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67

Bit of an introductory story: I got a discount from my phone company for retention, by threatening to cancel. My neighbour also threatened to cancel after hearing about my discount, but didn't get an offer. Why? He wasn't serious about leaving, and they caught on. I was. If someone knows you won't pull the trigger, they do not have a reason to change what ...


62

This is not a direct answer to your question, but a suggestion that I feel is worth noting. Don't retcon past events, expand upon them. Instead of saying this never happened, say that it has. Exactly like it happened. But not because the player was drunk. Assuming your players are not omniscient, you can write things into the past, present and future of ...


52

Yes, but it's unlikely It's entirely within the rules to continue attacking a character while he's unconscious, and a GM/monster might decide to do so for a number of reasons. However, there are usually more reasons he won't, both in-game as a monster decision and as a meta-game GM decision. First, there's a rule Though more what you'd call a "guideline" ...


51

The single-most overlooked, in my experience, is evidence of deaths. It's a dragon? What's it been eating? Few creatures actually eat EVERYTHING, so what's left by the dragon? Oh, there's an owlbear's beak and claws... there's mangled bits of what used to be +5 plate... (see those runes, there, there and there?) A broken longsword. Dead mind flayers. And ...


48

Give them options, or a hiding place perhaps. Trying to tell them out of game to run is (unfortunately) well into the realm of railroading. On that note, there is one option: Show them in-game that running is their best option. This can be accomplished by having a known-powerful NPC friend defeated by said baddie, or an appropriate knowledge check about them ...


39

You can try to structure your play time so that your life or death stuff isn't hitting until the end of the session. That way if somebody buys it, they're at least being sidelined at the natural end of the evening during the climax of your session so they've played enough to hopefully not feel like they wasted an evening. That also lets them handle new ...


34

I think it begins at the campaign level - nowadays, with many campaigns/GMs being of the "oh not character death, that would be unspeakable" ilk, you need to come out up front and tell people that "this campaign is an easy-death campaign - encounters will NOT be "scaled to your EL" and it will be up to you to determine what challenges you can pull off ...


33

Player 4 sounds like a pretty novice/young/both player. I'd try one or more of these: Explaining issue - I'd try to explain the player that there is a difference between kill-everything-that-moves Diablo and your average-rpg-with-some-battles-and-story. It might be that they are not familiar with how to play a table-top RPG, which generally is more about ...


32

The Players May Not Want To Part of fantasy role playing for a lot of people is being able to be larger than life for a bit. They may not want their characters to feel fear at all. Now, in a novel this may be a bad thing, since a character that isn't believable can disrupt the suspension of disbelief. But in an RPG its not necessarily a bad thing to ...


31

No, that is not normal, it's an unusually high kill rate in my experience. When I've been in parties that hit those levels, there have usually been one or two kills per campaign that require resurrection (though more close saves with resurgences and whatnot). It may be due to bad player tactics, weak characters, or the GM runs things tougher than the ...


30

Some game systems have this internal conflict built into them – either deliberately or accidentally – and that's just part of the nature of the game. Not all games suffer this conflict In some games character death is a deliberate feature, and the rest of the system is more-or-less mindfully designed to accommodate character death as a real risk while not ...


28

You can always play in a lower lethality game, but in the question you note that you and your group want this kind of gameplay. So here's some options to keep a player involved assuming character death is present. Have them work on their new character. This keeps them involved with the game and allows you to slot them in potentially later in the same ...


28

Tell them that the side campaign ends with an epic, glorious, TPK. Making your players co-conspirators in the shape of the finale means that they will help you drive it to that epic conclusion. There's no value, in the scenario you describe, to making a TPK a surprise or look unintentional. Save the energy that would be spent on smoke and mirrors designed ...


26

Experienced players talk about their expectations There is no “Goldilocks” here that works for everyone in every game. Each player, each group, each system, each setting, and each campaign are going to have different expectations. Those expectations may very well be totally different in the next campaign. So the right thing to do is to talk to ...


25

Give the players some objectives that they can fail without PC deaths. For example, the party hears rumors that a merchant is willing to pay handsomely for an escort through a dangerous area that is well known for containing threats that should be exceptionally difficult for the players to handle at their current level. If the players attempt to take the ...


