Character Death

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I'm just getting back into D&D and will be running a group of 3 players.

I've always been generous with availability of healing potions and ressurections at temples, however...

Running a campaign of 3 level 1 players I thought that it's very possible that one or more of these characters could easily die in the middle of nowhere.  What do you do when one of your characters die?  It takes a while to make a new one.
If you are playing 4e you can reasonably get around the death problem.  Characters are much more resilient and dont die just because someone knocked them down.  There are a lot of non-death ways to TPK a party so you can look into some of those.

If you are playing an older edition I'm not the best person to give advice.  The only thing I would go about saying is to not limit yourself storywise into saying that it is totally deserted.  If it is just very sparsely populated a dead character can have a reason for coming around and that can be the base of their new character concept. 
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Another option is to have the players make more than 1 character. If one dies, another happens in during the next scene and takes their place. If you are playing a high-death game, this actually can be done for humor... "Poor Tom died... Thank goodness Thom was wandering by!"


I always have a back up character ready in case one of my characters dies when I am a player.


When I DM and someone’s character dies, I give the standard amount of time to get the body to a temple or another method of resurrection.


If that can’t be preformed, then that character is dead and I ask the player to bring in their new character (a little improvised RPing can usually introduce a character anytime/anywhere (Even in the middle of an encounter if you’re smooth about it))


I also inform my table to have a back up character to be on the ready (one game I even put some of the 2enday characters backgrounds into the main plot just in case)


I am on the “Team Die” side of things, in thinking that death adds to the game.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

Personally, I tend to use "kid gloves" on low level characters so there is a lesser chance of them dying.  Sure, I can and will take them to the brink, but I will alter the encounter's purpose if during said encounter a TPK is a distinct possibility.  In my experience and opinion, players put a lot of effort into their characters and to kill them due to bad luck or "sub-optimal" group configuration is silly.

I guess this puts me in the "team live" side of things .

That being said, if a character does die, I play by RAW which means that the (low level) party is most likely not going to be able to afford a raise dead (in 3.5e, the edition I run, a 5000gp diamond is a material component to raise dead), so it is "return to character generation sequence," for that(those) player(s).

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
I'm just getting back into D&D and will be running a group of 3 players.

I've always been generous with availability of healing potions and ressurections at temples, however...

Running a campaign of 3 level 1 players I thought that it's very possible that one or more of these characters could easily die in the middle of nowhere.  What do you do when one of your characters die?  It takes a while to make a new one.

There's a deceptively simple answer to that question: make replacement characters in advance.

It's deceptive because even though it's easy to make characters in advance, it's not necessarily easy to get them into the party. It's pretty classic to have a party lost and alone in a remote dungeon, or in a dark land, or even another plane of existence where the entire point is that there's no help coming. In that situation, it's necessary to get pretty creative with how a new character is introduced. Creativity is good, of course, but if there's enough death occurring the mood of the situation can get strained pretty fast. This, by and large, is the same reason why people simply dislike Raise Dead: it's not the mood they want.

I recently learned about the concept of "trapdoors." In a TV show with a story arc, they have to be prepared for actors to leave or die. You can't always just replace them with a look-alike, especially since Bewitched, so show-runners give themselves little outs to be able to lose a key character and still continue the story. In Babylon 5, Michael J. Straczynski had numerous backup characters, such as top aides, who could step in if necessary to pick up for a main character.

So, the point is to do a little upfront thinking about this issue. Who's in the wings, ready to take a PC's spot? In early editions, it was assumed that a party would have henchmen, and that a player could play one of them. Yeah, great, but it meant you were playing some commoner, as it was rare to find elf nobles who were slumming it as porters, just until it came time to resume the mantle of adventuring prince. So, what are ways the backups can plausibly come in?

Bottom line, don't paint yourself into a corner, unless there's a trapdoor there.

(Or, just avoid death entirely. That's the other trick show-runners use. They can't put in constant plausible risks of characters being killed, or people start not taking it seriously. It's easier to threaten some other person, place or concept week after week. You can do this too.)

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I'm about to start running a d20 modern game, and I've had all the players make back-up characters in advance in the event of death. That said, I've also encouraged the shaman to pick up resurrection ASAP.

If I'm running a game from the very start at level 1 though, here's a few tips that I've used for a very long time:

Let the PCs take maximum HP gain at level up for levels 1-3. This maximizes survivability in the beginning. When they get to level 4, time to roll hit dice. If they roll badly or have Con penalties, it won't sting as much since they have 3 levels of padded HP behind them.

