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    Canonfire :: View topic - Rolling a new character after death
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    Rolling a new character after death
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 25, 2012
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    Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:00 am  
    Rolling a new character after death

    There is a chance my players may be facing a nasty truth soon - their characters are not immortal. I'm not trying to kill them, but a couple of the traps/effects coming in the future have a "Save or Die" result and I need to think about the impact overall of the Die part.

    I had asked them to roll up two characters at the start of the campaign in order to have someone warming up in the bullpen, so to speak, but I need to clear up a detail or two. The players are now at 3rd level. If they start new characters, should I scale them to 3rd, a level below 3rd or have them start from scratch? If they do scale, how do I determine treasure/magic items? I'm curious what your experience is. Thanks!
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    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:33 am  

    I play 1E, so my answers must be viewed through that lens. The method I've used for a while now is to give the replacement PC 20% of the XP total of either the dead PC or the lowest-level surviving PC, whichever is lower. Based on the scaling of XP in 1E, that generally results in a new PC about 2 levels lower. I use Appendix P of the DMG for possible magic items, and I give the new PC 5% of his (reduced) XP total in gold.

    So, for example, let's say a 5th-level fighter with 22,000 XP bites the bullet. The player's new PC would start with 4400 XP (22,000 × .05), which would be 3rd level if he rolled up another fighter. He'd get the base 50–200 gp at 1st level, plus 220 gp (4400 × .05), to purchase mundane equipment. I'd roll on the tables in Appendix P to see if he had magical armor, weapons, potions, etc.
    GreySage

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    Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:36 am  

    I used to be more generous as a DM about allowing even low-level PCs to be Raised or Reincarnated. However, my latest campaign has been an extremely deadly one.

    As a caveat, I will point out that the players are all fairly new to D&D (all within a year), so don't have a lot of player experience. Thus, though their PCs have suffered a high attrition rate, I see their tactical knowledge improving vastly already and expect a serious reduction in the number of deaths as the campaign progresses.

    So, now, if a PC dies, it stays dead. As they are still only 1st level, when a PC dies, the player has the option of rolling up a brand new character or using the same character with newly rolled stats and a new name and backstory. Either way, the new PC has half the experience points the old one possessed. However, I have found that some of the PCs who have died repeatedly are falling far behind the others and I want them all to be at or near 2nd level before they actually discover the Caves of Chaos, so I allowed those few a few extra experience points to keep them within reasonable distance of the front-runners.

    My plan is that when a PC above 1st level dies and is replaced, the new PC will be of the same level (nobody likes losing levels in D&D - that's why energy drain is the only effect players truly fear Evil ), but will have their experience points reduced to the minimum necessary to reach that level.

    If the body was recovered, the new PC gets the old equipment. If not, they get an amount appropriate to an NPC of that level.

    SirXaris
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    Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:30 pm  

    During the '90s I was involved in 3 long term 2E campaigns, the DMs each gave us d% in experience of the experience that the character withe the highest experience total in the party. If I'm remembering correctly the 2E DMs Guide has a table for generating magic items for NPCs above 1st level, which is what was used to determine magic. We could pick any mundane items we wanted.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:27 pm  

    Rolling up new characters can be fun. However, it is easy to connect with characters we created and built a lasting bond with. Many of us have chosen our nicks based off of characters we played in our games. So remember always give your players an out, if they fail to take it then assume they are ok with the consequences of their decision.

    Sometimes hero's die! It's what makes them hero's. The fact they are willing to die for what they believe in.

    On another note. Nerdcav, I have used character trees before. It helps lessen the impact of player character death. So if you know this is something that is likely to occur then character trees make the transition easier to digest. When I use them, each person would make three characters only one is needed to begin the campaign. However, sometimes the other not ready for prime time players might be part of a few side trek adventures.

    Meanwhile... The main story goes on with the starting characters. occasionally a backup might find their way into the game in place of one of the prime characters. This way they each earn experience. So the PC that's actually role playing gets 60% of the experience while the other two characters split the remaining experience with 20% each.