24

Some questions to answer in your social contract: Can my character die without my consent? In D&D (and most action-based games) the default answer is 'yes'. Subquestions to ask: Will I get a hint that I'm in serious danger? (In 4e you usually won't need one... it'll be obvious that you're low on surges and survivability.) How likely is this? ...


24

The Ugly Truth It's entirely possible that your players simply want to charge heroically into danger and death. Since they have seen their characters die and they know you won't "pull your punches" and they're still charging to their doom, it's likely that the story of the hero who laughs into the face of danger – and sometimes dies for it – is ...


23

Be consistent: make tactical retreat a normal and important part of play First, Dungeons & Dragons, particularly later editions, has as the default assumption that a challenge put before players is intended to be one they can overcome, a combat they get in is one they can win. Particularly when that challenge or combat is perceived to be one the DM ...


22

I agree strongly with LitheOhm, but to add a couple of things on: Make sure they understand fleeing is actually an option. If you are facing an opponent that really wants to kill you and is faster than you or has good ranged attacks, you might be best off staying and fighting even if they are much more powerful. Then you have a (slim) chance and at least ...


22

There are many ways to retire a party. The trivial one is, of course, say that they lived happily ever after. But you can borrow big endings from classical stories, like: The characters, or some of them, become gods themselves. They are not mortals anymore, they are out of space and time, and their stories end there. The characters must make a terrible ...


21

Here are some suggestions that we have tried for our 4e game. It does not come up much as we do not have a high mortality campaign thus far. Have backup characters ready. In 4e we have had backup characters in the character builder ready to be printed if we needed them during a session. This can provide a quick pick up right back to where you left off by ...


21

First and foremost, a GM should always remember that the objective of a game is to have fun. The thing is that "fun" can mean different things to different people, and it sounds like what's fun for you to create isn't as fun for the players when it's executed - and the end result isn't all that fun for you either, since you're sharing this issue here. Here ...


21

The traditional way of handling PC death in AD&D is for the player to roll up a new, 1st-level character. The bite of death is strong in AD&D, and the intention is that players treat the risks of adventuring very seriously. However, what is traditional isn't universal—plenty of groups made up their own table rules for how to make a character after ...


20

"Doctor! It hurts when I move my arm like this!" "So don't do that, then…" On page 168, the rules discuss what it means to be "Taken Out" — and, in particular, what the circumstances are like in groups where Taken Out equates to "dead": So, if you think about it, there’s not a whole lot keeping someone from saying, after taking you out, that your ...


19

Keep on the Shadowfell is balanced for parties of 5 players The default party size for 4e is 5 players, and all the official modules are designed to be an appropriate challenge for a party of 5. This is not to say that the game won't work well with 3 players (my experience has been that it starts having trouble when you have 2 or less players or 8+ ...


18

If I understand the problem correctly, it boils down to you presenting overwhelming, life-threatening encounters to them, and them refusing to show fear? I say the reason for them not being afraid of death and dismemberment may be as simple as the one that death is not scary in D&D 3.5. You're dealing with mid-level PCs that can resurrect one another if ...


16

For 3.5, yes, it is a bit on the high side... but that's also very GM dependent. I've heard of 3.5 games with a death a session, but never played in one. The guys who did, however, knew that keeping a character alive was an accomplishment in that game. I've also seen 3.5 games that went years without a PC death. The average I hear about is 1 PC death per ...


16

Complete Divine (pages 129 - 130) is the 3.5 supplement that covers this. It suggests that, as a default, the following is true: When you come back to the world of the living, you remember in general terms what the afterlife was like, but your memories have a vague, dreamlike quality and you’re unable to recall the specifics of events. Whether the ...


16

I can't find an explicit ruling on this, but In the Pathfinder Core Rulebook, page 562, under Death Attacks it states: "In case it matters, a dead character, no matter how he died, has hit points equal to or less than his negative constitution score." This implies that it's possible for damage to reduce health lower than negative con.


16

Aside from the Same Page Tool already listed, I'd say two things would be worth considering: 1. Emphasize difference in expectation If the group is used to playing one kind of game style, you have to explicitly point out the differences in what you're trying to do. Something that flags me as a potential problem is this: [T]he party meeting each other ...



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