By Johnn 4, patreon.com/johnnfour
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 demise because of truthful gameplay.
This offers you further and significant stakes in your encounters.
It encourages gamers to up their recreation, as nicely.
It nonetheless sucks when a cherished PC perishes.
So listed below are d10 methods we are able to deal nicely when character demise occurs.
1. Ghostify Them
Deliver 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 buddy Dan ran, he killed us all within the first encounter on function, 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 dwelling.
2. Spend Their Treasure
Permit 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 Elevate 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 recreation you possibly can provide a solution to deliver a useless character again if the celebration performs a service, discovers a particular magic merchandise, or finds a particular NPC.
In my fantasy campaigns, NPCs can typically forged a spell that resurrects PCs, however they demand a service (plus gold generally) in trade.
For instance, the celebration lays the physique of Roghan on the steps of the Temple of Dis. They beseech the excessive monks to deliver the warrior again to life.
The monks agree, however provided that the celebration returns a spiritual artefact stolen by an enemy cult.
In D&D, that is the place the Geas spell is our buddy.
Many instances my gamers have agreed to the hunt and be Geased with it.
This fashion, I can deliver again the useless PC instantly so the participant is again within the recreation, and justify the service-in-advance as a result of the monks know the celebration will carry by way of with the hunt.
4. Make it A Marketing campaign Plot
In my setting, there’s no undead any extra, and Elevate Useless/Resurrection don’t exist.
Just lately, Arawn (the God of Loss of life) has wanted a little bit of assist.
Consequently, when a raver Large grabbed one of many PCs and used him as a membership to nearly beat the opposite PCs to demise, that PC died – and got here again to life.
A lot confusion.
The PC feels effective, 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 concept of a marketing campaign plot, ala Piers Anthony, the place demise 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 useless characters:
Simply studying by way of the posts above about demise and resurrection and the concept demise has a say in who will get to come back again.
And the concept of demise having a purpose for gathering the souls of the useless struck me.
The concept was that demise is just not the ultimate factor that occurs within the universe.
Loss of life is concerned in some better occasion and desires to gather these souls to additional an agenda.
Such because the continuation of existence itself.
Loss of life might require these souls at sure instances and never others.
So when one in all our heroes dies prematurely, it might be that demise doesn’t want that peace at the moment and is prepared to let the soul return again to wherever it was.
Who is aware of what kind of recreation demise is enjoying, and it might be past what even the gods can comprehend.
Which takes the concept of the factor we name demise to an entire new degree.
My girlfriend simply introduced up the concept this may encourage a negotiation between the newly deceased, demise, and maybe even the gods.
Loss of life doesn’t know what items they should full their recreation till that piece is earlier than them.
One other concept that we considered was being marked while you had been introduced again.
That mark generally is a seen factor or it may very well be an invisible factor.
And it attracts undesirable consideration.
This may very well be a scent. It may very well be flies. It may imply that all your future offspring are going to be demons and devils.
It comes again to the concept 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 celebration.
The survivors saved on.
The useless character awoke in an odd room with a door.
Thus started a facet quest to discover the brand new space and find out how the character may return to life.
The character may communicate to the opposite PCs by way of desires so the participant wouldn’t really feel too remoted.
Finally, the character realized what the celebration wanted to do within the land of the dwelling to deliver them again.
7. Deliver on the Clones
Reincarnation has introduced valiant paladins again as goblins and mighty wizards again as pixies in my video games.
It’s a unbelievable mechanic to foil character demise.
You can make this a world-building piece the place everybody comes again primarily based on how they behaved in life.
Or prohibit it to a particular impact by way of 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 realized this as occasions unfolded over the course of the sport.
What made issues fascinating for the participant, although, was figuring out 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 word, if useless PCs can simply boomerang again into play, guarantee there’s a price so gamers nonetheless need to keep away from character demise.
8. Villain’s Cackle
In one other marketing campaign, I had the villain deliver a useless PC again to life because the physique was left behind by the celebration.
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 just a few scars, everybody grew suspicious. However the character was welcomed again and play resumed.
The participant did an superior job holding secrets and techniques and roleplaying their service as a spy for the villain.
9. It’s All Relative
Permit gamers to erase the title off their character sheet and herald a brand new copy because the relative.
Good for beer and pretzel video games.
If you happen to want extra gravitas to go well with the tone of your marketing campaign, layer in some plot.
Perhaps twins in your world are youngsters of a deity imagined 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 seek out out what occurred to their kin, and the household performs an even bigger position in your plot now as a faction.
10. Characters Don’t Die
The specter of demise and having to create a brand new character won’t be to your style.
Perhaps you don’t need to derail your plot. For instance, every character could be named in a prophecy.
Or possibly you need 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 expect when it comes to story Stakes then, we are able to strike demise off the listing.
However what are good options to create drama and rigidity?
- PC is captured as a substitute and should be rescued
- Those that tried to kill the PCs should be dropped at 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 desires to revive themselves (for instance, lowered powers)
- Can the characters flip their attacker into an ally?
- The loss ends in a setback or missed alternative
It’s Your Flip
Resolve the way you’ll deal with character demise earlier than your marketing campaign begins.
Then let your gamers know in order 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 solution to make it distinct.
This may also allow you to roleplay higher.
A marketing campaign the place the NPCs don’t appear to know monks carry out miracles for the wealthy and highly effective can be fairly fascinating, for instance.
Alternatively, NPCs who don’t acknowledge 5,000 gp Elevate Useless merchandising machines within the Temple District would break sense of perception.
Use character demise to spawn new plots, deepen gameplay, or encourage gamers to deliver their finest recreation to every session.
For extra character demise ideas, take a look at PC Loss of life And Your Marketing campaign.
How about you? How do you deal with character demise in your campaigns?
Talk about these recreation grasp ideas on this thread on the official Roleplaying Ideas group discussion board.