Deaths and Departures

Hello Miscreants

So the news real quick – Successful launch of World of Kaelstos on Saturday which included a guff I did where I didn’t read the Skype chat properly. D’oh. But other than that, it was a blast and you should go checkout the Youtube page where we’re archiving the whole thing.

Maps are almost done and the incoming Podcasts are shaping up to be really, REALLY good with some amazing cast members having signed up. Ah so much content, so little detail I can give.

Now I’m done with teasers and self promotion.

… and so it came to pass that I suffered my first non-planned, non-fiat-end-of-campaign character death yesterday, which comes on the heels of Friday Night SPICED game where I had the group’s beloved NPC walking away in anger.

Amar’Linn, PC death – yes, it sucked. I’ve been working on Amar’Linn (Adventurers In Middle-Earth) for about 2 months. Not a long played character, nor the best character I’ve ever played but still, he was my Elvish Scholar.

It was awful the moment I realized he was dead – beyond healing, no chances of death saving throws. My heart sank quite a lot. There was going to be no more stuttering elf nursing a crush on the Rohan rider, no more rolling the eyes at the Dwarven slayer and his non flexible oath, no more smoking pipes and reading books.

Yeah. That was sucky. But.. I entered the situation fully aware that he might die (horde of 50+ orcs and a stubborn dwarf) and even accepted that the dwarf would kick the crap out of the weedy elf. And Amar’Linn got to go out trying to do something he believed in – trying to save his friend. It was kind of cool.

Handling the death of a PC needs to be done right – the longer the game and more invested the player, the more delicately it needs to be handled. Especially in system’s like our’s where death is permanent. I’m a fan of a last sentence – even if they technically go unconscious – coming around long enough to say something, or of allowing the player to describe their last act in detail, or allowing them to have prepped a note. It gives players, and characters, a small semblance of closure.

As for NPC on Friday Night SPICED… although not dead, she has definitely departed the series for a while. Killing a character off is sometimes treated as the only way to remove a character from play: because by not killing them means they can come back, or because you want to have a significant emotional impact for your plot. But be careful, so careful here – because finding out your players are invested, and then taking that away without a damn good reason could hurt your game.

Sitting on this side of the table, I can say letting Helena go on her own journey after telling her best friend to leave her alone was tough. The after affects upon the rest of the crew are going to be felt – and she isn’t dead. With her mortal status in question, it allows a character that the crew have invested in to still exist, and return if needed. Or die if needed. 

Killing a character – my final thoughts on this. PC’s need to know there is danger, characters can and will die. There are consequences. NPC death might be needed to add investment or motivation, but having them leave the game instead – it adds more plot hooks to play with.

Drink up folks, time at the bar.
Blood – If plot hooks were pound coins, I’d buy an actual hook.

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