Issues related to the in-game death, or threat/fear of death, of a player's character in an RPG.

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What is the average lifespan of an adventurer? [on hold]

Let us assume that player characters (PCs) represent typical adventurers. Let's also assume that if a PC doesn't die "on screen", ie. while they are being played, they life to the average life ...
5
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1answer
173 views

As an inexperienced GM, how can I avoid killing PCs my first time GMing in Pathfinder Society?

While I have experience DM'ing 3.5e, I have far less experience in pathfinder and have not yet GM'd a PFS game. I'm currently preparing to run the Rise of the Runelord's first module (Thistletop) ...
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5answers
217 views

How do I incorporate magical resurrection without losing dramatic tension?

Magical resurrection is a theme in many RPGs, and also in 5e Dungeons and Dragons. However, whatever means of magical resurrection players can access, in most cases nonplayer characters can access ...
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2answers
141 views

Is damage from multiple damage types cumulative for death and massive damage?

Scenario 1: A grimlock hits Alice with a Spiked Bone Club, dealing 5 bludgeoning damage, plus 2 piercing damage. Alice's HP was 12. Using the optional Massive Damage rules on page 273 of the DMG, ...
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1answer
195 views

What happens when player characters die?

I'm quite new to role playing games; I've got about 10 sessions of experience. I'm interested in the role of game master, and I've tried an introduction game where everything is pretty much set up for ...
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1answer
395 views

What happens when a PC is attacked while unconscious in 5e?

Let's say that a character receives a 2-hit multiattack: The first hit reduces the character to 0 HP. Then the monster targets the fallen character with the second hit. Is the accuracy or likelihood ...
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0answers
134 views

D&D4E - Need Penalty for Character Death [closed]

I'm running an evil campaign at the moment for D&D 4e, and recently I "accidentally" killed a player character. Now said player character is a vampire, and he was level 4 with 44 hit points. Long ...
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1answer
837 views

How long should I wait to bring back the Player character? [closed]

So I have been running this game for a while now. The player character has died a few times at this point and was resurrected each time. I made it clear that they had run out of resurrects. In our ...
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1answer
212 views

Can an immortal character be killed permanently?

In the Exalted Angel epic destiny (Divine Power p.154), a player's character has its origin changed to 'Immortal', and at level 24, gains the 'Reborn in Light' feature where, upon its first death per ...
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14answers
14k views

My PCs have a plan that will get them all killed; how and why should I save them?

Related: How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign? I am running a sandbox game for a group of players who are used to more traditional ...
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10answers
12k views

How can I suggest the DM stop trying to kill us?

We have been playing a game for a while now, and while the game itself is quite enjoyable, the only problem is that the DM seems to be aiming to kill us. Sort of. For example, there have been three ...
7
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1answer
128 views

Can an Astropath Trascendent use or burn a Fate Point to save himself from a 100 roll of Perils of the Warp

The worst thing that can happen to a Psyker in Rogue Trader is to roll in the Perils of the Warp table. Among them, the 100 roll states: 100 Destruction: The psyker is immediately and irrevocably ...
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8answers
2k views

Should the DM allow characters an equal opportunity to flee or avoid an encounter?

Last session I DMed, I killed a player's character. The party wanted to assassinate the main political figure in a town. To inspire general dislike, I made the political figure a racist thug. I run a ...
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5answers
5k views

My 5e character isn't very fun. How do I kill them off?

I'm playing an 8th level Valor bard, and she's basically The Load (warning: TVTropes link) at this point- high-combat campaign, so not a lot of charisma stuff to do, and really doesn't have any ...
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5answers
1k views

How to make extremely lethal stories in Fate

Fate is my default system for "book/TV modeling". The system itself has a lot of similarities with how those media are built (the same way MHR "feels" similar to comics), such as character concepts ...
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2answers
161 views

How do you alter encounter difficulty in regards to decreased party size?

Encounters are usually written in advance and balanced against the makeup and the abilities of the party. Sometimes though the party makeup when writing such an encounter in advance and when actully ...
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7answers
3k views

What's the best way to kill a character in a way that is memorable, and treated with respect by players?

