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Author Topic: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?  (Read 2026 times)

Darrin Kelley

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #90 on: September 17, 2020, 10:12:21 PM »
If they have resurrection spells, sure they do.


I have never been in any fantasy campaign where resurrection spells were commonplace. Not with D&D, Rolemaster, or any of the other major fantasy systems I have played over the years. if a resurrection was ever sought after, it was the end point of a huge epic quest. With no guarantee it would actually work in the end.
 

S'mon

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #91 on: September 18, 2020, 12:25:12 AM »
That said, I do think there's a tendency in many campaigns for PC death to be not very meaningful. In part, by the nature of the role-playing, the player most involved has now been thrown out of character. Often, the other players' reactions are something like "Sorry, that sucks, Barb" or "Well, you should have been more careful, Joe." The player of that character is still there at the table, so it's natural to talk to that player out of character.


Just had Dawn Wintersmorn the cute NPC Wizard die IMC (had 8 hp, stabbed by an imp's poison stinger for 18). She'd made the choice to use her last Sleep spell to take out the goblin horde and save the party, rather than flee the imp. I think I'm more cut up about it than any PC deaths, even my own.  :-
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Slipshot762

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #92 on: September 18, 2020, 12:49:57 AM »
back when we still played d&d, if someone dies their new character would start out at whatever the lowest level of existing party members was, so if you had one 5th level guy and two 4th level guys the new character would be 4th level. under D6 system, with hardmode engaged, death is super easy especially to traps or poison; but in D6 you can make a character in literally one minute if you are familiar with the system and setting, scatter 6 ability dice atop racial minimums/maximums and a number of skill dice, a few one line details, bam ready to go.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2020, 12:52:36 AM by Slipshot762 »

LiferGamer

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #93 on: September 18, 2020, 09:57:29 AM »
If they have resurrection spells, sure they do.


I have never been in any fantasy campaign where resurrection spells were commonplace. Not with D&D, Rolemaster, or any of the other major fantasy systems I have played over the years. if a resurrection was ever sought after, it was the end point of a huge epic quest. With no guarantee it would actually work in the end.
Most games I ran, I didn't allow them - because it would change society on so many levels - you'd end up with damn immortal kings and popes, and nearly everyplace a theocracy.
This campaign I'm running 5E RAW, and with the ease of the Raise Dead spell?  The prince's fiance was assassinated... but got better since the assassins were unable to nab the body.
Your Forgotten Realms was my first The Last Jedi.

If the party is gonna die, they want to be riding and blasting/hacking away at a separate one of Tiamat's heads as she plummets towards earth with broken wings while Solars and Planars sing.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #94 on: September 18, 2020, 11:19:59 AM »

Sorry, Lifer, I'm not seeing it.


Not even true resurrection can restore a target that died of old age. The soul also has to be willing to return from whatever afterlife it's gone onto (and there certainly should be the question of deific involvement if the soul was notable to a god; what if the god doesn't want them to leave?). An adventurer who's in his prime and wanting to get even with the bad guys, sure. An old king or high priest, though, may be looking forward to the Final Retirement.


However, raising the dead may lead to some terrible acts indeed. In The Cleric Quintet, several priests are assassinated and their hearts ritually removed; this prevented them from being raised normally. Certain necromancy spells also prevent easy raises, requiring resurrection or wish spells.

LiferGamer

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #95 on: September 18, 2020, 11:43:46 AM »
Great points!  As mentioned above, in my own campaign, assassins were thwarted by not letting them abuse the body. 

I freely acknowledge that I'm stretching the definition of 'taking it to its logical conclusion'.

Like most points in the discussion, it's not every campaign - these are outliers, that's for sure - but look at it this way:
LG Warrior gawd genuinely wants his people to triumph on the mortal plane - why let his best asset 'retire' to the afterlife?  He'll send him back in like an over leveled pokemon again and again.
Old age?  Potion of Longevity.  Main ingredient is Elf Blood.  With modern D&D being a Flinstones setting* more often than not, how hard is it to have a blood drive?
Raise Dead is cheap, big-picture wise.  A kingdom would scrape the resources together and have a suitable cleric nearby like a defibrillator. 

All of these things are like the Transporter in TOS - its in there to shortcut a problem with the style of stories they wanted to tell, but creates lots of strange ripples down the line.


