engine
 member, 745 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Sat 19 Oct 2019
at 17:19
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
Right. Death can sometimes be the /best/ thing that happens to a character. And in some games death is just a speedbump for a character anyway. If not, as was said, just make a new character.

If there's nothing worse than death, than a character would never sacrifice itself.

Find ways that characters (and NPCs, and monsters) can die and still win, or survive and still lose. Then, mercy doesn't really have to enter into it.
facemaker329
 member, 7127 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 07:58
How Merciful Are You As A GM?
In reply to Egleris (msg # 10):

Back in college...more years ago than I care to think about...I was in a Marvel Super Heroes campaign.  The GM was positive that he had laid out a network of clues that couldn't help but lead the party to the right conclusion...but his clues only made sense to him, as not one person in the group could piece together his 'painfully obvious' villain's identity.

Sometimes, it's players not paying attention.  Sometimes, it's getting so caught up in the moment that past warnings and hints are forgotten.  But it can also sometimes be a case that the GM has made those hints so obscure that he's the only one who realized they were there.

As a GM, I think it kind of falls on you...if a PC is normally extremely careful and attentive and they suddenly start blundering around wildly, you may want to double-check that they got the information you thought you were giving them.  But if they're just generally reckless, well...let the dice fall where they will.  Maybe losing a character or two will teach them a little caution...
Isida KepTukari
 member, 309 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 09:21
How Merciful Are You As A GM?
It depends on a lot of factors, but the primary one I go by is, "If this plays out as harsh, will we as a group have more or less fun?"

Death and sacrifice can be dramatic and fun, particularly if a player has a concept for a new character waiting in the wings.  This has happened less often in my campaigns, but it's always an option.

If a character's death will sideline a player for the rest of the session (to do character creation) and possibly more (to wait for an appropriate place to insert a new character), then that is less fun.  If the party is in the depths of a previously locked dungeon or something, I really can't justify them finding a friendly prisoner or having someone randomly teleporting in and expect them to be readily accepted.  I might fudge damage, have the bad guy attack someone else, or maybe have the character have a near-death experience with some kind of consequence (they survive but have nightmares/an unusual scar/a limp, etc.).

If the players can't figure out my dastardly plot that I need them to figure out, then I'll start dropping more obvious clues, call for Intelligence checks to have them "remember" relevant facts, have a helpful NPC speak up - my being clever in my own head isn't fun if the rest of the group is floundering and frustrated.  I don't find it amusing to watch my players endlessly grind their gears trying to figure out the next step.  If they've done all they can and still can't get it, I haven't done my job as a GM.  You swallow your pride and give them the super obvious clue, and probably the players will still feel clever, and hey! You're all having fun again!
Egleris
 member, 179 posts
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 12:15
How Merciful Are You As A GM?

Yeah, as I said, sometimes things can seem obvious from the GM side but aren't so for the player, which is why I say it's always better to ask the players if "do you remember this thing" and "what is your goal, exactly"; missing things is fully normal on both sides of the screen. So, I always ask for clarification when I see players fumbling about something or doing something that looks weird from my sides, to avoid trouble. In general, that's the thing with RPG - OOC communication about people's goals and intentions is the only way to keep a game going and to avoid bad blood, in my opinion.
evileeyore
 member, 253 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 12:49
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
engine:
If there's nothing worse than death, than a character would never sacrifice itself.

I still disagree, just because the Character (and Player) prefer death to the alternative doesn't mean "it's worse than death".  And yes, dramatically/aesthetically death can be preferable... however...

That character is still dead, it can never love or hate again, never make new friends or enemies, never defeat another villain or hero.

Which is fine, we're all sitting around telling stories and after all, all good stories must come to end.




facemaker329:
But it can also sometimes be a case that the GM has made those hints so obscure that he's the only one who realized they were there.

That's why I prefer the Rule of 3s.  If you want the Players to catch on to something, you have to give it to the Players a minimum of three times.

So if you want them to figure out that the BBEG guy is really their cook, you have to give them three clues, and if those clues are different enough, present each one three times.


