September 17, 2004

Game Dream 14: He's Dead, Jim

Doc's Blog ... Confessions of a Game Addict: Game Dream 14: He's Dead, Jim!

The Dream this week talks of death in RPG games:

Many "traditional" RPGs incorporate the possibility of the irrevocable death/disabling injury of a player character into their basic mechanics, yet often skirt the issue of what happens to the game in such a case, instead encouraging the GM to "fudge" the results if the GM doesn't want a given PC or PCs to die.

How has your gaming group, current or previous, handled character deaths due to system-legitimate causes, i.e. combat or traps (assuming no intent on the part of another GM/player to kill a given PC or PCs)? Which methods worked well, and which didn't?


What happens when the game systems says that a PC dies?

In a game like Amber, that doesn't happen too often. In an environment that is diceless, a character death is a decision made by the GM (or, best) between the GM and the player.

Other systems are different. And I will discuss other systems, instead. Sometimes, the critical hit IS on the PC, the PC misses her saving throw.

What do I do? How do I handle it?

Well, I am not a fan of mindless or needless character death. A good death scene is one thing...but an arbitrary, dice-forced one is not one i usually like.

I've done many things--I've denied the dice, I've done critical hits, grave maiming of characters. I've had characters become captured, instead of outright killed.

And yes, at least once I can remember, a character did die...but it was a noble, Horatius at the Bridge sort of affair which saved everyone else's neck.

Posted by Jvstin at September 17, 2004 9:33 PM