let's face it death in pathfinder is not the end


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Castilonium wrote:

For the people who ban rez spells, I have a question. How does banning rez spells make the game more fun and immersive in the scope of a campaign's story? How about punishing?

I mean, you've got two options. 1) Dock the player 7000 gp (raise dead + 2 restorations) and let them back to playing the character they want to play, or 2) have them lose that character forever, and make a new one.

So with option 2, there's suddenly a stranger that's exactly as strong as the character that died, with thousands upon thousands of gold he just happens to be carrying around (WBL). And the party has to justify bringing this stranger into their group, trusting their lives to him, and he to them. I.E. the party has to use metagame knowledge to realize that this stranger is controlled by a PC, and not simply treat him like any other NPC. The stranger has to quickly find reasons to care about all the problems and plot points that the rest of the party has experienced from the beginning of the campaign, and the player has to find reasons to become emotionally invested in their new character after the loss of their old one, the one they wanted to play to begin with. In terms of punishment, the character didn't get punished at all, because they didn't lose 7000 gp like the old character would have if they'd been allowed to get rezzed. In addition, the new character could be built more optimally for the level they're starting at, compared to a character that had been in the game since level 1. The only punishment happening here is that the player doesn't get to have fun with their original character.

So with that in mind, I'd love it if someone could explain to me why option 2 makes the game more fun, immersive, and punishing of death.

We're about consistency. If our party is coming back from the dead why isn't the king who has infinite more resources or every villain? We don't want death to be trivial. We don't want to face the same bad guys over and over and over again, nor do we want our NPC's to just decide "Meh, skip living. I'd rather be a dretch." So we treat death as final.

With that said we are all fans of cinema. In films heroes jump out of planes on inflatable rafts or get impaled on a weapon or shot in the head. They don't die though. Somehow they make it through certain death with scratches, concussions or busted ribs. The raft bounces, the sword didn't hit anything too important, that headshot was glancing.

The hero point system does that. It's a well thought out decision to use a hero point to do some epic feat (like confirm a crit on the evil dragon) or to save a few for once you're at death's door. Sure if you accumulate enough the fear of dying gets diminished to a degree, but like any other resource, you use it for what you feel is best.


Combat Monster wrote:
We're about consistency. If our party is coming back from the dead why isn't the king who has infinite more resources or every villain? We don't want death to be trivial. We don't want to face the same bad guys over and over and over again, nor do we want our NPC's to just decide "Meh, skip living. I'd rather be a dretch." So we treat death as final.

Because the king died of old age. Because True Resurrection is harder for even a king to come by and the assassin was clever. Because the king's heir (now in charge) doesn't think that's an appropriate use of the kingdom's resources. Because the master villain doesn't waste resource raising failed subordinates. Because when you killed the villain you also took out the minion who was supposed to do the resurrection. Because there is little loyalty among the villains and the flunky decided he'd be better off on his own with the cash than as flunky to the mad villain.

And sometimes the villain does come back. Just not often enough to be boring.

Grand Lodge

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Chess Pwn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I'm not going to account for how other people run their games. That's their lookout, not mine. In my games though, things matter, the passing of a character matters, and I don't invite the quality of players who replace a Bob with a "Bobby".

If you would care to give an example of having a death causing a penalty in your games I'd appreciate that. Also a brief rundown of what type of new character would be allowed into the party, since, if I understand you, you said you "don't allow" people to bring in a character that does the same thing as their old one. Because even in the most Roleplay heavy campaign I'm having problems seeing how bring in a new guy will cause any serious effects, especially 7000gp worth of effects.

But if you don't want to that's fine. I can't force you to share, but I seriously am curious as to what you do.

I don't believe in penalizing people for no good reason especially when it comes to heroic deaths. If the group takes the trouble to raise and restore, I gradually reimburse them bit by bit in the form of kicking in some extra goodies on treasure drops... IF I think it's needed. If the group is swimming in excess wealth, than it just becomes part of the overhead.

And again, the people in my games generally get attached enough to a character if the character does make a permanent departure, they tend to want to make something entirely different to ease the separation, so I don't generally have a "problem" that needs fixing.


LazarX wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I'm not going to account for how other people run their games. That's their lookout, not mine. In my games though, things matter, the passing of a character matters, and I don't invite the quality of players who replace a Bob with a "Bobby".

If you would care to give an example of having a death causing a penalty in your games I'd appreciate that. Also a brief rundown of what type of new character would be allowed into the party, since, if I understand you, you said you "don't allow" people to bring in a character that does the same thing as their old one. Because even in the most Roleplay heavy campaign I'm having problems seeing how bring in a new guy will cause any serious effects, especially 7000gp worth of effects.

But if you don't want to that's fine. I can't force you to share, but I seriously am curious as to what you do.

I don't believe in penalizing people for no good reason especially when it comes to heroic deaths. If the group takes the trouble to raise and restore, I gradually reimburse them bit by bit in the form of kicking in some extra goodies on treasure drops... IF I think it's needed. If the group is swimming in excess wealth, than it just becomes part of the overhead.

And again, the people in my games generally get attached enough to a character if the character does make a permanent departure, they tend to want to make something entirely different to ease the separation, so I don't generally have a "problem" that needs fixing.

