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So how do you feel about character death?

So in my Eberron game last weekend a couple of pc's closed to mellee with a vampire got drained in the process. They were hurting him only a little(at least compared to what they do to folks without DR). At one point they had both been hit twice and lost 4 levels.that meant one of them was at effectively first level. If he got hit again he was going to be killed and rise as a vampire. he was advised that chances are he would not survive if he kept it up and he withdrew. This has propmpted me to ask if in the small enviroment of a table top game does the death of a character mean that you would stop the campaign or continue with a new character? How about if half the party dies? Does having a tabletop character die bother you? Larp characters are a different critter because you become more involved with them(most of the time). I was wondering what people thought about dead characters in a tabletop.

Note: I would Realy like to here from my players on this as well.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 14th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
for me it really depends on the time between character deaths. if i feel like i'm not making any headway or getting any real enjoyment while working towards my goals, i won't bother wasting my time.
Dec. 14th, 2006 09:36 pm (UTC)
LJ ate my previous post. Feh.

Level loss as a result of PC death frustrates me a great deal. Particularly since death can result from nothing more than one bad roll, given the large number of save-or-die spells in the game. Death shouldn't be a revolving door, necessarily, but the downward spiral of character death resulting in a weaker character who is more likely to die again is just not a great idea. Level loss combined with a very high price tag on raise dead and resurrection is a setup that just has nothing at all to recommend it, from my point of view as both player and GM.

Assuming I was enjoying the campaign as a player, I would keep playing (almost certainly as the same character), but it's still a significant frustration that adds nothing to the game for me.
Dec. 14th, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC)
level loss is pretty rough. It is why vampires make good master villains and not so much on the minion villains.

Some games are more harsh and character death is more likely. Cyberpunk and World of darkness come to mind.

Cuthulu games where no one dies seems unlikely as well.
Dec. 14th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
umm that was me.
Dec. 15th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
Thankfully 3.5 has made it easier for lower level characters to catch up.
Dec. 14th, 2006 09:52 pm (UTC)
Your question disturbs me.
Does this mean you're planning on killing off half the party? Maybe the group should plan to have a tea party next game instead of going into the Ziggurat...

Stupid vampires. Stupid damage reduction. Stupid level drain! It upsets me when I can't kill something as fast as I want to... :) But at least we got his sister.

Hmm, I'm not sure how I feel about tabletop character death. Thinking about it, the only time I think I've ever had a character die outside a LARP was in your Cthulu game, and that was practically a guarantee. (Which is why I don't see any point to playing Cthulu, but that's a different issue.)

One note, though - just as it is in a LARP, character death in D&D isn't necessarily the end of the world, right? There are resurrection spells, and though we might have to pay out the nose to get one (what a weird phrase), I had the impression that they aren't that hard to find. Especially last game - we were not far from Flame Keep, there should be a pretty decent chance of finding a high-level cleric or two there.

Ramble ramble ramble...

I think how I'd feel about the death depends on how I feel about the fight where I died, and how I feel about the campaign in general. If I die because of a bunch of bad die rolls, that's annoying, but it happens. If I feel like the fight was stacked against us and we had no chance of winning, and that's why half the party died, I'd probably be a bit more discouraged. As for whether I'd keep playing in the campaign, I would in Eberron, because I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I might play a character who had a vow never to have anything to do with vampires, though. :) Haaates the vampires.
Dec. 14th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Your question disturbs me.
Fair enough. The vampire is a tough fight though and it is a possability that the killing of him could kill some people in the process.

I am not planning on killing anyone out of hand. I just know it is possible for people to die in that fight and I would like to see how folks handle that. I am glad people are having fun.
Dec. 14th, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
As I understand it, that module is supposed to make you HAAAATE vampires, so it sounds like it is going well!

As for PC death, it annoys me when it happens, but since it tends to happen to me more often than not in games I play, I have grown to accept it.

I see table-topping as an interactive story, and have no problems as a player moving on to a new character in the story when the time for the old character has passed. Losing a level, or even having to play through the game as a new character a level or two behind the rest of the party is annoying, but death should, in some ways, hurt. I am not totally convinced it shouyldn't at least have the very good chance of hurting permanently.

I have very loosely adapted Shieldhaven's death-deck "system" (I put it in quotes as I am uncertain how much it was system, and how much it was DM fiat) with 3 Dragon Ante cards. If you ar einterested, once winter break starts, I can type it up and post it in my journal. It basically represents the raise-dead spells giving the caster a chance to fight Dolurruh for the sould of the living. Sometimes, the soul comes back whole, other times...not so much.
Dec. 15th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
I'm going to be the voice of dissention here and say I don't care as long as it's within the rules or the spirit of the game. I don't care if my tabletop characters die and I don't care if my LARP characters die. Maybe I'm just different but I've never become so attached to a character that it exists for me in any form outside of a game.
Dec. 15th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
I'm pretty much okay with character death in a tabletop. Strangely, I don't ever expect a resurrection either. I was a little frustrated last game because I can get my AC the highest of the group and I was stuck clearing out all the minions. And then I took a long time clearing them out, so I didn't get to soak up some of those negative levels.

But back on topic, I'm okay with dying if its my character. And I don't like a 'cheap' rez, it really lessens the impact of death.
Dec. 15th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
I've already accepted the death of Metal Glow, though to be honest, I don't think he'll die in the next encounter (high armor class, Damage reduction, plus not having to memorize 3 spell levels of self-healing)
makes me a very survivable back rank fighter. Can I go toe to toe with a vampire? Hell no, but that's what Gareg and Turin are for.

If it does happen that I die, I've actually got a cool concept to try out ready, though I must admit I'd've probably made a more undead-focused character if I'd known anything about the published adventures.
Dec. 15th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
Death eh? Looks like I missed something.

Tabletop PC death is not much of a problem for the most part. Obviously the person playing the character should be a part of that death as may players have survival instincts for their characters. Beyond that, they are fair meat. I think that death should come at the actions of the PC invovled while they are being played. Death off camrea is really frustrating and I hate it every time it happends in table-tops and in LARPs. You should always give the PC's a chance even if it means they chicken out and back out of the adventure.

On another note; always have a reasonably planned backup character! Its magic as when you do you'll always survive somehow. If you don't, then curtins it may be.
Dec. 16th, 2006 01:28 am (UTC)
Well, for me I brought two characters to the table incase of the quick death of my first. So that should say a lot about it. I am trying to avoid becoming D, and I would be interested in the option of deathless. To the topic though it depends on the time invested in the character, the character I have played a long time might have built up some favors to be pulled by the living party members, the younger well, character trees are good things.

Half-Vampire, dealer of Take-it damage.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )



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