Should living players be able to loot dead players?


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On the basis of your experiences or have you done some survey of the role-playing world?

I've seen all-sorts, actually.

Have you ever wondered why PFS has all these rules about characters not giving stuff to each other, characters not being rolled up at higher than 1st level, characters having an equal opportunity of getting the same magic item (somehow multiply cloned) at the end of an adventure, and so on?

But anyway - I agree with you I would never do it. I would never loot a dead character either. I don't like being overpowered - it takes all the challenge, fun and achievement out of the game.

Richard


richard develyn wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
What if he likes his heavenly reward and doesn't want to be raised? About half the characters in our games don't want to come back.

I'd suspect the player was abusing the system along these lines:

Matthew Downie wrote:
And I don't like the idea that the party have an incentive to get their characters killed off as often as possible to enrich the group. Most people wouldn't abuse that, but it doesn't feel like good game design.

If a PC is so keen on heavenly reward, why doesn't he just throw himself off a cliff and not go adventuring. Or dedicate his life to a temple. Or join some suicidal crusading army out in the Abyss.

I don't buy it, myself. I think players are very into self-preservation until they think they can swap out one character for another and leave a whole load of treasure for the rest of the party (and presumably their future selves) in the process.

Ah, so he's cheating. The guys I do with don't do that. Once in a while some guy will tire of his PC, arrange a heroic death and bring in a new one, yes. But not to enrich the party. In any case, it wouldn;t work. The WBL stays the same. Looting a dead PC doesn't make you over-powered, it just reduces found loot.

And, there's this thing called "roleplaying"? Maybe you have heard of it? I have myself played a Paladin who died right after killing a BBEG of particular nastiness, and I ruled (along with DM OK) he was greeting in his heaven as a glorious hero, and didnt want to come back.

I guess if you play with a group of metagaming, murderhobo, cheaters, who never roleplay, then I can understand your reaction.

Silver Crusade

Aye. Heck, we even like to joke about 'having someone suicide so we can get the extra loot' because it does not happen in our group. The role play penalties to a character death in a group of muderhob-I mean, adventurers- who know each other and trust each other after a huge amount of work together? Does not instantly transfer to the player's new character, after all. Integrating new characters after a campaign has been running for awhile is relatively rather difficult (from a roleplay perspective), considering the lack of connections between the new PC and the other PC's, compared to what the original character had with the others...

Although, Richard, I have to respectfully say that PFS is it's own thing. Apples and oranges, and I feel does not present a good example, due to how the rules for PFS are set up to enable "Basketball pickup game style" (my wording) play. Can't really benefit from anything from allies might have found, not the way an older style of play allows, eh? *shrug* Not the subject of the thread.

The theme of the responses on the thread seem to come down to consistently, 'it's the player's call, and if they do loot the dead ally, reduce loot correspondingly to keep around WBL.' Anyone disagree with this (broad) summary? Just trying to get back to answering that OP question ;)


Only if they kill the dead player.

The Exchange

No, I think you've hit the nail on the head, Natrim. It's a bit unfortunate that game reality has to warp in order to stay in the neighborhood of 'expected loot level', but the players always have the option of sending their comrade's body home unlooted and allowing things to progress as they would have otherwise.

Now if only we could do something about the player's new character showing up and immediately being hailed as practically family. (I swear, one of these days I'm going to spring a doppelganger of the new character on my group before the 'real' replacement PC shows up. Maybe a doppelganger, then a totenmaske, then an oni, then the real character.)

Shadow Lodge

richard develyn wrote:

On the basis of your experiences or have you done some survey of the role-playing world?

I've seen all-sorts, actually.

Have you ever wondered why PFS has all these rules about characters not giving stuff to each other, characters not being rolled up at higher than 1st level, characters having an equal opportunity of getting the same magic item (somehow multiply cloned) at the end of an adventure, and so on?

I'm speaking from personal experience, but if there's a survey out there let me know.