So if I understand you, you say there should be no penalty for death regardless of which route you go. Is this correct? If so you're not the person I wanted to talk to nor the kind of person I was addressing in my post so I don't know why you'd waste my time responding to my post if you have nothing useful to add in answering my question.


thejeff wrote:
Combat Monster wrote:
We're about consistency. If our party is coming back from the dead why isn't the king who has infinite more resources or every villain? We don't want death to be trivial. We don't want to face the same bad guys over and over and over again, nor do we want our NPC's to just decide "Meh, skip living. I'd rather be a dretch." So we treat death as final.

Because the king died of old age. Because True Resurrection is harder for even a king to come by and the assassin was clever. Because the king's heir (now in charge) doesn't think that's an appropriate use of the kingdom's resources. Because the master villain doesn't waste resource raising failed subordinates. Because when you killed the villain you also took out the minion who was supposed to do the resurrection. Because there is little loyalty among the villains and the flunky decided he'd be better off on his own with the cash than as flunky to the mad villain.

And sometimes the villain does come back. Just not often enough to be boring.

^ This. If your party is coming back from the dead WHY ISN'T the king? Like if your a king with a high level wizard you're going to have clones of you so that old age is the only thing that can actually kill you. The reason the king wouldn't is that he doesn't have any that powerful available to cast the spells he'd want.

So with death being final does that mean that the Player is out of the game or that they just bring in a new guy and there's no penalty for dying?


Thinking about it some more, while I've never personally done it since I'm a new DM, I'd probably attempt an off the cuff side quest to get the rest of the party to bring back a dead character. It'd have to be dangerous, and likely repeatable yet with replay-ability. Think I just found a side project to work on in my leisure time.

Grand Lodge

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Chess Pwn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I'm not going to account for how other people run their games. That's their lookout, not mine. In my games though, things matter, the passing of a character matters, and I don't invite the quality of players who replace a Bob with a "Bobby".

If you would care to give an example of having a death causing a penalty in your games I'd appreciate that. Also a brief rundown of what type of new character would be allowed into the party, since, if I understand you, you said you "don't allow" people to bring in a character that does the same thing as their old one. Because even in the most Roleplay heavy campaign I'm having problems seeing how bring in a new guy will cause any serious effects, especially 7000gp worth of effects.

But if you don't want to that's fine. I can't force you to share, but I seriously am curious as to what you do.

I don't believe in penalizing people for no good reason especially when it comes to heroic deaths. If the group takes the trouble to raise and restore, I gradually reimburse them bit by bit in the form of kicking in some extra goodies on treasure drops... IF I think it's needed. If the group is swimming in excess wealth, than it just becomes part of the overhead.

And again, the people in my games generally get attached enough to a character if the character does make a permanent departure, they tend to want to make something entirely different to ease the separation, so I don't generally have a "problem" that needs fixing.

So if I understand you, you say there should be no penalty for death regardless of which route you go. Is this correct? If so you're not the person I wanted to talk to nor the kind of person I was addressing in my post so I don't know why you'd waste my time responding to my post if you have nothing useful to add in answering my question.

You need to rephrase your question, or at least refine it. Back in the days of AD+D, death caused you a level loss. As he stated, Gygax intended this as "incentive not to be killed". This was also the game in which the bulk of experience was based on treasure you captured AND SOLD, which encouraged players to be money grubing murderhobos. Gaming philosophy however as moved far from the days of First Edition, even if many of it's players have not.

If you're asking if I have a Gygaxian philosophy abut character death, the answer is no longer. Keep in mind howver that I took a ten year vacation from AD+D, and played other paper RPGs which have no such thing as a resurrection mechanic. Or the crazy emphasis on obtaining wealth that First Edition had. Character death however was a dynamic in those games as well.


Chess Pwn wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Combat Monster wrote:
We're about consistency. If our party is coming back from the dead why isn't the king who has infinite more resources or every villain? We don't want death to be trivial. We don't want to face the same bad guys over and over and over again, nor do we want our NPC's to just decide "Meh, skip living. I'd rather be a dretch." So we treat death as final.

Because the king died of old age. Because True Resurrection is harder for even a king to come by and the assassin was clever. Because the king's heir (now in charge) doesn't think that's an appropriate use of the kingdom's resources. Because the master villain doesn't waste resource raising failed subordinates. Because when you killed the villain you also took out the minion who was supposed to do the resurrection. Because there is little loyalty among the villains and the flunky decided he'd be better off on his own with the cash than as flunky to the mad villain.

And sometimes the villain does come back. Just not often enough to be boring.

^ This. If your party is coming back from the dead WHY ISN'T the king? Like if your a king with a high level wizard you're going to have clones of you so that old age is the only thing that can actually kill you. The reason the king wouldn't is that he doesn't have any that powerful available to cast the spells he'd want.

So with death being final does that mean that the Player is out of the game or that they just bring in a new guy and there's no penalty for dying?

Because there's a long way between Raise Dead being available and Clone & all the other high-level caster tricks being available. Most games I've played in, neither the local king nor the party have 17th level casters at their beck and call. By the time the party is that powerful, they're tougher than most rulers and dealing with non-mortal threats.

