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Help Me Kill a PC in a Memorable Way (Player Is Leaving Group)

Serpent's Skull

Okay, so my party is still on Smuggler's Shiv (level 2 characters), has explored much of the upper part (including the Brine Demon and the Treasure Pit). Their current base camp is at the abandoned village close to the Treasure Pit (I3, I think).

Unfortunately, one of my players moves in January and has to leave the group. She is playing a human ranger from the Mwangi Expanse, and will only have one more gaming session with us. I want her to have a memorable last session, and to kill her off in a way that is more than "Oh, crap, our ranger died. Let's move on."

I also have to take into account that the group is in possession of a Raise Dead scroll, so the ranger needs to get killed in a way that Raise Dead isn't an option.

The other party members:

a human oracle of war
a human sorcerer
a halfling/oread rogue

Apart from Ariel, all NPCs are still with the group and alive, all friendly or helpful (Ariel stormed off on Day 1 and got killed by now; the group doesn't yet know of her fate). Sasha has a baby dimorphodon, which the ranger is also fond of.

There's another, customised NPC in the camp, but she's mostly there to get the PCs into a side quest I'm planning for later; she hasn't yet been relevant (apart from taking one of the camp roles).

I'd appreciate any ideas on how to kill off the ranger in a way that my players will still talk about it in years to come ;)

your crazy gnome lady from next door

Raise dead needs the mostly complete body. Whatever kills her removes the head and runs off with it. Cannibal headhunters, perhaps?

She turns out to be a polymorphed serpent folk spy and the PCs have to kill her when she betrays them at just the right moment. (Get the player's permission before doing this!)

Carried off by a giant ape. Wedding bells are optional.

Body dissolves in a pool of acid. Perhaps an ooze that's content wth its meal.

Exit, pursued by a crocodile.

Vanishes in the water. Bloodly foam churned by shark fins is visible shortly thereaftsr. Briefly.

Heroic self-sacrifice. "I'll hold off the savages while you get away!"

CrazyGnomeLady wrote:

I want her to have a memorable last session, and to kill her off in a way that is more than "Oh, crap, our ranger died. Let's move on."

your crazy gnome lady from next door

Un-recoverable body brainstorming:

Hollywood style "bottomless" quicksand
Digestion (ooze, mouther, swallow whole, etc)
Sacrafice to a magma pool

"Dying wish" endings are tricky to pull off in games, because if someone can speak, they can usually be healed. But if an epic battle works out such that healing options are exhausted, the party can gather around their doomed comrade and she can offer her final words, and a request to not raise her.

She dies in such a way that she becomes one of the ghosts inhabiting the area. She can "haunt" her old party until they perform a task that puts her spirit to rest. Here also, she can relay a "no-raise" request.

OOH! On the spirit haunt concept, how about her spirit infusing itself in an item carried by one of the party? She can imbue the item with sentience, and provide some aspect of her character (alertness feat; favored enemy bonus).

Wow, there are some great and fun ideas right there, thanks a lot!

I'll likely choose a few of those options and let her choose which one she likes most, and then work it into the next session. She definitely gets a say in her own death, since it is unfortunately an inevitable and permanent one.

More ideas still appreciated, since I still have some time before the next session (definitely not before January).

Oh, and I'll totally let you guys know how it played out afterwards!

your crazy gnome lady from next door

I saw something on the history channel recently where they described an Aztec ritual where they set up a ritual combat with a respected captive. They tied his leg to a post and attacked one at a time until he finally fell. The warrior that brought him down got the honor of consuming his flesh and wearing his flayed skin for a few weeks. If that's not too gruesome for your group, maybe you can adapt that. Seems like it might be memorable and, if she does well, could significantly thin the ranks for the rest of the party to deal with later.

Maybe the other PCs can sneak close enough to see but can't take the gathered might of the cannibals so they're helpless to do anything but watch.

I don't suppose she's the smallest member of the party?

Because violent blood draining death and subsequent dismemberment by the random Flying Chupacabra from hell would be a memorable way to go.