Personal experience might not be as reliable as a properly conducted survey, but when zero of the over twenty people I've played with over the last five years would engage in suicidal looting, I think it's a reasonable guess that such behavior is an anomaly in the community at large. Maybe 10% of gamers (up from my <5% experience rate). And what I've seen on the forums backs this up - these experiences are brought up like the occasional horror story, not the norm.

I'm sure they're out there, and that they could cause enough trouble that the protections you mentioned are important to keep PFS fun and fair. I also agree with Natrim that PFS is a little different from your typical home game in that it can't rely on a stable, self-correcting group.

richard develyn wrote:
But anyway - I agree with you I would never do it. I would never loot a dead character either. I don't like being overpowered - it takes all the challenge, fun and achievement out of the game.

Challenge can be adjusted, so I try to make these decisions based on the story. There are situations in which I would consider it appropriate to loot a dead PC, others in which I would raise them (my group has even funded raise dead for NPCs), others in which I'd bury them with their gear or get it to an appropriate third party.


I gotta ask...

To the people who are against the PCs looting their fallen comrade...

How do you propose that the GM stops them from doing so?


Lincoln Hills wrote:
Now if only we could do something about the player's new character showing up and immediately being hailed as practically family. (I swear, one of these days I'm going to spring a doppelganger of the new character on my group before the 'real' replacement PC shows up. Maybe a doppelganger, then a totenmaske, then an oni, then the real character.)

Sure we can do something. Let the player sit their and twiddle his thumbs while the other PC’s check out his background. That’s always fun.

Look, this is why no one should ever play a traitor PC. D&D is a Game. The point of a Game is to have Fun. You can’t have much fun if you’re not Playing.

I know, it’s terribly metagame, but it’s one of the few metagame memes that Good.


Weirdo wrote:

Personal experience might not be as reliable as a properly conducted survey, but when zero of the over twenty people I've played with over the last five years would engage in suicidal looting, I think it's a reasonable guess that such behavior is an anomaly in the community at large. Maybe 10% of gamers (up from my <5% experience rate). And what I've seen on the forums backs this up - these experiences are brought up like the occasional horror story, not the norm.

Well, let me check back too. Hmm, zero of thousands over Forty years. Whoops, there was that one con game with the two teen brothers. OK, that makes it one out of maybe 2000? I dunno. But it's very rare. No one I have ever played with in a campaign, since 1974.


Lemmy wrote:

I gotta ask...

To the people who are against the PCs looting their fallen comrade...

How do you propose that the GM stops them from doing so?

Stealing from the DEAD!?! Oh Noes! You’re all Evil! Rocks fall from the heavens, everyone dies!

(add extra exclamation points to suit- !!!!!!!!!!!)


Lemmy wrote:

I gotta ask...

To the people who are against the PCs looting their fallen comrade...

How do you propose that the GM stops them from doing so?

Something much more powerful than the PCs shows up, and decides the treasure belongs to him/her/it.


So, Fiat + Dickery, basically.

Gotcha.

Shadow Lodge

Depending on background, the GM could have someone with a legitimate claim to inheritance come up. If my buddy's younger-sibling-also-an-adventurer comes up I'm almost guaranteed to hand over my buddy's magic sword/bow/armour/cloak.

That one works well with introducing the new PC, too. If the old PC has a sibling or any other significant relationship that person could step forward to take on the PC's quest, taking most of the excess gear (might depend on how transferable it is to the new PC's class). And since the new PC is a close relative of the dead one, it makes sense that the party would accept them as one of their own.

Or if the PC has a suitable cohort they might get upgraded to PC. Cohorts generally have a smaller cut of the wealth than a PC, so if they pick up the items they can use and sell the rest at a lost the WBL should be about right.

If you're worried about dealing with the aftermath of a dead character just have a contingency plan. Know who a replacement character will be and why they'd have reason to join the party at any given time, and have PCs make a will that doesn't overly favour the party (if the PC's gear goes to a replacement character, it shouldn't bring the replacement above WBL).


Rynjin wrote:

So, Fiat + Dickery, basically.

Gotcha.

House rule similar to World of Warcraft: Magic items bind to the user when they equip them.