When death is final, for whatever reason, the player can bring in a new character. Depending on circumstances, he may wind up running a NPC who's already on the scene until we can work someone in. The penalty is that you don't get to play your character any more.

The Exchange

Here's the thing about character death and resurrection that no one has mentioned. If let's say, two characters die and manage to beat the BBEG at the end, who's to say a minion in the shadows didn't get even a lock of hair from the heroes' bodies and escape?

Then, before the party is able to bring their friends back from the dead, the real villain, the master of the last BBEG just reincarnates/true rez's the heroes, and pushes them through a portal to hell to sell as slaves.

Now the heroes who survived make it to a temple, contact a cleric, give over the money. Only to be told "Your comrades are not dead. They are living, and we do not know where."

Bum Bum BUUUUUUUUUM. Now you have an involved rescue mission to deal with. It's not just a case of "why doesn't the king come back?" It's also a case of "Why doesn't the villain raise his enemies and entrap them to keep them from being able to directly attack him."

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jericho Graves wrote:
Now you have an involved rescue mission to deal with.

And until it's over, Mary and Fred just stay home on game night? Waiting to be informed that they get to play again?

The Exchange

The characters are conscious, moving around. I mean, that's part of being enslaved. I would probably give them a chance to begin trying to get other slaves to start thinking about escape. And sort of GM fiat the "slave rebellion" to around the time the party finds the locations of their captured friends.


Hey has anyone talked about how potentially FUN Reincarnation can be?

Especially if you have a build centered around racial abilities!

My favorite situation with this was a kobold barbarian (I know I know, garbage) who obviously got splattered like a blood-filled water balloon...

But he came back as a Bugbear, so... not too bad overall. :)

The Exchange

Oh reincarnation is great fun. Especially when you have a stereo-typically racist elven paladin reincarnated into a Half Orc body.

The Exchange

But, again in response to Jiggy. The reason I can do that kind of plotline easily is because my players never beleived in "don't split the party." if they come into a dungeon with two paths, they split up to cover more ground. Using message, telepathy, and other powers they can attain to stay in constant communication. So me being able to run two different stories in the same session has become second nature to me. Especially when I can run up to four completely separate combats on a regular basis anyway.

Grand Lodge

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Jericho Graves wrote:

Then, before the party is able to bring their friends back from the dead, the real villain, the master of the last BBEG just reincarnates/true rez's the heroes, and pushes them through a portal to hell to sell as slaves.

Because the soul knows the alignment and patron diety of whatever caster is trying or raise or reincarnate him and can refuse the spell.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Jericho Graves wrote:
So me being able to run two different stories in the same session has become second nature to me.

I am impressed. However, it might be wise to not presume everyone can do this so fluently. I'd wager you're the minority in that respect.

The Exchange

LazarX wrote:
Because the soul knows the alignment and patron diety of whatever caster is trying or raise or reincarnate him and can refuse the spell.

That would be the case normally, yes. If it wasn't for the fact that our last game this happened in happened in Cheliax where most temples would have been devoted to Asmodeus anyway. And the villain in question was LE.... which fits Asmodeus.... so the player assumed their spell had been paid for.

The Exchange

Jiggy wrote:
I am impressed. However, it might be wise to not presume everyone can do this so fluently. I'd wager you're the minority in that respect.

At the same time, it wasn't wise to assume that I wouldn't involve the players who were captured in this way. If not during the normal game night as hired muscle to help find their characters, then during a side session telling the same story. As I play mostly online now, schedules are not nearly as tight as face to face games.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I think many of you are looking at it the wrong way. Death shouldn't really be the focus of the game, not even when it occurs to the PCs. What really matters is the ongoing story and the characters' goals.

Getting resurrected is all well and good, but not if it took the party out of the fight long enough for the BBEG to conquer the kingdom and massacre thousands of innocent people.

If you're chasing an international spy, and he kills you, he's likely to get away. Start again from square one.

If you are trying to stop a rampaging monster, and it eats you, how many other people will it slay before you (or someone else) is able to stop it?

Death itself is a secondary concern for heroes. The real concern for heroes (and pretty much everyone else involved) is not achieving their goals.

With a proper story, suddenly that little speed bump can really matter!


thejeff wrote:

Because there's a long way between Raise Dead being available and Clone & all the other high-level caster tricks being available. Most games I've played in, neither the local king nor the party have 17th level casters at their beck and call. By the time the party is that powerful, they're tougher than most rulers and dealing with non-mortal threats.

When death is final, for whatever reason, the player can bring in a new character. Depending on circumstances, he may wind up running a NPC who's already on the scene until we can work someone in. The penalty is that you don't get to play your character any more.

Right, that's what I said, that the reason the king doesn't is he doesn't have that strong of people around. That's the reason why the king can die and not come back. If you burn the body you need a much higher spell than raise dead to rez them, thus assassin's would just need to make sure the body couldn't be easily rezzed. And the king might be glad to be free and not want to come back.