    This way everything is earned and the loss of one character is easier to replace.

    I hope this helps.

    Later

    Argon
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:02 pm  

    For many, many years, we have had replacement characters start one level behind (minimum XP to be that level as well), just so that they are not a liability and so that the adventuring can continue along at pace without waiting for the "laggard' to catch up. The person creating the replacement character also makes the point of creating a character with a background that fits into the current adventure being played, if the replacing happens mid-adventure.

    For example, while going through ToEE, one of my players lost a character (half-elf cleric/ranger of Ehlonna), and wanted to replace him with a cleric. So, he rolled up a cleric of St. Cuthbert, who turned out to be what everyone assumed was just a lowly grave digger at the Temple of St. Cuthbert. Enter a 3rd level cleric of St. Cuthbert with chain mail, shield, helmet, holy symbol, about 50 g.p. of other mundane gear gear, and two vials of holy water, two potions of healing, and a +1 mace care of Canon Terjon. That allowed the character to fit in well enough with a 4th level party, and be more of an asset than a mill stone, as they continued to plumb the depths of the ToEE and surrounding environs.

    The point here is, try and fit things in as seamlessly as possible. It is less disruptive, and can turn an unfortunate event into one that adds further depth to the adventure and the adventuring party.
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    Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:46 pm  

    I think...its' easier for a DM to have a group of adventurer in which there is no more than two (three max) levels between the highest character and the lowest character.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:20 am  

    When I restart my Sterich campaign next month, two of the players are introducing new characters into the campaign to replace their current characters, who become NPCs. I'm just going to start them out with the exact same xp as the continuing characters, and with comparable magic items. But then my practice up to now is to award everyone the same xp and advance them to the next level at the same time, just for the sake of balanced play. Instead of awarding xp for good role-playing, clever thinking, etc... the reward for good role-playing, etc... in my game equals bonuses to rolls, not having to fight monsters, etc...
    I'm not trying to say my way is better, or talk down to anyone who does keep xp separate, but I just don't understand what the big deal is with keeping individual xp, and why you wouldn't want the party members to be pretty much equal in strength. Maybe I just have a group that isn't super competitive?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:45 am  

    I agree with Smillan_31. I've really moved away from xp altogether, let alone as a meaningful gauge of character accomplishment. What are you saying by giving the new character less XP?
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:14 am  

    Nellisir wrote:
    What are you saying by giving the new character less XP?
    I'm saying that character death is meaningful and should be avoided through superior play. If my 8th-level cleric dies, and I can just roll up an 8th-level fighter to take his place (with similar magical goodies), where's the sense of loss? "Oh, my fighter's dead now, too? That's OK. I've been meaning to try an 8th-level monk." It smacks to me of a video game mentality. Likewise, for the player who rolled up a 1st-level fighter and built him up to 17th level over years of play, what happens to that sense of achievement when everyone else advances right alongside him, regardless of the choices they make along the way?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:37 am  

    DMPrata wrote:
    I'm saying that character death is meaningful and should be avoided through superior play. If my 8th-level cleric dies, and I can just roll up an 8th-level fighter to take his place (with similar magical goodies), where's the sense of loss?


    The sense of loss is that the character you made up, who started as just a bunch of stats, who you worked up through the long experience of play into something like a favorite character in a book, is now gone, and you have to start all over developing another character.