Now sometimes you'll think the Players have the hook only to get to the end and have them go "Wait, really?  We were just joking around about 'abalone kings' this whole campaign, we really didn't think the Aboleth were behind everything..." so be careful.




Isida KepTukari:
It depends on a lot of factors, but the primary one I go by is, "If this plays out as harsh, will we as a group have more or less fun?"

I ignore this.  I used to be this way, and fudge hard to keep PCs alive... but then, as my first post in the  thread says, I've shifted stance.  If PC death is a clear consequence of the genre, then I enforce those consequences without mercy.  Granted, if I'm running a Dungeon Fantasy game it's stupidly easily to insert a new PC into the fold.  In Dramatic Fantasy it can be much harder, but then chargen will also tend to take longer so I have time to figure out where and how to insert a new PC... and often the Player will prefer to wait for an appropriate entry point.
facemaker329
 member, 7128 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 16:38
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
I agree, if the game is set and staged in such a way that death is to be expected, don't fudge things (one of my favorite gaming memories was playing an Aliens game...GM had each of us make three characters, and we started out playing the whole Marine platoon...by the time all was said and done, the only character that survived was the Sergeant who twisted her ankle getting out of the APC and was stuck monitoring the mission from there...it was brutal, but we had a blast!)

But if any of my Star Wars GMs had run their games the same way, we would have packed up and left (one of them was the same guy that ran the Aliens game, so it could have happened).  But that comes back to the oft-mentioned principle of setting clear expectations for the players before the game starts.  If you know your character can die, part of the game becomes making sure your character doesn't die stupidly...

Most games I've played operate on kind of a cinematic principle, where the characters are the good guys and are expected to survive...as my all-time favorite Star Wars GM put it (sorry, Ron...for what it's worth, you're a very close second), "I don't kill characters...but if your choices are bad enough, you might kill your own character."
engine
 member, 746 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 19:06
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
evileeyore:
engine:
If there's nothing worse than death, than a character would never sacrifice itself.
I still disagree, just because the Character (and Player) prefer death to the alternative doesn't mean "it's worse than death".  And yes, dramatically/aesthetically death can be preferable... however...

That's exactly what it means, to that character. But don't get hung up on the "worse than death" phrasing. The point is that the PC decides that the PC's death will bring about something the PC thinks should happen, and believes that nothing else will, or that there's no other price worth paying.

evileeyore:
That character is still dead, it can never love or hate again, never make new friends or enemies, never defeat another villain or hero.

Which the character knows and which it gave up in order to achieve what it wanted via it's death. It might be as simple as trading its death for that of someone else or several someone's else.

Isida KepTukari:
and often the Player will prefer to wait for an appropriate entry point.

Maybe. When they don't prefer that, it's a lot of wasted time for them.

No one's meaningful participation in the game should ever be at stake. If they can be benched for a significant amount of time due to "consequences" imposed on their their character, then there should be a way agreed to and set up before hand for them to participate meaningfully. "Meaningfully" meaning "taking active, useful part in the game, as much as any of the other players."
donsr
 member, 1737 posts
Sun 20 Oct 2019
at 20:08
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
in the end..the GM  sets the table when the RTJ came in..you lay out the basics of the game, and  ask, " if this  seems to be a game for you..lets  set up your CS...if not? thanks  you for checking out the  game."

 investing in a character is what the game is about, if you are in a heavy RP game.. getting better ..growing , ect... and know that  it  could all go away, because  you do somethign   goofy, or? just plain bad luck.

 the focus  isn't on how 'merciful' the GM is, but how the  player plays his character..and?  some things happen..so? depends  how you run it.. I like my  players  know and uinderstand  what ...COULD..happen and thus, play that way. It makes it  more like a good movie or  TV series, rather then just  pumping out posts  and hope  you 'win'
Warrax
 subscriber, 225 posts
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 18:03
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
I like not having one answer to this question.

I think the context of the game matters a lot.  Are my players new? To RPGs, to the system, to their characters, whatever. What level of novelty and inexperience is involved heavily influences what I'm doing. And some of the games, too.

