I have a solid group of 3-5 players who regularly play together and I DM for them. One of these players regularly dies during our campaign (sometimes multiple times). I typically allow people to re-roll a new character and have them rejoin the campaign when this happens.
Based on observation, I find the cause of this to be a combination of factors:
- My campaigns are hard, and I do not curb them based on dumb decisions they make (and yes, they generally admit after something bad happened that they could have done better or avoided the obvious trap).
- He generally expects to die and creates multiple characters to re-roll into the campaign right away.
- He sometimes takes egregious risks because he knows he can just join on a new character with little/no penalty.
- A TPK is handled by ending the campaign. If everyone dies before the next session or during a fight then the campaign is over.
My question: What can I do to curb the "risk taking" behavior? I have already tried a couple of things but did not find them effective (such as lowering difficulty, and punishing re-rolled characters). I feel it is an issue since they have a "prepared to die" attitude and are willing to take egregious risks nobody else would. This could (and almost has) caused a TPK multiple times.
Why sneak past the dragon when we could simply attempt it and see if our first few rolls go well - then abandon it when he dies as our front line?
It slows down the campaign as a whole (having to find a way to add a new character to an existing party). Not to mention sometimes having to wait while the player creates a new character.
It happens so often that it is a common joke at the table,
Oh, you did not die during this session? That is rare.
I have tried punishing re-rolling characters through various methods, including giving them starting gear (as opposed to level adjusted gear), loss of a level (e.g. if the campaign average is 10 they would be 9), loss of all previous gear, and a harder "dice roll" for stats (normally I do a 4D drop lowest, instead I might ask for a flat 3D roll). I found that making re-rolled characters weaker didn't work — typically this just causes them to die again quicker, since them being weaker means there is less holding them to keep the character alive.
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