I don't use it, because I generally don't have an issue with characters taking up their dead comrades' gear; I adjust the treasure from upcoming encounters to keep WBL from getting out of control.

The Exchange

DrDeth wrote:
Lincoln Hills wrote:
Now if only we could do something about the player's new character showing up and immediately being hailed as practically family...

Sure we can do something. Let the player sit their and twiddle his thumbs while the other PC’s check out his background. That’s always fun.

Look, this is why no one should ever play a traitor PC. D&D is a Game. The point of a Game is to have Fun. You can’t have much fun if you’re not Playing...

A valid point. I just feel a bit disgruntled when every character, even the suspicious and paranoid ones, accept a perfect stranger into their recently-reduced circle of battle-brethren. Sometimes the last guy isn't even cold yet, and they're deep in enemy territory fighting shape-shifters, and still new characters get the reception made so famous by The Gamers: "You seem trustworthy! Join us!"


How about this: You akkow the dead body to be looted, provided that the pcs acknowledge that the use of any items is temporary.

When the new pc joins the group, He is not made with any gear of his own beyond basic first level gear (no matter his level). He receives all the gear. Anything he cannot use/does not want can be swapped with someone in the party or sold for half price.

WBL would remain there or thereabouts, the pcs get to use the equipment temporarily and the new guy would be equipped (albeit not with what he would want). The only problem I would see is selling it to the players("My precious!") and the pcs ("What you want me to give Thorin's prize possession to a complete stranger? - No way!"). But if you can get over that it balnces realism and WBL.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I ran an epic level game a few years back, and in it, I had more new characters than I could shake a stick at. In the course of the 2.5 year game, I had no less than 30 player characters. Only one of those was the same character, beginning to end. Most of my players switched characters every 2-3 weeks, which made it...difficult to get a plot that worked for a persistent group. In fact, it ended up centered around the one PC that remained constant...but I digress.

In that game, multiple characters died, usually due to their own idiocy (though the nat 1 on an Implosion defense set up by a new character killing my persistent character caused an...interesting first meeting.) But I don't remember even one time where they looted the bodies of former allies for anything aside from vital quest gear. To be honest, they didn't need it, and they felt that they could actually respect the fallen and send their bodies to their families.

On the other hand, the persistent character ended up with a vault full of minor artifacts she wasn't using, merely because she couldn't trust any of the other PCs to not disappear in 2 weeks...


Rynjin wrote:

I'm having a hard time finding any way "New characters start 11 levels below everyone else" is at all conducive to the convenience of playing.

It's inconvenient. It makes no logical sense. It's likely frustrating and un-fun for the person having more dog-piled on top of the suckage that is losing a character.

I see no reason for it.

It really depends on what character you play. If you want to play an up-front martial orientated character, yes it would suck until you got up a few levels.

But a bards inspire courage would still give +1, useful at all levels. A clerics bless would also give +1, Enlarge person is just as effective at level 13 as at level 1, and you can always use the aid another option, or flank while fighting defensively. There are also various archetype abilities that would be useful at all levels (Paldin Sacred shhield springs to mind).

I am not saying i would do it as a GM; I would see it as a serious drain on the partys power until you got nearer the level, although you would be getting loot far in excess of what you would normally be getting if you went WBL. If I did it, i probably would not start them at level 2. I would go with level 10 or so.


I always let them loot the dead. What difference does it make?

So a fighter, a rogue, a wizard and a cleric walk into a dungeon. The rogue dies and they loot his body.

Now the fighter gets +1 dagger to go with his +1 longsword. boring

The mage gets a +1 ring of protection. Kind of nice.

The cleric gets a +1 suit of leather armor to go with his chainmail. boring

So they hock it all at half price.

Look at what you can actually buy with that money. Not much. If you have a plus one sword and someone gives you another plus one sword, if you sell them both you only get enough to buy a plus one sword. If by magic you sell them for full price, you still don't have enough to by a +2 sword.

Even if you get a +2 sword, so what?

Looting dead PCs is just part of the game. It doesn't add up to jack crap.


Rynjin wrote:

So, Fiat + Dickery, basically.