Examples:

1) I'm introducing you to Mage, and you're overwhelmed and everything's crazy. I spend a lot more time teaching, coaching and gently introducing you to things. For the sake of the magic and combat and everything else, I'll occasionally fudge some rolls or tweak the way I might normally arrange an encounter or challenge in order for you to have a better chance to succeed

2) Same system/setting, veteran players? Mostly, "screw it, you know what you got into."  Within reason, of course, and leaning more towards mercy the newer I am to the players involved, so they have a chance to adjust to my style.

3) AD&D 2e.  Good luck. I'm running this the way it should be run, and if you don't know what you're getting into, you've made a terrible mistake. It's a mature game which has been around for over 40 years with a massive fanbase. If you want gentle DND, you play 5th edition (or even 3.x or Pathfinder, also viable and less brutal).  But you want the real 2e experience, you have to know what you're getting into.


So it's all a little fuzzy and dependent on the details to me
donsr
 member, 1738 posts
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 18:19
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
  for my  games, especially , my main game. Everything  moves  along..Note  threads  are 'common knowledge'  so  new  folks read that  and have solid backj round.

 the rest?  the games is   designed for the player  and Character to learn   at the same rate..I have damn good  vet players  that aid  in this.

 again, its like a Movie or  a good  TV series... new character  comes in, folks  don't know   if the character will stay, or leave.. they  RP as   they should, hopefully the   new player  dives in, maybe  with some OOC or PMs with questions.

 I have  had  folks  who quit ( with  or without a heads up)

 I have  cut players who were  inactive, or  caused problems. In the end?  those  who stay enrich the game with thier own addition.

over the last  year I have had  3  very good players  come and stay..1  decent player who seems to have ghosted.. and   3 who left/were cut..for me, that's  a good  account, in a medium were some players  are like butterflies.
Hunter
 member, 1531 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 18:30
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
It depends, really.

Fudging a bad dice roll?   Yeah, I'd rather see a character only dying instead of dead.

By the same token, I'm not going to fudge when they do stupid stuff; like say, burning down the mayor's house then standing around to watch.
engine
 member, 747 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 19:07
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
I will not fudge a roll, so I try to be sure, if a die is going to be rolled, that everyone at the table can live with every possible outcome of the die. If they can't then it's folly to call for the roll.
donsr
 member, 1739 posts
Tue 22 Oct 2019
at 23:27
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
   the RP , in my games, is as  important  as  die  rolls, I do  90% of the die rolls off board  so folks are 'number obsessed ' .

 now  and then  somethign bad happens.. and the die rolls  is called for..if, my Die  roll is very bad, I will PM the player to  chose..stand  with mt roll, or roll thier won... but its a one-way street.. if you roll, that rols stands no matter the outcome..one guy lost a character   like that, but  he's  still in the game, and never complains  about it.

 again.. the  chance ( no matter how slim)  that your character  could die, give the player s  a bit more to play  through, and play for.
Silverlock
 member, 104 posts
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 01:58
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
It's better to have a game last than to go on a power trip and purposefully kill, maim, and destroy the 'worldly' goods of a PC.   So I'd have to say mercy provides a better gaming experience.  I have been a GM since the 1980s.   I have a game that has lasted over twenty years now.   I've learned a few things along the way.

1.  Having the players worry about their PC's safety is one thing; willfully railroading the PCs into impossible-to-survive situations is another thing, such that the players can't even begin to figure out how to get out of trouble.  The first will get the players really thinking, the second will cause your players to disappear.   We are all different people with different takes on the RPG world we are trying to bring to life.  If your game is deadly, let the players know up front so they can decide if they want to invest the time in something that can end with a roll of the dice or the whim of the GM.


2.  I've had good GMs and bad GMs too, and being a GM makes me a much more troublesome player.  When I know a rule system, and spirit of adventure that exists within the basis of those rules, I have a different perspective than a player who just picked up the book yesterday or is playing a pregen character.  What I mean is, if it's a pulp adventure game system that by definition rewards the players' PCs with points for roleplaying, when the GM last gave out points as a reward was, quite actually, prior to 2012 - and the game is still ongoing - I cannot honestly say that I enjoy the game, or that it is following in the tradition it was intended to follow.  When I have to take notes like a university frosh so that the next meeting isn't 'oho, you've got 42 apemen to fight from last week' but instead me saying, 'we have got 28 from last week, Nigel threw a grenade to account for six, Alvin got four with his rifle and my PC got four with his shotgun', that's bad GMing. Why am I still in that game ?  Well, gaming's thin on the ground where I live and the GM is otherwise a very nice person.