But anyways if "death is final" what's stopping "Bob" from being replaced by his identical and equally skilled and equipped brother "Bobby" who goes by Bob for short? Is "you don't get to play your character any more" really made as a penalty? If not then it's an easier route then having to pay the 7000gp for a raise dead.


LazarX wrote:
Jericho Graves wrote:

Then, before the party is able to bring their friends back from the dead, the real villain, the master of the last BBEG just reincarnates/true rez's the heroes, and pushes them through a portal to hell to sell as slaves.

Because the soul knows the alignment and patron diety of whatever caster is trying or raise or reincarnate him and can refuse the spell.

Which is why you just turn them into undead instead.


Returning from death in D & D requires (1) resources, (2) allies who are willing to bring you back, and (3) an actual desire to return.

PCs sometimes lack no. 1, but normally have nos. 2 and 3.

Villains are often lacking no. 2 - everyone who WOULD be willing to bring the villain back most probably just died right along with the villain in one very unfortunate 15 minute period.

The vast majority of non-villain NPCs usually lack no. 3. Shedding your mortal concerns and transforming into a petitioner is the standard progression of the soul, and the relative rarity of undead indicates that most souls go with it.

I.e., you can't resurrect the king because he's already moved on to where he belongs in Axis.

Exceptions should certainly exist, but being exceptions makes them a bigger deal.

To paraphrase Guan Yu, death only means going home.

(Personally, I'm fond of sometimes having a pious villain come back in a new form as a outsider - the granting of a second chance by Lamashtu or Kostchtchie or whomever.)


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Chess Pwn wrote:
thejeff wrote:
When death is final, for whatever reason, the player can bring in a new character. Depending on circumstances, he may wind up running a NPC who's already on the scene until we can work someone in. The penalty is that you don't get to play your character any more.
But anyways if "death is final" what's stopping "Bob" from being replaced by his identical and equally skilled and equipped brother "Bobby" who goes by Bob for short? Is "you don't get to play your character any more" really made as a penalty? If not then it's an easier route then having to pay the 7000gp for a raise dead.

Social pressure. Group norms.

We'd think it was tacky. In the best case, we get attached to characters. The characters have relationships and subplots and other roleplaying baggage that will get lost when you lose the character. A new character will develop their own, but it will take time and investment.

As I suggested above, the only time I've seen antics like that was in high death games where there wasn't time to build up such attachments between deaths.


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For me personally, I treat my character's death as permanent. Money is so hard to come by in PF that I don't want to lose any of it to a Raise spell, and I don't want the other characters in my group to lose money either. My character died, which makes it my problem. I'd rather create a new character with the same level and wealth as my last character, and leave my dead character dead.

Grand Lodge

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Chess Pwn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I'm not going to account for how other people run their games. That's their lookout, not mine. In my games though, things matter, the passing of a character matters, and I don't invite the quality of players who replace a Bob with a "Bobby".

If you would care to give an example of having a death causing a penalty in your games I'd appreciate that. Also a brief rundown of what type of new character would be allowed into the party, since, if I understand you, you said you "don't allow" people to bring in a character that does the same thing as their old one. Because even in the most Roleplay heavy campaign I'm having problems seeing how bring in a new guy will cause any serious effects, especially 7000gp worth of effects.

But if you don't want to that's fine. I can't force you to share, but I seriously am curious as to what you do.

Just an interesting thought semi-related to the quoeted posts. Often a character plays a particular party role, especially if the party is small, there might be limited overlap. I.E. only one character who has key divine spells like remove disease/curse/blindness/deafness/etc'ness. Or perhaps only one martial to soak up the big hits, or the trapsmith. While their is a lot of material to support a different character / class, the player often is required by the situation to fill the role they just died doing. To do otherwise will often bring down death on a different member of the party, resulting in a less voluntary role switching between players.

Grand Lodge

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Galnörag wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I'm not going to account for how other people run their games. That's their lookout, not mine. In my games though, things matter, the passing of a character matters, and I don't invite the quality of players who replace a Bob with a "Bobby".

If you would care to give an example of having a death causing a penalty in your games I'd appreciate that. Also a brief rundown of what type of new character would be allowed into the party, since, if I understand you, you said you "don't allow" people to bring in a character that does the same thing as their old one. Because even in the most Roleplay heavy campaign I'm having problems seeing how bring in a new guy will cause any serious effects, especially 7000gp worth of effects.

But if you don't want to that's fine. I can't force you to share, but I seriously am curious as to what you do.

Just an interesting thought semi-related to the quoeted posts. Often a character plays a particular party role, especially if the party is small, there might be limited overlap. I.E. only one character who has key divine spells like remove disease/curse/blindness/deafness/etc'ness. Or perhaps only one martial to soak up the big hits, or the trapsmith. While their is a lot of material to support a different character / class, the player often is required by the situation to fill the role they just died doing. To do otherwise will often bring down death on a different member of the party, resulting in a less voluntary role switching between players.

There really isn't such a thing as a role that can be filled ONLY by one character type. There's a lot of possibilities for filling any role, even within the same class.


I can't help but feel that a lot of people's view is that death is "meaningless" in so much that if you die, just bring in a new guy with full wealth. No need to lose 7000gp for a raise dead. And the only negative is "story" with nothing stopping them from bringing in a clone other than "My players would never do that/ I'd never want to game with people who did that" and obviously the story will continue with the new guy as that's the point of bringing in the new guy.

