By Johnn 4, patreon.com/johnnfour
Roleplaying Ideas Publication #1191
It sucks when a personality dies.
To keep away from discomfort or upset gamers, many GMs find yourself supporting Mary Sue PCs.
Or we offer plot armour so thick we earn no drama from fight, traps, and hazards.
I help character dying because of truthful gameplay.
This offers you extra and significant stakes in your encounters.
It encourages gamers to up their sport, as nicely.
It nonetheless sucks when a cherished PC perishes.
So listed below are d10 methods we are able to deal nicely when character dying occurs.
1. Ghostify Them
Convey the character again as an undead or spirit.
Change up their stats and talents a bit so it’s the identical PC the participant loves however with fascinating new decisions and powers.
In a marketing campaign my pal Dan ran, he killed us all within the first encounter on objective, and we got here again as undead.
That was nice enjoyable for us as we a) sought revenge and b) quested to return to the land of the residing.
2. Spend Their Treasure
Enable a return to life however at a price.
I’m web page 104 of my beloved AD&D DMG proper now. It prices 1,000 gp + 500 gp per caster degree for a Increase Useless spell from an NPC.
That’s 1000’s of treasure factors to deliver again a personality.
This world-building element encourages gamers to avoid wasting up wealth as nicely, relying on the deadliness of your marketing campaign.
3. Spawn a Quest
In Dan’s marketing campaign we quested for a return to life.
In your sport you possibly can supply a option to deliver a lifeless character again if the social gathering performs a service, discovers a particular magic merchandise, or finds a particular NPC.
In my fantasy campaigns, NPCs can usually forged a spell that resurrects PCs, however they demand a service (plus gold generally) in alternate.
For instance, the social gathering lays the physique of Roghan on the steps of the Temple of Dis. They beseech the excessive clergymen to deliver the warrior again to life.
The clergymen agree, however provided that the social gathering returns a spiritual artefact stolen by an enemy cult.
In D&D, that is the place the Geas spell is our pal.
Many instances my gamers have agreed to the search and be Geased with it.
This manner, I can deliver again the lifeless PC instantly so the participant is again within the sport, and justify the service-in-advance as a result of the clergymen know the social gathering will carry via with the search.
4. Make it A Marketing campaign Plot
Platinum Wizard of Journey Auke posted this nice concept on the RPT Discord:
In my setting, there’s no undead any extra, and Increase Useless/Resurrection don’t exist.
Lately, Arawn (the God of Loss of life) has wanted a little bit of assist.
Consequently, when a raver Big grabbed one of many PCs and used him as a membership to virtually beat the opposite PCs to dying, that PC died – and got here again to life.
A lot confusion.
The PC feels advantageous, although, and life goes on.
Though he can’t assist shake the sensation that an IOU is due.
Right here we are able to tease out the thought of a marketing campaign plot, ala Piers Anthony, the place dying is damaged and the PCs want to revive the pure order of issues.
5. Again However With a Value
Re-life comes with a price.
Platinum Wizard of Journey YeOldeRaven shares this concept in the identical Discord chat about lifeless characters:
Simply studying via the posts above about dying and resurrection and the concept dying has a say in who will get to return again.
And the thought of dying having a purpose for gathering the souls of the lifeless struck me.
The concept was that dying is just not the ultimate factor that occurs within the universe.
Loss of life is concerned in some better occasion and wishes to gather these souls to additional an agenda.
Such because the continuation of existence itself.
Loss of life could require these souls at sure instances and never others.
So when one in all our heroes dies prematurely, it could be that dying doesn’t want that peace at the moment and is keen to let the soul return again to wherever it was.
Who is aware of what kind of sport dying is taking part in, and it could be past what even the gods can comprehend.
Which takes the thought of the factor we name dying to an entire new degree.
My girlfriend simply introduced up the concept this will encourage a negotiation between the newly deceased, dying, and even perhaps the gods.
Loss of life doesn’t know what items they should full their sport till that piece is earlier than them.
One other concept that we considered was being marked whenever you have been introduced again.
That mark is usually a seen factor or it could possibly be an invisible factor.
And it attracts undesirable consideration.
