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Dying in a game is par and course when it’s something like Dark Souls or an MMORPG like Final Fantasy XIV. But in a Tabletop Roleplaying Game, the stakes may be higher. You’ve put time and effort into your character and they are, most likely, -your- character. You wrote their backstory, you rolled up their stats and you played them for all those sessions. So when Death comes a-knocking, it’s perhaps even more painful than it should be.
So how do you deal with death in a RPG? And what kind of situations might give rise to that happening? Well, as per our usual answer, Session Zero might be the first step. If every player is on the same page in regards to dying then it might be easier to work it in.
Death doesn’t have to be the end either. Plenty of RPG campaigns have involved trying to resurrect or otherwise bring a fallen comrade back to life. There are also plenty of built in rules for resurrection, reincarnations and, of course, undeath. Liches exist for the sole reason to live forever as undead mages after all!
Some games are even built around Death as a major factor in it. Games like Eclipse Phase or Paranoia have worked it into both the setting and mechanics in an interesting and creative way. So in many ways, PC Death, or even TPKs, can leave a huge impact on the remainder of the campaign.
A question a GM should ask themselves too is what purpose does Death serve? Unless you want to slap in the players’ faces that Death comes easy and without purpose, then, like in most stories, Death plays a major part in any story. It’s not a small change, it’s a huge impact!
Come shoot the shit! Have fun! Do some memes!
And as usual, thanks to the Scouts of Sweden for letting us use their offices for our recordings!