Gotcha.

That's what I thought...


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Wow. Just, wow. I had no idea this was even an issue. Like, 100% seriously never would have imagined people would even consider not letting the PCs reclaim the dead character's items. Obvious exceptions notwithstanding:

1. There is a party member who believes strongly that one should be buried with their possessions (like the Egyptians).

2. The PC died by lava, cliff-fall, or other "can't get the body" scenarios.

Other than those, I can't imagine why someone would ban their players from taking the items laying on the ground right there.

Deck of Many things? Family member scry-n-dies? Ghost appears to reclaim items? Rocks fall, everyone dies? Are you kidding me!? That is just crazy talk.

Sure, the PCs have some (potentially) nice gear that might put them above the Wealth-by-level guideline. It's just a guideline anyway and one that is so easily circumvented it's not even an issue. Any DM worth their salt can adjust encounters accordingly and none will be the wiser.

Fiat+dickery sounds about right! :)


7heprofessor wrote:

Wow. Just, wow. I had no idea this was even an issue. Like, 100% seriously never would have imagined people would even consider not letting the PCs reclaim the dead character's items. Obvious exceptions notwithstanding:

1. There is a party member who believes strongly that one should be buried with their possessions (like the Egyptians).

2. The PC died by lava, cliff-fall, or other "can't get the body" scenarios.

Other than those, I can't imagine why someone would ban their players from taking the items laying on the ground right there.

Deck of Many things? Family member scry-n-dies? Ghost appears to reclaim items? Rocks fall, everyone dies? Are you kidding me!? That is just crazy talk.

Sure, the PCs have some (potentially) nice gear that might put them above the Wealth-by-level guideline. It's just a guideline anyway and one that is so easily circumvented it's not even an issue. Any DM worth their salt can adjust encounters accordingly and none will be the wiser.

Fiat+dickery sounds about right! :)

Not to mention the fact that if a PC just died, a slight boost to WBL might not hurt the campaign as they are probably getting their butts kicked.


Rynjin wrote:

So, Fiat + Dickery, basically.

Gotcha.

I'm not stating I would do that, I was just giving one possible answer to the question.

There are times it would be dickery. There are also times when it wouldn't be.


Natrim wrote:
The theme of the responses on the thread seem to come down to consistently, 'it's the player's call, and if they do loot the dead ally, reduce loot correspondingly to keep around WBL.' Anyone disagree with this (broad) summary? Just trying to get back to answering that OP question ;)

I disagree. It's appropriate to reduce the starting wealth of replacement characters or maybe cut loot if that's not possible because the replacement requires specific items to function and there's no time to sell off the dead's stuff to pay for them (eg. an unarmed monk replacing anyone who isn't wearing an AMF).

But there is not going to be a replacement. The player has left and the party needs that wealth to make up for being down a body. To be truly fair you would retroactively reallocate his experience share as well, but the wealth certainly needs to stay around.


I honestly play WBL kinda loose to begin with. So I would leave it up to the group. If you keep a strict record then just lower the loot till they fall back to normal.


Atarlost wrote:
Natrim wrote:
The theme of the responses on the thread seem to come down to consistently, 'it's the player's call, and if they do loot the dead ally, reduce loot correspondingly to keep around WBL.' Anyone disagree with this (broad) summary? Just trying to get back to answering that OP question ;)

I disagree. It's appropriate to reduce the starting wealth of replacement characters or maybe cut loot if that's not possible because the replacement requires specific items to function and there's no time to sell off the dead's stuff to pay for them (eg. an unarmed monk replacing anyone who isn't wearing an AMF).

But there is not going to be a replacement. The player has left and the party needs that wealth to make up for being down a body. To be truly fair you would retroactively reallocate his experience share as well, but the wealth certainly needs to stay around.

Or you adjust the encounters to the new party size?

Average WBL doesn't (or shouldn't really) fluctuate based on party size as long as you're appropriately adjusting the encounters for that size of party.

Now, if the situation was that you had 6 player characters, a player left, and you (as the GM) left the encounters balanced for a six-character party, then yes, you should probably allow for a higher average WBL per character.