3.  Then there's bad playing.  I've had a player try to convince me he rolled a 20 using three d6.  I've had players (and their friends) try to pass me notes while I was running their game full of 'helpful' advice on the rules, all of which was designed to let their PCs get away with all sorts of munchkinlike behaviour.    And the friends tried to read my notes over my shoulder which rather dismayed them as I am old enough to remember shorthand.  Needless to say I changed the game location and simply forgot to tell the annoying players about it.  I employed the horseshoe warning system for bad playing back then; one horseshoe falls on you, a saddle falls on you, then the horse falls on you, so there's plenty of warning.   If the player is new to roleplaying, or to the system, or to the genre or history of the game, I have to cut them some slack.  They came to the game to have fun, to figure out a mystery, solve a puzzle, revenge a victim, save the world.  It should be dangerous, but deadly ? - consider the situation.
GreenTongue
 member, 884 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 10:47
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
I try to give the players an out if they give me anything to work with.
When they don't, I "roll" with it.

If they don't try anything, no matter how unlikely, I got nothing.

I believe that characters will kill themselves.
They will always "push the button", "proactively attack" or "flash wealth in a seedy place".
I don't need to put any effort into it. I just give them the opportunity.
donsr
 member, 1743 posts
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 13:48
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
  in the  interview before accepting  a player I lay out the rules..  as I have stated   above somewhere.. the  Mantra  is " if you walk into the dragon's mouth to  get the gem form between its teeth..you'll get eaten "

 The  whole thing   for  my players is playing through the 'story/game's if it were a ensemble TV series  or Movie  ( start trek, Band of  Brothers, space above  and beyond ,starship troopers  ect ect)

 there is some comic  relief but  the game is taken seriously since it is a darker game..people who go out of their  way to do  'stupid stuff', find that they can get hurt..killed  or put others in dangers... the reactions of  PCs  and NPCs  tend to reflect that.

 In the end? its all in the hands of the players.. the GM/DM is there  to set stages, and  add background , along with   spicing the  pot  with  fun NPCs

'mericful' is not  realy the right  word here...'Tolerant' might be better.
engine
 member, 750 posts
 There's a brain alright
 but it's made out of meat
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 14:49
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
donsr:
one guy lost a character like that, but he's still in the game, and never complains about it.

How long were they kept from participating while they were between characters?

donsr:
again.. the  chance ( no matter how slim)  that your character  could die, give the player s  a bit more to play  through, and play for.

If the chance is really very low, and the GM is involved in helping players avoid it, and it can only usually come about due to an active choice by the player, then the possibility of character death really doesn't matter to the game. Any sense anyone has of it is completely manufactured, and not really relevant to the actual challenges of the game.

Silverlock:
It's better to have a game last than to go on a power trip and purposefully kill, maim, and destroy the 'worldly' goods of a PC.   So I'd have to say mercy provides a better gaming experience.

Isn't there a middle ground between those two things? Characters in stories often suffer no permanent damage themselves, but still suffer permanent, irrevocable losses.

Silverlock:
1.  Having the players worry about their PC's safety is one thing; willfully railroading the PCs into impossible-to-survive situations is another thing, such that the players can't even begin to figure out how to get out of trouble.  The first will get the players really thinking, the second will cause your players to disappear.

There's a middle ground there, too.

The times I see power-trippy railroading occur is when a GM doesn't like a player's approach to the game, when they feel the need to "teach the player a lesson."

Silverlock:
I employed the horseshoe warning system for bad playing back then; one horseshoe falls on you, a saddle falls on you, then the horse falls on you, so there's plenty of warning.

I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying that you'll railroad a player into worse and worse punishments if they cheat or are unpleasant?

GreenTongue:
I try to give the players an out if they give me anything to work with.