    EDIT: I can see your point about character death being avoided, but even by your standards don't necessarily agree that should apply in all cases in a role-playing game. If someone decided to cover the retreat of the party from a fight that just went really badly and was looking like it could be a TPK, by going down blocking a hallway and preventing pursuit, should that player be punished when he rolls up a new character? Shouldn't he be rewarded instead for pulling a Gandalf?
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:10 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    I can see your point about character death being avoided, but even by your standards don't necessarily agree that should apply in all cases in a role-playing game. If someone decided to cover the retreat of the party from a fight that just went really badly and was looking like it could be a TPK, by going down blocking a hallway and preventing pursuit, should that player be punished when he rolls up a new character? Shouldn't he be rewarded instead for pulling a Gandalf?
    A great thought, but I've never seen a player do it in 30 years of gaming. I have, however, seen many, many instances of PCs foolishly charging headlong to their deaths. Giving such a player a new PC of equal level smacks of "do-over" to me and cheapens the accomplishments of those who survived.
    GreySage

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 10:11 am  

    I let my player(s) have 2 (or 3, depending on group size and role-playing aptitude of the PC) characters, just in case of death.

    I think the suggestions made above are all good ones, and definitely agree that the new characters should be within a level or two of the surviving PCs to keep them from being outclassed and slowing down the game flow because of relative lack of experience and levels.

    The other thing you could do, if it works, is to take a 'stock' NPC in your retinue and elevate him/her to "PC" status and give it to a player. Give a basic description or background, then turn that player loose to give the character depth. I've done that, too. Since the NPC was already in the party, you don't lose time or momentum. It can also be interesting to see how the player turns the 'stock' NPC into a 3D PC...

    -Lanthorn
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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:04 am  

    DMPrata wrote:
    smillan_31 wrote:
    I can see your point about character death being avoided, but even by your standards don't necessarily agree that should apply in all cases in a role-playing game. If someone decided to cover the retreat of the party from a fight that just went really badly and was looking like it could be a TPK, by going down blocking a hallway and preventing pursuit, should that player be punished when he rolls up a new character? Shouldn't he be rewarded instead for pulling a Gandalf?
    A great thought, but I've never seen a player do it in 30 years of gaming. I have, however, seen many, many instances of PCs foolishly charging headlong to their deaths. Giving such a player a new PC of equal level smacks of "do-over" to me and cheapens the accomplishments of those who survived.

    Thanks! I do get your point, I just see things a different way for my games. I actually did play one character (he was only 1st level) who tried to suicide/take out the bad guy who looked like he was going to kill us all, by grabbing him and throwing us both off a cliff. Unfortunately he could fly, which is why I didn't just bull rush him, and the DM ruled that he just hovered us both down to the bottom of the cliff. Robbed of my glorious death! But then I actually got in a couple of lucky shots, he had a couple of bad ones, and took him out. I still felt sad that my Gandalf moment got taken away from me.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:07 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    I'm saying that character death is meaningful and should be avoided through superior play.

    So you avoid randomization and save-or-die? This might be a difference in DM philosophy; I like to encourage heroic acts and mentality, not caution and running away.

    A cleric is wounded and rendered unconcious. The fighter is killed while administering a healing potion to the cleric. As a result of the fighter's actions the cleric survives the encounter and is rewarded with XP; the fighter's player is penalized for "inferior" play. I would find this an extremely troubling precedent to set.

    Also, I would find the phrase "superior play" dangerously subjective and judgmental were I at your table. Taken at face value, it would seem that "superior play" as you use it would consist not of roleplaying, but simple character survival regardless of motivation.

    Quote:
    If my 8th-level cleric dies, and I can just roll up an 8th-level fighter to take his place (with similar magical goodies), where's the sense of loss?

    As Smillan said, it's in losing a character that you've developed a personal attachment too. Without that personal attachment, you're attempting to foster a sense of loss by giving the player an inferior replacement - but really, that doesn't create a sense of loss (regret for something gone), as much as it creates a sense of penalization (the inferiority of something present compared to something past). You might as well just take $20 out of their pocket.

    Quote:
    "Oh, my fighter's dead now, too? That's OK. I've been meaning to try an 8th-level monk."

    A player that's that blase about losing a character wasn't invested in it anyways. Also, what's wrong with a player wanting to try something new?

    Quote:
    It smacks to me of a video game mentality.

