RPG Blog Carnival for March 2011 has been kicked off by Campaign Mastery. The topic for this month is Life and Death in RPG. I find that to be a very interesting topic right now. Don't you?
Why, might you ask, do I think that? Well, I think that a lot of people are currently forecasting the DEATH of 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons, followed quickly by a resurrection of the D&D Brand with 5e. I have not been one to chime in on any of these rumors up until this point (at least on my blog I haven't). But, today, I guess I'm going to do just that...
I won't be posting anything on my blog about 4e/5e or whatever, so hold your flaming for someplace else. This month, I will try to run with the carnival again though and in fact, I'm going to even be a bit more formal about how I do this and post a column each week dedicated to the topic. Sound good? I think this column will come out on your Wednesday (my Thursday...time changes can really be a pain sometimes). Stay tuned.
But, today is not just an announcement post, it's an actual meat post. I wanted to talk about a few of my personal character deaths which I have found amusing over the years. You might find them amusing as well.
Some of you might know, since I've talked about it here on the blog before, that the way I got my start in D&D was during high school, but the first games I ever really played were a series of con games called the "D&D 3.0 Player Vs. Player" and "D&D 3.0 Team Player Vs. Player". These two events were pretty much all about power gaming, but they were sooo much fun. The events were hosted at Strategicon, out in California, 3 times a year. I think I played in maybe 3-4 of them, but I can't quite remember the exact numbers. They were truly lessons in gaming.
My first, most memorable character death happened in the Team PvP event. I had brought along, what I thought, was a pretty powerful archmage (this game is made for characters around level 17-19). The character had some seriously awesome spells, but the one thing I just didn't understand was the rules. This was not a group that was particularly forgiving. It was pretty much Tournament style D&D set in an absolutely killer labyrinth in which 10 other teams of nearly epic level characters were also trying to get through and kill you along the way. This game was not designed for a beginner, and me, not knowing the rules very well, did not add up to be a very good combination. In the first room, I decided to Wail of the Banshee on a pair of massive scorpions which were standing in front of me. I did not, however, take into the account that they had reach, and, would be able to hit me once I cast on them (wasn't casting defensively so they get their attack of opportunity attack). My archmage takes about 120+ damage from 2 hits and goes down like a ton of bricks. I was out of the game on the first round in the dungeon... sad day.
One of my other legendary deaths happened in the same game. This time, the Team PvP was set on a massive 3D tabletop with all kinds of awesome terrain. Movement was actually measured out with a tape measure, in a rare new style of D&D play. I thought that was pretty cool. This game, I showed up with a fighter who was wielding himself a vorpal falchion. I had done the whole improved crit+keen mumbo jumbo to give him a 12-20 crit range with it. I got into combat, chopped off the head of a baylor, and was very proud of myself. That event was made with decent amounts of praise around the table. The next round, my fighter fell trying to jump over what I thought was a standard river... it wasn't. The river was filled with swarming, flesh-eating insects. He got pretty much eaten alive. I think he was almost dead on r.1 of being in the river and on r.2 when he failed to get out, he was gone. Goodbye my lovely fighter. At least you got to take out that Baylor before you went bye-bye.
It's funny really. I remember these deaths the most because I was so new to the game when they happened. Also, I have never had a character of mine die in a long running campaign. I have had some fall, but they always get right back up. I play the DM so much, that I always remember the memorable experiences I have as a player.
So my question today is: What are the character deaths we remember the most? What is the key to having a character's death be retold as players. For me, it has always been the deaths of characters when I was new to gaming. What about you? Are the characters that die right after doing something awesome remembered the most? or do you remember the characters which you were attached to for a long time, but then perished in some odd, or anti-climactic way. Fill me in.