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

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28
votes
10answers
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 ...
25
votes
6answers
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 ...
13
votes
4answers
916 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
388 views

How do we prevent the PvP death of a PC from being cheapened and made meaningless by easy resurrection?

I am running a homebrewed RPG cobbled together from bits of systems like VtM, D&D, Pathfinder, etc. (that's not the problem, it works for us). Our campaign includes player-versus-player conflict, ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Can a wizard add *raise dead* to the spellbook?

The Restore Life effect of Master Transmuter on PHB119 reads: You cast the raise dead spell on a creature you touch with the transmuter's stone, without expending a spell slot or needing to have ...
3
votes
3answers
421 views

If the campaign stalls at a deadly cliffhanger and we never play again, is my character dead?

Is a character that's about to die just before a campaign is abandoned effectively dead? We have reached the climax of the game — the end all, "winner takes all" type situation. Two of us are ...
12
votes
2answers
760 views

What happens when my dead wizard decides to planeshift out of the afterlife?

So, I know that if my High Elf Wizard dies he goes to the chaotic-good afterlife plane or whatever. That's clear. He leaves a body behind, and gets a brand-new afterlife body in the chaotic good ...
14
votes
1answer
984 views

Does halfling luck apply to death saving throws?

The rule states that halfling luck applies to saving throws and the death rolls are called "death saving throws." Based on that I decided to allow it. Additionally, I thought allowing halfling luck ...
52
votes
17answers
8k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
159 views

Reincarnate and level adjustment in story based leveling

In my current campaign we work with story based leveling. Our dear catfolk druid (effective level = 3+1 LA) has died and we used reincarnate to bring her back to life as an elf. We have not yet ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

What would the effect of removing death saves and just having characters die at 0HP be?

I am currently attempting to create a campaign, inspired both by West Marches, and earlier editions of D&D (mostly OD&D and 1e AD&D), but still keeping the 5e rules that my group are ...
12
votes
1answer
264 views

How does raise dead affect a level 2 character?

One of the characters at our table died last night and we have the resources to raise him. The strange thing though is that by the reading of Raise Dead, he would come back, gain two permanent ...
2
votes
1answer
84 views

When is a character (whether PC, NPC, or Monster) knocked out as opposed to Dead?

In Castles and Crusades I can't find anything that dictates when an NPC or Monster is dead and have always just assumed that once they get to 0 HP they are dead. I came across something, I can't ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Does taking more damage than you have HP remaining result in a death saving throw failure?

Here are the rules for damage taken while at 0 HP (Player’s Basic Rules Version 0.3, Page 76): Damage at 0 Hit Points. If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving ...
27
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 ...
26
votes
9answers
4k views

What are the implications of letting players retry an adventure/encounter that resulted in death?

I'm running a 5e story. Two players went into the crypt and got killed. My players manage their own sheets and the next day one player pointed out that he had not updated his saves after leveling up....
50
votes
10answers
14k 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 ...
49
votes
11answers
4k 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 ...
43
votes
4answers
4k views

Can Raise Dead revive a character with zero maximum Hit Points?

So, a character died from Draining Kiss of a succubus and his Max HP is 0. Can he be restored by Raise Dead, or does he need a higher level spell? Or a Greater Restoration cast on his lifeless body ...
1
vote
0answers
151 views

Switching from dead characters mid-game [closed]

As a GM, how do I wrap game-caused character switching into the story? Suppose I had to murder one of the PCs for great ju... didactic purposes. For example, my players refuse to understand the idea ...
90
votes
13answers
7k views

How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D?

There are some play-styles of D&D in which the spectre of player-character death is considered a feature of the game rather than a bug. For my own reasons (which aren't the point of the question), ...
74
votes
16answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
323 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) ...
5
votes
2answers
214 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, ...
9
votes
5answers
354 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 too....
5
votes
1answer
299 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
655 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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
65
votes
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 ...
14
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
14
votes
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
159 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
890 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 ...
18
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
299 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
176 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 ...
46
votes
9answers
5k views

What to do when a player character does something that seems 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 non-...
6
votes
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, ...
2
votes
2answers
177 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 ...
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 ...
19
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
388 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
164 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
912 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 ...
22
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
812 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
547 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 ...