    I've never played video games, so I wouldn't know.

    Quote:
    Likewise, for the player who rolled up a 1st-level fighter and built him up to 17th level over years of play, what happens to that sense of achievement when everyone else advances right alongside him, regardless of the choices they make along the way?

    You're aware that the character doesn't have actual emotions, right? Everything we're talking about is a penalty to the player. So, what happens to the player that shows up to every game, plays responsibly, and then, through heroic sacrifice, random luck, or the inattention of another player, loses his character? He's the best player in the game, and he gets penalized; dropped behind the guy that misses every fourth game, doesn't own a PH, and borrows dice.

    XP is really a player reward. Characters are player-controlled, not independent. Character advancement is a reward for the player, not the character. Achievement of story goals is a success for the player, not the character. The death tax is a long-term penalty for a single action, the consequence of which may not have been within the player's control.

    One option is to give XP to the player, not the character. A player whose character dies rolls up a new character with XP equal to the dead character. In a 0e/1e/2e system, this could lead to a character of lower, equal, or higher level (but since xp is supposedly "balanced", the character is of the same power irregardless of level). This rewards player presence and takes "superior play" into account, since naturally "superior play" would be reflect in ongoing XP bonuses, not just a one-time death tax. The player would naturally not gain any XP in the interval he did not have a character in play, and possibly would not gain any for a slight period before that, but would not be significantly penalized (depending on speed of advancement, a one-level penalty could wipe out at least a month of gaming, and quite likely more).


    Last edited by Nellisir on Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:12 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    A great thought, but I've never seen a player do it in 30 years of gaming.


    Wow. I am so very, very, very, sorry for you. Thirty years, and no one has ever managed a heroic death? That doesn't say anything good about players in your neck of the woods.

    Or maybe there's a different common denominator?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:18 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    The other thing you could do, if it works, is to take a 'stock' NPC in your retinue and elevate him/her to "PC" status and give it to a player. Give a basic description or background, then turn that player loose to give the character depth. I've done that, too. Since the NPC was already in the party, you don't lose time or momentum. It can also be interesting to see how the player turns the 'stock' NPC into a 3D PC...


    By removing character customization from the game, I feel you turn it from a "role" playing game into a mechanical, problem-solving activity. Players might attempt to develop a personality and "3D" nature, but it's less organic/more artificial, and lessens the player investment in the game. I wouldn't play long-term in a game where character "creation" consisted of being handed a piece of paper and told "this is who you are".

    That's what Clue is for. Or Monopoly. Although at least in Monopoly, you can choose between the shoe and the top hat.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:22 pm  

    Famous last words:

    "I think my character can make it through just one more encounter before the party rests."

    "What possible danger could a halfling with a dagger pose to my paladin?"

    "The chasm is pretty wide, but I think my Rogue can make the leap..."

    "So what if the maiden that my mage decided to make out with is a neried. She's hawt!"

    etc...

    When I give replacement characters less XP, I am usually saying, "'Don't play stupid!"

    There are always exceptions though. If a PC dies heroically (meaning the player knew there was danger, but put their PC into harm's way anyways to serve a higher purpose), the new character would start with full XP.
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    GreySage

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    Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:09 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    If a PC dies heroically (meaning the player knew there was danger, but put their PC into harm's way anyways to serve a higher purpose), the new character would start with full XP.


    Bravo! Cool
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:53 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Famous last words:

    "What possible danger could a halfling with a dagger pose to my paladin?"



    Laughing Please, please tell me this one really happened.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:33 am  
    Levels

    Players playing paladins can roll 1s and who says the hafling wasn't a fighter with some signifcant hit points.

    I haven't seen it, but I can imagine it very easily.
    GreySage

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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:31 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Please, please tell me this one really happened.


    Shucks, man! Bubbagump does it all the time! Shocked


    *Damned Hairfoot halfling assassin of Tharizdun!* Evil Grin
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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:49 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Cebrion wrote:
    Famous last words:

    "What possible danger could a halfling with a dagger pose to my paladin?"