All enemies are not out to kill the PCs. Unless the PCs make some really bone headed moves, odds are good that not everything they come across will be ready and/or willing to fight.

Keep combat to a minimum. Emphasize more roleplaying and exploration than the need to just get to the next fight. Offer XP rewards for doing both RP and exploration. Or even just tinkering around with a trap, lock, puzzle, etc. This will allow you to expand on other aspects of the game and simultaneously buy you some time until they've improved their stats/skills high enough to not worry about death all the time.

Lastly, just include resurrection or post-death events (such as waking up in a Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory) and let them work their way back into life. Death adds to the game, IMO. Rather than takes away from it.

Just remember, the two hardest challenges the DM ever faces is keeping the PCs alive at low levels and trying to kill them at high levels. If you can do the former, the latter is your only worry. And even then, you're probably rooting for the PCs, so is it really a problem?  
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Well, speaking as one of those DMs not at all adverse to seeing PCs get killed....
(My table is soaked in the fictional blood of would-be heroes.  I don't try & kill them, but I also don't care if that's the result the dice give.)

1) Make sure the players KNOW that character deaths are a possibility.

2) Have everyone make up a spare character or two.  That way if something does happen there's minimal downtime.

3) As your writing your adventures?  Make notes on where/why/how new characters could easily enter.

4) Consider a few options that don't neccicarily = death.

5) The whole wake up dead in the afterlife & struggle back thing?  It's cool once.  But you can't really pull that one over & over.  
Here's how I handle it overall:


  •  If the players (and I) are new to the system, I give them a "get out of jail" card for ONE would-be death.  They're still on the learning curve, so I'll treat the first few sessions as "tutorial mode" so that they don't quit out on the system just because of one bad decision that was made from not knowing the system.  It's a one-time deal that they don't get to "save" until later and is done solely for the sake of encouraging players to continue exploring the game until they grasp the system in its entirety.

  • Character death should never mean players don't get to participate in the game. As much as possible, I allow them to continue as ghosts, and if they are completely unable to participate as their characters (be it in ghost form or what not), I still have them contribute in the game in other ways, be it by asking for suggestions, or by having them add suggestions when making maps (since I do collaborative mapping and all).


Anecdote: a certain PC in my campaign died three times (and apparently he's known as a rather disruptive player regardless of system, but I'm actually using that disruptive nature to my advantage because a lot of the exciting parts of my current campaign was a result of his messing around; I'm thinking that he wants to keep going suicide on his character, because of the interesting developments that come out as a result of his recklessness and eventual death).

  1. First time he "died" he got to use his "get out of jail" card, so he was actually unconscious and not dead.

  2. He got killed battling the campaign's equivalent of Vecna or Acererak as a low level PC, but was turned into a wraith due to his interesting circumstances.

  3. He got killed trying to spin around the most powerful ancient red dragon of the campaign (who simply blew a scorching fire in his general area).


And now?  His soul was "salvaged" from the Abyss by an unknown entity, a prehistoric evil that now seeks to reclaim what was once theirs, and is now spearheading the eventual destruction of civilization and the world as everyone knows it.

He's actually wanting to become the bad guy in this campaign -- I never even had a storyline prepared, so everything's happening on an impromptu basis -- and from the looks of things he's going to get what he wanted (and maybe more). 

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
This is the house rule we use:

When you would normally die according to the rules, you decide whether your character dies or not. In any event, you are effectively “taken out” of the current scene though you may continue to participate in other ways as appropriate. If you decide your character lives, tell us what happened, the cost, and what knowledge you brought back from The Other Side. This rule is in effect because the only way to lose in a non-competitive game is to not participate. Game rules in a non-competitive game should not decide that for you. Thus, the choice will remain with the individual players as to when death “sticks” if it comes up. If you prefer to abide by the standard D&D rules with regard to this issue, you can do that, too – simply choose death when it comes around, every time. What others decide to do with their character in this regard does not affect you.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
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Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

This is the house rule we use:

When you would normally die according to the rules, you decide whether your character dies or not. In any event, you are effectively “taken out” of the current scene though you may continue to participate in other ways as appropriate. If you decide your character lives, tell us what happened, the cost, and what knowledge you brought back from The Other Side. This rule is in effect because the only way to lose in a non-competitive game is to not participate. Game rules in a non-competitive game should not decide that for you. Thus, the choice will remain with the individual players as to when death “sticks” if it comes up. If you prefer to abide by the standard D&D rules with regard to this issue, you can do that, too – simply choose death when it comes around, every time. What others decide to do with their character in this regard does not affect you.



