"He died. I barely knew him. I live on." -- Amon
The Death of Jarvix
The lizards were fierce and the DM's "pepto pink" die was hot (crit'd 7 times) in this weeks Dark Sun encounter. The swarms closed in, and a panther emerged from the bush. A bleeding Jarvix made a questonable move that exposed him to multiple opportunity attacks, and he fell unconscious the next round, continuing to take damage.
My character, Amon, was on the other side of the board killing the lizard that kept dazing everyone. Amon took almost no damage this encounter. As Jarvix was about to die, one player suggested that I spend my Second Wind to allow Jarvix to spend a healing surge (Lifespirit Warden feature). I pondered it for a few seconds, and then refused... for three very specific reasons. My decision was met with several unvoiced expressions of dissaproval.
1) In terms of realistic combat tactics, it wouldn't make any sense for me to heal myself when I didn't need healing, especially with monsters in range. And he would have quickly been knocked unconscious again by the swarm and panther in his vicinity.
2) My character and Jarvix just met when we escaped from the halfling savages. Strangers don't trust eachother or really care about eachother... ever... and this sentiment is amplified by Amon's background (see end). This is Dark Sun, after all. Sucks that he died, but that's the way it goes.
3) Finally, Jarvix was on the other side of the board, deep in the woods, and there was not really a realistic way that my character could "know" his dire state of affairs. In conjuction with #1, I believe using an ability in this way would have been an abuse of the system.
The Dilemma: Character Killed = Game Over for the Player
We were about 70 minutes into this encounter. If I had made the suggested move, he might have been able to play another 15 minutes, or maybe he would have been lucky, and things would have turned around... who's to say.
But the dilemma stands-- how far are you willing to go to allow another player to continue playing? Sure, the goal is for everyone involved to have fun, and dying sucks, but surely there must be a line in the sand somewhere. And frankly, I think he partially played his way into his own grave. How far would you go to help keep a player playing when they appear to be in a rush to their funeral? But I digress. I made my decision, and I'd make it again. And I were in the same situation, I'd expect the same.
Amon: Wasteland Nomad, Former Slaver, Goliath Warden (Lifespirit)
As a former slave boss in charge of keeping the "property" "healthy" and "motivated", Amon spent years inspiring temporary hit points and other "motivational buffs" in the people he was NOT punching or lashing with his net. Now that he's out of "the biz", he lives life as a quiet wanderer who avoids his past, and his future.