    Laughing Please, please tell me this one really happened.


    Of course it happened. Why would you doubt? I charge thee with Halflingism.

    Mad Mad Mad

    Carve him a new one my vicious little friends!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:42 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Cebrion wrote:
    Famous last words:

    "What possible danger could a halfling with a dagger pose to my paladin?"



    Laughing Please, please tell me this one really happened.

    I was just making up quotes, but, funny enough, Mystic-Scholar hit the nail on the head with regard to the inspiration for that one. Laughing The point remains that some players don't initially understand that all actions have consequences, or that not everything is as it appears to be in a fantasy world.
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:43 pm  

    I keep individual awards for role playing especially. Defeating a monster or encounter together is a shared experience so those I reward equally. My idea was always to award those that encourage role playing and get more out of the group as opposed to I rolled three 20's in row.

    I don't believe in penalizing someone who lost a character, especially one who knowing accepted the consequence of their actions. If it was a good role playing aspect and heroic to boot I will let the xp translate over to their next character or in the case of the character tree allow the two remaining character split the xp and start another character from 1 to 3 levels lower then the character they lost.

    On the other hand if the move was completely boneheaded and made no sense from the characters history and nearly cost other pc's their lives then the new character is more likely to start 3 level's lower instead of 1 to 2 levels lower then the character they lost.

    One of my favorite player death's was the arrogant 14th level mage who decided a kobold was not worth a spell and he chased his with his staff got caught in a murder hole and was killed by the 1/2 HD kobold. I started his new character at 10th level gave him some potions and scrolls then let him build up his magical inventory again.

    Another one of my players had a 3rd level Centaur ranger which sacrificed himself to ensure the party survived. I started his new character at 4th level as if the centaur survived that last encounter he would of been 4th level.

    All in all the situation and the outcome play a role in how I determine the reward for the player.

    Later

    Argon
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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:57 pm  

    I suppose this may depend on the version one plays, but the reason I started my "20% XP" method was because I saw the "new PC of equal level" method fall apart at high-level play. That's what I did way back in my high school gaming days (or maybe I did 1 level lower). It worked out OK for the first few levels, but once the party reached around 12th level, it did strain plausibility. Where are all these other 12th-level characters coming from?

    Your party is deep in the Crystalmists, slaughtering giants in the G series, when your 12th-level barbarian goes off to Valhalla. Don't worry, though, because there just happens to be a 12th-level paladin in the neighborhood ready to take his place. Where was this 12th-level paladin a few weeks ago, when we were the only heroes around bold enough to deal with this threat? There are only so many times you can pull that in a campaign without shattering the suspension of disbelief. Granted, bringing in a 9th-level paladin who just happened to be hanging around Istivin isn't that much more plausible, but it's at least a step in the right direction.

    EDITED TO ADD: It's the same principle with high-level NPCs. When the PCs are 6th level, you throw a 9th-level villain at them. When they're 12th-level, the villain is 16th level. When the PCs hit 20th level, and you're challenging them with 30th-level NPCs, the campaign demographics are clearly broken. At some point, the PCs have to be the biggest fish in the pond. IMO, characters of 13th level or higher should be exceedingly rare.
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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:45 pm  

    I feel like I get to be the villain in this thread. Hurrah! :) (And sorry to pick on you, Prata!)

    Quote:
    It's the same principle with high-level NPCs. When the PCs are 6th level, you throw a 9th-level villain at them. When they're 12th-level, the villain is 16th level. When the PCs hit 20th level, and you're challenging them with 30th-level NPCs, the campaign demographics are clearly broken. At some point, the PCs have to be the biggest fish in the pond. IMO, characters of 13th level or higher should be exceedingly rare.


    When the PCs are the biggest fish in the pond, the campaign should move to a bigger pond.
    Village -> town -> city -> kingdom -> empire -> global -> planar?

