August 26, 2011

One Person, Two Views on Character Death


The topic of character death is currently making the rounds again on the blogosphere. As I read several of them, I realized my opinion on the matter is split into two divergent paths, depending on who I am at the time. I have different viewpoints depending on if I am a player or the DM.

As a player, wherein character death affects me personally, I am fine with having one of my characters die…as long as I feel it was not arbitrary and that there was a chance for me to avoid it. I completely understand there needs to be the threat of death, and without character death there is no threat. I completely understand not all encounters are balanced to the characters. I completely understand that to create a living breathing world, characters die. I really am fine with it.

As a DM, I try to avoid killing characters. When I am running story based campaigns (which is my normal course of campaigns these days) I build the story around the characters. The death of a character can stymie the story. If the story is about James Bond or Luke Skywalker, having him die halfway through the story kills the story. Deaths of story driven characters should happen at the end of the story, not at the beginning or middle. I will kill a character if the player is playing him stupidly (charging into a hail of bullets while naked is stupid), but otherwise I will avoid killing a character…or I will find alternatives to keeping the character in the game (http://bigballofnofun.blogspot.com/2009/11/dead-characters.html).

Player = Go ahead and kill my character.
DM = Avoid killing characters.

Anyone else find themselves looking at the topic of character death in two different ways?
Post a Comment