Friday, February 15, 2013

Handling Death - Part 5 - Discussion

This week I've been talking a lot about death in our games and how to handle it. We've talked about the types of death, the meaning behind death, and the tendency for some people to just throw their character's life away when the situation didn't necessarily demand it. Today I figured I'd open up the discussion to talking about specific character deaths. Some prompting questions lie below.

What is your favorite character death you've seen at the gaming table? Which was the funniest? Which was the saddest?

Furthermore, what counts of needless sacrifice have you seen? Have you ever seen someone actually pull off the hero's sacrifice successfully? If so, how did it go?

As a GM one of my favorite incidents of character death was when I killed 5 PCs because they jumped into a freezing, rushing river in full gear when not one of them had the swimming skill. Why did they do this? Because the 6th PC had shattered a frozen river to win a fight he wasn't good enough to win fairly and had fallen into the freezing water. The kicker? The 6th PC could swim and had already made the checks to survive his encounter with the water. Why is this one of my favorites? Because it is a near perfect anecdote to share to players to show them that I'm serious when I say that if they do something stupid and the consequences kills them that I will kill their character. Even if it means ending the campaign with a TPK.

As a player it is harder. If I had to pick one it would be the death of a Matsu character whose name I forget. But he died in mass battle trying to take the enemy standard. He was killed before he could strike the opposing captain but managed to spend the void for a final strike. His final strike did more than enough to one shot kill the enemy captain and secure him the flag. His dying words were to turn to another player and say "Mission completed, sir" before dying with the enemy flag in his hand. I wish I could explain how bad ass it was in the moment, but I really can't. You'd have had to be there.

How about you?

1 comment:

  1. I haven't played in the group at the time, but a legend among my weekly group is the GM who once killed all players at a con game because they crossed a river and didn't say explicitly that they were using the bridge for that. "You all drowned." Yeah... People started to announce that they were breathing for the rest of the night.

    The most epic death I have seen was in Deadlands. One of the PCs was a Texas Ranger with the disadvantage Big Britches (overly confident, reckless). We were having a tense discussion with some people guarding a ranch we wanted to visit (actually had been invited to, but the message didn't reach those guards, it seems). They were really starting to piss us off and suddenly the Ranger goes: I draw my gun and I shoot that guy. And he did. A huge firefight followed and the Ranger was hit by I think ten bullets before he finally died. The group had to draw back and didn't have a chance to help him, so we had to watch him bleed out and die. It was a major trauma for the group. I know that the character accepted a deal with a manitou to come back from the dead, but we haven't met yet. It's quite possible that we will shoot him again, because seeing him alive again will be such a shock.

    The best death one of my characters died was in Call of Cthulhu (what else). I had played Liam for two years and he was just hanging on by a thread. The PCs went into the Dreamlands to save Arkham and that is extremely dangerous, so I was fairly sure the character would not be coming back. He actually did, but he was insane, catatonic. I had written a letter for the GM, to Liam's best friend, asking that if Liam came back insane, his friend should kill him. Reading the letter obviously was a gut punch for the GM and it was meant to be, but I had no intention of seeing Liam in an asylum (the asylums in Arkham are ... less than healthy places). He'd rather die and his friend did kill him.