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Beagle

Death and Injuries to PCs in RPGs

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35 minutes ago, Beagle said:

But what about if the players end up in a battle against a very powerful enemy? Aren’t you left with a situation where the players who want their characters protected can run outrageous risks that are likely to kill the characters of players who are prepared to lose characters?

No. Because we got rid of all our dick players some time ago.

 

And I never said any PC was completely immune to death. I just said that I am happy to work within each player's likes and styles.

 

And to add to that... in my experience, it is exactly the people who slavishly covet and fetishize character death who do the outrageous crap that gets everybody killed. The players who don't like it tend to be much more cooperative and responsible with everybody else.

 

You ever hear of Leroy Jenkins? He was an amateur compared to the KOADP (King of All Disruptive Players), nickname of a guy we gamed with for a numbers of years. That guy, our guy, was charging into dark rooms well before the internet was a thing, DESPERATE TO DIE AND TO GET THE WHOLE PARTY KILLED IN THE PROCESS. Laughing the whole time. Thrilled when his antics caused others harm. I could never say the opposite was true. I've never had a cautious player be a disruptive player.

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I’ve never had a Leroy, I have had two players with an alpha-male competitive thing going on, but they grew out of that.

 

Im not preaching, you play the way you and your players want to play. I’m just pointing out it wouldn’t work for my group, but horses for courses

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1 hour ago, Beagle said:

I’ve never had a Leroy, I have had two players with an alpha-male competitive thing going on, but they grew out of that.

 

Im not preaching, you play the way you and your players want to play. I’m just pointing out it wouldn’t work for my group, but horses for courses

 

I am the person in my groups most likely to demonstrate Leroy tendencies. It has made for some great stories and the only criticism I've gotten from it is that I should tie the rest of the group in my crazy plans more often (from another player). That said, I have no problem with a character dying from stupid. As a GM, I will warn players, and my players know the look I get, when they are about to do something lethally stupid. And if I look you in the eye and ask you 'Is that your final answer?' or 'Are you sure?' answering in the affirmative means character death (or other significant, serious consequences) is on the table. It still amazes me how often the answer is yes. 

 

It's always dependent on game, situation and players. I understand the place of games that have each player make up several characters at a time because you will go through them. Having played in a couple, death becomes a lot less impactful. You just shrug and move on. Which is cool for a slugfest or straight dungeon crawl type game. But if I was running a long term horror game for example, I want the players to be afraid of dying. I think you need at least 3 sessions playing the same character to really be invested in it.  Much better for the group to know and trust a character before they go insane and start with the random acts of violence. 

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I remember that in earlier editions of D&D  there were vorpal and swords of sharpness, crows that had a chance of pecking your eye out, and you could be aged beyond your years by supernatural means. Now it seems like everything has been completely watered down so that nothing permanent could possibly happen to you. The regenerate spell isn't that much different that other healing spells since there isn't any chance of losing a limb except by DM fiat.

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In our group, we try for the heroes death or the idjits death.  I do not usually kill players without fair warning (though I will occasionally cause an unexpected maiming) but death is a possibility.  I tend to take a note from the creator of 7th Sea:  a hero should die a heroic death, not due to bad rolls.  If one or more of the party is in trouble, I have had players take one for the team, dying nobly to save the rest of the party, or even a group of heroes die protecting the land from great evil.

 

I have also provided the occasional warning through NPCs or even monsters that the PC is doing something fatally stupid and He went and did it anyway, with the expected result (see idjit death) The strange thing is, both types of deaths are remembered and revered.  There is also a ceremonial retiring of the mini as the new character is created and then the fun of figuring out how to find the new PC and (usually) who is going to give up stuff to equip them.

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On 1/26/2018 at 7:14 AM, Dilvish the Deliverer said:

seeing the mainline fighters going Chumbawumba

 

Ok, first, that's probably the best thing I've ever seen that situation called. I've seen it called the "bowling pin" and the "weeble-wobble," but that's the first time I've heard it called "going Chumbawumba." And I love it!

 

On 1/27/2018 at 12:52 PM, Pezler the Polychromatic said:

I remember that in earlier editions of D&D  there were vorpal and swords of sharpness, crows that had a chance of pecking your eye out, and you could be aged beyond your years by supernatural means. Now it seems like everything has been completely watered down so that nothing permanent could possibly happen to you. The regenerate spell isn't that much different that other healing spells since there isn't any chance of losing a limb except by DM fiat.

