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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Some of the former PCs in my campaign have retired from adventuring in order to fight in a war in a distant northern kingdom. Now there has been a massive battle in the north, which has ended in a defeat for the ex-PCs' side.

    There are too many ex-PCs right now and the war is drawing closer to its end, so I'm afraid that the ex-PCs will return back to normal campaign-world and I simply don't want them around. I like using my own NPCs, not ex-PCs. I was planning to simply announce that some or all of them have died in the battle.

    So the question is:
    Once a PC retires and nothing has been agreed about his/her fate and it's absolutely certain the player will not resume playing the character, is it ok to autokill the ex-PC if the GM feels bothered (bored) about having him/her around as an NPC?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    DigoDragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    I would think that depends on what the PC's player and the GM agree upon. If players are fine with it, then no fuss, but I certainly would ask first since some players get quite attached to long-time characters.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Feb 2009

    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Isn't there another way to "get rid" of the ex-PCs? You could just say that they went on to far away place XYZ to experience more adventures there.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    I feel you should just give them something in exchange for offing their ex-character. Not loot and equipment-wise, necessarily, but some kind of plot-related reward for having played the character.

    Something like
    "You hear news that Mungo the Retarded Fighter (your ex-PC) died gloriously in the battle of Kaboom Pass, fighting to the bitter end. This leaves the last stretch of land to the capital open for the invading army, but he killed so many of their troops before finally going down that they have had to stop their advance and consolidate their forces. Instead of having two weeks until they reached the city, you now have a month."
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Jun 2012

    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Talk to your gaming group. This is a table-specific question.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
     
    The Rose Dragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    The important thing is not the ex-PC part, it's the current NPC part. If they are not PCs, they are fair game. Unless the current PCs have metagame resources invested in them (such as, say, an Allies merit), they should be treated as any other NPC.

    ((Perhaps expecting this as a matter of course is why I never drop a character in an ongoing game without him dying, or otherwise being permanently removed from being viable for play.))
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Just ask the players directly. I can understand if you wanted it to be a surprise or big reveal (or if the lost battle is supposed to be a surprise), but don't risk the integrity of your gaming table just for the sake of a twist in the story.

    I think it also depends on how and why the PCs retired. If the players retired the characters because the previous campaign ended, and now those characters became NPCs that you happened to send off to war (as a convenient reason as to why the old PCs aren't the ones saving the world), it probably isn't going to sit well with at least one player if you just kill the PC->NPC characters off. Now, if the old PCs were retired specifically to fight in that war, then I would say that was a risk the players took. I would still ask what they thought of the character falling in battle, but maybe with the spin of asking how they want the character to fall.

    Also, is there any reason that the PC-NPCs can't be taken prisoner by the enemy forces? That seems like a good way to keep them out of the action yet keep them alive, and can even be a good plot hook. Maybe they are to be executed at dawn unless the current PCs can intervene. That way the players at least have agency in the deaths.

    Just some suggestions :)
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Hmmm, general consensus seems to be strongly against my idea.

    I want this to be a surprise: I suddenly announce that the battle has been fought and I tell about its result (horrifying defeat with hundreds of deaths!) and then I name a few ex-PCs who were killed. Suddenly asking "Is it ok if these ex-PCs died? Ok, they didn't die then!" kind of spoils the moment, you know? Also asking about it in advance lessens the surprise factor. I don't like that at all

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Raineh Daze's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Then don't kill them. Much better. Don't just off them because you find them inconvenient. It's not as if players are generally able to populate the world as they wish, so removing one of their most notable lasting contributions just because you don't want to deal with it is a **** move.

    Better to deal with something you dislike than annoy people you're playing with by wiping out their former characters in a very, very trivial manner.

    Also, what level were these Ex-PC's? If it's five or beyond*, the thought of them dying in what's just a battle is kind of ridiculous.

    *I don't think I'm aware of any system where common soldiery are much of a threat by that point.
    Last edited by Raineh Daze; 2013-06-26 at 10:08 AM.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    My answer may be biased as a long-time DM who's had to kill off many of my favorite NPC's for plot purposes or because my party decided they weren't going to get along (favorite NPCs don't have to be good guys, necessarily...). Nonetheless, the way I see it, if they're NPCs now then the players have to let them go.

    PCs will eventually die. They're mortal. If anything, they should be glad that the PC's had an honorable and somewhat fantastic death. Give them a short snippet of the ex-PC's last moments. Make them badasses. I'd be happier knowing my character went down like a badass rather than just getting old and dying.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Sounds like you need Hollywood rules in effect - unless someone dies on camera you never know for certain they are dead.