But at least in my experience, that's not generally what happens; the encounters are toned down for the new party size, which would mean giving the party the dead character's gear and then giving them all the same treasure you had planned would wind up with an overpowered party for the challenges they are facing.


Gavmania wrote:

When the new pc joins the group, He is not made with any gear of his own beyond basic first level gear (no matter his level). He receives all the gear. Anything he cannot use/does not want can be swapped with someone in the party or sold for half price.

Good over all rule, but I build characters up level by level. I delve deeply into their story and equipment "along the way" of that story helps solidify the overall concept of the character. The character may have taken feats or classes according to equipment available to him/her. Might I suggest the new character start with a minimum of 2 level wealth or possibly 3rd?


I generally bring in new party members at one level below the lowest surviving party member. This disincentivizes not only suicide-for-cash, but appalling recklessness in general. With the new PC at a lower level with less gear, the new average wealth level about right. By the time the group levels again, the disparities lessen.

If a PC voluntarily foregoes resurrection or dies heroically, I let them come in at a level equal to the lowest surviving party member. However, I've been known to hack their starting gp in half if it appears the new PC is going to simply inherit most of the old gear.


I don't like the idea that my friends would not be able to loot my body in a dire situation. On the one hand we have specific magic items that would be useful to anyone in the party that I would definitely want to go to my friends if I died (rings of protection, handy haversacks and the like).

But more than that the story element of it. In the current campaign that I just died in, my death led to the party monk taking up my iconic weapon, my Dwarf's Dorn Dergar (which nobody in the party, or any of their players had ever seen or heard of before). The monk is obviously not trained in it but wants to use it to honor my character.


If a character dies, it's usually mid battle. Do the remaining characters really stay around and fight the enemy knowing they may be next?

A rule I have used in the past to a good deal of success is a modified Cause Fear. It affects all PCs within sight or sound of the dead PC regardless of level. DC 10 + dead PCs level. All other effects are as spell.


Generally No, but in the OP case yes!
a players has left therefore treasure is already in the campaign

....In SeSkull 3 PCs died in one fight, but there bodies were rescued. No chance to raise.
3 new PCs joined at ~WBL guidelines and all non-campaign essential kit 'disappeared', to stop the amount of treasure overheating. I think they were the 4th, 5th and 6th deaths, so needed to keep tight rein on extra cash etc coming in.

It is only a game afterall so breaking immersions by having treasure disappear in no biggie.


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Craig Frankum wrote:

If a character dies, it's usually mid battle. Do the remaining characters really stay around and fight the enemy knowing they may be next?

A rule I have used in the past to a good deal of success is a modified Cause Fear. It affects all PCs within sight or sound of the dead PC regardless of level. DC 10 + dead PCs level. All other effects are as spell.

...Seriously?

Why?

Silver Crusade

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Craig Frankum wrote:

If a character dies, it's usually mid battle. Do the remaining characters really stay around and fight the enemy knowing they may be next?

A rule I have used in the past to a good deal of success is a modified Cause Fear. It affects all PCs within sight or sound of the dead PC regardless of level. DC 10 + dead PCs level. All other effects are as spell.

Personally, this would really bother me for the same reasons Antagonize does: It removes player agency over their PCs' characterization. Take PCs that would fly into a rage rather than be overwhelmed with fear upon seeing a friend die. Such a rule would force them to act far OOC from what their players wanted.

It crosses the line where GMs are telling players what their PCs feel, think, and do.


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thenovalord wrote:
It is only a game afterall so breaking immersions by having treasure disappear in no biggie.

wow. Breaking immersion is a biggie for me. Why not just go full on MMO and make items "Bind on Equip"

Mikaze wrote:
Craig Frankum wrote:

If a character dies, it's usually mid battle. Do the remaining characters really stay around and fight the enemy knowing they may be next?

A rule I have used in the past to a good deal of success is a modified Cause Fear. It affects all PCs within sight or sound of the dead PC regardless of level. DC 10 + dead PCs level. All other effects are as spell.