I do the same thing at my table.

However, I easily could play in a game where there was character death and you went through multiple characters IF I went in knowing that was the game we were playing. To me it depends on the style of game. In the former I want the players to bond with their characters, to watch them grow and learn and triumph. In the latter, you don't get attatched, it more about the ride than which car you arrive in.

However, I easily could play in a game where there was character death and you went through multiple characters IF I went in knowing that was the game we were playing. To me it depends on the style of game. In the former I want the players to bond with their characters, to watch them grow and learn and triumph. In the latter, you don't get attatched, it more about the ride than which car you arrive in.



All of the adventures I prepare are often described as quite difficult. I tend to keep the threat level the same in whatever style I'm using. Incapacitation or death happens with regularity. But since the characters are doing amazing things all the time, they usually die in awesome ways that are satisfying to the players. My regulars therefore generally have backup characters at the ready. Still, I like to leave the door open for players to have a say in the matter, whether that's because they didn't care for a particular death scene or don't have a spare character on hand.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Dungeon Master 101  |  Find Your GM Style  |  Structure First, Story Last  |  No Myth Roleplaying  |  5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: Players 101  |  11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer  |  You Are Not Your Character  |  Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs

Content I Created: Adventure Scenarios  |  Actual Play Reports  |  Tools

I'm Recruiting Players for a D&D 5e Game: Interested?  |  Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

....iserith's house rule makes me foam at the mouth with rage and makes me want to cause physical harm to things.

Just putting that out there. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
D&D means never having to say "You're dead!" At least, not in the sense that would require tearing up one's character sheet.

Death can be simply a branching path on the adventure. Ask your player candidly, "Do you want to keep this character?" If not, have a new one (of comparable level to the rest of the party) show up at the next tavern or as a prisoner of the next monster horde. If the player does want to keep this character:

  1. Turn the player into a ghost (increased magical abilities, decreased physical attacks) until the party retrieves the player's soul from a local demon/shrine/elemental/wizard.

  2. Place player's soul in an available body according to whatever beasties are in the region. Let him play as an orc or troll until the next major encounter, which produces a Ring of Wishes with one wish remaining...

  3. Follow the Penny Arcade route and send him to Hell! Or Nirvana. A friendly guiding divine entity gives the players entry to this realm while they attempt to rescue their friend.

  4. Make him a zombie! Foul necromancy converts the valiant player into a shambling undead beast until the proper Atonement can be performed.

The point is, death in D&D means as much or as little as you make of it.
....iserith's house rule makes me foam at the mouth with rage and makes me want to cause physical harm to things.

Just putting that out there. 

Can I ask why?
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
....iserith's house rule makes me foam at the mouth with rage and makes me want to cause physical harm to things.

Just putting that out there. 

Can I ask why?



It creates a subset of rules for every player at the table. And when playing a game, that goes against logic. Each player needs to play by the same exact rules. Not the same exact rule that offers a subset rule.

We're going to go in circles again. I can just feel it. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Yes, the fiction of D&D gives us a lot of alternatives, but most of the time people just want to keep playing and keep playing normally, i.e. with a character they're interested in. In early editions, the party was expected to hire henchmen, and if a character died a player was expected to play one of the henchmen, even though henchmen, sort of by definition, are not adventurers, and it's unlikely that anyone's cool character concept is going to be reflected in one of the half-dozen scrubs you've hired to hold baggage.

I don't mind just rolling up a new character, or bringing in one I already had prepared, but I don't see why I should have to not be involved in the game for however long it takes the party to reach where the new character is.

As I see it, groups have two options for keeping players involved:

1. Challenge the PCs without killing them.

2. Set up the adventure so that it's plausible for the player's next character to show up immediately. This is known as a "trapdoor."

Some players in my game like to have a chance of death, so all I ask of them is that they create a back-up character with plausible means and reasons for joining the party seamlessly. This is quite doable, and the players seem to enjoy the narrative control I'm offering them to accomplish this. But none of that is suggested in the rules. DMs are left to handle it however makes sense to them, and a lot of them end up on these boards when the ways they decide to use don't work the way they want.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

....iserith's house rule makes me foam at the mouth with rage and makes me want to cause physical harm to things.

Just putting that out there. 

Can I ask why?



It creates a subset of rules for every player at the table. And when playing a game, that goes against logic. Each player needs to play by the same exact rules. Not the same exact rule that offers a subset rule.

We're going to go in circles again. I can just feel it. 

