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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    it just always feels a little too convenient to have another adventurer waiting inside of a dungeon, ready to join the party as soon as a party member dies
    Last edited by Corndog; 2013-07-18 at 02:39 PM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: How do you deal with player death as a DM?

    You should rephrase that

    "Character Death".

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How do you deal with player death as a DM?

    lol yeah, that's what I meant

    if the actual player died, finding a replacement character would be the last thing everyone would be thinking of, so I didn't think about that when I made this topic
    Last edited by Corndog; 2013-07-18 at 02:39 PM.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    If a player dies then I usually give them the usual options:
    1. Wait for the other PCs to go on an adventure to res your old character
    2. Make a new character that will join the party
    then, while they are waiting for one of those two to happen I let them play an NPC (now a PC) that is in the area or something so they can at least still play.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    ooh, yes that's tricky.

    I ran a big dungeon once, lost a few PCs along the way. But once past a certain point there was no way to simply introduce a replacement character. Early in the dungeon I could set up a room with a petrified character, knowing the party had the means to restore said character to fleshy life and they could take a hint; or do similar tricks. But the later parts of the dungeon had no easy way to either explain a newcomer, or even to shoehorn one into the dungeon rooms. I had one session where two players basically had to sit it out, and I wasn't happy about it (they were very gracious though).

    I think, if you're writing your own stuff, prepare for the eventuality of PC death and build in opportunities for replacement along the way. You might not have to use them, but be ready to. This is generally straightforward in campaign writing. If you're using published material it's much harder to make the necessary edits. Pre-warn the players that they might face a period of inactivity should their character die in a particular dungeon.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    yeah I may just have to just write in ways for players to participate in every dungeon in case they die

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Four options:
    1) wait for a rez. Not by the book, in that I have no problem giving free rez to characters if they're willing to help out the caster in some way in return.
    2) divine contract. As the player is ascending (or descending) to their respective afterlife, a deity that I feel would approve of their actions in life offers them a rez if they just accept a geas/quest. Death before quest is completed is permanent, and reasonable efforts must be made to advance the interests of the contract.
    3) roll a new one up.
    4) cheap, questless rez in the form of warforged. Soul stuffed into the robot body. This is the one I most look forward to when the dvati finally loses a twin in combat. My personal dm goal with that character is to have the player playing two warforged swordsages.

    Character deaths have, thus far, been well earned, so I have no qualms about messing with the players with creative death fixes. Well earned meaning sneaking into the bandit camp, somehow beating the will save meant to keep you out (and alive), and attempting to engage 3 enemies without alerting the rest of the sleeping party.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    When I DM it is important for me to tie every character into the plot-line - I don't run games where the PCs are just random adventurers who turn up looking for quests. So replacing a character that dies is a lot of work both for me and for the PC (which is why I usually take care to make sure the encounters are survivable). Usually it begins with the new character concept followed by any suggestions I might offer the player to make it workable in the campaign. Once the character is built and approved I will write the new character into the story. Most commonly they will take the place of a key NPC in an upcoming scene and the party will go from there. After introducing the characters I have to make sure to create an impetus for the new PC to actually join the party - but that doesn't have to happen all at once either. The new PC can start out as a 'temporary' addition to the party for a specific mission and I can then work in a longer-term tie-in later in the story.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    I usually have my players create secondary character from the get-go that have backstories, motivations, and a niche within the campaign world. Each player's primary character must have connections with at least one other player's secondary character, and with their own secondary. That way, should things go awry, the substitute fits well into the group and isn't forced into the campaign world at a moment's notice. It also makes for an interesting rule because the secondary characters already exist in the world, and so should, say, the party sojourn in someone's secondary's home-town, they might actually run into that character while the primary is still alive, and the secondary then functions as a contact, or may even help out in a given adventure in the area. It's not for everyone, but I've found that my group really enjoys it.
    Last edited by Fates; 2013-07-18 at 04:54 PM.
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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    With the specific instance of being in a big dungeon, there's several options:
    - Avoid large dungeons, so that even if nothing else is done, the player is an observer for at most the rest of the session.
    - Give them control of a recurring NPC that's with the party, hirelings, followers, etc. I usually try and make sure that any recurring NPC's that team up with the players on occasion have player-friendly stat tables, rather than the highly truncated, idiomatic layout I usually use. This allows them to take control in case of character death while the NPC is with them, but also allows a player a chance to switch things up by controlling a second character for a session or something. Though note that this would only work if a) the NPC lacks much real characterization, so whatever the player does is close enough to in-character for your group's level of roleplaying, or b) your players are paying close enough attention to know how the NPC is likely to react to situations.
    - Give them control over some of the monsters for the session.

