As you’ve probably noticed from the last few posts, I’ve been catching up on Game WISHes this afternoon. Part of what prompted me to do this was Ginger’s announcement that the meme will be ending with the hundredth WISH. While I haven’t always gotten a lot out of each and every WISH, I’ll be sorry to see them go, because they usually made me think. Of course, that was the whole point.
How do you handle character death, as a player and/or GM? What makes a good death or a bad death? Have you ever had a character die? What happened?
The thing that struck me when I read this question was just how long it had been since I’d had a character actually die (at least in any sort of permanent way). I’m in an occasional complete hack-n-slash game with some friends I’ve known since college, but death is almost never permanent there, and I hardly even consider that an RPG….it’s more like low-tech multi-player Diablo. Other than that (and maybe a few con games), my characters just don’t seem to die, and neither do the characters of other players in the game. Of course, I’ve likely just jinxed my monthly D&D 3.5 character by saying that.
In any case, I think that it’s important to make a character death either very meaningful or very senseless. I know those sound contradictory, but my point is that it should always lean toward one extreme or the other, and never just be mundane and ho-hum. A tragic and pointless death can be as much a catalyst for drama as a brave and inspiring one.