Yeah...I don't want to derail the thread.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
If experience provides any help, this is what has happened to me as a player:

Got killed by Mind Flayers (I was the last to fall). Higher-level cleric showed up after and was so impressed with our valor that he resurrected the entire party and gave us a new quest.

Fell in a fire pit during battle with evil priest. My party prevailed and forced him to resurrect me. Then let me perform the killing blow.

Zigged when I should have zagged during high level battle with a black dragon. DM gave me one chance in ten of going astral before my ally's Blade Barrier chewed me up. I made it, fought my way back to the Prime Material plane, rolled a crit fail on getting home and my spirit wound up in a Lizardman. Spent 3 levels as a lizard, sneaking off to eat people occassionally before I found an artifact with permanent polymorph. Felt weird to be human again. 

The point is, don't worry about killing players. If you're a just DM and they're clever players, it probably won't happen. But if it does, it may lead to epic moments.
I'm just getting back into D&D and will be running a group of 3 players.

I've always been generous with availability of healing potions and ressurections at temples, however...

Running a campaign of 3 level 1 players I thought that it's very possible that one or more of these characters could easily die in the middle of nowhere.  What do you do when one of your characters die?  It takes a while to make a new one.

There's been alot of really good advice and really nothing new I can add expect this. A group of 3 PC's is much more likely to suffer deaths or TPK's simply because of the reduced numbers at the table, as you point out. I would not use the recommended encounter building rules, as that's based on a 5 member party. Set no limits or restrictions on yourself or the players, use all the ideas provided so as not to repeat the same solution all the time. That will create a sense of surprise for the players and will leave you with all the options you need to get out of any situation.

Example, the players can build backup characters and if their character dies bring in the next character if needed. But if you or the player can't come up with a way of introducing the new character use: resurrection, let them play the character as a ghost, the PC's are captured, a PC is knocked out and suffers a consequence or not, use a trapdoor (let the player control an NPC or the monsters), everything that been suggested basically.
....iserith's house rule makes me foam at the mouth with rage and makes me want to cause physical harm to things.

Just putting that out there. 

Can I ask why?



It creates a subset of rules for every player at the table. And when playing a game, that goes against logic. Each player needs to play by the same exact rules. Not the same exact rule that offers a subset rule.

We're going to go in circles again. I can just feel it. 

Yeah...I don't want to derail the thread.



Seems perfectly logical and not a ruleset with subrules. I mean it's just like any other PC event: do you open the (possibly trapped, heavily guarded death-filled) door or not? Do you accept the quest or not?

Except in this case it's "Do you want to continue playing this character or not, now that he reached the threshold that could very well remove him from the game?"

It's actually easier on the DM because now the burden of trying to fit the player/PC back into the story is shifted from DM to player, which is not so different from how Don't Rest Your Head does it: in that nightmare fuel horror TRPG, players are required to tell the DM how their story starts in the Mad City -- complete control, no DM intervention whatsoever (until that first scene ends). Iserith's rulings on character death are reminiscent of that, and requires no subset of rules to execute -- either the player is given completenarrative control within the scope of "explaining how he came back from the Other Side" or he simply accepts his chaacter's death and makes a new character/brings out his backup character (and both he and the DM still have to figure out how to put the new character back into the game) -- so...where's the source of rage?

In any case, like I mentioned earlier I'm all for rules that allow the story being developed in and through the rules to keep moving, even when the roadblock to the story is character death.
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You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
....iserith's house rule makes me foam at the mouth with rage and makes me want to cause physical harm to things.

Just putting that out there. 

Can I ask why?



It creates a subset of rules for every player at the table. And when playing a game, that goes against logic. Each player needs to play by the same exact rules. Not the same exact rule that offers a subset rule.

We're going to go in circles again. I can just feel it. 

Yeah...I don't want to derail the thread.



Seems perfectly logical and not a ruleset with subrules. I mean it's just like any other PC event: do you open the (possibly trapped, heavily guarded death-filled) door or not? Do you accept the quest or not?

Except in this case it's "Do you want to continue playing this character or not, now that he reached the threshold that could very well remove him from the game?"

It's actually easier on the DM because now the burden of trying to fit the player/PC back into the story is shifted from DM to player, which is not so different from how Don't Rest Your Head does it: in that nightmare fuel horror TRPG, players are required to tell the DM how their story starts in the Mad City -- complete control, no DM intervention whatsoever (until that first scene ends). Iserith's rulings on character death are reminiscent of that, and requires no subset of rules to execute -- either the player is given completenarrative control within the scope of "explaining how he came back from the Other Side" or he simply accepts his chaacter's death and makes a new character/brings out his backup character (and both he and the DM still have to figure out how to put the new character back into the game) -- so...where's the source of rage?