    EDIT: And alternatively, depending on the type of dungeon/quest/whatever, it may be that the party retreats on death to try and get their comrade rezzed or find a replacement before continuing on. After all, it doesn't take a genius to realize that dungeons usually get harder the deeper you go, and going into some place more difficult than "already killed someone," at reduced strength, just severely increased their chances of losing more people.
    Last edited by lsfreak; 2013-07-18 at 05:19 PM.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    "Temporal stasis trap" is one I used. Sole survivor of a rival adventuring party might be one I will use in the future. During games the players and me also plant some seeds for new characters.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    All of my campaigns are custom. I don't like using preset ones, so that's not really an issue.

    One of my campaigns is sort of a feudal/political one where each player is an important knight/noble (they all belong to the same house). So if one of them has to permanently "retire", it's easy to fill in with another member of the house.

    My concern is for another one of my campaigns, which will take place entirely in the Underdark. I wanted to make a campaign in which I didn't go easy on anyone... something more mechanically intensive for experienced players. I want to have underwater combat with no breathing items available, combat that takes places when the party is halfway through scaling a steep wall (flying enemies), combat that places while the players are crossing a chasm on a horizontal rope, etc...

    My problem with that is, is that it's difficult to replace a person in the middle of a campaign like that.

    I appreciate all the posts, though. It's giving me more thoughts on how to approach it

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Companion spirit/spirits.

    The player that dies takes control of a companion spirit that can add bonuses, cast first and second level spells *on the player characters*, etc etc... the only trick is the players can't *ask* for anything and the companion spirits resources are limited.

    For example, at the start of combat have the companion spirit roll 1d10. Whatever number comes up the player has that many d20 rolls they can use in place of a players roll.

    Dave the Fighter Rolls a 2 on his attack... seeing this Frank the Now Companion Spirit player uses up one of his seven d20 rolls and rolls. It comes up a 1... but we're operating under the same rules as the luck domain... and so now Dave actually does worse.
    But them's the breaks, kids. Nobody said being a companion spirit was easy. Nobody said it would make you popular. You knew what this was. You knew it. And that's why I don't look at you when we make whoopie.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    some guy that followed you in and just now caught up. It's amazing just how long someone can be "lost".
    I reserve the right to be wrong and will use that right whenever it happens

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
    Ahh this literally made me lol. So wrong.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Quote Originally Posted by visigani View Post

    Dave the Fighter Rolls a 2 on his attack... seeing this Frank the Now Companion Spirit player uses up one of his seven d20 rolls and rolls. It comes up a 1... but we're operating under the same rules as the luck domain... and so now Dave actually does worse.
    How are two misses different in D&D? They are both misses, and there aren't fumble rules in 3.5e.

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    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    Ahh this literally made me lol. So wrong.
    Thanks!
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
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    Last edited by Fates; 2013-07-18 at 10:25 PM.

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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    My PCs have pretty easy access to Resurrection spells. Losing a level and paying the material cost for the spell is punishment enough.