Personally, this would really bother me for the same reasons Antagonize does: It removes player agency over their PCs' characterization. Take PCs that would fly into a rage rather than be overwhelmed with fear upon seeing a friend die. Such a rule would force them to act far OOC from what their players wanted.

It crosses the line where GMs are telling players what their PCs feel, think, and do.

Agreed. What is the problem? Do things have to be that strict and static for DM's to keep the game under control? Do you really need to have that much control? Why cant people simply limit loot until the group falls back to a resonable level of loot.

Forcing people to leave loot laying there when they can see it... thats what a video game does. It is one of the great features of pen and paper RPGs... you can literally DO ANYTHING because your DM isn't a computer program with set responses... he can flow and adjust to what his players do. There are no invisible walls. Every door actually opens. Every person I meet can be talked to. If I really detest someone I can avoid or even kill him (whether he was meant to be an ally or not)Telling me I cant loot something in front of me is exactly what I play Pen and Paper to avoid. I swear I am waiting for a poster to tell us how he has Walls of Force anywhere he doesnt want his players to go.

If I wanted that crap I would go play Skyrim.


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Craig Frankum wrote:

If a character dies, it's usually mid battle. Do the remaining characters really stay around and fight the enemy knowing they may be next?

A rule I have used in the past to a good deal of success is a modified Cause Fear. It affects all PCs within sight or sound of the dead PC regardless of level. DC 10 + dead PCs level. All other effects are as spell.

What? Why? This is such a pointless and unfair mechanic. A GM should never take control of a PC's thoughts and emotions!

"You character is afraid/angry/whatever because I say so" is terrible GMing IMHO.

Shadow Lodge

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Craig Frankum wrote:
If a character dies, it's usually mid battle. Do the remaining characters really stay around and fight the enemy knowing they may be next?

Yes. After all, the enemies don't usually run when one of them dies. Usually the PCs have to drop at least half of them before the rest scatter - if they scatter.

I've been in two separate fights that had multiple PC casualties where it still would have been a very bad idea for the PCs to retreat. In one case it was the end boss and we went into the fight knowing that it was do-or-die and possibly do-and-die. In the other, the enemy was more than capable of chasing us down and killing us and we were just holding out for reinforcements.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Craig Frankum wrote:

If a character dies, it's usually mid battle. Do the remaining characters really stay around and fight the enemy knowing they may be next?

A rule I have used in the past to a good deal of success is a modified Cause Fear. It affects all PCs within sight or sound of the dead PC regardless of level. DC 10 + dead PCs level. All other effects are as spell.

PCs making morale checks, eh? I don't see enough of a point. They're protagonists and supposed to have some immunity to the things that bother other mortals. Plus, they tend to not retreat in misguided efforts to recover their dead or other threatened valuables which gives me more PCs to slaughter and feed my self-esteem.

That said, arguments against morale checking based on PCs losing their agency or losing control can be used against any effect in the game that makes a PC behave in a way they might not otherwise - domination, antagonize, cause fear, charm person, otto's irresistable dance, etc. We all should be wary of those arguments and weigh the particular effect against other considerations and similar effects in the game. Does it add enough to the game to warrant the loss of some control?


Rynjin wrote:

So, Fiat + Dickery, basically.

Gotcha.

Fiat, at least. It's not necessarily dickery unless the GM just kills you for breaking his fiat without ever telling you about it, or something equally asinine.

For my own part, I have a soft spot in my heart for the type of adventurer's funeral which ends with "May he rest in peace... and dibs on his boots." But my current weekly game GM doesn't let us loot fallen comrades (by fiat) and it's not like it has caused friction between us.


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Bill Dunn wrote:
That said, arguments against morale checking based on PCs losing their agency or losing control can be used against any effect in the game that makes a PC behave in a way they might not otherwise - domination, antagonize, cause fear, charm person, otto's irresistable dance, etc. We all should be wary of those arguments and weigh the particular effect against other considerations and similar effects in the game. Does it add enough to the game to warrant the loss of some control?

There is a huge difference between a spell compelling you to do something and the GM telling you how your character acts.

