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Beagle

Death and Injuries to PCs in RPGs

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13 minutes ago, Beagle said:

Never lost a character? How long have you been playing.

 

If you can get the balance just right in a RPG I think deaths can not only create memorable moments but they create backstory for the surviving PCs.

 

In Cthulhu the players always had a minimum of 4 reserve characters each, often playing all of them over a course of a campaign rather than one after the other. As a system it works well

 

I've been playing for about 25 years now, maybe a few more?  Yup, never lost a character.  So either I'm paying attention, or I don't do the stupid thing that sets off the giant spiked mashy plate.  And that's having "survived" through a dozen DM/GM's, all of which I'd gladly rejoin their campaigns if they were still doing such (most got too busy with work).  About two thirds of the games I was part of were either over IRC or PBEM due to the participants being scattered about. 

 

But yeah, not one PC death in over two decades. 

 

Then again, I don't like survival horror stuff, so....  I like fun, adventure, and the various risks that come with such, but not "absolute death around every corner".  I like my characters, I get pretty attached to them, especially since they usually have 3-4 pages of (DM/GM approved) backstory. 

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1 minute ago, WhiteWulfe said:

 

I've been playing for about 25 years now, maybe a few more?  Yup, never lost a character.  So either I'm paying attention, or I don't do the stupid thing that sets off the giant spiked mashy plate.  And that's having "survived" through a dozen DM/GM's, all of which I'd gladly rejoin their campaigns if they were still doing such (most got too busy with work).  About two thirds of the games I was part of were either over IRC or PBEM due to the participants being scattered about. 

 

But yeah, not one PC death in over two decades. 

 

Then again, I don't like survival horror stuff, so....  I like fun, adventure, and the various risks that come with such, but not "absolute death around every corner".  I like my characters, I get pretty attached to them, especially since they usually have 3-4 pages of (DM/GM approved) backstory. 

Wow that’s incredible. Does you character not get involved in fights? 

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1 hour ago, Beagle said:

Wow that’s incredible. Does you character not get involved in fights? 

Oh, they do.  Plenty of fights.  That's what armour and/or dodging are for :p

 

Mine just have  never died.  Can't say the same for lost digits, eyes, ears, or various scars though...  Lost fingers are a job risk as an adventurer, as are chunks being bitten out of your ears, losing an eye, or gaining various scars... 

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Paranoia!

 

Generate your characters SIX AT A TIME!

 

Rejoice when they get blown up by their own experimental equipment!

 

Or shoot each other in the back!

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3 hours ago, Beagle said:

Never tried LARP, I’m curious to know how it would work with mixed factions in the WoD and how changeling powers could be simulated

It's a challenge. I helped run a mixed-genre LARP at GenCon but can only tell you about the Werewolf side of things. WTA and CTL are very well built settings for LARPs. All the characters are hypothetically on the same side but have radically different motivations, methods, goals, and reactions toward the world around them.

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I don’t believe that RPGs do well as “story-telling games.”  Much like life, we play the game, go through the details, and later (with time, reflection, and a greater understanding of the whole) the stories develop. 

The beauty of RPGs is that they don’t have ends.  There is no foregone conclusion.  Your character, the one you’ve played for months, may die because you blew a saving throw against a giant centipede’s very weak poison.  You, the player, learns and comes back with a new character, saddened but wiser.

 

If I were to cheat as the DM, why should I be upset if the players cheat?  After all, their fudging a critical "to hit" roll matters just as much to the story as my fudging a number down to let their character live.  I also don't screw players over for the sake of "the story," nor do I change my world because the players decide to not to engage a situation (as in, left is the Dragon, and right is the exit.  Players choose right . . . no, I really want them to encounter the dragon, so the dragon is now on the right). 

 

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1 hour ago, Doug's Workshop said:

If I were to cheat as the DM, why should I be upset if the players cheat?  After all, their fudging a critical "to hit" roll matters just as much to the story as my fudging a number down to let their character live.

 

Truly the most Gamist words that have ever been spoken.

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9 hours ago, etherial said:
10 hours ago, Doug's Workshop said:

If I were to cheat as the DM, why should I be upset if the players cheat?  After all, their fudging a critical "to hit" roll matters just as much to the story as my fudging a number down to let their character live.

 

Truly the most Gamist words that have ever been spoken.

Amen!

 

Last night I killed one of the characters in my game. Ripped him apart with a giant lobster thing. (Chuul) Then it ate him. The situation was such that, there wasn't a good reason not to do it. The rest of the party was busy, and he was going toe to toe with it. It had him grappled, poisoned. And then it hit him and critted on him, dropping him to zero. It could have then dropped the body, but the rest of the party was dealing with more of them, so, rather than go what might have turned into a TPK, the stupid lobster thing decided to have a snack. 

 

And there was no fudging it... I don't use a screen, and my dice are rolled out in the open. 