Edit:  The above is why Demon and Devil worshipers in my campaign are at Warlocks (no clerics) the false gawd fire cult are sorcerers showing off, and the atheistic/agnostic/antideist High Elves have spawned the Warforged, Clone Spell, and Lichdom in my campaign (mind you, they were Melnibonean-lite back in the day)



*Flinstones setting - It's exactly like modern day but with alternate tech.


« Last Edit: September 18, 2020, 12:07:50 PM by LiferGamer »
Your Forgotten Realms was my first The Last Jedi.

If the party is gonna die, they want to be riding and blasting/hacking away at a separate one of Tiamat's heads as she plummets towards earth with broken wings while Solars and Planars sing.

Steven Mitchell

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #96 on: September 18, 2020, 01:43:08 PM »
Never got around to trying it, but I've considered doing a campaign where Raise Dead works like Princess Bride and the distinction between mostly dead and all dead (complete with looking through pockets for loose change).  There's even an element of that in Raise Dead as written, with needing to have the body.  Maybe take it a little further, where Raise Dead only works if it is fantastical but plausible that the character is still there in a modern sense, but fantasy world medicine treats it as dead.  (In reality, the character is in a coma or has other problems that makes him look dead at first.)  You'd have to do a little toe-tapping around things like body decomposition, breathing, and the like.  So wouldn't work in just any campaign.  Something like your spirit hangs around if the death wasn't too traumatic, waiting for your body to give up.  Fall into lava or get decapitated, the spirit takes one look and decides it is out of there.  Some characters might even have a "Detect Life" spell that determines if the spirit is available.



BedrockBrendan

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #97 on: September 18, 2020, 02:19:19 PM »
Death free has been a thing, maybe a bit off and on, for a while. I remember in that by the early 90s (maybe the mid-90s) there emerged this assumption that the GM should never kill PCs unless they do something genuinely stupid. I have seen various forms of that come in and out of fashion over the years. For me personally, I just realized that this kind of advice produced a game I didn't enjoy playing that much (there are some exceptions of course depending on the core concept of the RPG or setting). But I think for your typical rpg, nothing is more exciting than death being on the table.


Lately I have seen an uptick in this assumption that you shouldn't kill PCs. At the same time, I have not had a problem in my own campaigns with characters dying. Once in a while you meet a player who reacts more strongly than others, but I think as long as you are a fair and impartial GM, most of the time, it won't create issues. Usually if I get a player who comes from a different style campaign, where maybe death isn't on the table, I just explain to them that my campaign may be different from what they are used to.


There is also a line of thought, where dying is LESS interesting than surviving with some sort of failure or setback.


I guess for me it depends on what this means exactly. I have no problem with this being  a person's preference. I just don't see why having character death would be less exciting, fun or interesting (or why having set backs precludes also having character death). I do get that in some games, death isn't going to make as much sense. For example if I were playing something inspired by Seinfeld, I probably would want something like set backs rather than death. But in most games I play, I do want death to be a possible outcome of combat. I want other equally interesting things to be a possible too: maiming, internal damage, etc. I also think there is plenty of value of there being consequences for losing a fight that don't result in death (but that should emerge organically in play, like the villain gets away and is able to kill your family or something): little wary of having the latter type of set backs keyed to the mechanics themselves.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Have 'death free' PCs become the norm?
« Reply #98 on: September 21, 2020, 08:29:12 AM »
Never got around to trying it, but I've considered doing a campaign where Raise Dead works like Princess Bride and the distinction between mostly dead and all dead (complete with looking through pockets for loose change).  There's even an element of that in Raise Dead as written, with needing to have the body.  Maybe take it a little further, where Raise Dead only works if it is fantastical but plausible that the character is still there in a modern sense, but fantasy world medicine treats it as dead.  (In reality, the character is in a coma or has other problems that makes him look dead at first.)  You'd have to do a little toe-tapping around things like body decomposition, breathing, and the like.  So wouldn't work in just any campaign.  Something like your spirit hangs around if the death wasn't too traumatic, waiting for your body to give up.  Fall into lava or get decapitated, the spirit takes one look and decides it is out of there.  Some characters might even have a "Detect Life" spell that determines if the spirit is available.
So Westley's problem was that he had a ton of negative levels and was trying to roll saves to shake them off? :D