Consequences of PC deaths

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Consequences of PC deaths

Post by Ddogwood » Thu Aug 23, 2012 6:53 pm

Im curious about how different people handle the death of a (greater than 0-level) PC in the DCC RPG. I didn't see any guidelines in the rulebook for it, and I'm interested in ideas and especially practical experience for what people do when a PC bites it. Here are some methods I've seen, and some pros and cons of each:

1. Start again. The player rolls up a new Level 1 PC who joins the party.
Pros: Often easy to work into the story. Fairly straightforward.
Cons: PC might be significantly weaker than rest of party, and risks getting caught in a "death spiral" where player is rolling up a new level 1 character every session. No funnel to get attached to the character.

2. Funnel again. The player rolls up 3-4 new level 0 characters who join the party.
Pros: Usually easy to work into the story. Keeps the funnel going.
Cons: Death spiral, as above, but PC has even more catching up to do.

3. Promote a henchman. The party promotes one of its henchmen, either as a level 1 character, or with an XP score based on how long the henchman has been around.
Pros: Should fit right into the campaign. Character likely already has some backstory. Gives easy way for players to maintain pool of "backup characters".
Cons: Still weaker than the rest of the party, but maybe not by much. Requires tracking henchman XP or at least henchman names/story.

4. New level x PC. Player rolls up a new character who is the same level as the other PCs.
Pros: Little or no power discrepancy. Player doesn't have to miss out on anything.
Cons: Can be hard to justify in story, especially at higher levels. Takes some sting out of death (I don't care if my wizard dies, it's the easiest way to dump these corruptions!).

Any thoughts on these, or other methods I didn't think of?

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Re: Consequences of PC deaths

Post by Ravenheart87 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:25 am

Whatever fits your campaign. I still haven't decided yet, but there is a good advice in the book:

Raise the dead: Journey to the lands of the dead and recover the lost soul, possibly by dancing, gaming, or jousting with Death himself. (Note: a DCC module deals with this exact subject. Look for DCC #74: Blades against Death as an example of how to perform such a quest.)
Vorpal Mace: a humble rpg blog with some DCC-related stuff.

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Re: Consequences of PC deaths

Post by finarvyn » Fri Aug 24, 2012 1:58 am

I think it comes down to the stage of the adventure and/or the stage of the campaign. I would only do the funnel if everyone else is doing it as well.

Early on, it's probably best to let them create a new PC from scratch at the same general level as the rest of the party. Or, to "create" one essentially like the one they lost (such as the mage in the GAMERS movie). At this point they haven't invested as much into the adventure and so starting a new one won't mess up the story.

Nearing the end, it's probably better to promote an NPC or henchman to PC status so they can finish the quest with the others. That way you have a personality who has been in the adventure already, only that personality now takes on a larger role in the story. Also, at the end of the adventure you might want to have everyone start new characters for next time anyway. No point in having the player go through the effort of creating a character if the campaign is nearing an end. (I tend to promote quickly and end campaigns regularly so that players can start over and pick new character options.)
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DCC RPG playtester 2011, DCC Lankhmar trivia contest winner 2015; OD&D player since 1975

"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
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