In any case, like I mentioned earlier I'm all for rules that allow the story being developed in and through the rules to keep moving, even when the roadblock to the story is character death.

I agree with you completely but we had a trainwreck thread with dozens of pages on this topic a while back, and all the main posters are still hanging around.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
  Let the PCs take maximum HP gain at level up for levels 1-3. This maximizes survivability in the beginning. When they get to level 4, time to roll hit dice. If they roll badly or have Con penalties, it won't sting as much since they have 3 levels of padded HP behind them.

  



We assign Max HP at 1st level, and 3/4 HP at each level thereafter (if your HD is a D8 then you get 6 hp + con mod per level.  a D10 alternates between 7 and 8.)

We don't leave any part of character generation to rolling and haven't for quite some time.

My games have traditionally been bloodbaths, losing on average about 1.5 PC's a session.  I've been stepping away from that with my most recent campaign in which there have been no character deaths so far. 

...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
  Let the PCs take maximum HP gain at level up for levels 1-3. This maximizes survivability in the beginning. When they get to level 4, time to roll hit dice. If they roll badly or have Con penalties, it won't sting as much since they have 3 levels of padded HP behind them.

  



We assign Max HP at 1st level, and 3/4 HP at each level thereafter (if your HD is a D8 then you get 6 hp + con mod per level.  a D10 alternates between 7 and 8.)

We don't leave any part of character generation to rolling and haven't for quite some time.

My games have traditionally been bloodbaths, losing on average about 1.5 PC's a session.  I've been stepping away from that with my most recent campaign in which there have been no character deaths so far. 




I feel that static progression like that takes some fun and randomness out of the leveling up process and reduces the amount of strategy a player needs to put in behind their character's tactics on the battlefield.

That said, I certainly see it's benefits. I might run a game like that some time. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
How about 4e? Completely static, non-random progression, which means that people aren't screwed over by things they can't control.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
My games have traditionally been bloodbaths, losing on average about 1.5 PC's a session.  I've been stepping away from that with my most recent campaign in which there have been no character deaths so far.

To what do you attribute that drastic decrease in deathrate? I assume you've been through several sessions and didn't post that from partway through your first session.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

  Let the PCs take maximum HP gain at level up for levels 1-3. This maximizes survivability in the beginning. When they get to level 4, time to roll hit dice. If they roll badly or have Con penalties, it won't sting as much since they have 3 levels of padded HP behind them.

  



We assign Max HP at 1st level, and 3/4 HP at each level thereafter (if your HD is a D8 then you get 6 hp + con mod per level.  a D10 alternates between 7 and 8.)

We don't leave any part of character generation to rolling and haven't for quite some time.

My games have traditionally been bloodbaths, losing on average about 1.5 PC's a session.  I've been stepping away from that with my most recent campaign in which there have been no character deaths so far. 




I feel that static progression like that takes some fun and randomness out of the leveling up process and reduces the amount of strategy a player needs to put in behind their character's tactics on the battlefield.

That said, I certainly see it's benefits. I might run a game like that some time. 



Basically, what we've found is that it is more fun, allows for thoughtful character generation, and MASSIVELY cuts down on cheating and mulligans. 

Back when we used to roll, we had a guy roll 1's for his HP for 5 levels in a row.  He was a Barbarian.  Amazing he survived that long.  Character became unplayable.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
  Let the PCs take maximum HP gain at level up for levels 1-3. This maximizes survivability in the beginning. When they get to level 4, time to roll hit dice. If they roll badly or have Con penalties, it won't sting as much since they have 3 levels of padded HP behind them.

  



We assign Max HP at 1st level, and 3/4 HP at each level thereafter (if your HD is a D8 then you get 6 hp + con mod per level.  a D10 alternates between 7 and 8.)

We don't leave any part of character generation to rolling and haven't for quite some time.

My games have traditionally been bloodbaths, losing on average about 1.5 PC's a session.  I've been stepping away from that with my most recent campaign in which there have been no character deaths so far. 




I feel that static progression like that takes some fun and randomness out of the leveling up process and reduces the amount of strategy a player needs to put in behind their character's tactics on the battlefield.

That said, I certainly see it's benefits. I might run a game like that some time. 



Basically, what we've found is that it is more fun, allows for thoughtful character generation, and MASSIVELY cuts down on cheating and mulligans. 

