite story game because HE finds it fun and its HIS birthday.

Likewise you might play a game of style you don't traditionally think of as fun just to "give it a shot" and see if maybe you would find it fun (which is akin to trying a pasta dish even if italian normally doesn't appeal to you, just because you figure "what the hell" and figure you'll at least TASTE it before judging).

And lastly, you might play a game as a competition or job (if you are a playtester, though competitions are more for non-RPGs)


The point of a game is not to have fun. Fun is just the MAIN reason you play a particular game. Again, this is akin to food. The point of food is not to be tasty, Taste is just probably the MAIN reason you eat the food. Your definition of Tasty is also subjective, so when you describe the food, describe what you like, not that you like it.

Clear as mud and straight as a pretzel right?

Parzival
06-13-2009, 06:33 PM
As an illustration, I'll note that the prospect that so horrified Russell (characters in a campaign rarely exceeding 5th or 6th level) is to me, a selling point.

I'm not interested in high-power games. <shrug> Where he sees futility, I see challenge. Where he sees boredom, I see dramatic potential.
My concept of fun, and his concept of fun, do not coincide.

Arkhemedes
06-13-2009, 08:27 PM
As an illustration, I'll note that the prospect that so horrified Russell (characters in a campaign rarely exceeding 5th or 6th level) is to me, a selling point.

I'm not interested in high-power games. <shrug> Where he sees futility, I see challenge. Where he sees boredom, I see dramatic potential.
My concept of fun, and his concept of fun, do not coincide.[/quote]

As is evident from the recent posts here there is clearly more than one way to look at the issue, which is great - different strokes for different folks. And to be honest, perhaps the fact that I've played with the same group of guys for more than a decade has made me a bit soft. On the other hand, the fact that I've had the same group of guys for more than a decade says something as well.

I've also noted a tendency for younger players to have more of a video game mentality about the game than older players who are more concerned about a story driven campaign. This is only natural having been exposed to more video games at a younger age. Don't get me wrong - I'm not knocking the video game approach. There's nothing wrong with it. It's just a different way of looking at the game. And this of course does not mean all older players feel the same way, nor do all younger players feel the same way. As it has already been stated, you can't please every player with the same style of play.

I will also add that it would be nice to find more players who feel the way you do. Frankly, some of my players are a bit spoiled and I am partly to blame for this. But, in an attempt to rectify this problem, I have, for a number of months, been telling my players that we will soon start up a new campaign that has no predetermined story line of any kind, where the story is simply what they make it. And if they screw up, too bad for them. Pull out your dice and roll up another character.

I think however, when it comes down to it, we are all in agreement on one thing - the real possibility of character death IS a necessary element to the game, which is what this thread is all about. And if your idea of having fun is the satisfaction of knowing that you beat the odds and survived past 5th or 6th level in a campaign where all your companions died, then by all means I wish you good luck. But don't deny it is what you do to have fun.

Arkhemedes
06-26-2009, 08:20 PM
Well, it's been two weeks since anyone has posted on this thread. And who can say exactly why that is. I do however think that it's interesting that since I mentioned the topic of longevity with my gaming group, that it has suddenly grown quiet here. I've also noticed that of my two biggest opponents (Zzarchov and Parzival) on the idea of killing characters off at an alarming rate, I have yet to find any mention, despite my efforts, of gaming groups they have been a part of for any real length of time. Again, I find that interesting. Makes me wonder, as my initial post on this thread theorizes, if their viewpoint might have something to do with their apparent inability to keep a group together.

Oldgamer
06-27-2009, 07:55 AM
There have only been 3 groups I've played or DM'd that lasted less than 2 years. One ended due to RL prior engagements from some of the players, and the other due to a temper tantrum because his character got killed for something he did stupid ... when you're a 12th level rogue ... you don't try to take on Lolth herself by-your-self. The other group had a guy who was a little league baseball coach and his games often fell on our game days and another player in that game was also an accountant and tax specialist and we were in tax season, so he often missed games. The third group is the reason I don't allow alcohol or drugs into the game, they got drunk early and they lost interest and wanted to get stupid. The rest of the groups I've been in, regardless of character deaths ... even TPK, have gone on for more than 2 years. I play in a PBeM right now that's been going on for more than 10 years. I DM'd 2 games that lasted 6+ years. When I was a teenager, our group was together for about 4 years or so, until graduation and everyone went their separate ways.

