He just wants to die!


Homebrew and House Rules

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Say we, as game masters, are telling a story and in this story the PCs find a mortally wounded soldier. The soldier has information to give the PCs but in the story you (the game master) don't want the PCs to save the NPC, the NPC just wants to go on to Valhalla or where ever.

How would you present this to the players? Do you break the 4th wall and say your healing has no effect? Do you give the NPC a will save against the cure spells (for 1/2 healing)?

I'm not sure how to handle this situation in my mind's eye, or at the table.


I dunno. It seems pretty contrite to stop the PCs from saving the soldier through fiat.

Magical healing is magical healing, yo.

You'd probably get more fun out of having them hang around and be angry at the pc in question for denying them their chance at valhalla.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

poisoned? diseased? making the saves? cursed? special wanna-die-can't-behealed-viking-power? or he just tells them he doesn't wish to live.

On the other hand: GMs and NPCs shouldn't always get their wishes, so if they save him against his will he can go off and commit seppuku later - or carry a nice grudge against the PCs - or get over it and become a farmer.

It's collaborative gaming/story telling; sometimes the train sprouts wings and rocket boosters and flies off the rail.

The way I see it:
You want NPC to die. Fine.
You force NPC death against PCs' healing attempts. Fine.
You let the PCs save NPC against his own wishes. Fine.
You push the players to play their PCs to "want" to let NPC die. Less fine.


He stays with the party and then trows himself at the wraith.
While he's grappling the wraith, the party can pelt both of them with holy water and channel energy. He won't rise as a wraith because he got accepted into Valhalla.


He ends his own suffering, because he knows there's no turning back now, no magical healing can save him from his wounds.
Unless they have access to Breath of Life or stronger stuff, this should do.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Cover him in silver so he is shiney and chrome.

The Concordance RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.
DonDuckie wrote:

poisoned? diseased? making the saves? cursed? special wanna-die-can't-behealed-viking-power? or he just tells them he doesn't wish to live.

On the other hand: GMs and NPCs shouldn't always get their wishes, so if they save him against his will he can go off and commit seppuku later - or carry a nice grudge against the PCs - or get over it and become a farmer.

It's collaborative gaming/story telling; sometimes the train sprouts wings and rocket boosters and flies off the rail.

The way I see it:
You want NPC to die. Fine.
You force NPC death against PCs' healing attempts. Fine.
You let the PCs save NPC against his own wishes. Fine.
You push the players to play their PCs to "want" to let NPC die. Less fine.

Good point Don. I will just let it be. The NPC will tell the cleric (or whoever) "No, its too late for me, but i must tell you something...."

If the PCs heal him anyway, well, that's just part of the story.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Do the PCs know about this cultural expectation? And is your group the kind of players to roll with that?

If you haven't had the chance to lay the groundwork (by letting them hear a pre-battle Valhalla speech or a sermon or some other means), you can always give a PC with Knowledge (local) or Knowledge (religion) a check. Set the DC to "autosucceed" without mentioning that. Then when they make the check, regale them with the information about Valhalla and why the soldier might make that choice and how it is the religiously (or culturally) correct thing to do to let him go to his reward.

That way you don't just have an NPC insisting he be let go, you can also throw in some world-building that helps back up the NPC's desire. And, at least when I do this kind of thing, it also helps immersion and a sense of the difference between the game world and our own modern values and expectations.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is why some (harmless) spells allow saves anyhow.


Lincoln Hills wrote:
This is why some (harmless) spells allow saves anyhow.

Eh, PCs are a persistent bunch. Resisting a CLW spell just means that a few more wand charges get burnt.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Have him make his Will save and have someone roll a sense motive.

Or monologue about how proud he is to die a warrior.


catdragon wrote:

Say we, as game masters, are telling a story and in this story the PCs find a mortally wounded soldier. The soldier has information to give the PCs but in the story you (the game master) don't want the PCs to save the NPC, the NPC just wants to go on to Valhalla or where ever.

How would you present this to the players? Do you break the 4th wall and say your healing has no effect? Do you give the NPC a will save against the cure spells (for 1/2 healing)?

I'm not sure how to handle this situation in my mind's eye, or at the table.

Just make sure you put "he breathes his last" at the end of your box text.


Harmless.

Just make sure he's got a solid will save.

Also, he's a superstitious barbarian (which fits the culture).

Maybe even a weapon of spell resistance (depending on their level/wealth).

Adjust the pricing-to-plus ratio, accordingly: SR 13 is a +1 bonus, SR 15 is a +2 bonus, SR 17 is a +3 bonus, and SR 19 is a +4 bonus... ooooooorrrrrr, instead, make it a straight formula of SR 13 = +4k; a +2 increase to SR (SR 15) is +9k gold and every +2 beyond that increases by double the amount the price increased previously (+16k for SR 17, plus 25k for SR 19, and so on); yes, this is just converting the armor cost to raw gold-value.