Back when we used to roll, we had a guy roll 1's for his HP for 5 levels in a row.  He was a Barbarian.  Amazing he survived that long.  Character became unplayable.



That's interesting. I had an opposite experience in my d20 modern game. I rolled low on a few levels. I wound up building a Level 4 smart hero/Level 2 Infiltrator and by 6th level, he only had like 27 hp. He basically wound up being a glass cannon. But he was probably the strongest and richest member of the group based on tactics I used to improve him in combat. Hell, his AC was only 19 by the time I had to take over as DM.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/

our character generation looks something like this:  (we play pathfinder/3.5)


Ability scores are set to 8, 30 points to spend (1:1 ratio, max of 18 prior to racial adjustment in any score).


     1 ability point to spend at every even level, not just every four levels.


2 Flaws at 1st level (grants 2 bonus feats)
2 traits
1st level feat

Max Hp at first level, 3/4 HP thereafter.


Characters are a bit more powerful, and people min max and try to make OP characters.  But I'm able to adjust for that fairly easily.  Most of our spellcasters also use the Spell point variant in unearthed Arcana.

Pathfinder also does a feat at every odd level.  So characters in our game gain something meaningful at every level, which is good because I use slow progression so levels are few and far between.  We also use hero points.  Characters are meant to be awesome and beat up on monsters. 

...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"

our character generation looks something like this:  (we play pathfinder/3.5)


Ability scores are set to 8, 30 points to spend (1:1 ratio, max of 18 prior to racial adjustment in any score).


     1 ability point to spend at every even level, not just every four levels.


2 Flaws at 1st level (grants 2 bonus feats)
2 traits
1st level feat

Max Hp at first level, 3/4 HP thereafter.


Characters are a bit more powerful, and people min max and try to make OP characters.  But I'm able to adjust for that fairly easily.  Most of our spellcasters also use the Spell point variant in unearthed Arcana.

Pathfinder also does a feat at every odd level.  So characters in our game gain something meaningful at every level, which is good because I use slow progression so levels are few and far between.  We also use hero points.  Characters are meant to be awesome and beat up on monsters. 




Ah, I see. Makes sense. I don't have Pathfinder books, though may eventually switch to it.

That said, my players rebel like nobody's business if I even dare breathe the words "point buy". They absolutely abhor the system and if they can't leave their ability scores to fate from the start, they tend to not want to play. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/

our character generation looks something like this:  (we play pathfinder/3.5)


Ability scores are set to 8, 30 points to spend (1:1 ratio, max of 18 prior to racial adjustment in any score).


     1 ability point to spend at every even level, not just every four levels.


2 Flaws at 1st level (grants 2 bonus feats)
2 traits
1st level feat

Max Hp at first level, 3/4 HP thereafter.


Characters are a bit more powerful, and people min max and try to make OP characters.  But I'm able to adjust for that fairly easily.  Most of our spellcasters also use the Spell point variant in unearthed Arcana.

Pathfinder also does a feat at every odd level.  So characters in our game gain something meaningful at every level, which is good because I use slow progression so levels are few and far between.  We also use hero points.  Characters are meant to be awesome and beat up on monsters. 




Ah, I see. Makes sense. I don't have Pathfinder books, though may eventually switch to it.

That said, my players rebel like nobody's business if I even dare breathe the words "point buy". They absolutely abhor the system and if they can't leave their ability scores to fate from the start, they tend to not want to play. 



Once we made the switch to pathfinder we never looked back.  3.5 was great, pathfinder is basically 3.75, at least thats how the community refers to it.  Much improved/refined system.  Better artwork, fresh new monsters, better class design. 
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
    
That said, my players rebel like nobody's business if I even dare breathe the words "point buy". They absolutely abhor the system and if they can't leave their ability scores to fate from the start, they tend to not want to play. 



Why do you think that is?  Not that I'm oppossed to them rolling, just seems odd.  I would prefer to have control over my characters creation than leave it to fate.  Especially with my proclivity to roll 1's on D6's for attribute points.  Had a Dm do 3d6 keep all no mulligans ( he didn't want to spend all night watching you roll) , I had a 3, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 11.  No joke.  Suddenly mulligans were permitted.  So then everyone mulliganed over and over until we had the ability scores we wanted, took all night.  I added up the numbers from everyones characters and everyone was virtually identical in overall value.  There was a number that people wanted.  It was a pretty obvious leap to a point buy system to me. 

