Questions tagged [character-death]

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

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149
votes
13answers
18k 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), ...
105
votes
18answers
15k 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 ...
76
votes
10answers
32k 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 ...
101
votes
18answers
10k 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. Now,...
50
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1answer
221k views

What spells are available to resurrect characters?

What official spells exist that can be used by characters to resurrect their fallen comrades in Dungeons & Dragons? Which classes can cast them and at what level?
13
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4answers
16k views

Can spells or spell-like abilities do non-lethal damage?

I'm working on a Paladin/Warlock combination, based off of Pureferret and Miniman's work, and as part of this, I noticed Miniman's remark that Repelling Blast won't be that useful, because as a ...
29
votes
1answer
10k views

Do your spells end when you die?

I linked to this answer in a 5e question, attempting to bring support for the idea that, if you cast an open-ended spell, like Magic Mouth, it could remain after you die. Someone pointed out that, as ...
51
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8answers
15k 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 ...
34
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1answer
8k 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 ...
21
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4answers
4k views

Can your own death be a trigger for Glyph of Warding?

I had made an assumption in an answer and am wondering if your own death is a legitimate trigger for a Glyph of Warding spell you have previously cast. The requirement simply states: You decide ...
17
votes
4answers
12k views

What happens to spells (buffs, curses, etc) that are active on you when you die?

Let's say I have a Wizard. I cast mage armor on myself. Nasty kobolds kill me with their traps. Luckily, I have a cleric who (for sake of this question) can cast breath of life, at will. He "raises"...
80
votes
14answers
21k 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 ...
51
votes
9answers
19k views

How to kill a character without making their player too angry

I have been DMing a game for a group of friends. In between two sessions, which ended with them facing a few enemy NPCs, I realized that these intelligent opponents had a very good way to kill one of ...
29
votes
6answers
12k 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 opponents....
15
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1answer
5k views

Does casting Disintegrate on a polymorphed enemy still kill it after the 2018 errata?

After the 2018 errata, the disintegrate spell description now reads: A creature targeted by this spell must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 10d6 + 40 force damage. ...
56
votes
11answers
7k 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 ...
59
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11answers
8k 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 ...
25
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4answers
3k 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 ...
48
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8answers
3k 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 ...
43
votes
6answers
9k views

Can massive damage knock out rather than causing instant death?

Suppose, as happened last night, a character intends to subdue rather than kill an opponent. She made a melee attack, hit, declared her intent to knock out. The damage roll was enough to reduce the ...
27
votes
4answers
33k views

Does a Paladin's Aura of Protection Affect Allies' Death Saving Throws?

In D&D 5e, the Paladin feature Aura of Protection allows allies within 10 feet of you to add your charisma modifier as a bonus to their saving throws, as long as you are conscious. Certainly this ...
17
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1answer
9k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
315 views

What ways (other than advantage) are there to improve the total for a death saving throw?

What ways (other than advantage) are there to improve the total for a death saving throw? For instance, the bless spell allows you to add 1d4 to any saving throws you make during the duration. I'm ...
56
votes
17answers
13k 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 ...
33
votes
12answers
5k 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 ...
32
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
17
votes
9answers
3k 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 does something that seems suicidal? and How can DMs effectively telegraph specific dangers in D&D? I like playing sandbox-style RPGs (whether ...
32
votes
6answers
9k views

Is there a spell, weapon, or effect that causes permanent and irrevocable death?

Going by RAW, is there a way to (reliably) kill someone that cannot be undone? Short of outright wishing it'd never happened, I mean. I don't mean just Imprisonment, or whatever. The creature has to ...
26
votes
5answers
7k views

Can I resurrect a corpse that was previously animated as undead?

One of my teammates has died in battle. As a noble necromancer, I do not want to carry his corpse to the temple on my shoulders, instead I plan to animate his corpse, so he can walk on its own. Then, ...
23
votes
3answers
2k views

If an attack causes additional damage after a saving throw, is it counted as a separate source of damage for the purpose of failed death saves?

If an attack causes additional damage after a saving throw, is it counted as a separate source of damage for the purpose of failed death saving throws? In other words, does it cause another failed ...
15
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4answers
2k 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 ...
45
votes
4answers
17k views

What happens to dying PCs when combat ends?

Imagine that a PC gets reduced to 0 hit points during a battle. The battle continues for a couple more rounds and they roll their death saves, one success and one failure (not sure if this part of the ...
23
votes
2answers
8k views

Is a character that had their brain devoured by an Intellect devourer dead? Can they be raised?

Inspired by this answer. Is a character that is currently the host of a brain devourer, body thief style, dead? Can they be raised, resurrected? If yes, do I have to kill the intellect devourer ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
719 views

If a charmed creature receives a suicidal command and fails the repeated saving throw, do they commit suicide?

Both the Cambion and the Succubus/Incubus have abilities that allow them to charm a humanoid, who must then obey their commands until the charm effect is broken. However, both include clauses that ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Can Bless or Bardic Inspiration help a creature from rolling a 1 on a death save?

For instance, say the creature rolled a 1 on the d20, and would have gotten failed 2 death saves, but uses their pre-given bardic inspiration and actually rolls a total of 10+. Would the creature be ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

If I have a lower-level Aid cast on me, am reduced to less than 5 HP, and then have a higher-level Aid cast on me, what happens?

For reference: Does casting Aid stack? (No), What happens to the current hit points when Aid ends? (You lose the current hit points that you gained, effectively taking 5 damage). My question is: If I ...
11
votes
4answers
16k views

What happens when a familiar from the Find Familiar spell “dies”?

The 5e PHB is pretty unambiguous about familiar "death". Per the find familiar spell description: When the familiar drops to 0 hit points, it disappears, leaving behind no physical form. It ...
8
votes
1answer
908 views

How does the Death Ward spell work if you are at 0 hit points and take massive damage?

The death ward spell states: [...] The first time the target would drop to 0 hit points as a result of taking damage, the target instead drops to 1 hit point, and the spell ends. If the spell is ...
56
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
14
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7answers
4k 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 ...
54
votes
7answers
57k views

How do I kill a 20th level raging Zealot Barbarian?

At 20th level, the Path of the Zealot barbarian (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 11) can rage indefinitely by virtue of starting a new rage just prior to their initial rage ending. This is ...
24
votes
6answers
39k 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
5k 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....
26
votes
9answers
14k views

How to kill a PC without hard feelings?

Reading this question, the accepted advice for killing a player is to talk to them first. My campaign is run in a Game of Thrones style setting; the good and honorable die doing what is right, and ...
21
votes
2answers
5k views

Is my Half Orc Barbarian invulnerable to death by falling?

Forgive me if I've botched any math, but here's the situation I've found myself in (assuming 4th level): Falling damage caps out at 20d6 at terminal velocity. Kronan the Barbarian has 55 Max HP ...
17
votes
5answers
4k views

How attached should players be to the characters they make? [closed]

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 off,...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it possible to delay the Revivify spell so it's activated when a character dies?

The other day I was speaking with one of my players and he thought "Is there actually a way to delay a revivify spell so it is activated when the character dies?" I thought it could be a great idea ...
29
votes
1answer
4k views

Can massive damage kill you while at 0 HP?

The rules on "Instant Death" state: Massive damage can kill you instantly. When damage reduces you to 0 hit points and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds ...
16
votes
1answer
5k views

What happens to a Wizard's Transmuter Stone when she dies?

Unfortunately, last monday night our transmuter wizardess met her early (only 160!) demise at the hands (claws) of some elf-hungry trolls. Her transmuter stone was not on her, because another ...