So Either Death is stopped by being attached to your character and you'd have to get a new one if you do die. Which seems counter intuitive. I'd imagine if you want me to be attached then raise dead should be the default and new character should be avoided.

Or Death is a free rebuild.

But nowhere in any option other than raise dead and keeping your character do I see a penalty for death. If I was invested in my last character I'll get invested into my new one.

I'm just stating what I feel I'm hearing from this thread. There is no correct way to do this.


LazarX wrote:
Galnörag wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:
LazarX wrote:
I'm not going to account for how other people run their games. That's their lookout, not mine. In my games though, things matter, the passing of a character matters, and I don't invite the quality of players who replace a Bob with a "Bobby".

If you would care to give an example of having a death causing a penalty in your games I'd appreciate that. Also a brief rundown of what type of new character would be allowed into the party, since, if I understand you, you said you "don't allow" people to bring in a character that does the same thing as their old one. Because even in the most Roleplay heavy campaign I'm having problems seeing how bring in a new guy will cause any serious effects, especially 7000gp worth of effects.

But if you don't want to that's fine. I can't force you to share, but I seriously am curious as to what you do.

Just an interesting thought semi-related to the quoeted posts. Often a character plays a particular party role, especially if the party is small, there might be limited overlap. I.E. only one character who has key divine spells like remove disease/curse/blindness/deafness/etc'ness. Or perhaps only one martial to soak up the big hits, or the trapsmith. While their is a lot of material to support a different character / class, the player often is required by the situation to fill the role they just died doing. To do otherwise will often bring down death on a different member of the party, resulting in a less voluntary role switching between players.
There really isn't such a thing as a role that can be filled ONLY by one character type. There's a lot of possibilities for filling any role, even within the same class.

His whole post is that you can fill the same roll with different classes, but "If you need a beatstick whatever you build will still be a beatstick." and thus if you're tired of the beatstick then it might cause someone else to die and have to be the beatstick.


Chess Pwn wrote:

I can't help but feel that a lot of people's view is that death is "meaningless" in so much that if you die, just bring in a new guy with full wealth. No need to lose 7000gp for a raise dead. And the only negative is "story" with nothing stopping them from bringing in a clone other than "My players would never do that/ I'd never want to game with people who did that" and obviously the story will continue with the new guy as that's the point of bringing in the new guy.

So Either Death is stopped by being attached to your character and you'd have to get a new one if you do die. Which seems counter intuitive. I'd imagine if you want me to be attached then raise dead should be the default and new character should be avoided.

Or Death is a free rebuild.

But nowhere in any option other than raise dead and keeping your character do I see a penalty for death. If I was invested in my last character I'll get invested into my new one.

I'm just stating what I feel I'm hearing from this thread. There is no correct way to do this.

Sometimes if you are bored of a character, death can be a free 'rebuild', but if it is abused, penalties should apply...

I don't have hard and fast rules regarding character death, I do have rules about people changing characters often...

Honestly, with how infrequently it happens in the games I play, there is usually some level of boredom setting in by the time a character dies.

A new PC can inject a new sense of adventure into a group, especially if significantly different from the one he replaced-you have to adjust your party tactics!


HeHateMe wrote:
My character died, which makes it my problem.

Eh, given that generally the party fights as a team, it should be their problem too as they failed to support you and you died as a result.

It's like saying that the Fighter should pay by himself the cure spells when he takes an axe to the face instead of the party Wizard and vice versa.


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alexd1976 wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:


Or Death is a free rebuild.

Sometimes if you are bored of a character, death can be a free 'rebuild', but if it is abused, penalties should apply...

I don't have hard and fast rules regarding character death, I do have rules about people changing characters often...

Honestly, with how infrequently it happens in the games I play, there is usually some level of boredom setting in by the time a character dies.

A new PC can inject a new sense of adventure into a group, especially if significantly different from the one he replaced-you have to adjust your party tactics!

Not dying can be a free rebuild to. Just tell the GM, "I'm not having fun with Bob anymore, he's going to retire." As long as it doesn't happen too often, it's not a big deal. You don't want to be the guy who brings a new build every week to try out, but you also don't want to stick someone with a character they're not enjoying.


thejeff wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:


Or Death is a free rebuild.

Sometimes if you are bored of a character, death can be a free 'rebuild', but if it is abused, penalties should apply...

I don't have hard and fast rules regarding character death, I do have rules about people changing characters often...

Honestly, with how infrequently it happens in the games I play, there is usually some level of boredom setting in by the time a character dies.

A new PC can inject a new sense of adventure into a group, especially if significantly different from the one he replaced-you have to adjust your party tactics!

Not dying can be a free rebuild to. Just tell the GM, "I'm not having fun with Bob anymore, he's going to retire." As long as it doesn't happen too often, it's not a big deal. You don't want to be the guy who brings a new build every week to try out, but you also don't want to stick someone with a character they're not enjoying.

Precisely.