Etarnon
06-27-2009, 08:44 AM
I haven't posted here because I've been busy.

I've had games that lasted, despite multiple character deaths, and other games that ended without PC deaths, and the gamut in between.

I don't think a games' longevity necessarily depends upon "fun" or character survival.. sometimes it's simply a case of genre misfit, DM gets tired, or loses focus, player's schedules, including work, school, spouses, kids etc no longer match.

If a game is gonna run 3 months, it can still be fun. Likewise, i've had games that ran three years that were fun.

I think half of it is in campaign concept, players fitting into that concept, and players laying according to genre conventions, and not doing "Stupid Crap (TM)" That has nothing to do with ongoing story arcs...

On the adventure to go explore the drake's cave, the gnome illusionist decides he wants to camp out in the woods and create a new spell...for a month.

In a superhero game, the main PC decides before she enters the enemy lair, she wants to fly to paris, and get a fashion designer to make up whole new costumes for the group...and refuses to allow it to be a cut scene...no...it must be window shopping, and hand made tailoring

Stuff like that is maddening. And in my experience as a DM = "Not Fun."

Arkhemedes
06-27-2009, 08:50 AM
Oldgamer, I have followed much of what you have said over the past couple of weeks and I find that I agree with many of your viewpoints despite any opposition you may have received. And I find the fact that you have managed to have success with the longevity of your group to be very encouraging, as well as the simple fact that you had a character in your group that made it to 12th level. I hope that this means, like me, that you are more interested in providing a good, yet challenging, story for your players rather than simply pitting them against a series of monsters with the intent to kill them off before they reach 5th or 6th level as some DMs apparently believe is neccessary.

templeorder
06-27-2009, 08:55 AM
I must be one of the luckiest GM's on the planet. Recently, half the party has been recycled. And yet, the players mostly ask me to make their characters for them still, and happily keep going. My own character recently died in one game. I've not got a new character to replace him, so i'm not playing in that one until i can come up with a strong concept i want to play, but still, the group goes on. My main group has been together for about 7 years (a few players from previous groups longer), a few coming and going, but solid. I have a group that i used to play with in college and after that only meet a few times a year for 6-7 hour sessions - i've been with them for 23 years. I have another group, a splinter group that has only been going a few months. I've killed everyone in all these groups multiple times... and yet they still come back. We have camapaigns we let die because the characters were just ridiculously powerful... but none of us let go of the characters - even though the camapign dates have placed them squarely in the past. All forms of death happen yet i think that my experience certainly shows that its not a detriment in all cases, and in some have the opposite, as in dying of natural causes - i guess that could be considered one of the few ways of "winning" in RPG's! Death seems to be a natural part and accepted as part of the consequences. The older characters, who have seen it more, play less radical characters and tend to go more slow and methodical - they are good releplayers, not using OOC knowledge, but tend to survive longer simply due to caution. I've considered this a lot in killing off some PC's recently and realized that if you have a more interesting challenge and concept than their current character, players even embrace the idea sometimes.

Parzival
06-27-2009, 09:46 AM
Well, it's been two weeks since anyone has posted on this thread. And who can say exactly why that is. I do however think that it's interesting that since I mentioned the topic of longevity with my gaming group, that it has suddenly grown quiet here. I've also noticed that of my two biggest opponents (Zzarchov and Parzival) on the idea of killing characters off at an alarming rate, I have yet to find any mention, despite my efforts, of gaming groups they have been a part of for any real length of time. Again, I find that interesting. Makes me wonder, as my initial post on this thread theorizes, if their viewpoint might have something to do with their apparent inability to keep a group together.
Bollocks.
I've had many gaming groups, but I've also moved around a lot. I've left every one of them on good terms.

Also, how do you define "time together"?
Back when I was young and single, I'd run 4-5 nights a week. That racks up a heck of a lot of gaming time extremely quickly. But with deployments and people mustering out, there was a good amount of turnover. At what point is it no longer the same group?

You're trying to score points on the cheap, and it makes you look insecure.
It's one thing to like subjective thing X.
It's another thing to say "subjective thing X is better than subjective thing Y and this circumstantial evidence proves it!"

