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Death - Do you have it?
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Thread: Death - Do you have it?

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    Death - Do you have it?

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    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, I'll take his wallet.)

    So, what are your thoughts on this?
    Last edited by Moritz; 05-14-2009 at 08:04 PM.
    "And then you wake up."

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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    YES! Very much so. Where's the challenge and fun if death isn't a very real possibility?
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
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    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.

    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.

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    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.
    Last edited by Webhead; 05-14-2009 at 08:21 PM.
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    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!

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    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.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
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    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.

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    one of my dms is very much a no-fudge-the-dice dm. he always rolls in front of everyone.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
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    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.
    Last edited by Etarnon; 05-15-2009 at 02:56 PM.
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    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.

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    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 ---
    Quote Originally Posted by mrken View 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
    Last edited by Moritz; 05-15-2009 at 08:12 AM. Reason: Automerged Double Post
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    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.
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    Yes, I'm not out to kill them per say but PCs always find new and inventive ways of killing themselves...
    Playing: Pathfinder
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoddessGood View Post
    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

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    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.

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