Why is that? Failure seems like it should be a natural and perfectly enjoyable part of any game. If it's not, if it's something to be avoided, why play with those stakes?

GreenTongue:
They will always "push the button", "proactively attack" or "flash wealth in a seedy place".
I don't need to put any effort into it. I just give them the opportunity.

Character death, however anyone feels about it, would tend to disrupt the flow of play, since one or more players is essentially ejected from the game. How do you handle that in your games? Do you have a plan for bringing players back in quickly and seamlessly, or can they expect to wait for a while?

donsr:
the  Mantra  is " if you walk into the dragon's mouth to  get the gem form between its teeth..you'll get eaten "

It's up to the GM whether or not situations like that exist in the game.

donsr:
The  whole thing   for  my players is playing through the 'story/game's if it were a ensemble TV series  or Movie  ( start trek, Band of  Brothers, space above  and beyond ,starship troopers  ect ect)
The interesting thing about ensemble shows is that it's tricky to kill of the main characters. Sometimes movies have a bit more freedom and can shock the audience by killing a "star" character, even early on. But actors in long-running shows usually have contracts and are expected to survive, unless there's a contract dispute or something. Yet, such shows can still be tense because there's more at stake than just the characters' lives.

donsr:
there is some comic  relief but  the game is taken seriously since it is a darker game..people who go out of their  way to do  'stupid stuff', find that they can get hurt..killed  or put others in dangers... the reactions of  PCs  and NPCs  tend to reflect that.

I find it's often about the "stupid" stuff. Why is that? Even being completely smart about things doesn't always work out. And in shows, what the characters themselves consider "stupid" is often the most entertaining. Captain Kirk is always taking crazy risks. Han thought it was stupid to attack the Death Star, and he was right.

And "stupid" is extremely relative. In D&D, it's "stupid" to try to make a living by going into dungeons, or entering areas no one has ever returned from. It's "smarter" just to stay home and be a blacksmith, or something. Yet, the "stupid" thing is expected to have a pretty good chance of being rewarding.

donsr:
In the end? its all in the hands of the players.. the GM/DM is there  to set stages, and  add background , along with   spicing the  pot  with  fun NPCs

The GM holds massive amounts of responsibility. We should never forget that.

donsr:
'mericful' is not  realy the right  word here...'Tolerant' might be better.

Are you referring to the "punishment" of character death being tied to "stupid" behavior?

To people generally feel like character death (maiming, impoverishing, whatever) is primarily to be seen as a punishment? If so, is that really healthy? It can come about even if someone is perfectly nice, plays fair, and goes along with the theme of the game, can't it? I get the impression that people tend to feel that death should only happen to players who are deliberately annoying. But if two perfectly nice, perfectly fun, perfectly fair players both sit down to play most other games, it's likely that one of them is going to lose, and in that event it's not a consequence for some kind of personality defect, it's just one possible outcome. If the losing player felt like never playing chess again, we'd feel like they were over-reacting, or being a poor sport.

There can be lots of ways to "lose" in D&D and I think character death is generally the most boring way, but losing should never be intended as a "punishment." And if it's a "natural consequence" the GM should take responsibility.
donsr
 member, 1744 posts
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 15:06
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
In the end?  The  flow of the game, the  feel of the game for all the players  are taken into account. If there is  someone  who  dorks around, yes..he  could get  killed..he  could  get others  killed ( PCs  or NPCs)  and a lot of the NPCs  are  Thought of  as  highly as other PCs.

  It it a punishment.. just as  in real like  stupid things lead to bad  stuff happening..

  Avoiding bad stuff  that are 'hinted at' may be harder then  avoiding stuff, becaus you did  stupid stuff.

