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Thread: Ask a GM [06/09/2009]: Permanent Damage

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mindsquid View Post
    There are no rules in the core for handling loss of body parts, but as a rule you can always impose a -2 to -5 penalty for skill checks and attack rolls that require the use of the said body part.
    To me I feel like if you take those negatives you should be able to add positives as well. Maybe the player picks them(within reason, with a good back story something that makes sense going up or increasing.) I mean it makes sense. A lot of heros in stories lost a limb only to become much stronger then they were previously...

  2. #32
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    As long as the player is aware of the consequences and the potential benefits, I say they can lose a limb or an eye.

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    I have often used them as part of a reward/punishment system.
    If somebody continues to really abuse mechanics or player knowledge then a serious scar (affecting charisma or appearance) will be a warning.
    Some people just have bad luck and I like seeing evidence of such in missing limbs scars and such. It may be as a badge of honor and I really like to talk it over with players to make sure they can be OK with it.

    I LOVE scars and such and battered heroes with stories behind battle wounds such as that.

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    Even if a player acts recklessly or goes against game mechanics, I think causing permanent damage to a character without the player knowing ahead of time is the DM being a control freak. If you have a problem with the style of play, talk to the person out of the game. And if you cause permanent damage anyways like treating the player like a 6 year old child who doesn't share their toys, then in the future if the player shows improvement they should still be granted bonuses to other abilities that the player should get to choose.

    In the show Yu Yu Hakusho there was a character named Yomi who was the right hand in a bandit gang. He was careless, reckless, often ran into situations without thinking and sacrificed many bandits on whims. His actions caused him to be blinded in a battle. Many years later he became one of the 3 rulers of the entire demon world. His blindness caused all his other senses to sharpen to such a point that he was a near diety.

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    I would have to agree that I don't like the idea of using permanent damage in a punitive way to handle out of character issues. If a player is behaving poorly at my table for whatever reason, then I will deal with that outside of the game. Let the out of character stuff stay out of character. I am also reticent to use permanent damage in any sort of random way. Rather, I think certain rare circumstances warrant the possibility of either permanent character death or disfigurement. To me, if player characters are completely immune to any sort of risk in a real sense, it destroys the verisimilitude of the game.
    Robert A. Howard
    Pen & Paper Games
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    I don't think anyone brouhg tup vile damage from the Book of Vile Darkness. There might be other pseudo-permanent issues such as addiction then might add to good role playing.

  7. #37
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    i think punishing players is simply weak. If they are acting badly they get poor XP. Everyone else gets 500-5000, whole dopey gets 200 each game.

    If the character gets maimed then it may be time for them to retire, or they better find a way to compensate like with cybernetics. If not then getting your arm chomped by a t rex is simply the way of an adventurer. If someone promised you it would be easy they lied.

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    Making things difficult on the player doesn't seem weak or petty to me. Now I don't mean ruin the player for life and he can never have the hand/eye back.
    Its a game and anything can happen. Spells are made to restore those things easily. But a little fire, a little "oh crap" moment to a player can do wonders for morale, game play and stories about "Remember that one time when blah blah blah and I Timmy lost his hand" What is permanent in the world of Dnd/Star Wars/Shadowrun?

    Yeah, I guess it can sound as if it will be a petty, "You cheated, now loose a hand" type thing but that would be very game/mood killing. Its all a delicate dance and knowing when to do little things like that and ways to get points across can really make a good game. You don't have to force you moral code on them but you should be able to make sure its fair and fun for everybody.

