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Player Deaths

Rest in PiecesI was just thinking of the way's I've killed players.  Honestly given the number of campaigns I've run in the last 29 years (Yes I am that effin' old) I've killed players not very often.

The first one was in the Tomb of Horrors.  Remember that Sphere of Annihilation mounted to the wall?  Got my first one there.  And by kill I mean permanently dead, ne'er to be seen again.

Then there was the campaign that all the characters started off by dying, it was a plot thing so I'm not sure if it should be here but I'll include it.

The character I vaporized with flame by an ancient red dragon.  So much damage in one hit that we both decreed there wasn't anything left but a pile of ash.

The warrior that was chopped to bits by monofilament wire set across a pit and he was pushed into it.  Ugh.

The warrior that was impaled on a iron spike that shot up his... nether region and out his head and to add insult to injury was then hit by a 10d8 surge of lightning.

The ranger that was blasted into nothingingness, not even pile of ash remaining.

The party that sacrificed their lives so that their paladin could cause the birth of a goddess and then go quietly insane trapped at the center of everything and nothing.

Yes I can honestly remember every one of them. Odd how that is isn't it. 🙂

Comments (4) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Oh my. I hope you mean you’re killing off characters, not the players! A player can always make a new character, but find a good player is a resource not to be wasted. I jest, of course. I know you mean that characters are dying and not the players.

    I’m glad to hear you rarely kill off a character. I tend to kill very few myself, but I have had more than several kill themselves through stupid actions. Stupidity in action is rarely forgivable, but equally rare is the random kill just because the dice say so.

  2. Hmmm, you bring up a good point that might explain why I need new players so often…

    I can say that it was the player’s actions or lack of them that got their characters killed. I’m a fudger, always have been. If players are playing smart or simply not stupid then I’ll nudge dice, to hit and damage, and monster decisions a bit so that things work out so the players are unlikely to die. With 4th edition, things are balanced though to the point where I now roll my dice in the open and I’ve only occasionally had to nudge the bad guys to shift targets to spread the damage around.

    I really like 4e for that. It’s so closer to being balanced than previous editions that it takes a load of work off me to constantly adjust things on the fly.

  3. Followed your trackback from my article on GnomeStew. Thanks for the shout-out, by the way.

    Have you thought about playing with less lethal, but equally debilitating results? Dismemberment, extensive burn scars, blindness, deafness, etc… One game I played in had a rule that ‘cure’ spells left scars; it took a Heal or greater spell to remove them. So someone burned by a dragon might have such extensive scarring that his Dex, Con, and Cha are reduced quite a bit, possibly along with his movement rate and carrying capacity.

    On the other hand, taking a full power blast of dragonfire to the face, after extensive injury, probably should just leave a pile of ash and a pair of smoking boots. (Literary convention pretty much requires the latter.)

  4. I have used those with great results. The 2nd edition specialized archery fighter that lost three fingers on his bow hand after reaching through what he was just sure was illusionary fire and would have otherwise died as a result. The loss of a hand to another fighter that took massive damage rather than killing him. A mage without depth perception because he lost an eye after having his head chomped by a t rex rather than dying. Made casting fireballs interesting afterwards… 🙂 But sometimes players just do really stupid things either through metagaming “he’d never put something we weren’t supposed to just be able to fight and kill.” or because they’re screwing around and being dumb on purpose and have to suffer the consequences of their actions.

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