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Here for a while
(1/17/03 9:10:58 am)
Re: Lethality and my house rule
You know that in the Rules Mechanic's version as written, the negative level can be cured immediately by a Restoration, right? You plan to strike that clause from your campaign?

Exactly (that was the 'burn 2 spells comment': raise and restoration). I am considering only allowing the Fort save (DC 15) once per 24 hours, with the first save coming 24 hours after the raise. I was considering also requiring the same 'light activity' as natural healing to even make the save roll, but maybe that's too much. Maybe light or no activity just reduces the DC instead, say DC 20, 15, 10 for normal, light, and no activity.

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Here for a while
(1/17/03 8:33:46 pm)
Re: Lethality and my house rule
This is probably drifting a bit towards D&DRules forum territory, but I thought I'd throw in another potential penalty for getting raised that our group brought up: instead of losing a level, you take a -2 penalty to a random ability score. This penalty stays in effect until the next time you level up. If you get raised again before leveling, another random penalty is applied (such penalties against the same score stack). If any stat drops to 0 due to a raising, the character cannot be raised (and the raise spell is lost). Levelling up removes all raising penalties to ability scores. This penalty does not apply when raised by a True Resurrection spell.

One problem I see with this is what happens when a PC is raised when very close to levelling. If you need 200 XP for level 4, die, get raised, then after one combat session level up, you haven't been penalized very much compared to the person who was raised when 5000 XP from levelling. Possible solutions might be to (a) make the ability recovery based on actual XP gain rather than levels (harder to track), or (b) inflict the penalty after the level gain when very close. It would probably need to be a DM-call, but I could see some people being upset by the fact that it's not a consistent penalty.

That said, I do like this idea because it presents a substantial penalty for dying, but the paperwork adjustments are minimal compared to permanently losing a level. It also keeps PC's at roughly the same level, and usually around the recommended average party levels while progressing through prepublished adventures. Best of all (and bringing it back around to the actual topic), the player is much less likely to ditch a PC with a rich history as a lost effort due to level loss.

Here for a while
(1/18/03 10:24:04 am)
Re: Lethality
I like the idea Trinity DM but I think I might change it from being random to being their prime attribute. I think this way it hurts them a bit more since it is the abilty score they rely on the most. As far as how long it lasts I'd say it should last as long as it would if the normal rule were used. They drop their XP to mid level and gain the ability score damage back once they gain enough XP to level again. It would be harder to track thogh as you noted.

I am not sure if -2 to the score is enough really either. This basically allows them to keep the cash they would use on a true ressurection which is quite a bit. My players haven't lost a level due to death in quite some time but I still remember how much they hated when it happened. I think the alternative have a similar penalty, but then why change it I suppose?

It'll be interesting to pose this to my group and see how they like/ dislike the idea.


Looking around
(1/20/03 4:09:51 pm)
Balance and fun are the keys...
My campaign has been marked by an almost shocking degree of lethality (one character died twice in a single run...oops), but I haven't had any problems with the players. If anything, they seem to be having a great old time. Part of that comes from the fact that resurrection is automatic (the Powers they work for have cast Contingent Resurrection on everyone) and true res is always possible if the death is sufficiently heroic (more difficult than it sounds for these guys, since this is actually an evil campaign). But I think the most important thing is that for every death, one of them manages to do something so extraordinarily cool that it rips a hole in the fabric of space-time. They usually give as good as they get, and often they give better -- especially after they've had an experience which forces them to lick their wounds and swallow their pride.

I also work my butt off to make sure that encounters are as balanced as they can possibly be. Sometimes that means I throw the book right out of the freaking window, usually in an attempt to tailor the challenge to my PC's capabilities (that way they all feel like they have something to contribute). When someone dies w/o a true res, I make it a point to give that character a break until they've caught up. Further, I never allow a death to so underpower a PC that they can't reasonably finish the adventure. Finally, I try to hand out ad hoc XP for role-playing -- especially when excellent role-playing has a positive impact on accomplishing the objective.

I think all of that makes my players feel like I'm being fair and that I'm sensitive to what they consider "fun". It's not dying I think my guys mind so much as the sense that they have nothing to do. I don't care how many tussles with CR 12 monsters they walk away from, I lose them when they don't feel like they're engaged with the story or their actions make a difference.

Just my $.02

Here for a while
(1/20/03 8:35:24 pm)
Re: Balance and fun are the keys...
Death worked for me:

My first PC death was at the Main Gate and was almost TPK. The gang didn't have such a big problem with the Howler, it was that big Ogre that was knocking them side to side. When the smoke cleared, only Wormspike was left standing. Two of them were conscious (at zero) but hiding in the pile of gnolls, PCs, Howlers, etc. No character was yet dead, and all were stabilized. Still, Wormspike had a few hp left and was rummaging around the hall. When he found Mereclar (who was conscious but held), he took him for dead and bashed his head in, muttering something about stupid leader riding in on stupid spiky beast and falling off it. While he was distracted, the two conscious heroes drank a healing potion each and poured one down the throat of another. During the subsequent surprise round, the Monk charged while the others pegged Wormspike with missiles. The Monk did manage to tag him (but failed the stun) before he bashed her into the negative 20s. The archers finished off the Ogre.

Of course I was a little sad that due to an act of supreme heroics, Flaura died. I'm actually VERY opposed to fudging, thats just me. I started to turn to Flaura's player to tell her the news and as I told her, another player jumped for joy. Of course we were all a little surprised, but the death of a character enhanced her believablility in the game. She had actually complained to me a month or so previous that it had seemed unrealistic. The way she is: she likely would have been just as pleased if it had been her own character that bit it.

I think that death, and all of it's penalties, are a necessary component of the game. If you have a player who doesn't like dying, run a workshop on how to not die. I'm serious. Not everybody reads Dragon mag and not everybody knows the score. Hint around that there are sword-arms for hire. If the encounters are too much for your party, get another NPC into the act. Most groups have at least one player who will make combat decisions for the NPC (so that NPCs don't wind up stealing the fun).

Even better, take a break from the Temple of Grinding PCs to Dirt and run a short gladiator campaign. Most players have a little of the "power gamer" in them and this will give them a spot-light. For those players who are more into story & characterization, let them know that the arena is an experiment. The idea is to get better at combat (as a player, tactically) so that when they choose to play a character that chose it's abilities with loftier goals than Smashing, they can keep the guy alive a little easier. Maybe that character wouldn't know jack about tactics, but when your neck is on the line, you tend to learn quickly. Sometimes (especially if you've chosen to play a weak character) staying out of the way can help immensely. Give them a chance to develop combat skills without risking their well-thought-out-not-power-gamed character.

Here for a while
(1/21/03 1:31:24 pm)
My thoughts on this subject can be found at this thread:


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