Arkhemedes
06-27-2009, 11:14 AM
Bollocks.
I've had many gaming groups, but I've also moved around a lot. I've left every one of them on good terms.

Also, how do you define "time together"?
Back when I was young and single, I'd run 4-5 nights a week. That racks up a heck of a lot of gaming time extremely quickly. But with deployments and people mustering out, there was a good amount of turnover. At what point is it no longer the same group?

You're trying to score points on the cheap, and it makes you look insecure.
It's one thing to like subjective thing X.
It's another thing to say "subjective thing X is better than subjective thing Y and this circumstantial evidence proves it!"
Don't get upset with me here, Parzival. I'm merely making an observation. You and I both know we look at the matter from a different perspective. And trust me, if I were feeling insecure I certainly would not have dug up an issue that had been buried under countless threads for two weeks. And you since you saw fit to challenge my view on the issue it was a point of interest for me to keep on eye the matter and perhaps come to an understanding on why it is we don't see eye to eye on it.

It is good to know that you still care and are still out there willing to defend your point of view, because I, for one, am hoping that we can both take something from this discussion. It's the reason we have threads like this. I also suspect that if we were to trade places we might both also benefit from it. Part of the problem I believe is that you and I have both been victims of our own circumstances, whether they be good or bad. From my perspective, having a long-standing group of gamers, though by most would be considered a good thing, has had its drawbacks, because we have grown comfortable in our way of playing and have not had the opportunity to meet many new players with their different points of view. Where as in your case, and I can only speculate here, because you have no interest in high-power or high-level games perhaps you haven't had much opportunity to take part in one.

I would like to continue this discussion, and as I said, perhaps we can both learn something from it. But I do not care to get into a shouting match with you. Maybe if you told me more about your gaming experiences we could come to a better understanding. So what you do say, Parzival? Will you meet me half way?

Oldgamer
06-27-2009, 12:20 PM
Oldgamer, I have followed much of what you have said over the past couple of weeks and I find that I agree with many of your viewpoints despite any opposition you may have received. And I find the fact that you have managed to have success with the longevity of your group to be very encouraging, as well as the simple fact that you had a character in your group that made it to 12th level. I hope that this means, like me, that you are more interested in providing a good, yet challenging, story for your players rather than simply pitting them against a series of monsters with the intent to kill them off before they reach 5th or 6th level as some DMs apparently believe is neccessary.


:humble:

I do enjoy a good story over xp crawls. Some people enjoy character builds ... I enjoy building characters :)

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-27-2009, 12:31 PM
Thoth has some points to share:

1) Sometimes, though... a good dungeon crawl with no real story line is just what the doctor..er..um DM ordered. Ah, it brings me back to the days of old. Good times.

2) Sometimes characters find themselves in a bad situation with no real explanation. A great example of this, if run correctly, is WLD (Worlds Largest Dungeon). I haven't really played through Ravenloft, sadly. But isn't that campaign kind of a mystery to the characters, at least to the end?

3) I will play all the editions, for the camaraderie is always worth it. I do have my favorites, though. So, it isn't the edition that's the deciding factor on whether or not i will play, it's the possibility of death. No real chance of death equates to no real chance for me agreeing to play. <-- the thread tie-in. :rolleyes:

4) I love XP c-r-a-w-l-s, LOVE 'EM! I'm old school, after all. But when playing in others campaigns, i put my preferences aside, and just sit back an enjoy the flavor others bring to the--arguably--greatest rpg game in the world.

5) Edition options are great! Homebrew rules are great! I love that we have so many options, and we do all have our favorites. When 5E gets released in a few years, there will be those that love/hate, or have feelings somewhere in-between, that edition, too. Editions to me are like cars: everyone likes to drive, we just have differing tastes in cars.

Thoth is in a participatory mood today. Is this transparent? :confused:

Arkhemedes
06-27-2009, 12:42 PM
Well, we're all in agreement I think that the real possibility of character death is a necessary element for any of us to play, and I love a good dungeon crawl as much as the next guy. But the mere fact that a character goes through a dungeon crawl is a story in itself regardless of whether or not it's a good story.