If you want to 'leave it to fate', then try doing that in a purist way with no rerolls/mulligans, no drops, no 'honor system' etc.  See how long that argument holds together.  You may get luckier then I did but I suspect someone will be unfairly disadvantaged.  Noone wants to play the wheelchair ridden adventurer with down syndrome.  Not beyond the first fifteen minutes of knee slapping anway.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
    
That said, my players rebel like nobody's business if I even dare breathe the words "point buy". They absolutely abhor the system and if they can't leave their ability scores to fate from the start, they tend to not want to play. 



Why do you think that is?  Not that I'm oppossed to them rolling, just seems odd.  I would prefer to have control over my characters creation than leave it to fate.  Especially with my proclivity to roll 1's on D6's for attribute points.  Had a Dm do 3d6 keep all no mulligans ( he didn't want to spend all night watching you roll) , I had a 3, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 11.  No joke.  Suddenly mulligans were permitted.  So then everyone mulliganed over and over until we had the ability scores we wanted, took all night.  I added up the numbers from everyones characters and everyone was virtually identical in overall value.  There was a number that people wanted.  It was a pretty obvious leap to a point buy system to me. 

If you want to 'leave it to fate', then try doing that in a purist way with no rerolls/mulligans, no drops, no 'honor system' etc.  See how long that argument holds together.  You may get luckier then I did but I suspect someone will be unfairly disadvantaged.  Noone wants to play the wheelchair ridden adventurer with down syndrome.  Not beyond the first fifteen minutes of knee slapping anway.



You know, I'm not really sure. I think because rolling tends to avoid the possibility of having a dump stat. The randomness adds into a fun factor for them, I guess. And the biggest being that they don't enjoy being locked into a system where they feel limited in possibilities.

My system:

Roll three sets of abilities using 4d6, drop lowest roll.

So they make 3 sets of 6 ability scores. Then choose the set they like most. With the ability to mulligan 1 roll or the lowest roll. And they MUST take the mulligan, no matter what. 

That said, I've also taken the mulligan away altogether. That said, I think the 3 sets is what keeps them addicted. They get to roll a lot, which is always fun. And then pick carefully. I've seen them drop pretty good sets based on the fact that despite that they had some 17s, 18s and so on, they came up with some 8s, 11s, or even 12s. o_O 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Noone wants to play the wheelchair ridden adventurer with down syndrome.  Not beyond the first fifteen minutes of knee slapping anway.

I'd play those characters ability scores, as long as I could roll some back up characters and insert them as soon as the old one died, and as long as the group wasn't closeminded about how I played, say, Intelligence 3 (it doesn't need to mean anything beyond penalties on Intelligence check and talking normally, for instance, doesn't require a roll). The trick is that I would play that character because I want to play that character, not because it's the only choice I have and what I really wanted to play was a paladin.

Rolling stats is fine, as long as there are trapdoors in place for death, and the player didn't have a preconceived idea for the character he or she wanted to play.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

    

You know, I'm not really sure. I think because rolling tends to avoid the possibility of having a dump stat. The randomness adds into a fun factor for them, I guess. And the biggest being that they don't enjoy being locked into a system where they feel limited in possibilities.

My system:

Roll three sets of abilities using 4d6, drop lowest roll.

So they make 3 sets of 6 ability scores. Then choose the set they like most. With the ability to mulligan 1 roll or the lowest roll. And they MUST take the mulligan, no matter what. 

That said, I've also taken the mulligan away altogether. That said, I think the 3 sets is what keeps them addicted. They get to roll a lot, which is always fun. And then pick carefully. I've seen them drop pretty good sets based on the fact that despite that they had some 17s, 18s and so on, they came up with some 8s, 11s, or even 12s. o_O 



Thats probably the best argument for it, but I'm not terribly oppossed to anyone having a dump stat, so long as not everyone has the same dump stat-could unbalance the group.  I usually make it a point to have 1 ability score at a 6 or 8 on my characters.  That way they suck at something. 

In the spirit of this thread, how do you think rolling for HP affects their survivability?  Ever had anyone with atrocious HP like I have? 

Low level PC's in 3.5 certainly get chewed up a lot, since we adopted flaws/feats and traits it tends to alleviate that a bit.  So does the general superiority of pathfinders classes.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
    

You know, I'm not really sure. I think because rolling tends to avoid the possibility of having a dump stat. The randomness adds into a fun factor for them, I guess. And the biggest being that they don't enjoy being locked into a system where they feel limited in possibilities.

My system:

Roll three sets of abilities using 4d6, drop lowest roll.

So they make 3 sets of 6 ability scores. Then choose the set they like most. With the ability to mulligan 1 roll or the lowest roll. And they MUST take the mulligan, no matter what. 

