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D&D 3E
to spasms of evil chuckling... 
11th-Jun-2007 12:15 pm
So, I'm running the Savage Tide adventure path for my group, and every single one of them has died at some point of the game except one... This particular character, a swashbuckler 7/fighter 2, was the only pc to survive from the first session. Until our most recent game, that is... Now none of the characters have any tie to the employer, apart from being contracted by the Swashbuckler that just died... Bah, I'll get over it...

His story is an amusing one, though... From 1st level, this guy has been brought to negative hit points in EVERY GAME SESSION, even if there wasn't an actual battle...! Case in point- a failed profession sailor check during a storm sent him overboard where he very nearly drowned, but was rescued at -1 hp... He has taken several critical hits, some of which had lasting effects (I have a table for "Maiming Criticals") like missing an eye (permanent -2 on all ranged attacks) and more recently, being hamstrung (movement halved)... Every time he has either stabilized or been healed... In our last game session, he acquired a +4 Mithral Breastplate, which helped him plenty- Until he met with a gargantuan constrictor snake. In the first round of combat, he stabbed it with a longspear, then it scored a critical bite on him for about 53 points of damage, dropping him to 16 or so hp... Then it got to constrict him for a further 41 damage... No more Captain... He's a Githzerai Ninja now...
11th-Jun-2007 03:20 am (UTC)
Youi know, killing off PCs is rarely a good thing.

It generally means one of three things:
(1) the challenge was too difficult for the PCs as it was designed
(2) the PCs did something stupid (including jumping into a challenge that they should have known was too difficult for them
(3) they had bad dice luck.

I will rarely kill a PC over 3. Knock them unconscious or negative HP, sure. But bad dice luck isn't a fun death. I'll kill them over (2), certainly. But if the challenge as designed is too hard for the PCs, that's my fault as a DM.

As for main tables: I REALLY hope you roll on them for NPCs, as well, for BEFORE when they encounter the PCs.

Unless the NPC is on their first day adventuring, chances are they've been in fights before and have taken a critical or two. it's blatantly unfair to PCs to give them permanent damage, and not their challenges. it weakens them and makes them less effective than their ECL would imply. a -2 to all ranged attacks isn't overfly significant for a swashbuckler, but for a scout or ranger or ranged combatant? its very nearly the difference between a Warrior and a Fighter, and that's a ECL reduction.

12th-Jun-2007 06:41 am (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly that killing off your pc's is not a great thing... However, that's what a DM does, occaisonally. None of the challenges have been more than 2 over the standard for a 4 PERSON PARTY, and my PC's have a party of 5...

As for our Critical Table, you only maim someone on a small percentage of criticals, not every one. And yes sometimes, a small percentage of those who they encounter, have already sustained a maiming critical... And while some of the effects are permanent, a Regeneration, Heal, Limited Wish, Wish, Miracle and on less severe occasions a Cure Critical Wounds spell can remove the penalty/disfigurement.

Now, bad die rolls... I, as a fair and just DM, NEVER IGNORE OR FUDGE DIE ROLLS- I don't even hide them from the players... While they're not the be-all-and-end-all of the game, they are there for a reason- to add the random element to the experience... Whether it's my npc goblin throwing a fork from across the room and getting an instant kill on a pc through a series of natural 20's, or the Big Bad Dude at the end of the adventure failing his will save on a Hold Monster in the first round and being Coup De Graced by the rogue... An anti-climax can sometimes be ALMOST as fun as an epic battle... One case in particular, the party was nearly completely destroyed by a Lemorian Golem (only 2 of them actually died) and the rest fled... After they rested and were 'discovered' by 2 wanderers, they went back to get the nasty bugger... All prepped they were, attack plans sorted, etc, only for the half-dragon to get grappled by the thing in the first round, where he loosed his breath weapon on the thing and reduced it to a bubbling caustic puddle... They were ecstatic...
11th-Jun-2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
Don't listen to Marphod, you're doing a fine job. And what kind of pirate game would it be if it didn't include the occasional loss of an eye, or hand, or foot, or...?
12th-Jun-2007 06:44 am (UTC)
Indeed... However, now none of them have the skills necessary for captaining a ship... But they know some npc's that do, so it's okay... Thanks for the backup, dude...
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