Death (and being beheaded or chopped in half) by the WTF Guillotines in the temple is also a good way to go.

Or eaten by the shark in front of the underwater temple entrance because she stumbles and falls in the water or something.

Yeah now I think of it I should spoiler those things I think.

Of course all that assumes that your party does what ours did and became obsessed with that damn door and went on to what was supposed to be the end of the Smuggler's Shiv portion before doing much else. Alls I can say is: Thank the lord for debilitating status effects.

Semi non-location based is having her agree to walk point and spring all the traps on her. There's something about getting slammed into spiked trees repeatedly that would probably mutilate a corpse.

We already had our halfling rogue hanging from those spikes (and dying)....

"Let the rogue walk first, he's best at spotting traps."


"Look, he found one! Now how do we get him down again before he bleeds out?"

That was after their healer (the oracle) had walked into the first trap.

Spiked Traps : Party 2 : 0

I doubt they'll make it to the temple during the next session, and the Aztec ritual might be too gruesome for her liking, but maybe I can work with foreshadowing some later events on Smuggler's Shiv here (like the flying thing--she seems to attract death from above).

Again, thanks for all your great ideas!

your crazy gnome lady from next door

You could have her get turned into an undead. Can't raise them then, and she can then come back to hound the party...

If she dies normally, the island can easily bring her back as a zombie or skeleton (with a template if needed)... Though that'd be a bit boring.

More interesting would be to have her get killed by a lacedon ghoul (Or perhaps she caught ghoul fever in the money pit that no one noticed the symptoms of) Then ask the player if she wants to play her evil undead alter-ego for part of her final session. =)

I'm sure allowing her to be the doomed and cursed bad guy for her final game would be memorable, for her and the other players.

Hell, you could even give her undead form a bit of insight into the cursed nature of the island that she could reveal to the party.

The ever emotional: "I can feel the island calling me. Controlling me. It won't let me die. Even if you kill me know, it will bring me back. It will always bring me back! Please, help me die!" as she tries to rip their intestines out and return the favor.

Then the rest of party even has more reason to want to break the curses hold on the island, so their friend can rest in peace.

Have her eat something well passed its expiration date and suffer a fatal bout of explosive diarrhea.

I've never been a fan of killing off characters when players leave the group. I just turn them into NPCs, and have them go their separate ways.

What's fun there is you can bring them back way down the road when you happen to have need of an NPC of the same class, or a hostage, or someone being dominated that you want the party to care about...

If you kill them off, the closest you can get to doing that is to have them come back as some form of undead (part of a flesh golem is always fun).

The pc's are on shore next to a sulfurous spring/water source. they are attacked by a fire breathing drake that snatches the pc. while flying around with her in its mouth it breathes fire on her then drops her body in the caustic water where blind piranhas, that evolved to live there, devour her corpse before her equipment hits the bottom. her equipment dissolves in the pool. drake flies away.

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

OP: Is the player cool with this? I know if I was in their shoes, I'd feel like this was some sort of parting nut-shot. While it would be something I'd remember for years, it wouldn't be in a good way.

Of course, it would make leaving my so-called 'friends' behind a bit easier I guess. Hopefully your friend isn't as sentimental about their characters and passionate about their stories as I am...

The player is cool with it, yes. I asked her first and she was the one asking me to let her die in a memorable way, instead of just having her die in some Spiked Trap or such.


I'm not one of those hero girls who fall in battles against dragons and stuff like paladins do, but I don't want to die in one of those traps neither. Maybe I marry a cannibal king to make sure everyone else is fine. Or a waterdragon. Or I die at something I'm good at like being the only one able to climb up that volcano to throw the ring inside. ;)

I don't want a stupid death by coincidence, that's for sure.

That's what she wrote to me (so actually the gorilla king abducting her with wedding bells in the background might be a fun idea) ;)

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CGL wrote:
The player is cool with it, yes. I asked her first and she was the one asking me to let her die in a memorable way, instead of just having her die in some Spiked Trap or such.