 No one wants that, Unless you have a  'comic  game '.... The GM sets  the  table.. the PC'S play it out...blaming the  GM  for 'situations" is rather laughable.  My main game is a sci-fi war game...there is anger   everywhere.. the players not only RP through that.. but  down time as  well....depeding on how they play it is up to them

 Death of PCs  and   popular  NPCs, doesn't   disturb  the flow of the game, in adds   more RP as  the  PCs  and NPCs  deal with that... if  a player   feels  'wronged" he can..indeed leave the game.

 one player took my 'semi-freeform' to  the  boundary and beyond.. he had  ample  warning from NPCs.. the other PCs   with him  'PODed out" while he continued  to push an instance, that he could not possibly win ( up to and including  , puling things out of his butt..doesn't work thatw ay here)..he died.... wondered  how his charcter was comign back.. I said 'he's not..he's space dust.. you may  make another PC if you wish".. he left (angry)..but?.. he chose his path..i am very sorry I let him go with it as long as  I did, but I let it play out a bit longer to gibve the other PC a chance to  bail.

 The  guy I mentioned  before   earned  the right to have  2 characters.. His   PC didn't do anything wrong..infact, very heroic  without pulling stuff out his butt...I ahd  a very ball rolls  for him...when that happens  I allow  the Player to roll..with teh   understanding , no matter what the roll is..it stands..he rolled  worse... the  PC was  Blown to bits.. he never whined..cried ect ..and  the RP was over the top  for  his passing

 so , depending on what kind of  Game you run..or  what  kind of GM you are.. you let the game flow.. and the players  navigate  it... its not scripted.. they have missed plots... found plots, and created plots with thier   RP.. I guess "mericful' is in the eyes of the beholder.
GreenTongue
 member, 885 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 16:46
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
engine:
Why is that? Failure seems like it should be a natural and perfectly enjoyable part of any game. If it's not, if it's something to be avoided, why play with those stakes?

My point is that there are cases where things outside of their control happen.
In those cases I allow the "less likely" to occur. It may still end badly but, at least more was in their own hands.

engine:
Character death, however anyone feels about it, would tend to disrupt the flow of play, since one or more players is essentially ejected from the game. How do you handle that in your games? Do you have a plan for bringing players back in quickly and seamlessly, or can they expect to wait for a while?

They can rejoin, if they want, at the next logical place in play.
Where that is depends on the other players as much as me.
evileeyore
 member, 257 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 17:14
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
engine:
Character death, however anyone feels about it, would tend to disrupt the flow of play, since one or more players is essentially ejected from the game.

Play flow is only disrupted for the individual whose character has died, and only if you don't count making a new character as 'play' (which I do).

quote:
How do you handle that in your games? Do you have a plan for bringing players back in quickly and seamlessly, or can they expect to wait for a while?

Depends on the genre of the game.  Some games can handle an immediate insertion without missing a beat, some do not.

quote:
It's up to the GM whether or not situations like that exist in the game.

Do you have a point?

quote:
Han thought it was stupid to attack the Death Star, and he was right.

Han was wrong.  He was so wrong his opinion looped around and became right when he returned and saved Luke allowing him to finish the mission and destroy the Peace Moon Death Star.

quote:
And "stupid" is extremely relative.

Yes it is.  In the context that donsr is using however it is "doing needlessly risky things beyond the call of the game.  Sticking your head upper body in a sleeping dragon's mouth to rescue the gem that tumbled in there from the pile for instance.

Clearly stupid... but that particular trick was pulled off in a game.  So end of the day?  Smart.

Ths stupid<->smart spectrum often requires not only interpretation, but relies on the outcome.  Did the PCs succeed?  then it was smart.  Did it cost them more than they earned?  Stupid.  Did they fail but end up rewarded beyond measure?  Smart/Stupid comes down to expectations, outcomes, and personal perspective.

quote:
The GM holds massive amounts of responsibility. We should never forget that.

The Players hold massive amounts of responsibility.  We should never forget that.

quote:
Are you referring to the "punishment" of character death being tied to "stupid" behavior?

In character consequences should never be 'punishment or reward' for out of character behavior.

quote:
But if two perfectly nice, perfectly fun, perfectly fair players both sit down to play most other games, it's likely that one of them is going to lose, and in that event it's not a consequence for some kind of personality defect, it's just one possible outcome.

That's some real 'participation award' thinking there.  Oftentimes failure at an endeavor is down to individual 'defect'.  Lack of skill, lack of experience, lack of talent, lack of desire.  All of those contribute to failure at an endeavor.

But rpgs are about having fun, so if you're having fun*, that is the 'winning' condition.