That said, I've also taken the mulligan away altogether. That said, I think the 3 sets is what keeps them addicted. They get to roll a lot, which is always fun. And then pick carefully. I've seen them drop pretty good sets based on the fact that despite that they had some 17s, 18s and so on, they came up with some 8s, 11s, or even 12s. o_O 



Thats probably the best argument for it, but I'm not terribly oppossed to anyone having a dump stat, so long as not everyone has the same dump stat-could unbalance the group.  I usually make it a point to have 1 ability score at a 6 or 8 on my characters.  That way they suck at something. 

In the spirit of this thread, how do you think rolling for HP affects their survivability?  Ever had anyone with atrocious HP like I have? 

Low level PC's in 3.5 certainly get chewed up a lot, since we adopted flaws/feats and traits it tends to alleviate that a bit.  So does the general superiority of pathfinders classes.



Rolling gives you a random score. Ranging from low to high. Even on an average, say you roll d8. By level 3, if you roll all 3 levels. You can have literally anywhere between 3-36 hp. (this possibilities of negative constitution to +4 con bonus). I think the survivability odds are pretty self evident. Let's say you have a +2 and take average gains. You'd have 19 hp (if my math is right).

Compared to my system of taking max for those 3 levels, you have  30 hp. Putting you on the higher end of the possible max for a high Con character.

Not to mention, if you have 19 hp, you have to make a fortitude on a massive damage roll or lucky crit if it does more than 9 damage. Where in my rules, the bad guy has to land a damage roll of 15 or higher, which is much harder to do. Even on crits at low levels.

Edit: In my early DMing days, I did have to deal with some atrocious HP characters. Which led me to my "take max at levels 1-3" rule. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Actually (at least in 4e), you need a primary and secondary and the rest don't matter. So rolling, which gives you a whole bunch of 12s or 13s on average spits out some completely unusable characters.

If you really wanted to roll, you could roll between the 3 standard stat-arrays (18-14, 17-15 and 16-16) and so would have both some randomness but be sure of a reasonable primary and secondary stat.

Or you could take a 16, and roll the remaining 5 stats.

There are many ways that could work, but the game maths really doesn't align with rolling across the board.
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Actually (at least in 4e), you need a primary and secondary and the rest don't matter. So rolling, which gives you a whole bunch of 12s or 13s on average spits out some completely unusable characters.

If you really wanted to roll, you could roll between the 3 standard stat-arrays (18-14, 17-15 and 16-16) and so would have both some randomness but be sure of a reasonable primary and secondary stat.

Or you could take a 16, and roll the remaining 5 stats.

There are many ways that could work, but the game maths really doesn't align with rolling across the board.



If I used 4e, I might find this valuable. But, I don't. Plus, if my players were to be told that only two stats mattered, they might have a heart attack. xD And, I would feel very limited as DM. I like to spread out all kinds of challenges for my players. If I know they're only going to be good at "X" and "Y", I know it's probably not cool to use "Z", "D", and "C". As it puts them in a massively bad spot and makes them feel useless.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
There are many ways that could work, but the game maths really doesn't align with rolling across the board.

No, it requires a somewhat non-standard approach, such as making a concerted effort to avoid fights unless it's in the party's favor, and being able rejoin play quickly after character death.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Just saying that some systems (including 4e (with which I am the most familiar) expect you to have primary stats and secondary stats and to balance that you have dump stats. That's just design to keep the maths on a particular level. Having a dump stat is not necessarily a bad thing. This is why you are in a party - someone in the party will be able to cover everything (the ranger to see, the wizard to remember and the barbarian to smash).
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
Just saying that some systems (including 4e (with which I am the most familiar) expect you to have primary stats and secondary stats and to balance that you have dump stats. That's just design to keep the maths on a particular level. Having a dump stat is not necessarily a bad thing. This is why you are in a party - someone in the party will be able to cover everything (the ranger to see, the wizard to remember and the barbarian to smash).

I'm all for that, and I prefer 4e in part for its lack of randomness. But I think the argument goes that when players are rolling for stats and HP, it behooves the DM to consider ways to make the game fun for all even so. By the same token, I would think a DM would still want to make the game challenging for any characters that happened to have above average scores, or any party that had covered every base.

I think the game is easier, and more fun, when the DM doesn't have to worry about disparities like that, though there will always be differences in skill level and a need for DMs to do at least a little to make sure the game is fun for everyone. Non-lethal failure modes help a lot with that.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

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