Cool, glad to hear it. :) Speaking of wedding bells...

When I had a couple players leave my Serpent's Skull game, I simply turned them into NPCs. Since the two PCs had already fallen in love by that point, I had them remain on the island after the rest of the party was rescued to retire and oversee construction of a naval base. (Campaign is sort of a mash-up between SS and a homebrew with Kingmaker-style kingdom building.)

Good luck and have fun!

I too recently saw a tv show about Aztecs, it talked about Tlahuicole, who while been a prisoner that was suppose to be sacrificed, was offered to fight elite warriors with a feathered sword. He killed over 20 warriors and while offered to be spared, decide that it would be shameful not to be sacrificed to the gods. The way he fought and choosed to die brought him into the legend. Something along these line could be a great ending for you friend character.

skinned alive and eaten by the barbarian chief and his minions is good, so is devoured by the giant winged chupacabra

We finally had the session yesterday, and it went incredibly well! We just continued gaming as usual for a while, and as it got closer to evening, I had a talk with her and explained an idea. She loved it, so the coming morning shortly before dawn, the chupacabra kidnapped her from camp while she was on watch duty and carried her off to its nest. The whole camp immediately packed up and followed the coast line to the general direction of the Red Mountain (the direction the chupacabra flew off to), resting only during the worst heat.

The group found the rocky mountain side with the nest at dusk, and the NPCs decided it was too dangerous for all of them to climb up there, especially since the ledge looked too narrow to hold them all anyway. So only the remaining PCs started up (after quite some discussing, and a lot of clanking from the Battle Oracle's armor). When they were just about to step onto the ledge, the chupacabra woke up and unfolded its wings with a piercing scream, and I had them roll initiative.

At the beginning of the battle, the Ranger (the death candidate) is lying unconscious in the beast's nest. The sun is already setting (meaning dim light, and darkness in just a few rounds--I expressively told the PCs). I had set up the ledge with partly difficult terrain and limited space, plus the nest walls as effectively low walls with the risk of getting stuck between the driftwood when climbing above it.

At first, the chupacabra waits and watches the PCs (I had lost initiative against all but one of them, unfortunately). The second round, my readied charge triggers when the Rogue gets too close, but I miss him with my claws and can't grab him. I get attacked in return and take my first damage. The next round, I decide to attack the Sorcerer from above and try to grab him. He casts his readied Color Spray even after the clear warning that the beast would fall right on top of him if he managed to affect it. One failed Will save later, my chupacabra is stunned and the Sorcerer effectively pinned between the heavy beast and the stone floor, down to one HP (I misread the falling object rules, I admit, but it thankfully didn't stop the fun). Unfortunately, I eat some nasty attacks and am reduced to below half my HP while stunned. So when my next round comes up, I chupar on the Sorcerer for one Con dmg plus the effects of the Haste effect and tumble my way back into the air, into an area of dim light where I stealth against all but the Rogue (the only one with Darkvision 60 ft.).

By now, the Ranger is up and shooting at me with her longbow too. When I effectively disappear in the dim light of the Oracle's light spell, though, she decides that it's safer closer by her companions. She attempts to climb over the next wall and gets stuck with her foot, caught between driftwood. No one is able to attack me before my next turn, so all they can do is watch as the monster (unidentified, btw) soars down on the Ranger, bites her twice and then claws at her with both claws, reducing her to below 0 with those attacks, and then grab her, jerk her out (with an awkward snapping sound to be heard), fly high enough to be out of range for any melee or spell attack, and drain her off blood. When it's done, it discards her bloodless body over the rigged valleys and flys off into the night.

I allowed the player some last words to be spoken in the moment she sees the beast soar down on her, as it dawned on her that this might be her last living moment. The remaining party looted and burnt the nest in revenge (which will definitely make them the goal of a bit of chupacabra revenge in the future).

My players were happy, and I was a happy GM because in spite of tough dice luck in that fight, my chupacabra escaped alive after killing the Ranger. My only really successful round was the last one where I attacked the Ranger....

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