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Duncan Haldane
A cup of coffee
(6/2/03 4:18 am)
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Character Death, loss of XP & average party level.
Hi All,

I've been running RttToEE for a few months now, and it has been going pretty well. I have four players, and had two PC deaths in the Ruined Temple (both from crits from Rarkus), but we had recovered from that and moved on.

The party were making their way through the CRM when they encountered Krall. I tried to get them to talk to him (and their way past him), rather than just attacking. From what was said he got the impression they were from the Fire Temple, and swallowed his potion of fire resistance before the fight started.

So, when the combat started and the PCs started using fire at him, it didn't really help. The priestess cast Heat Metal on his armour, and he grappled her to his chest. The figther (archer) decided to shoot at him anyway, and hit the priestess for a critically, nearly killing her outright.

Anyway, the combat ended when the thief ran, as the other three were already dead by that time.

Before the following session I ran a session for the other three to bring in their characters, then a private session with the thief regarding his return to Rastor, and his being drugged with Tanbrosh.

Finally I started the new session. They made their way up to the main gate, and tried to get in. I had repopulated the area with the hill giants from CRM48. A fight ensued (although it could've been avoided), and one of the new characters was killed.

The player, who had now lost 2 characters in consecutive sessions, was not happy.

The problem is that with the earlier raising, and with this introduction of new characters, I've been charging them the XP they would have to pay for raising - ie, they've lost about half a level each time. And now it seems they are underpowered for the CRM.

They were 2x6th & 2x7th before the fight with Krall (just about to level), and now they are 1x7th & 3x6th with the CRM on high alert.

I've had the campaign on hold for a few weeks, as we were preparing for a local con anyway, but I need to restart soon.
I'm thinking of running some side adventures to raise XP for them, but not sure if that's the best way.

Anyone got any suggestions for me? How do I get them back to power, and get them interested in the story again? Currently I'm thinking about having Spugnoir's daughter kidnapped, and the party having to go rescue her.

The party have actually captured Chat and handed him to a monastry as a form of imprisonment, so I'm figuring they may have to go ask him about the kidnapping (he could've been involved, or know who is), and having to give him some form of freedom for the information.

Any advice welcome.

thanks,

Duncan Haldane

madfox
A guitar
(6/2/03 4:37 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level.
The idea of a side-track is not too bad, especially if it involves NPCs used in the adventure. Perhaps it is a much needed break from the adventure? The idea of kidnapping Spugnoir's daughter sounds promising, but you should really consider about the reasons for the kidnapping and why the PCs would get involved.

In any event, using hill giants as guards against a 6th level party is definitely going to hurt. Standard hill giants have a CR of 7 afterall and in my experience CR are not very representive when using one high CR creature against a party.

Infiniti2000
A guitar
(6/2/03 7:34 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level.
I agree with madfox in that the hill giants at the gate will be very tough. They are meant to guard the bridge, signifying that crossing the bridge will be very dangerous. I'd place much lower level mooks at the gate, maybe just a small group of warrior 1's.

As for side adventures, might I modestly suggest the Goblins of IO Rach? Look at ZansForCans's site and it's the Word document of the same name. It is made for adventurers of the level you are suggesting and should put them at the right level for the CRM, giving them probably some good treasure to boot. I placed it in the equivalent of Verbobonc, but I also think it would work well in Rastor.

mirrorsh
A trophy
(6/2/03 9:57 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level.
I don't have any side-adventure ideas, however a rule you should seriously consider is to eliminate the "lose a level" rule from raise dead.

My party has had a lot of fatalities. They are currently mostly level 5-6. They're at the ruined temple and have completed the moathouse after 6 months of playing RttToEE (not counting 6 months prior to that getting from 1st-4th level)

If they had to endure level losses every time they died the party would probably consist of 3rd-4th level PCs right now. By the time they got to the CRM they'd _barely_ be up for the challenges. And of course that doesn't even account for the THOUSANDS of gold pieces the party has wasted on raise dead spells in lieue of scrolls, potions, etc.

It's taken 6 months to get through about 40 pages of the adventure, a bulk of which is just descriptions of the plot background and Hommlet. We have like 80 or so more pages that are almost 100% adventure, traps, and encounters.

If I had to set aside time for side treks to provide thousands of XP _just_ so the PC's could gain levels at the appropriate rate to make up for all the levels they _lost_ due to character death (not to mention the probability of additional PCs dying during a side trek which would require yet more side treks), this campaign would probably take an extra two years to finish.

Blowing 1000gp to raise someone from the dead (and time out to get the person to a temple) is penalty enough IMO. If you'd like, give the PC a "negative level" after being raised to give some additional feel for a penalty.

Anyway my 2c

The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(6/2/03 10:37 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level.
i have a houserule for this campaign, taken and adapted from someone on these boards...

when someone dies, i calculate the amount of XP he would have lost

i then cut that in half... he actually 'loses' one half, and the rest of the party distributes the other half among them (divided equally)

this way, they all stay within arm's reach of each other... and watch each other's backs very closely...

freak deaths tend to happen in this campaign (obelisk, grell, unlucky rolls)

distributing xp loss is a great way to compensate for all this (in my campaign anyway)

ps: none of my chars 'lose' XP... it's written on their charsheet and they don't gain new xp until the 'debt' has been paid... they never lose a level, but still feel the pain of dying because their next level is further away now

no erasing char sheets or losing spells/feats/...

clean and easy

just my take on things :D

Philip

http://users.pandora.be/Philip/dnd

JRedGiant
A cup of coffee
(6/2/03 10:39 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
IMC, if a character is killed and raised, he starts at the halfway mark for the previous level. He immediately gains XP for all encounters he participated in and has not gained XP for at the time he is raised...which may mean he doesn't actually lose a level.

