Summary: http://([a-z0-9.]*)flickr → https://$1flickr
Christian wonders whether he’s being a Pushover and says: “I am growing weary of playing it safe. Safe bores me as a player and I am starting to feel that as a GM. […] My games are safe and the players know it. If PCs never die, why fear anything?”
I wonder. Is death in D&D and friends not simply a speed bump on the way up levels with all the resurrection magic available?
In my D&D 3.5 sandbox campaign I had deals offered by factions that knew resurrection magic (the lammasu ruling over the dwarves, the horned devil trying to break free from his cave prison, the Orcus priests, the elf druid in a village threatened by the troll king). Players could pick the kind of quest they want to embark on by picking the right faction. The resulting geas has always enriched our game.
The complications and side-tracking involved work well for a sandbox campaign. It’s trickier to do in a straight adventure path because of the extra experience points gained and because the plot itself might impose in-game time limits.
The detraction also works well in a sandbox because players have picked their own goals for their characters (the conquest of the subterranean city, the building of a tower, the finding of a planar sage). Thus, delays due to character death, resurrection and follow-up quests delay the achieving of in-game goals. Death is still something to be feared and groaned over.
|Players characters Death is a likely event in my games.|
It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen once in every five to ten sessions, it seems.
This approach doesn’t work in games where death is final. That’s something I disliked about the short-lived Rolemaster campaign I was part of: I was afraid of my character dying not just because the system was deadly but because character generation took so damn long!
For my new Labyrinth Lord game, ressurection is hard to come by. Usually characters don’t die per se, they are taken out by the Death and Dismemberment table in use. Forced to retire their characters for several weeks with broken bones, they often finish the adventure using a henchman, skip many weeks of in-game time, and resume. I usually take the liberty of advancing many of the plots by a few weeks as well. Trails are lost, new factions arrive, rivals grow stronger…