    I played a campaign for about 3 months once with a group of long time players and a few new people. One of them played a halfling named Singe. He was a rogue and loved causing problems. It was fine until the player began using things that his character would never know or understand, things that gave him an unfair advantage in situations. He would often use that to get other characters into bad spots so he could come out on top. Now not average rogue things but things that werent cheating but just skirting it. He was talked to aside and given things to read, little suggestions and so on. Eventually we ended up running a game and using a premade dungeon in the middle of it. To make things "fun" we amped up the random tables for traps and made them very difficult, many had rolls that resulted in loosing a hand. He eventually faked his "death" around a corner, doubled back and took 20 on all the untrapped doors to get to all of the treasure, place it on a horse and got him out somehow so he could get the treasure later. When he caught back up with the group he rushed ahead to a chest and failed horribly loosing his hand. He was angry at first then when he asked for a do over and was told no he kind of understood why we were not forgiving. The whole campain changed and he learned of a way to get his hand back. The group spent the next 4 or 5 games travelling to get the spell to restore his hand. During that time he became a great rogue for the group. He got his hand back and it was fun. In the end it wasn't evil of vindictive and the group wasn't even mad about helping him restore his favor. It can be handled poorly and childishly or it can be handeled with finese and planning.

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    Some games have options a player can take at creation or acquire during gameplay that reduce his or her effectiveness. Game of Thrones comes to mind, many of the characters in that series of books are afflicted with something that affects their abilities in the game.

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    I am not a permanent damage fan at all either in or out of character. I don't like punishing a player, that is just not fun. No reason to play if its not fun.

    As a side note, I like how paizo's pathfinder beta rules deal with the issue of negative levels.

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    no reason to go to a movie if it isn't fun.
    but horror movies
    dramas
    documentaries are largely not fun. But it is the story that you go for

    and it isn't punishment. The character decided to go into a profession where death and dismemberment were very real possibilities, and actually almost guaranteed in the, probably, very short life of the PC

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    The whole point is, is if you are a DM and you feel the need to retaliate or punish a player then maybe you shouldn't be a DM. If you aren't crazy with things they are doing or have done in the game then either talk to them OOG, or simply throw something interesting at them in game. Have their actions effect the plot. Punishing players is childish.

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    I totally agree, but if sir dumbcaca insists that the solid brick wall which already dealt 4 points to his hand insists it an illusion
    or the infamous head of vecna tale rolls around
    or if the wizard tries to modify the fireball spell without proper precautions (ones that work)
    or if the first level fighter decides to go all in at a goblin village with the assuption that Hey they are just goblins
    etc
    then yes you will get hurt maimed and possibly die
    But punishing them out of hand because you don't like them? no if yo don't like them why are they at your table??
    But I don't reward them either just cuz

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthro82 View Post
    The whole point is, is if you are a DM and you feel the need to retaliate or punish a player then maybe you shouldn't be a DM. If you aren't crazy with things they are doing or have done in the game then either talk to them OOG, or simply throw something interesting at them in game. Have their actions effect the plot. Punishing players is childish.
    This is a completely different topic. What was asked was whether it was liked/disliked, not how it was used (ie punishment).

    You make a good point though. Don't "punish" players. If you do you are just asking for the group to end and that defeats the purpose of the game anyhow.

    But using maiming and dismemberment as a story aid can be very powerful and productive. Personally I like having a "challenge" and it makes things more "dangerous" when I know the game system could leave my character missing his head, a hand, or an eye dispite having 1 million HP.

    One of the things that took me away from D&D was the raging bull style of play where your character could be down to 1 out of 100 HP and still be fighting at full potential. Your health was like watching your gas tank - down to less than a quarter tank and you start looking for the next refill.

    This made for DUMB, and I mean DUMB tactics, idiotic choices, and completely unrealistic consequences for being DUMB! Had there been better maiming rules or instant-death rules (that were simple) then combat would have felt a little more serious, a hair more real with a hint of tangible risk... But then I don't like playing games that feel like Saturday morning cartoons.
    Randal Snyder
    Sundered Epoch.org

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    If a player acts reckless or stupidly than yea there are repercussions for running into a camp of goblins by yourself without any plan. Not repercussions brought on by the DM because he or she is smiting you, rather repercussions brought on by the living, breathing world they live in. The thing is though the DM has to be able to seperate their feelings OOG from the in game world.

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