I have thirty characters made, but I don't intend to bring a new one each time we play. :D


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Chess Pwn wrote:

I can't help but feel that a lot of people's view is that death is "meaningless" in so much that if you die, just bring in a new guy with full wealth. No need to lose 7000gp for a raise dead. And the only negative is "story" with nothing stopping them from bringing in a clone other than "My players would never do that/ I'd never want to game with people who did that" and obviously the story will continue with the new guy as that's the point of bringing in the new guy.

So Either Death is stopped by being attached to your character and you'd have to get a new one if you do die. Which seems counter intuitive. I'd imagine if you want me to be attached then raise dead should be the default and new character should be avoided.

Or Death is a free rebuild.

But nowhere in any option other than raise dead and keeping your character do I see a penalty for death. If I was invested in my last character I'll get invested into my new one.

I'm just stating what I feel I'm hearing from this thread. There is no correct way to do this.

I'd say there is no wrong way to do this. There is no RAW mechanical penalty for bringing in new characters , if that's the question. Some groups impose one - all the way up to bringing in all new characters at 1st level.

You seem to dismiss "story" and social pressure when those are actually really strong motivations, assuming they're actually shared by the rest of the group.
That the lack of a mechanical penalty makes death meaningless is your interpretation of what we're saying. I don't think it's meaningless at all.

I would also generally prefer to raise characters when possible, but it isn't always. You might be too low level to access/afford Raise Dead. You might need the higher level versions and not be able to afford those.


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
Not dying can be a free rebuild to. Just tell the GM, "I'm not having fun with Bob anymore, he's going to retire." As long as it doesn't happen too often, it's not a big deal. You don't want to be the guy who brings a new build every week to try out, but you also don't want to stick someone with a character they're not enjoying.

Great advice this.


Rub-Eta wrote:
@Rynjin: I see your point. But I don't agree. The stats don't matter more, almost every (if not every) death we've had is due to decisions, not weakness in character.

Just going to jump in here and agree with Ryjin. See, I can't control my own ability to be psychic and always make decisions that keep my PCs alive. Some (not all) challenges are sort of arbitrary. If you go in the back door instead of the front door, you immediately encounter the challenges you were supposed to get after progressing through the front door like civilized adventurers. But... front door is dumb. Can't win.

Also, roleplay sometimes calls for character-appropriate actions that aren't conducive to long life.

So again, I can't control my ability to make decisions "better". But I certainly can control my PC's stats so they help him/her survive the bad decisions.


Castilonium wrote:

For the people who ban rez spells, I have a question. How does banning rez spells make the game more fun and immersive in the scope of a campaign's story? How about punishing?

I mean, you've got two options. 1) Dock the player 7000 gp (raise dead + 2 restorations) and let them back to playing the character they want to play, or 2) have them lose that character forever, and make a new one.

So with option 2, there's suddenly a stranger that's exactly as strong as the character that died, with thousands upon thousands of gold he just happens to be carrying around (WBL). And the party has to justify bringing this stranger into their group, trusting their lives to him, and he to them. I.E. the party has to use metagame knowledge to realize that this stranger is controlled by a PC, and not simply treat him like any other NPC. The stranger has to quickly find reasons to care about all the problems and plot points that the rest of the party has experienced from the beginning of the campaign, and the player has to find reasons to become emotionally invested in their new character after the loss of their old one, the one they wanted to play to begin with. In terms of punishment, the character didn't get punished at all, because they didn't lose 7000 gp like the old character would have if they'd been allowed to get rezzed. In addition, the new character could be built more optimally for the level they're starting at, compared to a character that had been in the game since level 1. The only punishment happening here is that the player doesn't get to have fun with their original character.

So with that in mind, I'd love it if someone could explain to me why option 2 makes the game more fun, immersive, and punishing of death.

not sure if that is possible as you seem to be dead set against the possibility....

In some campaigns I have played in, death was death. Your character died. It sucked, but you made another character. I find that what made it work wasn't so much that it was gritty or realistic but because it was a matter of decision making and being okay with consequences for ones actions. Death wasn't a punishment, but a possible outcome that was noted by the DM on several occasions before, during and after the adventure. If death isn't mentioned by the DM or the players, it can be a shock, and can seems like a punishment when it happens. But when it is mentioned as something that is a part of the characters life and can be planned for and attempted to be avoided, it's less of a problem. At least in the games I was in. I've also been in games where death was a temporary setback, which sometimes(okay- more than sometimes) lead to a lot of less serious attitudes towards actions in game. I have found that these were the games where death sometimes became a punishment or was a surprise- primarily because it DID become a tax, and an unforseen one at that.


Anguish wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
@Rynjin: I see your point. But I don't agree. The stats don't matter more, almost every (if not every) death we've had is due to decisions, not weakness in character.

Just going to jump in here and agree with Ryjin. See, I can't control my own ability to be psychic and always make decisions that keep my PCs alive. Some (not all) challenges are sort of arbitrary. If you go in the back door instead of the front door, you immediately encounter the challenges you were supposed to get after progressing through the front door like civilized adventurers. But... front door is dumb. Can't win.

Also, roleplay sometimes calls for character-appropriate actions that aren't conducive to long life.