I've got the WLD though sadly I have yet to do anything with it. And yes, Ravenloft tends to be more roleplaying and mystery solving than monster bashing. I like both however, so I have to switch back and forth between the two to keep the interest up as high as it can be.

Parzival
06-27-2009, 05:29 PM
Don't get upset with me here, Parzival. I'm merely making an observation. You and I both know we look at the matter from a different perspective. And trust me, if I were feeling insecure I certainly would not have dug up an issue that had been buried under countless threads for two weeks. And you since you saw fit to challenge my view on the issue it was a point of interest for me to keep on eye the matter and perhaps come to an understanding on why it is we don't see eye to eye on it.

It is good to know that you still care and are still out there willing to defend your point of view, because I, for one, am hoping that we can both take something from this discussion. It's the reason we have threads like this. I also suspect that if we were to trade places we might both also benefit from it. Part of the problem I believe is that you and I have both been victims of our own circumstances, whether they be good or bad. From my perspective, having a long-standing group of gamers, though by most would be considered a good thing, has had its drawbacks, because we have grown comfortable in our way of playing and have not had the opportunity to meet many new players with their different points of view. Where as in your case, and I can only speculate here, because you have no interest in high-power or high-level games perhaps you haven't had much opportunity to take part in one.

I would like to continue this discussion, and as I said, perhaps we can both learn something from it. But I do not care to get into a shouting match with you. Maybe if you told me more about your gaming experiences we could come to a better understanding. So what you do say, Parzival? Will you meet me half way?
Sure.
I just saw you taking a poke, and poked back. ;) There aren't any hard feelings. It's all the standard internet rough-and-tumble.

I've actually done some higher-level, higher-power gaming. (The Champions game I'm in currently is right on the verge of going galactic in scope.) <shrug> It's just not my favorite.
<grin> IMV, it takes a tremendously disfunctional (OK, "driven" works as well, without quite as many negative connotations) character not to settle down somewhere along the trip.

outrider
06-27-2009, 05:48 PM
Yes, death occurs. It can a good death which works fine or it can be a stupid death which is very annoying. The bigger question is the resurrection or non resurrection(raise dead) of the character. I liked the second ed item of lowering your con score and your chance of being raised after each time being brought back. Yes it came down to a dice roll but the players were fine with it. Currently in my campaign all the res and raise dead cost the clerics experience points to do so. That does tend to change the easiness of being raised. My campaign is a 3.5+.

Arkhemedes
06-27-2009, 07:17 PM
Sure.
I just saw you taking a poke, and poked back. ;) There aren't any hard feelings. It's all the standard internet rough-and-tumble.

I've actually done some higher-level, higher-power gaming. (The Champions game I'm in currently is right on the verge of going galactic in scope.) <shrug> It's just not my favorite.
<grin> IMV, it takes a tremendously disfunctional (OK, "driven" works as well, without quite as many negative connotations) character not to settle down somewhere along the trip.
Yeah, high-level gaming can be fun, but it can also quickly become a real headache, especially for the DM, and especially in a campaign that has been going on for years with the same characters. I've had groups where the characters started off high-level just because we wanted to play a particular series of high-level modules. It was difficult enough there just trying to be prepared for all the options players had at their disposal. I've also had groups where we had several folders absolutely crammed with information on the character's strongholds, their henchmen, retainers, political aliances, etc., etc., etc. This became a real nightmare if I ever put the campaign down for a while, then tried to pick it back up again and refamiliarize myself with all that was going on.

And to Outrider, in my Ravenloft campaign which got quite deadly from time to time, I did a similar thing even though we were still playing 2e. In Ravenloft, its rather difficult to find anyone willing to make the attempt to raise a dead character let alone one that is capable of doing so. So I eventually introduced an artifact into the campaign that would essentially grant wishes to fix those things that the characters could not fix any other way. But these wishes came with a heavy, heavy price - up to tens of thousands of experience points for anyone using the item. And raised chasracters still lost a point of con. Rest assured this item was only used in the most dire of circumstances and would even drain away the experience points of a character without granting the wish if ever I felt one was trying to abuse it. It was the perfect solution I thought to allow the campaign to proceed rather than have the characters spend a lot of time searching for someone who could help them - something none of wanted to deal with.