    Even at 3 levels a step, that progression takes you to 21st level.

    I'm a little more sympathetic to the problem of replacement PCs, but really, all you're saying is that it's easier for you to penalize the player than think of an in-game reason for a new character to be available. And as you yourself note, it's not really plausible. This month, 12th-level characters aren't available, but when the PC's go up to 14th level, suddenly 12th level is OK and now 14th level characters are unavailable.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:34 pm  

    By default—and I think anyone who started playing D&D in the 1970s would agree with me—player characters begin at 1st level. I don't see how I'm "penalizing" the player of a dead PC by only giving him x–2 unearned levels instead of x unearned levels.
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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:10 pm  

    Nellisir a villian! Shocked
    We need to update our Greyhawk rogue gallery. Smile

    DMPrata,

    I fully understand your plight in this hence character trees can help, though a 1st level character is likely to be an escaped slave and would be nothing more then a a lantern holder in that campaign.

    It's not so much punishment as it is trying to level the playing field. You could also pose a 20% experience point penalty which goes in a pool to pay for the experience levels you gave the new or replacement character.

    I don't allow for raise dead and resurrection IMC save for the fact that only a priest of the dead can make the transaction. So if they go that route a whole new set of problems could arise.

    Later

    Argon
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    Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:48 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    By default—and I think anyone who started playing D&D in the 1970s would agree with me—player characters begin at 1st level.

    Why?

    Quote:
    I don't see how I'm "penalizing" the player of a dead PC by only giving him x–2 unearned levels instead of x unearned levels.

    Ah. So in the example I posted previously, the player of the dead character deserves less than the player of the surviving character?
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:17 am  

    DMPrata wrote:
    I suppose this may depend on the version one plays, but the reason I started my "20% XP" method was because I saw the "new PC of equal level" method fall apart at high-level play. That's what I did way back in my high school gaming days (or maybe I did 1 level lower). It worked out OK for the first few levels, but once the party reached around 12th level, it did strain plausibility. Where are all these other 12th-level characters coming from?

    If one is requiring a deluge of higher level characters to replace the dead ones, either the players are are idiotic, or the DM is running a pretty messed up campaign. Accordingly, I don't see the above situation even coming up, let alone being of importance in a campaign played in by people who've been cunning enough that their characters have survived to become 12th level. if they have 12th level characters, they probably have figured out few things along the way (one hopes). Laughing

    DMPrata wrote:
    Your party is deep in the Crystalmists, slaughtering giants in the G series, when your 12th-level barbarian goes off to Valhalla. Don't worry, though, because there just happens to be a 12th-level paladin in the neighborhood ready to take his place. Where was this 12th-level paladin a few weeks ago, when we were the only heroes around bold enough to deal with this threat? There are only so many times you can pull that in a campaign without shattering the suspension of disbelief. Granted, bringing in a 9th-level paladin who just happened to be hanging around Istivin isn't that much more plausible, but it's at least a step in the right direction.

    Aw, come on now. The new character mustn't just happen to wander by with but a "Oh! Hello there! I was just passing through and heard a death scream cut abruptly short by a loud "SPLAT!' sound. I assume you are open to taking on a new companion, hmm?" Razz
    Okay, maybe if the DM is lazy/unimaginative that is what happens. Giants. In the deep wilderness. Not living in small, primitive lairs, but in massive forts, sprawling glacial caverns, and underground complexes cut from raw volcanic rock that delve down into the Underdark itself. And every single one of them just so happens to have a place where they could (or do) keep captives just waiting to be found and set free before they get eaten, or become the play thing of some monstrosity or other. The PCs find said place- enter the new character, stage left.