Sooner or later they're going to die. Most games have a risk of death in them and that means that a character is going to get killed and is not coming back, no way, no how. It's new character time. ...
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1answer
377 views

Must you pay Raise Dead component cost when using the Ashen Crown?

The Ashen Crown, an artifact from Seekers of the Ashen Crown, reads, in part: Power Daily (Standard Action) As the ritual Gentle Repose, but no components are required. Power Weekly ...
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6answers
3k views

Handling a dead PC in D&D 5e Starter Kit adventure

I'm trying to introduce roleplaying to a few younger members of my family. I figured that the D&D 5e starter kit would be the best place to start. A couple of sessions into The Lost Mine of ...
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1answer
137 views

How Do Granted Saving Throws Interact with the Dying Condition?

Setup I've been assuming that granting death saving throws was probably not a good thing, but this recent question got me thinking. Death saving throws are a type of saving throw, so you should be ...
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3answers
678 views

What happens when you touch a Sphere of Annihilation?

In my DnD 4e group, they will stumble upon a Sphere of Annihilation (Tomb of Horrors) in the near future, they just don't know it yet - unless the wizard calls for an Arcana check. Now I, the DM, have ...
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1answer
2k views

Does death cure all ills?

In a previous answer, I mentioned the possibility of killing a character and restoring them to life as a possible method of removing conditions from them. On reflection, I have no idea whether this ...
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4answers
1k views

Is there a way to make a human character that is kept alive by an unfinished task?

Is there a way to design a human character in World of Darkness who is unable to die permanently until he does (or finds out) something? Examples of this sort of story include The Deaths of Ian Stone, ...
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2answers
951 views

How do I handle attacks with multiple damage types on an unconscious player?

Here's the situation: The party rogue comes up against a rather nasty enemy (homebrew) that does 1d8 bludgeoning damage and 1d8 psychic damage on a melee attack. The bludgeoning damage drops her to 0 ...
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5answers
5k views

How can characters access resurrection services during the Starter Set adventure?

The other night two of the characters in my campaign died. As a first time DM (a few sessions now) these first deaths were surprisingly upsetting, and disturbingly satisfying... Anyways, the players ...
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1answer
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Does an unconscious character accumulate damage?

Regarding damage to an unconscious character the PHB says: Damage at 0 Hit Points. If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is ...
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1answer
495 views

How would you handle a D&D 4e Total Party Kill without killing them? [duplicate]

I have a lot of story planned and it's just as lame for me as it is for them. I accidently threw a couple Mud Lashers that were too difficult after they had defeated the huge Mudbeast. This was ...
6
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1answer
396 views

Can Edge Be Reduced to 0?

I am about to start a campaign using SR5 rules. One of the things that I love about Shadowrun is that the threat of PC death is very real. Combat is often quite deadly. As a GM who likes to constantly ...
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5answers
3k views

What happens if I concede a fight to someone who only wants me dead?

I'm in a game where my non-combat character ended up in a physical fight with two bobcat-like creatures who have been ordered to kill me. The entity ordering my death is powerful enough (and so are ...
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2answers
786 views

Does a hit to a stabilized character count as a death saving failure?

The 0.1 basic rules (p76) say: A stable creature doesn't make death saving throws [...]. The creature stops being stable, and must start making death saving throws again, if it takes any damage. ...
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1answer
731 views

Does a GM ever want to kill the player characters? [closed]

I'm in the process of learning as much as I can about being a GM with a view to running a game at some point. One thing that has struck me is that killing the PCs probably isn't very good for the ...
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3answers
1k views

How can I plan a TPK finale that doesn't look planned?

A campaign I was GMing in the past abruptly stopped because of stuff IRL, with characters trapped in a tower in the center of a city that is being destroyed by a huge demon. When the group gets back ...
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13answers
6k views

How should I handle retconning (or not) a session with a drunk player and character deaths?