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Quote Originally Posted by CRtwenty View Post
    My PCs have pretty easy access to Resurrection spells. Losing a level and paying the material cost for the spell is punishment enough.
    Eh, I don't feel that it is, really. I find resurrection magic tends can really invalidate death and cause PCs to be utterly foolish. I usually rule that, barring certain shenanigans and spells like Revivify and Last Breath, it is impossible to be raised more than once.

    But that's just me.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    In my current party the dread necromancer is the healbot, and for an additional cost I would let her raise a partymember as a necropolitan with a create undead spell and all the components needed for a rite of crucimigration (and the attendant level + xp loss).

    In general I don't much care about introducing new characters, I am making the whole thing up as I go along, and frequently introduce minor characters, so adding a new party member at some random interval actually wouldn't seem all that out of place.
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    For one, we don't do dungeons large enough that you couldn't backtrack out to look for a replacement except if you count underdark excursions. Dungeons that big just don't make sense.

    There's plenty of people in the underdark and plenty of them are surface dwellers that were brought down in slave raids by one of the local races.

    That said, we've all played games like diablo and WoW where a new guy just randomly showing up is a common enough occurence that we're all pretty desensitized to how bizarre that probably -should- feel.

    On ressurections, I'm in the "I don't mind them in the least" camp. So much so that I've adapted the rules from ghostwalk.

    When a character dies his soul pulls itself together an ectoplasmic body on the ethereal 5 minutes later (ghostwalk's ghost template.) He can then choose to explore the ethereal, cross into the spirit world, or be drawn into the outer planes. In either of the former cases he can look for a manifest zone to cross back into the material plane. Being on the material means being incorporeal outside of spirit realm manifest zones, barring certain feats or magicks. If your incorporeal spirit is present on the material plane at the time of the casting of raise dead, there's no level loss.

    A character could even choose to adventure as a spirit if he wants and take levels in eidolon and eidoloncer, though this tends to really creep out living NPC's since spirits usually stay on their side of the veil; that is, in the spirit realm, the lower layer of the ethereal in my cosmology. The normal ethereal, the top layer of the plane, is the ethereal veil.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Depends on the campaign and the story and if the player minds rolling up a new character or wants to carry on with their current one.

    One campaign had a character have a free reincarnate due to helping out some druids, they came back unbeknownst to the party in a different location as a different race, so a naked human appeared to the party claiming to be the Dwarf that they had just attended the funeral of.

    In another campaign a character died, when the party got back to town they found a new guy waiting having been sent by an NPC ally with minor precognitive powers who sensed great danger, he arrived too late to save the dead guy but hey, new PC!

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    For the most part I have new PCs hanging around the nearest tavern/authority building/church/whatever. In a world with adventurers, why should there no be more than the PCs around at any one time?

    If stuck in a dungeon, perhaps some other party went in there first and they meet the lone survivor.

    New PCs do not instantly appear (though I played in one game where they literally came from the gods to help us the round after the PC died), but I usually don't make players wait forever to bring in a new character. That's just adding insult to injury.

    Of course, most PC deaths occur in combat, and then you have a player stuck doing nothing for potentially hours while combat rages around them. This has happened a couple of times, and is rather frustrating for the plater.

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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Party has dead character brought back to life...provided the character isn't already on his/her/its last life (is there a rule for the maximum number of times a dead character can be returned to life?).

    Or, party goes about looking to hire another character.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Oooh! I just had a great idea for a new spell. Player Character Ally. It's like Planar Ally, but you ask your deity to send you a new party member to replace one you just lost!
    “No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulder blades will seriously cramp his style.” ― Steven Brust
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericp65 View Post
    is there a rule for the maximum number of times a dead character can be returned to life?.
    No, not at all.

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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    No, not at all.
    Well..... kind of.

    Barring high-level magic, you lose a level each time you die. After a certain point, you'll be so far behind the rest of the party as to be forced to retire the character or start dying faster than you can level. It's more of a soft limit and a judgement call but it's something.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: How do you deal with character death as a DM?

    High level magic, like spells the same level as the minimum needed to raise you.

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