    (Yeah, that is an easy one. Happy)
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    Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:02 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Aw, come on now. The new character mustn't just happen to wander by with but a "Oh! Hello there! I was just passing through and heard a death scream cut abruptly short by a loud "SPLAT!' sound. I assume you are open to taking on a new companion, hmm?" Razz


    In my more...light-hearted...campaigns, new characters (and characters whose players' were absent) came from a box. Party inventory included a large trunk, into which characters would disappear or emerge. No further explanation was ever provided (because, frankly, if you needed one, you were missing the point.)
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    Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:42 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    If one is requiring a deluge of higher level characters to replace the dead ones, either the players are are idiotic, or the DM is running a pretty messed up campaign. Accordingly, I don't see the above situation even coming up, let alone being of importance in a campaign played in by people who've been cunning enough that their characters have survived to become 12th level. if they have 12th level characters, they probably have figured out few things along the way (one hopes). Laughing
    This did happen to me in that bygone era of the late '80s. Only one PC in our core group of 3–6 players survived from 1st to 17th level when the campaign ended. The other players each went through several PCs in that time, always coming back at (about) the same level. In hindsight, I feel that was unfair to the one player who, through luck and skill, actually earned every one of those levels. While certain people accuse me of "punishing" players for getting their PCs killed, no one wants to address the other side of the coin.
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    Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:09 am  

    DMPrata wrote:
    While certain people accuse me of "punishing" players for getting their PCs killed...

    Oooo...snarky. Laughing
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:16 pm  

    The "punishment" is not so bad. Smart play can net bonus XPs, which is a part of the overall equation as well. The replacement character may start slightly behind the others, but can catch up if they are played well. The point is to encourage quality play. If you only see down side, you are looking at it wrong.

    Playing smart = good things happen
    Playing stupid = bad things happen

    So, play smart, not stupid, because if you poop your pants, you get no dessert, whereas if you poop in the toilet you not only get dessert- you get a gold star! I don't think Nellisir got many gold stars, and he's still mad about it.

    Kills Nellisir's character, just because. Laughing
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    Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:47 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Kills Nellisir's character, just because. Laughing


    Good luck with that.
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    Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:15 am  
    Re: Rolling a new character after death

    nerdcav wrote:
    ...I had asked them to roll up two characters at the start of the campaign in order to have someone warming up in the bullpen, so to speak...


    -They shouldn't just be warming up in the bullpen; they just be playing in the minor leagues. Give the backup PCs minor adventures to giver them XP. That way, there's no give-aways, everything is earned. When the time comes, you just have to create a rationale for why they're heading to the major leagues.

    Personally, I limit the number of PCs, and they are always 1st level, because I figure there is a limit to the number of highly capable (i.e. High stat, PV level) people in the Flanaess or elesewhere who happen to be essentially fearless (i.e. never check morale). Wink
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    Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:53 pm  

    I guess I'm just a DM with a mean streak. If you die, well then the adventure just took a left turn to the nearest place to get a resurrection or raise dead. Of course, given that we're talking about a die roll determining the results, I try to have a semi-prepared sidetrack ready for the characters to head off on should one of them bite the dust. Death happens but it's never the end of the adventure!
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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:08 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    I play 1E, so my answers must be viewed through that lens. The method I've used for a while now is to give the replacement PC 20% of the XP total of either the dead PC or the lowest-level surviving PC, whichever is lower. Based on the scaling of XP in 1E, that generally results in a new PC about 2 levels lower. I use Appendix P of the DMG for possible magic items, and I give the new PC 5% of his (reduced) XP total in gold.

    So, for example, let's say a 5th-level fighter with 22,000 XP bites the bullet. The player's new PC would start with 4400 XP (22,000 × .05), which would be 3rd level if he rolled up another fighter. He'd get the base 50–200 gp at 1st level, plus 220 gp (4400 × .05), to purchase mundane equipment. I'd roll on the tables in Appendix P to see if he had magical armor, weapons, potions, etc.


    isn't 1E the same as 2E?

    Thats what i play 12E.
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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:24 pm  

    When the PCs are the biggest fish in the pond, the campaign should move to a bigger pond.
    Village -> town -> city -> kingdom -> empire -> global -> planar?