This ensures the situation isn't a "total loss" by the characters, and if you want, you can even make him of <insert target intelligence> who's sentience is then captured by the weapon for <reasons>, turning it into an intelligent superstitious rage-prone weapon that thoroughly resists magic and has the special purpose of dying "as a warrior should" or something...

(Or maybe just wants more combat or to teach its wielder the way of the warrior or courage or something.)

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
...Just make sure you put "he breathes his last" at the end of your box text.

Canadian Hamlet: Blarg, buddy, I die, I breath my last, guy. BLARGH!


Enemies that carry custom weapons which prevent magical healing from working are always fun.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Dying NPC "At long last I have earned my place among my ancestor's in Valhalla! There! I see the Valkyrie coming to take me to my place in the great Hall! But I must tell you something before I join my brothers in glorious eternal battle.....!"

If your players are in a viking style game they should respect that enough to let him die. If not then they should get his wrath when they heal him and deny him the afterlife.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gilfalas wrote:

Dying NPC "At long last I have earned my place among my ancestor's in Valhalla! There! I see the Valkyrie coming to take me to my place in the great Hall! But I must tell you something before I join my brothers in glorious eternal battle.....!"

If your players are in a viking style game they should respect that enough to let him die. If not then they should get his wrath when they heal him and deny him the afterlife.

Definitely this. Wrath of his ancestors too (Linnorm dying curse FTW)

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If the players refuse to let him die, you can always have him attack them after they heal him up because he's pissed off at them.

Oooh! Or, after they save him, he can say something like: "You have denied me an honorable death in battle! Very well: I will accompany you on your quest. If death does not find me before the end, then I shall challenge you to honorable combat and we shall settle this blood debt then!"


This is one classic meme that does not work within the PF framework. If you want to do it anyway, make sure the guy has been poisoned with an antimagic poison. Then spend the rest of the campaign explaining why the heroes can't make antimagic poison.


Most movies or books with a "dieing NPC that pushes the plot along" doesn't have magical healing easily available.

This is one trope that really doesn't work on Pathfinder.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sissyl wrote:
This is one classic meme that does not work within the PF framework. If you want to do it anyway, make sure the guy has been poisoned with an antimagic poison. Then spend the rest of the campaign explaining why the heroes can't make antimagic poison.

No need to spend a whole campaign explaining that. The below blurb should suffice.

The key ingredient to antimagic poison (plotonium) can only be mined in the deeps of Narratovia, a place one may only reach by departing one's one text - a feat unaccomplishable by anyone with a mere singular consciousness, instead of the fractional, multitudinous consciousnesses that inhabit the minds of all but 4-6 of the people in the cosmos.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
quibblemuch wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
This is one classic meme that does not work within the PF framework. If you want to do it anyway, make sure the guy has been poisoned with an antimagic poison. Then spend the rest of the campaign explaining why the heroes can't make antimagic poison.

No need to spend a whole campaign explaining that. The below blurb should suffice.

The key ingredient to antimagic poison (plotonium) can only be mined in the deeps of Narratovia, a place one may only reach by departing one's one text - a feat unaccomplishable by anyone with a mere singular consciousness, instead of the fractional, multitudinous consciousnesses that inhabit the minds of all but 4-6 of the people in the cosmos.

"In other words, I can do what I want and screw you guys for expecting things to make sense."


Exactly. That is why I said it really doesn't work. Better to give them a diary or something, and have the guy who wrote it gone. Preferably somewhere you the heroes could find him.


Snowblind, Snarkwyrm wrote:
quibblemuch wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
This is one classic meme that does not work within the PF framework. If you want to do it anyway, make sure the guy has been poisoned with an antimagic poison. Then spend the rest of the campaign explaining why the heroes can't make antimagic poison.

No need to spend a whole campaign explaining that. The below blurb should suffice.

The key ingredient to antimagic poison (plotonium) can only be mined in the deeps of Narratovia, a place one may only reach by departing one's one text - a feat unaccomplishable by anyone with a mere singular consciousness, instead of the fractional, multitudinous consciousnesses that inhabit the minds of all but 4-6 of the people in the cosmos.

"In other words, I can do what I want and screw you guys for expecting things to make sense."

Dude.

It was a bit of light metatextual humor.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This happened a month ago. The NCP just put his hand out and said "Hold your healing magic it won't work on me." (as a readied action lol) Then explained he was cursed and related what happened then died before he finished speaking. Players excepted that and never said a word.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

If you've already set the scene, too late for this advice, but you could always try this:

You hear feeble ragged breathing amidst the carnage of dead bodies scattered around the base of the hill. Slurred and mumbled words are drowned out but the cries of the carrion birds already beginning to feast.
Following the sounds you see two men leaning against a large rock, one of them is closing the eyelids of the second man. The first man sighs, looks up to you and speaks, "I am soon to follow my brother here, I am nothing, but he lost his life trying to save mine, please see to it that even if his grave be unmarked that he does not suffer the indignity of being crow food."

