A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    AslanCross's Avatar

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    Default DM Emotional Issues

    Not really a big problem, but I just wanted to ask around if those who have DMing experience have ever felt bad that a PC bit it.

    In my current game, we have an adorable little rogue who is a bit of a chicken in combat but an excellent con artist. Her strength really sucks, and since our adventure has been loads of combat, she's been doing quite badly. (She did fatally crit sneak a hobgoblin wizard once, though). In today's session she unwisely waded into melee at 8 HP. A hobgoblin fighter used Power Attack on her and chopped her down to -9. She's definitely not going to die since the cleric was right behind her---still, I found myself wishing for the first time that this character wouldn't die. Anyone ever felt this way?


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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    My players are underexperienced, and normally don't play smart enough to handle level equivlent CRs... Even against animals.

    Due to this, I feel bad any time they die, because I make things too hard for them on accident (even when, in all other rights, the encounters are too weak).
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    I always feel ad when PCs die from a bad die roll or similar - after all, I'm also a player so I know how it feels.

    PCs who die from player stupidity deserve all they get :)
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Very rarely do I feel bad if a PC dies. The only exception I can think of is when the player does pretty much everything right but still ends up dieing do to a critical or instant death. But I have a system in place that reduces the negative impact of death for such situations, so in the end it isn't all bad.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Sadly, I've only ever killed off one PC and that's because the player was leaving the game. My games focus on story more than combat though and I do ask my players to put a lot of effort into backstory, so I'd feel like a bastard if I made them write all that background only to kill the character and have them do it again.
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Sometimes, crit happens. The mitigating factor of this is the fact that at low levels where its most likely to happen, the investment (and therefore attachment) to a character isn't as well established. At higher levels, it is usually possible to aquire a raise dead for the character if allowed in the campaign.

    The only time I feel really bad is when the player is inexperienced. Some vet players that I play with are pretty hardy, and build mechanically solid characters that are resiliant. I don't feel at all bad when my monsters power attack them, because they are power attacking right back. If the encounter is balanced, then there should be some risk. What I do feel bad is when an new player, perhaps with a first character, gets hit by something big, like a charging dire boar gore in the suprise round of combat, and gets completely demolished in a blink. Dire boars are an standard EL encounter for a party of 4th level characters, and yet can still outright kill a 4th level wizard or rogue if it charges them. Espcially if they don't have an overly high con score, which isn't uncommon among new players.

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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Well, technically, she was only "mostly dead".

    I'm not really that worried about a character "falling down." After all, that helps reinforce that you're in a dangerous situation. However, I will usually try and "fudge" the damage roll so they're down, but not out. Unless they deserve it.
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    This is definatly a DM and a PC preference. It's sounds strange, but I sit down and discuss this with my players before I play. That way, the players aren't confused as to what kind of game we're playing.

    For Example:

    If I say we're playing a beat em up, the player will build little back story, and optimize their characters. They don't cry about their characters when they die, because they allready understand that it's just the way that game is run.

    If I say it's a story based game, then the opposite is true. I try to keep characters alive, for the most part. And players get annoyed when their characters die. Except for one guy, who loves to play out the death of a character.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    The DM's word is final, remember. By that I mean, Death only sticks if the DM lets it.
    Encourage your players to choose a religion for their characters, perhaps, or work out with each player a little bit about their family and friends.

    -10 hp in the wilderness? the body destroyed? The party hasn't got the funds to ressurect the character?
    Still don't want the player to need to roll up a new character?

    A) They are ressurected a small time later at the nearest significant church or shrine of their chosen religion, either by the clergy acting on their god's orders, or without explanation/by the diety in question. Perhaps their God/s have still got things for them to do, or there was an error and the Clerics ressurected the wrong person, sparing the PC, but dooming some poor dead NPC and even maybe making enemies of the people who paid for the ressurection of the NPC who's ticket-back the PC just took.

    B) They materialize on another 'plane'. they are now in the land of the dead, and may attempt to escape or contact the rest of the party. Que solo-quest or so on, and the eventual return of the dead PC to the real world. Maybe the dead PC has the Living PC's summoned to the plane they have found themselves on, even, and the party must now start a new (mini?) campaign in this other layer of the cosmos.

    C) The PC's family learn of their death, by some means, and have the player brought back. Depending on their place of birth, this could provide interesting problems, or a good excuse to move to another location for the party, when the PC just brought back lets them know he's no-longer pushing up daisies.

    D) The BBEG has the PC ressurected, for some nefarious reason. Alternatively, if the Player is game, The BBEG raises the PC as an Undead of some kind, giving the Player some interesting templatey action. The latter doesn't have to mean demotion to NPC, with a careful touch it could provide a limitless amount of plot-hooks.


    If you over-use ways of keeping characters coming back from the dead, with or without the Party themselves sorting out the Ressurecting, it could provide problems.
    OR
    It could send the Campaign off into a new and intruiging direction, with them waging war across the Planes or working off their massive debt to some sinister crime-lord/evil genius.

    Sometimes it's right to let a character be and stay dead. Often, I'm sure. But as DM, nothing happens without your say so! :)

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Those are some really interesting ideas, Tiki. :D I'll file those for possible use. Thanks for the suggestions!

    We all thought she was going to die only because she was one round away from it. After we ended for the day I looked up the rules on magical healing and stabilizing characters and realized that she's not in any real danger of death since the cleric's right beside her anyway.


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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Dairun Cates's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    The only time I've actually killed off a character* was recently and the party had it coming. That's exactly why you don't revive the boss for extra exp. Besides, this was a system where the character could be reincarnated so meh.


