This is precisely the reason I kill them off. I don't care to keep them alive if they do something stupid. They'll learn to make better characters and better choices if you don't scratch the dice to keep them alive.
If your game is more story and party driven, like mine usually are, then you tend to back off on the challenges or find unique ways to go about them without unneeded danger. I rarely kill a PC, unless they do something stupid or just a really unlucky streak occurs.
For instance - I was running a game in Audalis once on my tabletop group. The crusader was serving as an agent of chaos. He was CN, and slightly demented. As he got stronger, he found he needed a higher calling, and began courting priestesses of Shinana to sponsor him, so that he may have a divine ticket instead of an abstract alignment one.
After a few sessions of courting, they found themselves climbing a harpy nest. About halfway up the tree, Shinara spoke to the crusader (they were now roughly 10th level) and offered him his commission, if he did something in the coming time to completely give himself to luck and chance.
I had planned, of course, that he would perform a leap to get from their tree to the lead harpy's nest. The player decided to take the offer right now, and lept 200 feet off the tree, screaming "SHINARA PROTECTS!!!"
Ironically enough, he survived, but barely. Beings there was no healer in the group (the crusader is a mediocre healer) he mended what wounds he could, and started climbing again - this time with newfound zeal in his divine commission.
During the fight with the harpy queen - he charged her, rolling a 1 on the attack. Since I was using critical fumble and hit charts - I rolled. He hit himself. Roll damage - critical hit. Instant death.
I wonder which category I fall into... stupidity or gnarly bad luck? Personally, I like to think I've got the middle ground, there.
Speaking as a player who's lost (or come really darn close to haviung lost) a character or seventeen, though - while the DMs efforts to keep a player alive is always appreciated on a very high level [/buttkiss] - I rather enjoy it when my character 'buys the farm' in certain circumstances.
Jal Spellbinder in Alacrity's CWWLLO game is a perfect example. Jal was a really fun character to play and, honestly, I had hopes and dreams for him once I got firmly into the role... thing is, that boy was a lost cause from the word go... poor, spooky Jal... *moment of silence*... Anyway, as was bound to happen, ol' Spooky bit the big one in a major way. Quite a bummer but quite a thrill all at once... It was a fantastic death and I couldn't think of a better way for Jal Spellbinder to have passed into legend!
Well, I can thankfully say I've never lost a character in a tabletop D&D game, or on the inn so far as I can remember to death (Though one was basically removed from play as he was imprisoned and unable to escape) but then again I'm usually the cautious and calculating player, not the brazen warrior.
As a Dm though, I've been running my new FR game since december, and at last recollection have at least 5 PC deaths under my belt. Only one was effectively the removal of a player who left the inn suddenly with no word for an extended period of time.
I've had it said my challanges are 'over the top' and impossible even, but as surviving members of the campaign will attest. I 'always' leave options open to survive encounters traps or puzzles, even though Pc's are often reluctant to 'flee', or see beyond the obvious (well i don't see anything on my character sheet that's going to get me out of this one)
To summarize my point.
In the last scenario, a duskblade and a paladin entered a long since ravaged temple to Oghma and Denier (deity's of knowledge and learning) and encountered the signs of some specter or ghost, though subtle interaction like breezes, or the lifting of their hair. After solving a puzzle involving a riddle a merchant had passed on regarding the temple, they entered the main chapel, where an Evil orb radiating negative energy and necromancy was kept. upon an pedastal before an alter of a woman in a pieta pose holding the remannts of a skeleton shakled where the broken stone of its original burden once lay. In the pews were a handful of skeleton's looking like they were killed and suspended in a state of prayer. Bravely they defeated it eventually, revealing within the orb was a still beating, large heart covered in a layer of frigid frost still emanating a small radius of cold. (And most certainly detecting as Evil as was explained via pm over IM)
The spirit appeared to them then, a incorporeal woman who bid them give her back her heart. Without a second thought, a search of the area or anything they complied, placing the heart back in the cavity of the skeleton.
Long story short, they revived the living pandora's box as it were as they released 'Malice' (the name of the halfdragon) upon the world. As gratitude for freeing her of the prison the priests had so hard-fought-for placed her into, the half dragon offered them their lives. Turning her back upon them and lowering her guard.
Both pc's chose to strike her... Both lost their lives..
On that note, both are playing much more cautious new characters lol.
Posted on 2008-09-05 at 22:16:57.