So again, I can't control my ability to make decisions "better". But I certainly can control my PC's stats so they help him/her survive the bad decisions.

if your viewpoint is binary, then death is going to be a punishment more often than not.

Sovereign Court

Anguish wrote:
If you go in the back door instead of the front door, you immediately encounter the challenges you were supposed to get after progressing through the front door like civilized adventurers. But... front door is dumb. Can't win.

Sounds like your foes should read the Evil Overlord list - if they're smart the back door is badly hidden - meaning that adventurers such as yourself to find it... and it leads to nothing but certain death - not a bypassing of their defenses.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Anguish wrote:
If you go in the back door instead of the front door, you immediately encounter the challenges you were supposed to get after progressing through the front door like civilized adventurers. But... front door is dumb. Can't win.
Sounds like your foes should read the Evil Overlord list - if they're smart the back door is badly hidden - meaning that adventurers such as yourself to find it... and it leads to nothing but certain death - not a bypassing of their defenses.

This does nothing but prove his point.

Community Manager

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A reminder that not everybody plays the game the same way—what works for one group won't work for another. Please be civil to each other, thank you!


All things in pathfinder should either advance the narrative or the gameplay. I have a player who gets angry at the idea of his character dying, or even coming down with a serious curse/disease/ailment that might last a session or two. While I still put that character in the illusion of threat, it doesn't benefit anyone's entertainment if he actually dies.

On the other hand, i have a player who's doing pathfinder for the first time, made a character he might not be attached to, and if he showed interest in playing a different class and a different backstory i would talk it through with him and find a way to give his player a good sendoff, even if that means he "happens" to walk into an obvious trap. he can then make a new character and introduce him to the party. In this sense, death contributes to the gameplay, and can have rippling storyline effect.

Edit: I just want to make sure nobody thinks i'm targeting them personally for the way they play. This is just the way I do things as a GM, and how I imagine my players have the most fun.


This variant rule is the best way I've found to deal with death. It deals with most arguments in this thread well. Big disincentive for dying, players can remain involved in their characters, and the world can be free from the realism effects of resurrection magic. If the suggested "defeated" state doesn't make sense, any reason hero points would keep them alive can be used instead, along with the negative consequences.


Rynjin wrote:
Rub-Eta wrote:
You would think that, but it's not about the stats. We make characters we like and that we want to do things with. When it dies, you're cut off.

Making perma-death mandatory just encourages characters being "about the stats" though. If you make a character you like, you want to be able to play it.

To be able to play it, it needs to live.

To live, it needs good stats.

If it can come back when it dies, maybe the stats don't need to be quite as good.

But if you institute a cycle of:

I want this character to live ---> To live he needs to be strong ----> He died, which means he wasn't strong enough ----> The next one needs to be stronger

Who is that fun for? Not the player who needs to swap to a new character when, as you say, you're just making characters you like and want to play.

Not the other people at the table (at best, it doesn't even affect them at all).

Probably not the GM, who now needs to figure out how to introduce a new character AGAIN.

TBH the whole idea seems pretty counter to your other idea of making "characters we like and that we want to do things with". It's just spiting yourself out of the thing you say you want to do.

in one game I played, ones amount of times they could withstand the rigors of raise dead was equal to their con modifier. True resurrection worked without any strings attached, although the gods would eventually notice a particular soul being resurrected regularly and would approach them with an offer they couldn't refuse after a while. I'm fiddling with the idea of everything working- from cpr/heal checks/mundanities to raise dead to true resurrection working exactly once each time. We'll see how well that works, if at all.


Freehold DM wrote:
In some campaigns I have played in, death was death. Your character died. It sucked, but you made another character. I find that what made it work wasn't so much that it was gritty or realistic but because it was a matter of decision making and being okay with consequences for ones actions. Death wasn't a punishment, but a possible outcome that was noted by the DM on several occasions before, during and after the adventure. If death isn't mentioned by the DM or the players, it can be a shock, and can seems like a punishment when it happens. But when it is mentioned as something that is a part of the characters life and can be planned for and attempted to be avoided, it's less of a problem. At least in the games I was in. I've also been in games where death was a temporary setback, which sometimes(okay- more than sometimes) lead to a lot of less serious attitudes towards actions in game. I have found that these were the games where death sometimes became a punishment or was a surprise- primarily because it DID become a tax, and an unforseen one at that.

So in the death was death campaigns. Since you were invested in your character wouldn't it have been "better" to pay the money and rez him instead of getting a new, better equipped and rich character. Like yeah, death is noted all the time, then you die and pay money and you're guy is back, hooray for keeping your invested character.

But in the campaign where you did rez, people became less attached to their character since they could keep them for a price? "Like, man if I die I don't get a new character, whelp, who cares about this guy then if I can't get a new character from dying."

I feel the things people say are the opposite of what it should be. It just doesn't make any sense to me how they are getting the experiences they did.

I think your view of "less serious attitudes towards actions in game" is really what dynamically would happen to people to whom death was reduced to a small fee.