    *(Yes, even after all this time. My players are like cochroaches. Too shrewd to die so I have to break them in other ways)
    Last edited by Dairun Cates; 2007-07-30 at 04:49 PM.

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    Thexare Blademoon's Avatar

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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Dairun Cates View Post
    That's exactly why you don't revive the boss for extra exp.
    ... what?!

    Yeah, they definitely deserved that one. I mean, why the hell..?!
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  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Thexare Blademoon View Post
    ... what?!

    Yeah, they definitely deserved that one. I mean, why the hell..?!
    Well, it is a comedy campaign, and exp. isn't really measured in this case like that. It's a point buy system. They were doing it as a joke, but from an in character perspective, the boss certainly wasn't happy with them when he woke up in a hospital. The third time they kicked his ass was for revenge for the player and unlocking his species template.

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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Yes, I feel bad when PCs die through no fault of their own - e.g. bad roll, a lucky crit on my part, whatever. If the cause of their death is only their own stupidity, they get no sympathy from me

    However, that being said, I usually implement a fate point/action point variant that lets the players save their characters from the axe when it really, really matters. I find it reduces the randomness somewhat. It also means I don't have to ever fudge die rolls, which is nice.

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    AssassinGuy

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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    As DM, I try not to kill off the players- exhaust, torment, and wound them to the brink of death, yes, but not kill. The last adventure I ran started off on a completely pathetic note. Their mid-level party was camping, and the knight was standing guard. The player of said knight is extremely sure of himself, and the character is extremely arrogant. So when 2 Dire Weasels (CR 2) attacked in the middle of the night, he didn't bother to even yell for his friends to wake up. The first weasel couldn't touch him due to high AC, but the second went and coup d'grace'd one of the other players. She failed her fort save, and died before the first initiative of the campaign had even been rolled.

    I ruled that was an absolutely ridiculous way to die so early, and I let her live. She ended up dying later, regardless of my attempts to keep her alive, and I do feel guilt for how it worked out.

    I actually have two confident/argumentative/overpowered players in the same group, so they're kinda a handful. In the final fight of the adventure, they were so sure they could defeat the 5-headed pyrohydra (which had already been chained to the ground and denied all move speed) with ease that they ignored any tactics such as sundering/cauterizing the heads or even staying back and shooting arrows at the monster that was tied down. They told the party's rogue and bard to charge the monster. Long story short, at the end of the adventure only the two powergamers were left while the noobs were dead. The powergamers kept themselves out of harm's way, and I did my best to fudge every roll and not kill the relative noobs, but there wasn't much I could do with 5 heads attacking at +13. Really, this is a case of dealing with difficult players, but its frustrating to not be able to balance it out properly.

    I do really like the resurrection ideas, though- I might try those out. :D
    Last edited by cubecrazymonkey; 2007-07-31 at 12:13 AM.
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by AslanCross View Post
    Not really a big problem, but I just wanted to ask around if those who have DMing experience have ever felt bad that a PC bit it.

    In my current game, we have an adorable little rogue who is a bit of a chicken in combat but an excellent con artist. Her strength really sucks, and since our adventure has been loads of combat, she's been doing quite badly. (She did fatally crit sneak a hobgoblin wizard once, though). In today's session she unwisely waded into melee at 8 HP. A hobgoblin fighter used Power Attack on her and chopped her down to -9. She's definitely not going to die since the cleric was right behind her---still, I found myself wishing for the first time that this character wouldn't die. Anyone ever felt this way?
    No, not really. I hate it when characters die because usually my players get mad and it means a lot of frustration and work for everyone to create and introduce another character. However, right now I am deciding whether or not a character that I am playing should die, and I have much the same feelings. I guess I just don't get attached to my characters, no matter how ninja they are.
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    I don't DM DnD, i play it (id do however dm a myriad of other games) but if a char dies in our group, Bjorn will be responsible, he knows the systems every little nook and cranny, while everyone else really doesn't have a clue. I come in second in our "knowledge ladder" ... because i've played NwN.
    So even though it's not Bjorn who's DMing, we all make him feel responsible ;)
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    I've never killed a character in the past seven years of DMing; still, whenever a situation gets really ugly for one of the characters, I'm starting to feel really bad (probably more nervous than the player himself), because I fear then that it was me who booped up by placing a challenge to great into the character's path. Fortunately this usually happens only at truly climactic points of a campaign, where a character death wouldn't be that unfitting storywise, but still...

    The funny thing is that in our group it's the players who make me vow that I will not try to save them and kill them off mercilessly, if such a situation should arise, so that they feel the thrill of danger.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Default Re: DM Emotional Issues

    Quote Originally Posted by Golthur View Post
    Yes, I feel bad when PCs die through no fault of their own - e.g. bad roll, a lucky crit on my part, whatever. If the cause of their death is only their own stupidity, they get no sympathy from me

    However, that being said, I usually implement a fate point/action point variant that lets the players save their characters from the axe when it really, really matters. I find it reduces the randomness somewhat. It also means I don't have to ever fudge die rolls, which is nice.
    You know, interestingly, the 1e DMG has something uncharacteristic to say on this subject. Apparently, when Player Characters die through no fault of their own, just very bad luck, the DM can consider 'not killing them', insteadruling that they survived, perhaps with a disfiguring injury. Personally, I do prefer the Action/Fate/Destiny Point approach.

    The only time I really feel bad about killing a Player Character is when the Player feels bad about it.
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