    Even at 3 levels a step, that progression takes you to 21st level.

    I'm a little more sympathetic to the problem of replacement PCs, but really, all you're saying is that it's easier for you to penalize the player than think of an in-game reason for a new character to be available. And as you yourself note, it's not really plausible. This month, 12th-level characters aren't available, but when the PC's go up to 14th level, suddenly 12th level is OK and now 14th level characters are unavailable.[/quote]

    And then retirement?
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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:56 pm  

    Quote:
    And then retirement?

    And then retirement what? After 21st level? Sure. Or keep going. Or spread the progression out so each stage is 5 levels - that takes you through 35 levels. Or if you don't want to run a planar campaign, retire characters earlier. Or run the first two stages for 3 levels, then the next two for 5 levels, and then the next two for ten levels....

    Or don't follow that script at all, and come up with your own solution. There's nothing wrong with ending a campaign at 12th level, so long as it's a natural conclusion. I usually end my games around 14th level, because that's my comfort zone. I also rarely move above "kingdom" level, and barely into that, to be honest, because it works just fine for me.
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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:56 pm  

    i don't know what i am doing. LOL

    24 years after putting the D&D books away i pulled them back out. I was surprised at how much was missing. Dice and miniatures were still there. Razz

    We cut our teeth last winter with the dm from 24 years ago runnin it. Four '87 grads over a weekend. We were hooked and plans were made for another weekend. My 20 year old nephew was into fantasy so joined us and started his own game.

    It was a bastardized version of the game that first time. Our thief had a shield and a bow. We leveled up more than one level/training session. We played a good module the first time called eye of the serpent. Next session was a crap one but i can't remember or find the name.
    The last time it was I1 Dwellers of the forbidden city.

    over the winter trav(old dm) and i worked on the gaming inventory. We decided i was gonna DM. It was gonna be the temple of elemntal evil so i started reading the module. This was my first time really getting a look at the world of greyhawk and what a world it is. Greywiki can eat up alot of time.
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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:08 pm  

    Ach. This isn't the thread you want, then. This is grognards and greybeards rehashing thirty years old arguments that are wholly irrelevant outside of their games. ;)

    That said, however you have fun is the right way to play the game. DM Prata plays pretty close to the (1e) book (insofar as i can tell from this thread). I don't bother with experience points and throw out half the rules of every edition I play. He creates new characters 2 levels below the party average; I use troldfolk instead of halflings, and leshii instead of half-orcs.

    Whatever is the most fun for you and the players is the right way to play.
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    Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:27 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Ach. This isn't the thread you want, then. This is grognards and greybeards rehashing thirty years old arguments that are wholly irrelevant outside of their games. ;)

    That said, however you have fun is the right way to play the game. DM Prata plays pretty close to the (1e) book (insofar as i can tell from this thread). I don't bother with experience points and throw out half the rules of every edition I play. He creates new characters 2 levels below the party average; I use troldfolk instead of halflings, and leshii instead of half-orcs.

    Whatever is the most fun for you and the players is the right way to play.


    I got alot of laffs from this thread. "smacks of videogame mentality" was probably the funniest and "global" made me laff.

    I am gonna role play like a mofo but have a script. Thats why i have been doin so much research into the world. Its gonna be 570CY and the world is their oyster. the Ts and then the As. The Gs, the Ds and Q. Just in time for the greyhawk wars or maybe that is averted.

    Me and trav have been spending like drunken sailors at noble knight. He has the complete collection of MERP and we have a pile of D&D. I have been reading the D20 living greyhawk gazeteer which has really given me alot of background on all the areas of greyhawk. It really is amazing how much information is out there.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:31 pm  
    Rate of Ascencsion

    I used to start new characters in at 1st level. I noticed that they may not be much help when hanging out with a bunch of higher level characters, but they would usually level up very quickly compared with how fast a party of 1st level characters do.
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