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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

21
votes
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 ...
17
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
16
votes
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. ...
4
votes
1answer
359 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
94 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
246 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 ...
20
votes
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
802 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
640 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
796 views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
349 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
votes
1answer
269 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 ...
25
votes
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
449 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. ...
6
votes
1answer
559 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
861 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 ...
35
votes
13answers
5k 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 ...
44
votes
15answers
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 ...
15
votes
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 ...
7
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
495 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
59 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
8answers
1k 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
votes
1answer
455 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
740 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
votes
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, ...
13
votes
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 ...
26
votes
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 ...
21
votes
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
374 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
878 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 ...
73
votes
18answers
5k 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. ...
10
votes
1answer
373 views

Can you start your turn when you're dead?

In my epic game, I am playing a level 30 Keeper of the everflow. Keepers have a level 24 feature: Life Overflow (24th level): Once per day when you start your turn at 0 hit points or fewer, you ...
7
votes
1answer
761 views

Death odds in Deathwatch

We have played 3 games of Deathwatch now and are getting the hang of it. But my players seem to get hurt a lot. An example of this is a PC that has 21 wounds received 18 wounds from one enemy ...
47
votes
15answers
3k views

How can I make my PCs flee?

My players never run away or avoid conflict. Ever. I throw them ridiculous encounters, they will stay and fight. If I tell them, "You know you're not gonna make it, just run," they stay and fight and ...
12
votes
9answers
1k views

How do I help my players figure out how to stay alive in a realistically-deadly sandbox campaign?

Related: What to do when a player character goes suicide and How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D? I like playing sandbox-style RPGs (whether pen and paper or ...
40
votes
9answers
4k views

What to do when a player character does something suicidal?

Every now and then a player character does something extremely risky because "it would be fun." What are some good ways to handle this as a GM, for the different styles of play? I like playing ...
39
votes
7answers
1k views

How can I quickly get a player back into a session after their character dies?

As a GM, what kind of techniques could I use to help a player re-join the gaming session after their character dies? I want to avoid any major interruptions to the flow of the adventure. I would also ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

What happens to you after you die in D&D 3.5?

I'm playing an assassin-ish rogue in a 3.5 with Nerull (the god of death) as his deity and decided to build his essential character around the internal struggle of justifying his chosen profession to ...
10
votes
3answers
442 views

How do you handle an early death in Dread?

Starting prep for a game of Dread. I am wondering what is the best way to handle an early exit for a character in the game? I understand the ghost or doomed method of allowing the player to continue ...
20
votes
5answers
5k views

A PC dies every session - bad tactics or the normal outcome of adventuring?

In the campaign I'm currently playing in we have had a lot of character deaths occurring recently, almost (if not every) session. The party are 13th–14th level and are taking on significant ...
39
votes
10answers
3k views

Techniques for allowing character defeat without character death

Character death can be extremely disruptive to an ongoing RPG, particularly in a game where character agendas are the driving force behind the plot. However, for a good story with a sense of conflict ...
4
votes
3answers
733 views

How should treasure parcels be adjusted to account for permanent character death in Dungeons and Dragons 4e?

In a D&D game I play, the party has had a 200% character turnover rate due to character death at low levels. Spawning at higher levels provides the incoming players with gear appropriate to their ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

What about character death should be included in a social contract?

For a D&D (4e, primarily) game what about player-character death should be included in a group's social contract? What are some options for best reaching consensus about the possibility of death ...