 

That's why, when I get my next game off the ground, I'm going to reintroduce the sword of sharpness and a bunch of other old school magic items back into the world. Because yea, it's kind of dumb to have a spell that regrows limbs and the like, but nothing that explicitly removes those limbs in the first place.

 

As for character death, I've never had a problem with it, personally. In fact, in my most recent attempt to play in a campaign I had my character, a bard no less, ride out solo to meet an oncoming army and challenge its general to single combat. Of course, I had some people who I'd cast invisibility on riding ahead of me and planting kegs of alchemist's fire throughout the enemy camp as I talked a bunch of trash, but it remains that I put my character into a very deadly situation. I wholly expected to die, and it was through sheer luck of the dice that I lasted long enough for the rest of the party to show up and rescue my broccoli from an enemy that was 3 levels higher than I was, a dedicated melee class, and had a weapon that could kill me in one hit. Gotta love a high initiative roll and a natural 20 on the disarm check...

 

As a DM, though, I have to pull punches. Not because my players don't want to have their characters ever die or risk death, but because I have a bad habit of either overestimating the tactical ability of the players or building normal encounters that end up playing out like boss fights because of how the enemy starts in the advantage either through numbers, terrain, or both. I don't want a fairly random encounter with a handful of hobgoblins in the forest to result in a TPK, and yet I have a problem with making that not happen because I plan an RPG ambush like a perfect real life ambush should go. Then, in the first round of combat that cleric or paladin that proudly displays their holy symbol on everything the own gets a face full of arrows and drops before they get a chance to act, or the wizard dressed like Gandalf gets it first, because hobgoblins know to "geek the mage/medic first" if they want to win. Which is why my most recent wizard was a 5e Mountain Dwarf wearing scale armor and carrying an axe...

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1 hour ago, Unruly said:

As a DM, though, I have to pull punches. Not because my players don't want to have their characters ever die or risk death, but because I have a bad habit of either overestimating the tactical ability of the players or building normal encounters that end up playing out like boss fights because of how the enemy starts in the advantage either through numbers, terrain, or both. I don't want a fairly random encounter with a handful of hobgoblins in the forest to result in a TPK, and yet I have a problem with making that not happen because I plan an RPG ambush like a perfect real life ambush should go. Then, in the first round of combat that cleric or paladin that proudly displays their holy symbol on everything the own gets a face full of arrows and drops before they get a chance to act, or the wizard dressed like Gandalf gets it first, because hobgoblins know to "geek the mage/medic first" if they want to win. Which is why my most recent wizard was a 5e Mountain Dwarf wearing scale armor and carrying an axe...

Yeah, the trick is finding the right 'feel' for the hobgoblin ambush. I think it's fairly broad but if you hear the players say - 'The GM's just trying to kill us' or 'I knew we'd be fine, there's no way the GM will let anyone die this early on' - then you know you've gone too far in the wrong direction.

 

 

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On 1/26/2018 at 6:39 PM, Beagle said:

I’ve never run a game where an entire group has been wiped but I have run a long campaign that ended in complete failure.

There’s a Call of Cthulhu campaign called ‘The Fungi From Yuggoth’ - one of the possible climaxes occurs outside Cairo with an avatar of a god possessing and animating the Sphinx. My players had discovered a spell which created an impregnable barrier for 24 hours. The opportunity to use this spell was obvious, or so I thought.

So the players follow some cultists into the desert where they witness a great throng gathered before the Sphinx. As the players wait patiently they witness a great black cloud descend from the sky and then dissipate around the Sphinx, which slowly begins to move. Sanity rolls are made and the players begin the short ritual that will enact their spell, and create an impregnable barrier.......around themselves.

They watch helplessly as the avatar of Nyarlathothep goes on to trash Cairo, killing thousands as it does so.

The players couldn’t believe what they’d done or why they’d done it. An inglorious end to an otherwise fun campaign

 

I had a Call of Cthulhu game end with the PCs missing the evil high priest by 1%, as he completed his ritual with a human sacrifice....

 

Which turned out to be a good thing - it was a ritual of Binding - the evil high priest didn't want that thing running loose, either.

 

The Auld Grump - the PCs failed to destroy the British Isles by 1%. ::P:

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