If a character is killed and the player elects to start a new character, that character's personal equipment is lost to the party in some manner. (Donated, buried with the body, returned to the family). The new character starts at the minimum XP to have the same level as the surviving party member with the lowest level and has gear appropriate for that character, per DMG.

The big worry I have about this system is that the players will pressure the player of the deceased character to retire so they don't have to worry about the minimum level dropping from the Raise. I also worry about the minimum level dropping from energy drain. The system may need to be tweaked.

JRedGiant
A cup of coffee
(6/2/03 10:46 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
Hey, Philip (guy from Belgium)...

How do you handle energy drain?

The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(6/2/03 11:04 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
well, i have to draw a line, and it's with energy drain

it's a huge pain to see it happen to a player, but he will carry the burden on his own... the party can't be responsible for everything...

they put aside some money (10-20% of the total treasure) to deal with ressurects, restorations, ...

i only apply the shared xp loss with fatalities

and then ONLY if the dead player decides he wants to be raised (it has to be in his will explicitely... otherwise he will remain dead...)

if the player stays dead, there is of course no shared xp loss...

so far, my players haven't put pressure on anyone to stay dead... since everyone has a written will, it will be followed and no outside pressure can change it

it all evens out and works out nicely !

Philip

http://users.pandora.be/Philip/dnd

ZansForCans 
A trophy
(6/2/03 11:17 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
If you're looking for more alternatives, I am trying out the XP dept system. Check out my House Rules for details. I can't take credit for the debt system--someone else posted it here. I did add on the role-playing point pool idea though.


Group Editing & Authoring Support
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The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(6/2/03 12:02 pm)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
that's also a cool system matt!

i like the XPD system where you still gain half the xp so you're not stuck lagging behind... but the shared loss evens it up and improves roleplay... the mages and everyone is now being looked after better than before... if someone is under some extrordinary alltack (like the monk being attacked by a random ankheg) they pull out everything they've got to save him, risking their own lives for his

it adds nice drama

but like i said, you've also got a nice system going!

Philip

http://users.pandora.be/Philip/dnd

madfox
A guitar
(6/3/03 12:05 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
How is it that players accept so many fatalities? How does one even gain so many fatalaties without nasty consequences for the campaign? In my current campaign -taking place in the Banewarrens- three characters died in a row spread over four sessions. This has them greatly worried and a heavy discussion has started on their tactics. Somehow I doubt they would keep entering the Banewarrens if they kept dieing. Even if they did not lose a level, to them it would be a clear sign they are in over their heads and so would leave the area. I also saw it happen in another campaign with other players. The adventure prooved to be too challenging and they totally lost interest. Players need easy victories now and then.

The guy from Belgium
A song from the sixties
(6/3/03 12:52 am)
Reply
Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
true!

but if you make it dramatic enough (like with RttToEE) with fires flickering with a purple halo, the lake is bubbling and steaming, the skies are constantly overcast...

there is an imminent threat going out from all that... and that keeps them going, despite the losses...

just keep em focused... and if they really get in over their heads (like mine did a few time) give them some solid advice on their tactics... tell them how to plan (agree on who to boost first in surprise situations, ...)

they won't feel pushed and they'll appreciate the advice... and maybe... just maybe they might live a little longer that way

but they realise... if they fail, it's over!

Philip

http://users.pandora.be/Philip/dnd

JRedGiant
A cup of coffee
(6/4/03 7:40 pm)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
In my group, the players were at least at first looking forward to the possibility of fatalities. The number of deaths in our long-running group was not high due to DM benevolence. I told them off the bat that this was a harsh module. I gave very generous ability score rules and told them to "min/max to your heart's desire". The response was "We might die???!!! COOL!"

srmilich
A song from the sixties
(6/5/03 1:28 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
I agree with JRedGiant.

I am running RtToEE and I have had about 10 deaths (4 of which are the same person!), 3 retirements and we are only a bit above a 1/3 of the way through the crater Ridge mines, just about to take on Eeridik's bridge complex. I specifically warned my players that this would be a high PC death campaign, and I wouldn't be pulling any punches. Excessive min/maxing was encouraged.

Most of our previous campaigns have averaged about 1 death per 6 sessions (of about 8 hrs duration) but currently, I think I worked out RtToEE is averaging 1.5 to 2 deaths a session!! My players don't enjoy having their monstrosities die, but they have all been assuring me that they are still enjoying the module.

In terms of exp and level drop, what I have been using is the one level below your previous level rule for raise dead and new characters, but I didn't let that rule kick in until the PC's reached 8th level, so that way they at least stood a fighting chance. I haven't had a look at Zans' system yet, but I assume it will be excellent, as his site has been an invaluable resource for me so far.

Offgall Fizziwigg
A song from the sixties
(6/5/03 4:39 am)
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Re: Character Death, loss of XP & average party level
I have instituted the one level lower rule too, unless they fork over the cash for a true resurrection, which there is plenty of treasure to afford with all the +1 items and masterwork items.

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