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Author Topic: Triumph of the Dungeon Master!  (Read 5341 times)

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Offline Strolen

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Triumph of the Dungeon Master!
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2003, 06:00:24 PM »
The only time I ever had a Total Party Kill was when our favorite DM was playing in my game. Whole adventure surrounded the infiltration of an elemental temple to the new cult of worshippers that were looking to get their water elemental god back onto this plain, and had nearly succeeded so there was a great presence of the god in this world, but not fully incarnate yet.

Basically they get to the worshipping well of the elementalists and our usual DM starts some chanting and summoning over this well, much to the annoyance of the other characters who only slightly tried to stop him because it was a fairly comical show. Him, a thief if memory serves, standing at the edge of the holy elemental well waving his hands trying to summon the elemental.

So a role of the dice determined their fate and an explosion of water came from the depths of the well with such power and fury that it was impossible for them to make any headway or cast any spells. Any thought of escape was squashed when the elemental god boomed in his gurgly bass drumming voice, "Why have you summoned me?"

I let them squirm a little bit but soon after I just sort of said, "Are you REALLY SURE that is what you wanted to do?"

No sense destroying the entire campaign because of it but it did teach them a valuable lesson...and was a fun story to tell about character deaths.

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2003, 06:28:27 PM »
I didn't say I killed them all the time.
I think it's good once in a while to put em' in their place.
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Offline Ria Hawk

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« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2003, 06:34:28 PM »
Isn't that kind of what everyone else has been saying?

I killed a player once.  The fellow was one of those who didn't understand that you shouldn't attempt to kill every NPC you meet.  Unfortunately, the polymorphed gold dragon did not take kindly to his attentions.
Sometimes angels fall from grace, and sometimes heroes die.

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2003, 06:36:28 PM »
If we're all saying the same thing, why are we debating so much?
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Offline Ria Hawk

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« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2003, 06:41:56 PM »
I think we just do that.
Sometimes angels fall from grace, and sometimes heroes die.

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Offline Agar

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« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2003, 06:46:21 PM »
There is a vast difference between making a game challenging and making it impossible. GM's who strive to kill off every player, every session, are killjoys who have no sense of fun. GM's who let the players have a free hand and wade through the corpses of dragons to acheive godhood in a week are pushovers will no sense of challenge. The players need to feel the risks, need to take the damage, need to feel like they're doing something that matters, something only they can do, and something they might not make it out alive from.

Rough 'em up, please. Take away the stuff they take for granted, their magic items, their followers, their abilities, their health, their limbs. And sometimes, their life. Life, even in a fantasy game, was never meant to be easy. Make them work for it.
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Offline MoonHunter

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« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2003, 06:14:54 AM »
I think what we are arguing about is the "threshold" of player character death and the reasons why the character died.  

1) For many of us, characters have "script immunity" or are basically unkillable. Most of the time, the players can easily succeed against the challanges thrown against them.   Even if they screw up, the GM will scramble around and try to save them.

2) Threshold is script immunity with exceptions.  For many of us, characters must be "written out". A character's script immunity is revoked for the purpose of brining in a new character, that is "cool".   There are times, we note that script immunity is off, letting the players know that in the climax... people can die.  

3) For others, the threshold is "Player stupidity". Sometimes, despite your best warning or advice, players pursue a course that is effectively suicidal.  Thus they die if the dice determine it.

3b) A variation on the above is the critial wierdness. PCs only die under crits or their own fumbles.  Rare enough to keep PCs to keep them alive, punctuating the game with death.  

4) For others, the threshold is tactical interaction. Once the dice and game mechanics start flying, the character's life is upto the dice.  Most challanges should be equal to the PCs, but most should be less, to ensure the continued survival of the players.  

5) For others, the PCs are the adversaries. You are the GM and they are competing against you. Characters die with regular frequency, as both sides have a duel of wits and dice for tactical advantages.  The Threshold is tactical interaction, but the situation at the table is more like HackMaster and the two sides are gainst each other.  

6) For others, PCs are fodder for your godlike might. The Threshold is stepping into the situation.  Munchkin GMs at their worst, or the occasional GM with self image issues.

This forms a continumn from 1 to 6.  Everyone is pretty much somewhere inbetween the death threshold 1 to 6. Every level, except the most extreme rank 1s, allow for PC injury and abuse.  

What I think is happening here is that we are not agreeing upon what  is an acceptable threshold for PC death.  Each of us have our own take.

For examples. I am a 2.5 . PCs mostly have plot immunity, except at key times (climax of story arcs... they usually know when the kid gloves are off) and when they do something sooo stupid that I can not conviently save them.  

IMO: Ephemeralstability is a solid 1 and some change.

IMO: Agar has been posting against range 5-6 and is probably a somewhere between 1-3, probably 2.

IMO: Ria and Strom Solid 3s, while CP, I would bet is a 4.5, maybe 5

You can post your own threshold and number. (pvt message me if you don't, to let me know how far off I am).  

Now you can see why we are arguing.  We all have very different opinions on when and why PCs should die, and if anyone should be gloating over a TPK.
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Offline Ria Hawk

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« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2003, 04:30:44 PM »
I'm prolly closer to a 2.5.  If I'm going to have characters get killed, I prefer it to be because of the plot, in which case it adds to the drama of the situation and increases the stakes, or because of their own stupidity, in which case they deserve it.
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2003, 06:27:29 PM »
What does IMO mean?
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Offline ephemeralstability

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« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2003, 07:53:36 PM »
Probably Internet-speak for "In my opinion". I'd place myself as more of a 2, because I think player death is sometimes necessary or even desirable (see earlier post) but has to be dealt with carefully. I think the threshold is determined by narrative imperative rather than random dice rolls or PCs "getting too big for their boots".

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Offline Agar

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« Reply #35 on: June 15, 2003, 10:48:41 PM »
a 2 is good for me, although I have 3 and 3b tendancies. I should try to maim my PCs more, they'd appreciate it. :twisted:
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2003, 11:39:56 PM »
4.5 sounds like me.
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