Thursday, September 26, 2013

Alternatives to Death

One of my goals for my over the table gaming is to spread the excellence of the OSR. However I find a lot of opposition to OSR games in my local community. One of the complaints is the lethality of the game. From a certain perspective  this makes sense. For those players who want to invest in their character but find the likelihood of death in a gritty game is an impediment to engagement then the game is failing. I don't think it is my role as the GM to educate my players about the wisdom of the OSR, but rather it is my job to facilitate a game that all can enjoy. So I began thinking about ways to reduce the likelihood of permanent character death without making characters invincible.

I'm not dead yet! After being brought to 0 characters survive and can be saved for 1 round per level, through magical healing, binding wounds, or inspiration.

Binding Wounds! As per S&W White Box. Trying to do this during battle is not advisable without a fighter standing over you, but you can of course attempt anything!

Inspiration! Any character can attempt to inspire a dying character to continue fighting. The character doing the inspiring makes a charisma check, if successful the dying character recovers to 1 hp and keeps fighting. This is a temporary hit point.

Deal with Death! Death is willing to bargain with heroic types. When a character dies death is willing to bargain with them. Death will resurrect the character in exchange for favors. Each resurrection incurs a debt with Death. If you roll a 1 on any d20 roll and have an outstanding debt Death calls in a favor. The favor would be determined randomly using the Tome of Adventure Design or similar quest table. If Death feels you are not making adequate process you might have to explain yourself. This is of course available totally on an opt-in basis. It is also rumored that other powerful beings have the ability to intercede and resurrect fallen heroes but they are not as predictable and even-handed as Death.

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