One is forcing your character to do something, the other is your character deciding of her own that she's afraid/angry/whatever, except it was the GM, not the player, who decided how the character feels.

I don't mind my character running away because she failed her will save. S@!~ happens.

However, I do mind my GM telling me how my character acts, thinks or feels. It's my character, not a NPC. I'm the one who decides her actions and thoughts.


Bill Dunn wrote:


That said, arguments against morale checking based on PCs losing their agency or losing control can be used against any effect in the game that makes a PC behave in a way they might not otherwise - domination, antagonize, cause fear, charm person, otto's irresistable dance, etc. We all should be wary of those arguments and weigh the particular effect against other considerations and similar effects in the game. Does it add enough to the game to warrant the loss of some control?

The difference is, except for Antagonize (which is likewise silly), all of those are magical effects.

There's a difference between "Mr. Wizard magically messes with your mind, taking your power away through in-game justification" and "The GM non-magically forces your PC to act in a way he possibly shouldn't with no real in-game justification other than he just wanted to".


Dragonamedrake wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
It is only a game afterall so breaking immersions by having treasure disappear in no biggie.

wow. Breaking immersion is a biggie for me. Why not just go full on MMO and make items "Bind on Equip"

yeah. I assume you play while wearing your elf costume

Breaking out of game is often a useful thing to do. Gets stuff resolved in a quick and mature way.


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Know what gets it resolved quicker and more maturely?

Letting people just take the items and be done with it instead of stuff just disappearing into the ether for no reason.

Also, you may want to look up the definition of immersion.

Hint: It doesn't mean "wears costumes".


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Lemmy wrote:


There is a huge difference between a spell compelling you to do something and the GM telling you how your character acts.

One is forcing your character to do something, the other is your character deciding of her own that she's afraid/angry/whatever, except it was the GM, not the player, who decided how the character feels.

I don't mind my character running away because she failed her will save. S+$~ happens.

However, I do mind my GM telling me how my character acts, thinks or feels. It's my character, not a NPC. I'm the one who decides her actions and thoughts.

I don't see a point to the distinction. I could have a creature bull rush you off a precipice, grapple you so badly he can make you punch yourself saying "Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself," make you drop your sword, or frogmarch your around a battlefield with combat maneuvers. I'm sure you don't want to do any of those either. Yet your PC is still being compelled.

As long as there's a defense that must be hit or a save that is granted and the numbers involved in doing so are fair and appropriate, what does it matter whether or not the effect is magical or mundane?


Yeah well never played an MMO so don't assume. Ok
everytime you pick up a dice, and PF uses a lot of them, you step out of character.
So doing this to quickly resolve a tricky issue shouldn't break the games flow or enjoyment.
if you had say 6 deaths in 5 sessions, and each time new characters join, it can quickly overheat wealth if each time the deads treasure is kept.


Bill Dunn wrote:

I don't see a point to the distinction. I could have a creature bull rush you off a precipice, grapple you so badly he can make you punch yourself saying "Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself," make you drop your sword, or frogmarch your around a battlefield with combat maneuvers. I'm sure you don't want to do any of those either. Yet your PC is still being compelled.

As long as there's a defense that must be hit or a save that is granted and the numbers involved in doing so are fair and appropriate, what does it matter whether or not the effect is magical or mundane?

Because combat maneuvers and spells are Character X doing something to Player Character Y.

"Random Will save because your party member died lol" is GM X doing something to Player Character Y.

THAT is the distinction, and it is an important one.


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Bill Dunn wrote:

I don't see a point to the distinction. I could have a creature bull rush you off a precipice, grapple you so badly he can make you punch yourself saying "Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself," make you drop your sword, or frogmarch your around a battlefield with combat maneuvers. I'm sure you don't want to do any of those either. Yet your PC is still being compelled.

As long as there's a defense that must be hit or a save that is granted and the numbers involved in doing so are fair and appropriate, what does it matter whether or not the effect is magical or mundane?

Being magic or mundane doesn't matter. Player agency does.