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I personally wouldn't enjoy a meat-grinder type of game and even less so if the DM hadn't previously told me about it. Finding super absurd ways to rescue characters wouldn't be my style either, so I'm trying to find a middle ground. 

 

I haven't killed any PCs in the year we are playing our DnD campaign, though all of them are in different stages of madness. I did kill a former PC whose player left, but that dude voluntarily took some demon spores when his player was still around, and was failing saving throws ever since, so his end would have come even with the player still around.

My players do play super careful though. They all but the wizard have rather tanky builds, if someone gets K.O.ed during combat the next person up does their best to heal or stabilize them and they try to stay away from any and all scary situations if at all possible. For some reason, even though noone ever died, they're still all fearing for their characters' lives.

While I do role behind a screen, I barely fudge stuff (Screen is mostly there to hide my notes and miniatures and because I can pin rules on there). I also don't pull punches and some of the more bright enemies prioritize K.O. PCs. 

 

I think any and all opinions about character death are valid and it depends on the players involved. Some players might prefer feeling like an invincible overlord, other might like a good meat-grinder dungeon and than there is a whole lot in between.

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I good with it, as long as it fits with and advances the story.  If I screw up, and my character dies it's on me.  If I get put in a no-win situation or "rocks fall, everyone dies" situation, then maybe not so much.  WHFRP game?  I expect to lose limbs and eyes.  One-shot where we are tasked to retrieve an item from the mountain sized dragons hoard.  Yep, gonna die.

 

So basically it depends.  I like games where there are real stakes; I want my character to be able to die.  That way I feel a sense of accomplishment when I survive.

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Every new player that comes to my table gets told the same thing. All dice fall where they may. Things in this world aren't always level appropriate. If you do stupid things, luck may save you, I will not. 

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I have run both kinds of games.  Recently, the games I've run have had little to no character death, because the game is about the players having fun through their characters interacting with and affecting and being affected by the world.

 

On the other hand, it's been a long time since I've had the kind of player who would try to take advantage of that. 

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I try not to spring surprise deaths on people. If a setting tends toward lethality or unrecoverable injury, then it does. But I try to avoid things like sudden massacres in a game that's set up as a 60/70s superhero book. Which tends to work out well.

 

as a player, I've been on the receiving end of more than a few funny deaths/retire the character moments. The thief who was crushed by a door, the rigger who went broke because snipers kept shooting his engine, the shaman who got beaten to death because the rest of the party couldn't take a hint, etc.

 

Also had one character retire because he got so rich and famous by mid way through the campaign that there was no reason for him to keep doing dangerous stuff.

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26 minutes ago, PingosHusband said:

, because the game is about the players having fun through their characters interacting with and affecting and being affected by the world.

 

I try to give players fair warning if they are doing something that will get them killed. 

 

P:  I want to see what is down this hallway.

Me: ok, the rest of the party is going the other way, though.

P:  I just want to see what is down there.

Me:  You see a large empty room, with a gigantic hole in the floor. 

P: I move closer to get a better look. 

Me:  Are you sure, you are alone and the party is going the other way? 

P: yes

Me:  Large rocks and dirt are piled around the room, as if something huge pushed up through the earth.  A foul smell emanates from the hole. 

P: I move into the room.

Other Player: You realize we can't help you if you get attacked. 

P: It's ok, I want to check this out. 

Other other player: Dude, you're gonna get  killed.

Me: Last chance, you want to move into the room? 

P: yes. 

Me: you work your way around the pit... blah blah blah...this rises out of the hole [drop purple worm on map].

 

He chose to stand and engage it, I think it killed him  in two hits, and the rest of the party nearly died trying to take it down.   

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10 minutes ago, Inarah said:

 

I try to give players fair warning if they are doing something that will get them killed. 

 

P:  I want to see what is down this hallway.

Me: ok, the rest of the party is going the other way, though.

P:  I just want to see what is down there.

Me:  You see a large empty room, with a gigantic hole in the floor. 

P: I move closer to get a better look. 

Me:  Are you sure, you are alone and the party is going the other way? 

P: yes

Me:  Large rocks and dirt are piled around the room, as if something huge pushed up through the earth.  A foul smell emanates from the hole. 

P: I move into the room.

Other Player: You realize we can't help you if you get attacked. 

P: It's ok, I want to check this out. 

Other other player: Dude, you're gonna get  killed.

Me: Last chance, you want to move into the room? 

P: yes. 

Me: you work your way around the pit... blah blah blah...this rises out of the hole [drop purple worm on map].

 

He chose to stand and engage it, I think it killed him  in two hits, and the rest of the party nearly died trying to take it down.   

There is a phrase that comes to mind: The stupid shall be punished...

 

ETA: this is the warlock/sorcerer in our Curse of Strahd game right now.  he keeps trying to annoy Strahd every time he shows up.  Luckily, Strahd seems more amused than offended.  Tonight is the final battle so I guess we'll see what happens.

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