The still living, but dying guy can relate whatever story needs to be.
If the PCs use healing and save the guy, so be it, the original story teller is still dead.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Sissyl wrote:
This is one classic meme that does not work within the PF framework. If you want to do it anyway, make sure the guy has been poisoned with an antimagic poison. Then spend the rest of the campaign explaining why the heroes can't make antimagic poison.

Now I want the hydra like false god of Lamias to have anti magic venom. It does 1-4 con damage till saved against and gives the afflicted magic resistance 10 till saved against. It can persist in the body for days.

Now they are looking over their shoulders for that assassin with Lamia venom. :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Goth Guru wrote:
Sissyl wrote:
This is one classic meme that does not work within the PF framework. If you want to do it anyway, make sure the guy has been poisoned with an antimagic poison. Then spend the rest of the campaign explaining why the heroes can't make antimagic poison.

Now I want the hydra like false god of Lamias to have anti magic venom. It does 1-4 con damage till saved against and gives the afflicted magic resistance 10 till saved against. It can persist in the body for days.

Now they are looking over their shoulders for that assassin with Lamia venom. :)

Everyone seems stuck on preventing magic from working, but if it's just a low level party, they won't have access to heal constitution damage anyways. Or any other ability damage, and if I remember correctly, in PF, having 0 in any given ability leads to death.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just Con.

Dex. or Str. 0 makes you fall down and can't get up. Int., Wis., or Cha. makes you act like a living zombie. I don't know if there's been a ruling.

When I said it can persist in the body for days I meant the dead body. It resists raising and animating. Just because it can no longer do con damage, doesn't mean it can't resist magic 10. Once a spell(possibly neutralize poison) breaks through the magic resistance, the poison is negated. Then they can be raised unless they don't have the levels.

Whatever killed that NPC won't be back for them till they are higher levels. They just are not worth their time.


Goth Guru wrote:

Just Con.

Dex. or Str. 0 makes you fall down and can't get up. Int., Wis., or Cha. makes you act like a living zombie. I don't know if there's been a ruling.

When I said it can persist in the body for days I meant the dead body. It resists raising and animating. Just because it can no longer do con damage, doesn't mean it can't resist magic 10. Once a spell(possibly neutralize poison) breaks through the magic resistance, the poison is negated. Then they can be raised unless they don't have the levels.

Whatever killed that NPC won't be back for them till they are higher levels. They just are not worth their time.

Seems you are right. I could have sworn a system made it death for all abilities, was it 4E?

In any case, use a con poison then.

The Exchange

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You're probably thinking of the alternate Attribute Poisoning tracks from Unchained, G.P. All those tracks ended in death.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Taking an "easy death" the first time you get wounded when you could rise and fight again with a little help from a 1st level spell seems kind of like wimping out somehow.

Anyhow, since there's lots of magic in Pathfinder the NPC could already be dead when he tells the PCs his story:
- the body could convulse and speak to the PCs almost like a spontaneous Speak With Dead
- a disembodied voice could speak to the PCs
- a ghost-like figure could rise to tell the story

I guess any of those could include a request for a proper funeral, pyre, "rune stone to my memory", etc, perhaps waiting until that's completed before telling the PCs a secret, revealing a treasure which might otherwise be missed, etc.


Lincoln Hills wrote:
You're probably thinking of the alternate Attribute Poisoning tracks from Unchained, G.P. All those tracks ended in death.

Unfortunately, I never read any of the unchained stuff, so that wouldn't be it.

But for the OP: you could have a defeated enemy right by him, laying down at 0 hp, which delivers a killing blow on him by surprise once he said his stuff.


catdragon wrote:

Say we, as game masters, are telling a story and in this story the PCs find a mortally wounded soldier. The soldier has information to give the PCs but in the story you (the game master) don't want the PCs to save the NPC, the NPC just wants to go on to Valhalla or where ever.

How would you present this to the players? Do you break the 4th wall and say your healing has no effect? Do you give the NPC a will save against the cure spells (for 1/2 healing)?

I'm not sure how to handle this situation in my mind's eye, or at the table.

How about not allowing magic to be so pervasive and powerful, or is not in the PCs hands?


He's already dead but he was wearing a scarf of speak with dead and can answer 3 questions.

Another possibility, he's dead, and the valkyrie lets him give his last words.


Or he wrote it down before dying. ;)


Make it a Dhampir NPC.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Create a new status: mortally wounded. A creature taken to minus their constitution score is mortally wounded. Any further damage will cause the creature to die immediately. While mortally wounded the creature can take no actions and will die in 1d12 minutes unless healed with a Breath of Life or more powerful spell. While mortally wounded the creature may talk but casting a spell or attempting any other action will cause the creature to die immediately without the spell or action coming into effect. Optional rule: curses may be cast while mortally wounded with full effect, but the creature casting the curse dies immediately afterwards and cannot be raised by anything short of divine intervention.

Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Homebrew and House Rules / He just wants to die! All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.
Recent threads in Homebrew and House Rules