Chess Pwn wrote:
Freehold DM wrote:
In some campaigns I have played in, death was death. Your character died. It sucked, but you made another character. I find that what made it work wasn't so much that it was gritty or realistic but because it was a matter of decision making and being okay with consequences for ones actions. Death wasn't a punishment, but a possible outcome that was noted by the DM on several occasions before, during and after the adventure. If death isn't mentioned by the DM or the players, it can be a shock, and can seems like a punishment when it happens. But when it is mentioned as something that is a part of the characters life and can be planned for and attempted to be avoided, it's less of a problem. At least in the games I was in. I've also been in games where death was a temporary setback, which sometimes(okay- more than sometimes) lead to a lot of less serious attitudes towards actions in game. I have found that these were the games where death sometimes became a punishment or was a surprise- primarily because it DID become a tax, and an unforseen one at that.

So in the death was death campaigns. Since you were invested in your character wouldn't it have been "better" to pay the money and rez him instead of getting a new, better equipped and rich character. Like yeah, death is noted all the time, then you die and pay money and you're guy is back, hooray for keeping your invested character.

But in the campaign where you did rez, people became less attached to their character since they could keep them for a price? "Like, man if I die I don't get a new character, whelp, who cares about this guy then if I can't get a new character from dying."

I feel the things people say are the opposite of what it should be. It just doesn't make any sense to me how they are getting the experiences they did.

I think your view of "less serious attitudes towards actions in game" is really what dynamically would happen to people to whom death was reduced to a small fee.

Isn't that what he said? Death as a temporary setback (implied w/ a fee, since that's how it works in the standard setting) led to less serious attitude.

No rez led the other way.

Though there's a difference between "less serious attitudes towards actions" and "less attached to their characters". One could be more attached to the character, but still not be as serious about decisions in the game since they could always come back.

In the no rez game, they might want to pay to bring the character back, but because it wasn't an option they put more effort into keeping them alive in the first place. Which created the atmosphere they wanted in that game.

Personally, I suspect that's true up to a point: If perma-death is common enough you start losing the investment because you don't keep characters long enough. Eventually you get to "Don't bother naming them until 3rd level".


Alternatives, variant rules (as above, nice link Pandora's) and solutions is what I am interested in when talking about death in Pathfinder.

I am very fixated with death in a narrative. I like it when death is meaningful - someone dies, that's it. It warps the story, everybody needs to learn to live with this. Many of the best stories end up with a dead protagonist or have a charismatic character die along the way.
In Pathfinder the boundaries blur, it becomes player investment, story continuation, realism, resources, religious questions (there are "heavens"), villain ressing, etc.

Death is permanent in our game and there is no use of hero points. Some players mind more than others. I would like a middle ground somewhere, but the Dragon Ball bring back or the Greek Tragedy model is really not my thing.

Illiad? Now we're talking. Death or glory!

PS: When I play, I like permanent death. Adds that edge to rolling initiative. I admit sometimes it just feels sour, but it is very difficult to get that feeling of danger without it.


Entryhazard wrote:
HeHateMe wrote:
My character died, which makes it my problem.

Eh, given that generally the party fights as a team, it should be their problem too as they failed to support you and you died as a result.

It's like saying that the Fighter should pay by himself the cure spells when he takes an axe to the face instead of the party Wizard and vice versa.

I get what you're saying, and it is a valid point for sure, but 7,000 gp is alot of coin and personally I feel bad asking players whose characters didn't die to chip in.


HeHateMe wrote:
I get what you're saying, and it is a valid point for sure, but 7,000 gp is alot of coin and personally I feel bad asking players whose characters didn't die to chip in.

This is a totally valid point, especially at lower levels, but it's different than saying that it's only your responsibility.


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It comes down to communication with the whole group as to who wants what out of the game and then negotiating any conflicts in individual players/DMs desires.

Our pre campaign chat starts like this.....

DM "No Bob* you can not play a 20th level aboleth paladin named Pete!
Res spells are rare to non existent. I will fudge to prevent any pointless or stupid deaths, but not deaths caused by your own stupidity.
Sex is fade to fire place I am not describing any of you guys bumping your uglies.
My gore description is set to 11, unless you guys want me to tone it down.
Common races only unless you can give me a good story....
No Bob you can't play a 1/2 Drow 1/2 Iffrit Harajuku girl called Ms Kitty.
Yes Hero points will be given out at the start of each session, standard rules plus you can play props and all the other suggestions made.
How do you want to do party background set up... You all know each other and that's written into the back stories or did you want to do pull another character name from a hat and make up the name and one paragraph description of a novel where both your characters were the primary characters....
No Bob you can't play a Twi'lek Sith Lord called Darth Sexypants....
Ok Bob you want to play Dhampir witch, daughter of a broken and faded linage of a Ustalavian noble family nothing left but a burnt and crumbling castle on an abandoned estate, your family name cursed and reviled by the peasantry and treated with fear and suspicion by the nobility.... Sounds cool

And so on......

*Bobs name was changed because he posts on here occasionally .


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Playing smart that will keep a character alive:

After the first dungeon/ruins/mysterious cave or mine...
"That was fun guys, but I'm taking the 200 gold that's my share, selling my gear, and starting a farm. I'm not crazy enough to keep doing this adventuring thing, it seems like the sort of thing that could get a person killed."

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