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How many Character Deaths are normal?


Maceswinger
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Most character deaths in my games tend to occur b/c one or more player does something that they realize (in retrospect) they did something blatantly foolish. I'd say it's fairly equal with whether it occurs due to being too aggressive or careful.

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That many cleric deaths is unusual, though - generally they tend to be the safest class. Is the group not protecting their medic? If they're not, encourage the player to not make one and don't give the group one until they learn different. You want to live, you protect the restorer. You don't protect the restorer, you don't deserve to live.

 

This was my thought. Generally if the cleric is dead, so is the rest of the party.

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Although surprisingly, in our current campaign when the dwarf cleric is off working his IT job and can't make it, the remaining characters actually get significantly more reckless.

 

Heck, we don't even have healing potions.

 

The only thing keeping me alive is fast-talking and blind luck. I kind of like it, actually.

 

 

I think it works because it's a low-power campaign. I'm level six and we have found precisely zero magical items. Which means our enemies are also similarly bereft. So it's a lot harder to up and die when the DM isn't compensating for the party's loot bag . . . and also there's a notable absence of exploding wizards.

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They are actually doing ok without a cleric.However they are pretty decked out in potions and still have a few charges on the "cure wounds staff" they got from the bullywug shaman in "the bullywug gambit".

Our Sorcerer is actually way better in staying behind the fighters and has a lot of spells to stop opponents so he can go in and heal the wounded with potions and what not...basically he has become our E.M.H (Emergency Medic Hero) :;):

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Well we just finished the Sea Wyverns wake a few minutes ago and the said player decided on a Druid this time around and actually survived. It seemed the animal companion feature of the druid was good for him because his pet could attack (so he could get that out of his Hack & slash system) and he could stay back supporting the party.

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Unlike you, I have no qualms about killing characters in my home campaign. I don't consider myself to be a "killer DM", or mean or cruel. I choose to run a challenging campaign, and with that challenge comes the risk of character death, and even the possibility of TPK. My players know that I run a hard game, but that I also apply the rules fairly and equally. There are some PCs that die more frequently than others in my game, whether by chance, poor tactics, or a combination of both. It is my goal for the players to have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes (or be doomed to repeat them).

 

 

Just out of curiosity, have you ever had to deal with one of your players lashing out from a death? Or even from your tough DM'ing style? How did you handle it (if you did)? I'm newer to the Dm seat and looking for some advice :)

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If the death was fair (and even an experienced DM can screw up, I have) then try to stay calm, neutral, and stick to your guns that the death was fairly come by. And that, while unfortunate, is the risk of adventuring.

 

If the death was not fair, acknowledge this. Because everybody already knows it. Own it, and say you messed up. Offer to redo the encounter (I hate this option) or open yourself to suggestions. Mistakes happen, and I've overjuiced monsters into ridiculousness by misjudging party strength.

 

But if the death is fair, then dig in and hold fast. Do not let a player bully you about it (and they'll try, believe me they'll try). I'm a pretty easygoing DM, but when I get one of those players (usually a new one auditioning for an extra seat, not one of my regulars) all up in my face throwing a tantrum I don't care if they pull out a gun and start waving it at me - sit down n' shut up, 'cause you ain't getting out of it. Deal with it.

 

The main thing here is to keep it from going personal. It can be as heated an argument as possible, but keep it all business. Your job is to fairly apply the rules to everybody, and if you go all rock hard zen about it and communicate clearly that you'll stand by your interpretation then it's likely the other players will intervene on your behalf.

 

But never reward a tantrum. It'll never end after that.

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My character died on Sunday. Level 8 fighter|rogue/monk grappling / riposte striker. I was knocked unconscious twice. Knocked to-32 HP (-34 would kill me). Absorbed 165 HP damage with my Max HP as 67. Died after failing 3 death saves. I died pinning an elite brute against a wall and eating its damage when killing me was the easiest way to break my grapple. I would have probably survived but missed 3 ripostes. The rest of the party survived. Sucked. But I died doing my job. Including regaining consciousness just in time to opportunity attack grappling strike the brute from charging the cleric and mage before getting stomped again.

 

At one point I was willing to eat a potentially fatal aoe because the character dropping it would have because he's all about profit and self preservation. I almost killed the wizard which a chunk of this campaign is based on for getting us into this mess. Because my character hates him and killing him might have given us an escape.

 

During all this, we talked about the various deaths. Sure the GM could have kept wasting action to break my grapple and move. But let's be honest. If you're pinned and can't break free you're gonna hit what's holding you as hard as possible. If I killed the wizard we would be fine. If the merc had killed me would have been fine. Death happens. If its in character or bad luck no big deal. I liked this character but I'm not going to flip a table.

 

Now I have a chance to make another character.

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