How to handle PC death in a campaign

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kanin
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How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Tue Jun 09, 2020 5:14 am

Forgive me if this has been raised before.

What do you do if a PC is killed during the course of a campaign and surviving characters are say, level 4+

Introducing a new 1st level character is going to be very hazardous to that character and they are going to lag behind everyone else for a long time.

What options are there?
Snarkythekobold
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:52 am

This is hard, especially when your other PC's are up to higher levels.

Options (that I know of/ experienced)

1) Have the other PC's go on a mission to resurrect the dead PC (if dead PC hasn't been eaten, incinerated, blown to bits, etc.)

2) Let the player roll up another PC but the new PC is one level lower than the one that just got killed and, of course, does not possess all the "goodies" that the dead PC had. Usually, the surviving PC's will loot the body of the dead PC.

3) Or alternately, have the player roll up a new character and have them roll a die to see how much XP points that they will lose. You could give them three rolls on a percentage dice and have them keep the lowest . . . or some other method.
BusterBluth
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:02 am

Well, they should advance much faster compared to being in a 1st level party.

I'm sure this has been mentioned on the boards previously, but this is an excellent reason to use henchmen/retainers in your game. When, not if, a PC dies, the player can simply take the role of the hired help. Having said that, I'm as guilty as anyone else in not making use of this in my own games.

NPCs that decide to join the party in the course of an adventure can also be another source of back-up characters. I'm thinking primarily of friendly NPCs encountered in a dungeon setting; we're currently playing Dwimmermount, and there's been a few of these.
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SmootRK
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:34 am

I tend to make this fairly simple. The newly created character gets half the XP of the dead character. This will put them near the rest of the group without giving too much of a "freebie". It should still be a setback for the player, but not completely heinous.

Even though the party gets access to dead character's gear and such, I find that most groups will unevenly portion out stuff to the new character out of a sense of it is coming out of the dead-character's owner/player.... so realistically the newly created pc (even with the xp deficit) gets a rather immediate gear boost. Of course, you could implement a harsher "new character cannot get any of previous character's gear/gold/etc... but that tends to create a bit of "hurt feelings/resentment" that the player 'lost' so much of his earned proceeds/gear.
So, for keeping group tension levels down, I let them discuss portioning out stuff among themselves. I point them towards fairness in the meta-game/player point of view for that new character as well as a little perceived realism in that characters that would most benefit from gear would utilize that gear from the dead player. In the end, not up to me for this gear/gold... but I insist that group does not make decisions that create unnecessary tension among players.... it is all about group fun, and not the acquisition of stuff/power.
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Seven
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:31 pm

Raise dead is a level 5 Cleric spell. It's not available at every temple in my campaign, but most temples would have a scroll for sale.

Reincarnate is a level 6 Magic User spell. Not that common, although I fail to see why. It's not something that sees much abuse.

Ultimately, it's up to each mid level character to have a backup plan--usually money saved to be raised or a hireling being trained, or a lower level family member read to inherit the player's possessions. When on a quest, the questing party might be able to offer additional help if a decimated party returns. I usually have NPCs ready to join the party, who are encountered regularly. Those are usually in the same level range.
kanin
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:57 am

Thanks people. Some good suggestions there. I think the new character minus one level sounds like a fair approach - take a bit of pain for dying, but have a reasonable chance of survival :D
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Solomoriah
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:59 am

Up to level 9, minus 1 level is equal to 1/2 XP. This is by design. :D
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SmootRK
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Fri Jun 12, 2020 9:09 am

Solomoriah wrote: Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:59 am Up to level 9, minus 1 level is equal to 1/2 XP. This is by design. :D
YES. This this effectively what I meant, except via pure math of just 1/2 XP of the dead character.
My thinking is, one dead thief might not produce a replacement MU that exactly falls 1 level behind due to the differences in the xp progression. Probably quite close, but I like the purity of the math instead of the more generalized levels (because Fighter ≠ Thief ≠ Cleric ≠ Magic User, when it comes to the xp progressions).
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Solomoriah
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:18 am

1/2 XP is more fair than -1 level. In my opinion, of course.
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dymondy2k
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Re: How to handle PC death in a campaign

Post Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:34 pm

I really like all of these.. I've only had one PC death in my campaign (actually 2 in the same fight.. If the dragon catches the party off guard in 'The Lost Tome' it can go ugly REAL fast). Because the rest of the party finished the quest even with the death of 2 party members the quest giver (a high level wizard) teleported in a high level cleric that resurrected them both BUT now they owed the church a serious debt that they had to pay off (and the quest to do the Zombraires Estate was born!). I think this can really only be used once per campaign or the players get used to it so if it would have happened again I think I would have gone with the half XP route.
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