Posted on January 17, 2014
Castaway Diary, missing page.
I’m a firm-ish believer that death should be an omnipresent possibility in roleplaying games when you are facing dangerous enemies and dishing it out plenty yourself. But ideally – and I mean ideally only from a GM point of view – characters would skirt death by narrow margins after being pushed to desperate acts of heroism and live to tell some amazing tales. I don’t want to kill characters, in part because I tend to become quite fond of them, but also because that’s not really the goal of GMs. I think every roleplayer has a story about a murderous GM and they’re never fun. Anyone running a game who is out to murder one of their PCs is doing it wrong. A vicious enemy NPC should try to do that, under the GM control, but that should end the moment their round is up in the initiative order.The possibility of character death – through a combination of bad decisions and bad luck, though hopefully never just one of those things – should always be close enough at hand that the PCs strive to survive and win. D&D is a game for 5 players, 4 of whom should be trying to win. Call of Cthulhu is a game for 5 players, 4 of whom should be trying to find out what inevitable they are delaying. Vampire: the Masquerade is a game for 5 players, 5 of whom will be insufferably pretentious. Of course, I’m not saying anyone is actually dead. What happened to the first expedition into the temple will come to light at a later time. I’m just saying that Floki and Nobody left the temple to go tell Victor, Malicia and Sasha that this site was clearly a bit bigger, older and more dangerous than they imagined; while Uun, Percy and Orny pressed further into the cliffside complex and did not return with any kind of report. What happens next is mostly up to Adam/Sean/Noe/Ben. I can’t predict what they’ll do, but I’d imagine that there isn’t much call for two of the three players who bravely and heroically battled through Thursday night’s encounter. And I assure everyone who wasn’t there that it was heroic and brave… You’re welcome to come along to the next session – I hope you do – but I also know you all have kids/better things to do with your time than watch other people play games. Having seen how it all went down on Thursday night… I’d take the rare step of recommending that we don’t meet to play until at least four PCs can mount a rescue/recovery/revenge mission. Sasha, of course, could be played by one of the inoperative-PC players. Quorum is usually three… but this is a special circumstance, so let’s call it four and only if you are feeling gutsy. Hopefully this won’t create too long a delay. I’ve a feeling the tragic events of Thursday have engendered a need for revenge… and you are really pretty close to getting off this fucking island.