How to handle player losing all their characters

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larljarlabarl
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How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by larljarlabarl » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:44 am

I'm running my first 1st level/non-funnel (Savage Kings) game and am conflicted about PC death. No one has died yet, but I don't know how I would handle a player losing all his characters, especially early in a session.

How to handle this, esp. when the players are growing attached to their characters (ie. aren't as willing to share an extra as they would in a funnel)?

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GnomeBoy
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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by GnomeBoy » Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:55 am

Tricky in general... calls for some out-of-the-box thinking, depending on where you are...

But if you're in Hirot, well, the surviving PCs have "inspired" some locals, and the player who's now characterless can roll up a new one and say they are a local. That changes the investigation dynamics of understanding what's going on in the town, but my solution there would be to just give that character three or four of the rumors that haven't been hit yet, and maybe (depending on how things were going, and what I might want to do with pace) a lead on Ymmae or another townsperson who hasn't been met yet.
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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by Gizrond » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:39 pm

Not a result of character death, but I had a new player show for session two of a Sailors funnel I was running out of a LGS. I just had him roll up a few peasants (with one less than the original players started with to cover earlier deaths) and they wandered into the scene at an appropriate time for the plot.

There's a lot of woods around Hirot. I'd wager there are lots of opportunities to come across lost travelers.

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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by finarvyn » Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:31 am

Suggestions stated above are all excellent. I think that the key to a funnel is that you aren't supposed to be invested in any of your "zeroes" and if you run out a GM can look for any way to bring the player back into the action. Locals from the city, random folk wandering the dungeon or countryside, any way to say, "look, here are more guys who want to join the pack" and just keep the action rolling.
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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by Jim Skach » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:41 am

Things to remember:

A) When you're playing a 1st level adventure, 10 XP is a pretty low bar. It will likely be like two or three encounters.
2) If a player is suddenly characterless, having them roll up a few 0's who, as mentioned in the suggestions below, become part of the group. It is not as burdensome as one might think.
iii) Because within a couple of encounters you will likely have a couple dead zeroes and one zero with enough experience to become 1st level.

For the rest of their careers with this band of misfits, they will always be a few exp behind, but when you're up to 3rd level the difference will be essentially meaningless.

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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by Jim Skach » Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:48 am

Also, one last thing.

DCC is meant to conquer fear. That sounds a bit hyperbolic, but let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Lean In.

That is not my advice. It is advice from the inestimable Brandon LaSalle (and Harley Stroh)!

The meaning is this (at least to me): That thing you fear? Embrace it. Make that death mean something. Use it as a springboard. Go crazy. Make the ghost follow the group around. Give them a quest to bring back their lost sister-in-arms. Make the killer part of a group that the survivors seek for the next ten adventures to exact revenge upon the cretins who killed Apple Jack the former Coster Monger turned Cleric of Choranus.

Good Luck!

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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by finarvyn » Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:50 am

Another thought about character death -- when I am playing at the table with newbie players I try to have a conversation with the DM first and tell him or her that if a character "needs" to die please make mine the first. I would model acceptable behavior (no tantrums, getting angry, etc.) so that the newbies can see that it's okay for characters to die. I figure, I've played enough decades that I can handle it. :wink:
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"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
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by Bobjester » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:09 pm

finarvyn wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 10:50 am
Another thought about character death -- when I am playing at the table with newbie players I try to have a conversation with the DM first and tell him or her that if a character "needs" to die please make mine the first. I would model acceptable behavior (no tantrums, getting angry, etc.) so that the newbies can see that it's okay for characters to die. I figure, I've played enough decades that I can handle it. :wink:
I've told my DM the same thing. I have run games with players who absolutely hate it when their PC dies and will quit playing with a group if it happens (and has happened). I want to be the one to show the other players how it is done without losing your sh*t and still having fun with it.
“The wounds received in battle bestow honor, they do not take it away...”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: How to handle player losing all their characters

Post by GnomeBoy » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:30 pm

finarvyn wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:31 am
I think that the key to a funnel is that you aren't supposed to be invested in any of your "zeroes"...
I'm going to be a counterpoint to that thought by saying you can never go wrong by investing in your Zeroes. The game is always more fun when you bring those suckers to life, even if some of them only last for 30 minutes or less -- because a death that you feel is fodder for the rest of the group to dig in and take things seriously. That won't happen if you just look at them as stats.
Gnome Boy • DCC playtester @ DDC 35 Feb '11. • Beta DL 2111, 7AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since '77 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.

Link: Here Be 100+ DCC Monsters

bygrinstow.com

Kuruz, Mendicant, N • AC 8, 4 hp • R-1, F0, W0 • S9 A8 S9 P11 I16 L8
Zend, Grave Digger, L • AC 9, 3 hp • R-1, F0, W1 • S14 A6 S9 P13 I13 L6
Mercer, Outlaw, N • AC 12, 2 hp • R0, F-1, W1 • S7 A9 S6 P13 I8 L13
Dejah, Ropemaker, C • AC 10, 3 hp • R0, F1, W-1 • S8 A12 S15 P7 I11 L7

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