Edited on 2008-09-05 at 22:23:10 by Kaelyn
As a DM I try my best to keep PC's alive and give them at least one second chance. For example I had a party of evil PC's (yes I let PC's be evil...cause I roll like that..theres no rule against it) who were fighting the final battle in the game. Now its a given during this battle that they will all come close to death or die, so I usually give them two lives to play with. How? Well, I narrate specialy.
See the unit they were fighting was Tarvor, the mighty heroic Red Dragon. Naturally he is strongest unit in the game, so he was gonna put some serious hurt into our heroes. One of the players, and Orc named Orvac(dont ask about names..really) got a tad to close to Tarvors breath weapon, which prety much means insta-kill. Well I narrated it so that in his final moments before death, the party Dark Cleric tossed him a potion of life and he restortes himself. Ta-dah.
In the end it didnt realy matter cuase they all died anyway. Tarvor=uber pwnage.
Posted on 2008-12-30 at 03:08:16.
Skari-dono Icelanders! Roll Out Karma: 102/11 1514 Posts
Funny how I did not see this sooner
I have killed PCs before. I have (accidentally) killed a PC in the very first hour of the very first story. It was accidental, I was still kinda new at this, set them up against overwhelming odds, the other two players somehow managed to kick ass.
If it's one thing I've learned in this business, it is NOT how to make the perfect challenge for the players. I doubt there is such a thing as a perfect challenge. I attempted to set my group of evil PCs against rebel gnomes hiding in the sewer system of a city, they blew up the city (in all fairness, they got rid of the gnomes)
I try to keep them alive however I can. I lie about the roll if I have to. I don't often do it anymore, because my current group of evil PCs (who are serving the previously mentioned evil PCs) avoid direct combat as much as possible. Even then, those they meet are more often than not worse fighters than they are.
I tend to allow my PCs fates other than death, unless they really want it. They are usually given ample choices and chances to avoid it, but then there are some that just dont know when to quit.
However as was normal for the online community I had several players join, play for a while and disappear. I NPCd their characters for a while, but after a few weeks/months decided to make examples out of their characters.
Nothing emphasizes the strength of the BBG as when he touches the (Then NPC) barbarian at the forefront of the party and the (Then NPC) barbarian's skeleton rips out of his body and starts to attack his former party.
Posted on 2009-11-15 at 10:49:23.
Edited on 2009-11-15 at 10:50:25 by Shadowbranch1
I have played with DMs who are not happy unless they kill, or nearly kill, at least one PC per session, and usually it was my character through no fault of my own(see my post in Memorable Deaths).
Then again I've played in a session a long time ago where the DM actually made one of the players roll some random dice before the game had even started, which it turned out, was a roll to determine if he managed to get to cover before the building he was in collapsed, he basically had just rolled to live long enough to even make it into the game
How level 2+ characters end up in the campaign setting
1) Intelligence - Knowing that at first level you do NOT charge at a great wyrm red dragon...
2) Survival Instinct - Knowing that after the idiot in the party ignores the above point, all you have to do is outrun the burst of flames from the dragon's mouth...or at least the poor shmuck behind you, who can take the damage for you.
3) Who you know - Knowing that if things go to hell, you can always pull a favor and get ressurrected...if the setting supports it.
4) Rules - Three words: Armor Damage Conversion
5) More intelligence - Nothing worse than forgetting to make sure of your dead, especially if ADC is an active house rule in your setting...
Posted on 2010-04-27 at 11:40:10.
Edited on 2010-04-27 at 11:40:56 by anichols
As a DM who in the past has been a player at the limited mercy of kill-crazy DM's, I hate killing PC's. I recognize the time and effort that players put into their characters and plan adventures for challenging rather than perilous play. I make it known fully that actions have consequences and in all but a few cases this works better than giving full HP per level (which I do anyway) to keep characters alive. My players keep their eyes on the prize knowing good choices get rewarded and they look for those solutions to get the rewards.
As a famous comedian once quipped "You can't fix stupid." There is undeniably a kind of Darwinism that weeds out players who fundamentally don't get the game or who treat RP'ing like it was logging on to WoW. Hopefully players who behave stupidly in-game and get their guy killed either learn from the mistake and improve, with help from DM's and players alike, or they drop out and pursue other hobbies.
My general advice for other DM's if your game has "mortality issues" is to make sure your players have all the pertinent info they need to make informed decisions, for it is in making better decisions that PC's survival goes up. If they're not asking the right questions, nudge 'em. Pause the game and recap what they know, so they know what the know, if need be.
When a player proposes some stupid action, I usually clear my throat emphatically and kind of do the I-gotta-migraine temple rub while saying "Really?" They quickly get the hint.