If a huge Barbarian comes along and forces a vial of poison down my Wizard's throat... Oh, well, so is life... I couldn't defend myself, it happens. Being overpowered/compelled is a risk for every character, but it's a in-game event. Those are just in-game conditions to which my character will react however I see fit, the fact that I may fail doesn't mean I lost my agency.

OTOH, the GM saying "You're thirsty, you drink the vial of poison" removes my agency. That's not a in-game event to which you can react however you like, this is the GM being a dick and telling you what you like.

It's the difference between your character being killed by a dragon and the GM telling you "your character is so afraid, she commits suicide".

Can't you see the distinction?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

When a PC is controlled by the DM, it is an NPC.

This means the player has stopped playing, and is now forced to watch the DM play with himself.

Some players are fine with that, but most are not.


Lincoln Hills wrote:

(Ahem) The Army happens to own all of those possessions - neither you nor your late friend do. Please choose a different metaphor.

Also, when one of your war-buddies suffers sudden bullet poisoning, you might pick up some of his gear to help carry out the mission, but you and your surviving buddies probably aren't going to shout "Dibs," slap at each other to get first pick, or declare that the 'high roller' gets first pick of his stuff and start rolling right there in mid-onslaught.

I think this fall under don't ask don't tell to me.


The way I see this is that it depends on the nature of the campaign and the culture of the various heroes within it.

In a Oriental Adventures style campaign, it would be extremely dishonorable and frowned upon to just 'loot' something a character owns.

In a military campaign, much of their items might be 'issued' or otherwise granted to them on a temporary basis, or there might be a standing command that powerful magic items are to be retrieved and assigned to other heroes should one fall.

In a horror campaign, the player is likely to return as some Undead or might be carried off for terrible things to happen, in which case getting the items may involve fighting their previous PC ally.

Or there's the Kung Fu approach, where you use your enemy's strength against them. PCs keep dying and bringing in more? The DM will just have to rule that the new PC comes in with NO equipment, and in that case MUST mooch off the dead players' stuff in order to keep going.

My personal campaign world is sort of a mix of all the above. All PC's (and 99% of any normal race with class levels) have something called a "Hero Token", usually a Medallion, that serves as both an item of defense and a method of ID. It levels up with them like a Legacy item (it gains an increasing Deflection bonus or a Resistance bonus to saves with a bonus to Concentration checks). Thing is, nobody can use two (even of different types) at the same time, and thus their sale value is far less than what it would normally be. They can, however, be turned in for bounties.
In addition, almost every character will get a Legacy weapon at some point around 5th or 6th level. This, too, will level with them and allows me to ensure they have a reliable source of damage as well as providing a main stat buff (Greatsword legacy ones will give +'s to Str, Bows to Dex, etc). Of course, should the character die, it's now a mere +1 or a masterwork item of some sort, and not worth nearly as much as its powered-up state.
The sum of all this is about a third to a half of all their gear is stuff nobody else can use and has a very limited sale price, but still allows them the full value worth of items toward boosting their stats and keeping them strong in combat.

The Exchange

Bear in mind that while PC deaths certainly do add to the theoretical wealth of the survivors, that doesn't always translate to immediate practical power-boosts.

For example: If your buddy was the only other one with longsword proficiency in your group, and his longsword +2 is lying next to his corpse while you still have your ooze-bane longsword +2, your theoretical wealth jumps when you pick it up, but your character's actual, practical power doesn't increase one jot.

Even in a campaign where magic items can always be traded for their fair market value in exchange for any other magic item the PC wants, the transformation of that wealth into power doesn't happen until the PCs get back to Magi-Mart (thus giving the GM time to cope.) In a campaign where the GM follows the RaW on item availability in towns a bit more stringently, the PC may never get around to converting that spare gear into items of a useful nature. (And, of course, an item kept as a 'spare' is more like insurance vs. item loss than an actual power boost.)

Sorry to be long-winded: my point is that when it comes to magical gear, in general, even if one PC gets 100% of the magical items of another PC, it's rarely a huge and immediate power boost. Even less so if he's splitting that gear with other survivors.

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