This could possibly be a odor. It could possibly be flies. It may imply that your entire future offspring are going to be demons and devils.
It comes again to the thought that there’s a value and maybe a grave one at that for being introduced again.
6. Facet Quest
One time when a personality died I ran it like a break up social gathering.
The survivors saved on.
The lifeless character awoke in a wierd room with a door.
Thus started a facet quest to discover the brand new space and learn the way the character may return to life.
The character may converse to the opposite PCs through goals so the participant wouldn’t really feel too remoted.
Finally, the character discovered what the social gathering wanted to do within the land of the residing to deliver them again.
7. Convey on the Clones
Reincarnation has introduced valiant paladins again as goblins and mighty wizards again as pixies in my video games.
It’s a improbable mechanic to foil character dying.
You would make this a world-building piece the place everybody comes again primarily based on how they behaved in life.
Or limit it to a particular impact through spell, miracle, or service.
Alternatively, you possibly can create a cloning mechanic, maybe from marketing campaign begin.
For instance, in my Homicide Hobos marketing campaign, the wizard Six turned out to be a clone. The gamers discovered this as occasions unfolded over the course of the sport.
What made issues fascinating for the participant, although, was realizing whether or not his PC was the unique. The participant introduced me the clone concept as a part of their superior backstory, and I added the uncertainty to maintain the plot fascinating.
As a facet be aware, if lifeless PCs can simply boomerang again into play, guarantee there’s a price so gamers nonetheless wish to keep away from character dying.
8. Villain’s Cackle
In one other marketing campaign, I had the villain deliver a lifeless PC again to life because the physique was left behind by the social gathering.
I then roleplayed a phrases of service negotiation with the participant and saved this secret from the group.
When the character out of the blue confirmed up, apparently hale however with a couple of scars, everybody grew suspicious. However the character was welcomed again and play resumed.
The participant did an superior job conserving secrets and techniques and roleplaying their service as a spy for the villain.
9. It’s All Relative
Enable gamers to erase the identify off their character sheet and usher in a brand new copy because the relative.
Good for beer and pretzel video games.
In the event you want extra gravitas to swimsuit the tone of your marketing campaign, layer in some plot.
Perhaps twins in your world are youngsters of a deity alleged to carry out some nice mission, however an enemy severed these ties and now such folks have no idea their future.
Or maybe the household sends the character to search out out what occurred to their kin, and the household performs an even bigger function in your plot now as a faction.
10. Characters Don’t Die
The specter of dying and having to create a brand new character won’t be to your style.
Perhaps you don’t wish to derail your plot. For instance, every character is perhaps named in a prophecy.
Or perhaps you wish to keep away from the state of affairs altogether. You don’t see the worth in that mechanic or that kind of story.
If we predict when it comes to story Stakes then, we are able to strike dying off the listing.
However what are good options to create drama and rigidity?
- PC is captured as a substitute and have to be rescued
- Those that tried to kill the PCs have to be delivered to justice
- Character(s) face a dilemma primarily based on their beliefs after being attacked (for instance, they’re a pacifist)
- Character suffers a loss and wishes to revive themselves (for instance, lowered powers)
- Can the characters flip their attacker into an ally?
- The loss leads to a setback or missed alternative
It’s Your Flip
Resolve the way you’ll deal with character dying earlier than your marketing campaign begins.
Then let your gamers know so that they don’t get caught off-guard with one thing they may not like.
Construct your world to accommodate your method as one other option to make it distinct.
This will even enable you to roleplay higher.
A marketing campaign the place the NPCs don’t appear to know clergymen carry out miracles for the wealthy and highly effective could be fairly fascinating, for instance.
Alternatively, NPCs who don’t acknowledge 5,000 gp Increase Useless merchandising machines within the Temple District would break sense of perception.
Use character dying to spawn new plots, deepen gameplay, or inspire gamers to deliver their greatest sport to every session.
For extra character dying ideas, take a look at PC Loss of life And Your Marketing campaign.
How about you? How do you deal with character dying in your campaigns?
Focus on these sport grasp ideas on this thread on the official Roleplaying Ideas neighborhood discussion board.