* Even if your character dies, gets maimed, losses their shinnies, etc.

quote:
If the losing player felt like never playing chess again, we'd feel like they were over-reacting, or being a poor sport.

Or just recognizing that chess is not something they can succeed at.  There is no shame in recognizing your capacities and playing to your strengths while avoiding your weaknesses.
Starchaser
 member, 676 posts
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 17:34
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
This whole thing is a thorny subject and my thoughts on it are this.

If I were a player in a game, I would have expected to put a lot of time and effort into creating a character, backstory etc. Even maybe so far as to come up with ideas beyond my character submission to 'evolve' my character during the course of the game.

Now if I do sonething thats obviously, really stupid to me and I die as a result well then my bad.

If however I die because the GM thought I did something stupid but I failed myself to see the stupidity in it then we have a communication issue.

This is more a problem in diceless games. But having said that I shy away from games where randomness plays a good part. Why? Because I may do sonething smart but may die for it simply based on a bad roll. So all that effort put into a character ends based on a bad roll.

On another point. If death is based on die rolls then a player *may* be tempted to forego creative character creation in favour of stat building, at which point the game becomes an excersize in number crunching with a story, rather than actual roleplay.

If characters are gonna die they should agree to it beforehand and live with the fact that they could die. But if they die their death should have meaning.

This message was last edited by the user at 17:36, Fri 01 Nov.

Flint_A
 member, 594 posts
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 17:44
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
The "let them know it's dangerous" school of thought reminded me of a great moment.

One player's character was seriously injured. They could continue adventuring, they'd just deal with a bunch of issues. Even though magical healing was rare in the setting, I assured him that EVENTUALLY they could find some way to fix it all because I was merciful.

He whined and insisted that there must be an easier way. An NPC mentioned that there WAS a cure, but it would most likely kill him. As in, there had literally been ONE person to survive it in all of history, compared to hundreds of deaths.

The NPC very strongly insisted that he NOT take the cure, as he would die.

I as the GM, out-of-game, told him if he took it he would probably die.

Other players told him it was a terrible idea.

He was the only player that actually looked at the source books, so he knew the NPC knew what she was talking about and had no reason to deceive him.

He INSISTED on taking the cure.

He died.

(I gave him an overly generous die roll, allowed him to use his luck rerolls, and checked like five times whether he was sure; so I didn't feel bad about killing his character.)
donsr
 member, 1745 posts
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 17:50
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
  yep... but  stupid must be defined  by the GM, if the player  has  taken  a goofy approach .

  The players  know the limits they have for missions and Ops  there is  even a load  out thread ( you have it or  you don't).

 so..its  relative.   Omne of the better  games I played over  the   decades , is one  where my charcter  rose  from a scout  to a Leader of a Unit... the game flow  ended   with  me having to make a choice... stand out  ground  and  ley the NPC leader  of the  rebel-types  escape.. or break off  and save the Unit, and hoped the regulars  could  stave  off the attack as they   tried to escape the trap.

 in the end.. we prevented the leader from being taken... My character    died  along  with those who stood   with him, ( he gave them the  choice  to leave and fight  another  day or stand with him. )

 anyway?  he died.. I was crushed...a lot of  other players were as well.. but?.. that's the way it goes....part of the game,

 So..DMs  who want to 'make sure no one  dies"..... and GM  who  'want to kill as many PCs as they can".. are both bad for the  games... Give your characters and Player s something to  fight for, with  out   really know  how it will turn out.
JAM2019
 member, 10 posts
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 21:34
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
Is the character still alive? Merciful GM acknowledged.

Remember GMs only have two jobs.
1. Lead the narrative
2. Save players from their own folly

Hopefully you are able to find a good group so that 1. is always prevalent and 2. is a rarity. If not, killing a character is a mercy to someone, somewhere.
evileeyore
 member, 258 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 1 Nov 2019
at 21:44
Re: How Merciful Are You As A GM?
JAM2019:
Remember GMs only have two jobs.
1. Lead the narrative
2. Save players from their own folly

Acknowledging that you state that 2 should be a rarity, I still think we come from very different schools of GMing thought.