What Happened Tonight, one of my players began the session pretty drunk. That's not the problem I need help with; it hasn't happened before, and if it becomes a thing then I can deal with that. But I ...
49
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16answers
7k views

Dealing with “fearless” players

I have some "badass" players in my group who do not fear death, 4 out of 6 to be precise, which causes problems for the rest players as they feel they are always getting dragged into trouble, trying ...
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4answers
2k views

How attached should players be to the characters they make?

I'm new to RPGs and I'm not sure how attached I should be to any characters I make. On one hand I don't think it would be pleasant to spend hours making an in depth character only to have them die ...
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6answers
2k views

How to reintegrate players who had their characters die in AD&D 1e?

Just wondering how it would be possible. Say for example, the party is level 5 and one player is killed in battle. What is to be done? Does he roll a character at level 5, or level 1? What are your ...
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3answers
597 views

Is rolled death during character creation ever OK? [closed]

Is it ever Ok to have a Diceroll made during character gen kill or cripple a character before they are played? I know in certain Systems, this is almost true if you are really unlucky at rolling. (Eg ...
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7answers
2k views

Alternatives to death in a character and narrative-driven campaign?

I'm currently running a Pathfinder game where the characters make the decisions and shape the plot. However, I'm worried about what will happen if one of the characters dies, simply because the ...
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1answer
63 views

Spells similar to Unconcious Agenda for 3.5 without certain restrictions

I'm after a spell i can have cast on my character where on a certain condition (in my case, character is bitten by a vampire) he will conscious or not, be made to perform an action (in my case, slug a ...
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5answers
2k views

Sometimes, losing a big conflict is the better plotline. For D&D, how do you encourage this result?

It is practically an old adage that D&D parties will never let a fight end in a loss (short of a TPK.) And that the game mechanics (especially later editions) encourage this thinking. But ...
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8answers
2k views

How to get players to care about their and each others characters and play them like they are actual people

This question made me think about a problem I have been having that was brought up last night during a session. This session was the first of a new campaign I was running, with the party meeting ...
6
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1answer
638 views

Is Iron Kingdoms too non-lethal?

I've been playing Iron Kingdoms as a player for a few months now and one thing I have found is that it is incredibly difficult to finish off a player (or a NPC who the GM has decided to make use the ...
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3answers
909 views

What HP does Finger of Death leave you at when it kills you?

Let's say you're at 23 HP and your CON score is 15. You're hit by Finger of Death cast by a 13th level Wizard, and as a result suffer 130 damage. Are you left at -107 HP, or does it simply drop you to ...
20
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8answers
1k views

“Retiring” a maxed-out party

This question has a specific and a general sense. Eventually, if your game runs long enough, a party will be pretty much maxed out - reaching level caps, wielding top-level powers and abilities, ...
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2answers
2k views

My players almost die in my encounters every time. Does this mean my encounters are too hard?

I'm running my first campaign with three friends. This is the first time any of us have done any table-top role-playing. I'm working the party through the H1: Keep on the Shadowfell campaign using ...
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9answers
3k views

Tried all the existing advice, but players still never roleplay fear

I've read some other posts on here about how to telegraph danger to my PCs and how to make them flee. The problem is, I believe I am actively using all the strategies in both of the posts and my PCs ...
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2answers
1k views

Is it acceptable for the GM to attack a recently-stabilized character?

I was playing the Scales of War campaign with a group of friends, and my character was getting absolutely destroyed in an encounter. I had failed two death saves, but fortunately for me, the fight ...
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1answer
403 views

Counting milestones for the death penalty

When a character is resurrected using the Raise Dead ritual, she gets a death penalty: The subject returns with a death penalty: –1 to all attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws, and ability ...
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5answers
1k views

Memory After Death

A recent campaign started with the death of the party and reincarnation of the party with the premise of "we brought you back to find those who killed you". One player was concerned that these people ...
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18answers
6k views

How do I not cheapen death, while also respecting my players' time?

I DM for a group of very busy people, for whom the commitment of several hours a week is a real sacrifice: that’s a sizeable chunk of their free time for the week that I’m asking for. ...