    Kill them off (in heroic ways) but if the players decide they'd really rather play them again in a future game well it turns out they were merely captured and have spent the last few years working in a salt mine - and now they're back with some badass new scars!

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Quote Originally Posted by geeky_monkey View Post
    Sounds like you need Hollywood rules in effect - unless someone dies on camera you never know for certain they are dead.

    Kill them off (in heroic ways) but if the players decide they'd really rather play them again in a future game well it turns out they were merely captured and have spent the last few years working in a salt mine - and now they're back with some badass new scars!
    Very good point made here.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Quote Originally Posted by geeky_monkey View Post
    Sounds like you need Hollywood rules in effect - unless someone dies on camera you never know for certain they are dead.

    Kill them off (in heroic ways) but if the players decide they'd really rather play them again in a future game well it turns out they were merely captured and have spent the last few years working in a salt mine - and now they're back with some badass new scars!
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Quote Originally Posted by neonchameleon View Post
    Talk to your gaming group. This is a table-specific question.
    Seconded. Most people I game with would have no problems with ex-PCs killed off, especially for a decent story. Some people would take this personally. Even if you are not playing them now, those PCs are yours and a DM killing them off without so much as a SavingThrow, even for an awesome story, kind of goes against the grain of being a PC and intrudes on the your personal space, so to speak. Killing PCs for doing stupid things, getting themselves into difficult spots, bad dice rolls etc. that's fine, but just declaring his PC dies can upset some people, even if that PC is retired.

    The closest I have come to this is killing off my own ex-PCs in a legacy campaign. My player was amazed I did it, considering how fond I was of that character.
    Of course, in my experience most ex-PCs are already dead and those that are retired just disappear somewhere never to be heard from again, so this rarely comes up.
    Last edited by BWR; 2013-06-26 at 12:21 PM.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Imp

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    Feb 2010

    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Super ninja-swordsaged on hollywood death. If you want to tell the players their old characters are dead, but if they want to pick them up later or someone objects they don't have to actually be dead.

    "It turns out your character was only MOSTLY dead. If they're mostly dead, then they're slightly alive. All dead, all you can do is check their character sheets and hope you can make off with their good gear before the DM notices."

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Friv's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon_Dahl View Post
    I want this to be a surprise: I suddenly announce that the battle has been fought and I tell about its result (horrifying defeat with hundreds of deaths!) and then I name a few ex-PCs who were killed. Suddenly asking "Is it ok if these ex-PCs died? Ok, they didn't die then!" kind of spoils the moment, you know? Also asking about it in advance lessens the surprise factor. I don't like that at all
    Don't make it that specific, then.

    Several sessions before the reveal, say, "Hey guys, I feel like we should have a table policy on ex-PCs. How would you feel if you found out that one of them was,
    (a) Dead (heroically),
    (b) Dead (ironically),
    (c) Vanished (mysteriously),
    (d) Evil now,
    (e) Married, and/or
    (f) Ascended

    Don't say which ones, and don't specify the war in the north. Just get a general table policy together.
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Isn't this why Missing in Action was something you could put next to a name? ~chuckle~

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    I have to second the "Ask your players beforehand." approach. Strongly.

    This will diminish the big surprise a bit, but sometimes players grow emotionally attached to certain characters. Killing them off without agreement or some chance to save them can hurt feelings.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Apr 2013

    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Personally speaking, it would annoy me.

    If you want to do this kind of thing, it's better to have well developed NPCs around in the campaign, guys who fought side-by-side with the characters and have been long term contacts.

    EDIT

    Thinking about this some more, it would have annoyed me a lot when I was playing years ago and got invested in my characters. More recently I've tended to play one-dimensional melee brawlers so frankly I don't care if they die. They're one bad roll away from an heroic death anyway.
    Last edited by Mr Beer; 2013-06-26 at 05:26 PM.
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  20. - Top - End - #20
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    RangerGuy

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    Mar 2013

    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    One method would be to let them play their deaths as they were PCs. Depending on how things go down you can decide what happens afterwards. (Kill 100 men and greatly help the war effort... Get killed by an unlucky crit and well... yeah)

    This does depend on if they want to revisit these characters at all.

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Ravens_cry's Avatar

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    Default Re: Would you object to have your ex-PC & current NPC autokilled?

    Yes, yes I would. For one, I think past characters are a valuable resource. While you don't, and in fact shouldn't, have them constantly intervening in adventures, they can add a lot of depth to a world if used well. Not to mention you have a bunch of potential quest hooks that players are likely to want to follow.
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