Player Character Deaths! (GM Tips w/ Matt Mercer)

Player Character Deaths! (GM Tips w/ Matt Mercer)

MATT: Hello. My name is Matthew Mercer.
I’m a voice actor and the Dungeon Master on Critical Role here on Geek & Sundry,
and today’s topic is the joyous, wondrous event of player character death. [music] In running most RPGs there is the inevitable
scenario of a PC falling in battle without means of recovery. Months or years of
character development and investment gone in a flash. Now how do you guide your
players through such an intense scenario and move forward in a positive way.
I mean it’s the danger you must maintain in your game if it’s to hold any real weight
and stakes for the players. In the earlier levels it can really be a constant,
real threat. It can be a emotional and difficult scenario to see through as a GM so
be ready and here are some ways to hopefully make it easier for the player to digest,
and make it a real powerful and memorable moment for the game as a whole. First, let the players know that when you
begin the campaign that player death is indeed a real possibility. Make sure they understand
that fact early in so as you progress it doesn’t catch them off guard when it
does happen for the first time. At least, as off guard as it would.
It’s going to catch you off guard regardless, but, you know what I mean. Now when
the moment does happen, don’t gloss over it. Explain the death as cinematically as you can,
letting the epic final moments ring out in the party is a powerful if incredibly sad, moment.
Now, outside of a non-recoverable corpse, or a death that destroys the body instantly,
consider letting the player get a few last words out as a battle cry or inspiration to their friends
to carry on that will allow a very clear crystal moment for that character to really be remembered
by the rest of the players and the PCs for that matter. If there is no resurrection recourse for the PCs
give some time to let the group mourn in game, in character and perhaps, if in game time allows,
hold a role playing wake. Try your best to play up the warriors wake
with celebration of their life over hanging on to the sadness of death instead.
It really helps the players kind of digest in a positive light and tell rousing stories
of great memories they had with their party member and kind of just overall gives a better and more
healing spin on the whole experience. Also, let the player of the deceased character
write an epilogue for their tale. Perhaps as a way to get down those unspoken words
they never really got a chance to say before their untimely end came.
After the session is done in which the character falls, maybe shortly in the future, depending on gauging it,
go out with the players to get drinks or a fine meal to celebrate the memory of the character as
just a group of friends sitting in a restaurant somewhere. It really also helps to get rid of all the tension
of the moment and let you guys remind yourself that it’s just a game and you’re all friends
still having a good time even when the sad moments happen. As soon as it feels
comfortable after the session, go ahead and speak directly with the player about the excitement
of getting to create a brand new character and all the endless possibilities for
trying out new skills and abilities. Brainstorm new character story ideas and how
they would fit into the current campaign. If they’re still really attached to their dead
characters, perhaps you could brainstorm a way to have the new character involved in the
backstory of the deceased PC so that a spiritual successor is found and it carries the torch.
You can discuss with the other players ways to keep the memory of the fallen
in the game as you go on. They could craft bracelets of remembrance they refer to in
the future during moments of tension. Perhaps they could name their new keep after
the dead. They could use their name as a war cry in future struggles. Things like that. Ways to keep
the memory of that character alive as they play on. There is sometimes difficulty in incorporating
a new character into a long-running adventuring party. Filling a hole in a long-established rapport
can be strange and finding a way for you, the GM, to bring them in without feeling too forced
can really be an interesting challenge. Trust me. It sucks. I recommend finding a way to tie
them to the main narrative threads or the current overarching quest. Talk with the player about this,
and talk with your other PCs about being receptive, as much as their PCs can be, to a new ally.
The new PC can be related to, or a friend or ally, to the deceased PC, wishing to avenge them
and see their goal to completion in their honor. The new PC could even be an off-screen NPC
from another player’s character’s backstory, with that player’s permission of course,
already tying them to the party and giving them inherent stakes in the story. The new PC
could have strongly aligned goals with the party and having heard of their proven skills and renown
wish to ensure the best means of success for both of them. They could even arrive
to the party with extremely essential information, or an essential artifact of the main quest,
quickly tying them to the fate of the adventuring party. The new PC could have a long history with
the main antagonist – wishing to tear them down for personal reasons, and they seek like-minded allies
to achieve this goal. The new PC could even pick up the reins of a non-essential NPC you introduced
that the player took a shine to and bring them to the forefront of the story as a PC now.
You inform the player of what you had developed regarding that NPC and their story and
let them take that and run with it for the future. These are all options and ideas of ways to do it,
and there are many others that you may want to research on your own, but I hope that at least
these will be somewhat helpful in tackling this somewhat difficult circumstance in your game. Well thank you so much for watching.
You can see other episodes of GM Tips here on
I’m Matthew Mercer and I’ll see you on the internet. [fantasy music] [Geek & Sundry theme music]

100 thoughts on “Player Character Deaths! (GM Tips w/ Matt Mercer)

  1. Matt: "Maybe they use the deceased PC's name as a war cry"
    Me: "Why do that when u can scream their catchphrase? JUST WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM!?"

  2. I had a player die in one of my sessions recently. I let them bring him back; they were all really new to the game and I didn't want to make the poor guy roll up a new one, ESPECIALLY because everyone in the party could've saved him if they'd been paying attention.

  3. Make it so the PC can't die they just revive in the last town. Do this for a very long journey then at the end it turns out all the good you did was actually bad and the whole party was actually being controlled by a necromancer.
    After that quest start over on the other side being actually good people and tie both stories together.
    All abilities the PC's once had carries over and the DM has fun torturing the new PC's.

  4. My first character death was, oddly enough, to friendly fire.

    We were just entering a magical maze which was filled with undead, and not surprisingly, the Wizard decided to cast Scorching Ray. One of the rays rolled a 1 on to-hit, and hit the maze hedge. At which point we discovered the maze was enchanted to reflect spells cast at it for DOUBLE DAMAGE. My character was unfortunate enough to be right in the middle of the projectile's path, and rolled a 1 for reflex, meaning the damage was doubled AGAIN, for a total of 44 damage against my measly 12 HP.

    On the plus side, the Barbarian chopped off the Wizard's arm in his rage, and I was laughing the whole time.

  5. If and when my elf rouge dies his last words would be “take care of my sister for me please she was the only family I have left”

  6. In my first ever game my friend made an Aarakockra that was afraid of heights so eventually he wanted to change characters so he opened a trap door and stood in front of a skylight which dropped a slab of stone crushing him and his death dealt 3 danage to our druid it was a morbidly funny death.

  7. It's okay, my players are VERY used to death. They do not like spending their time disarming traps, and I am NOT showing them mercy.

  8. Reminds me of my first character's death. My group was doing a encounter only game due to having to play during lunch time at work while we did the rest while working. Anyway facing a baby dragon my rouge/ranger and been tanking its acid spray for about 5 rounds with healing and pots but missing 1 saving throw I took all 6 d6 because of how low I was our dm rolled in front of us 1 at a time and each roll come up 6 at the last one he said "if this is a six I'm saving your character" the tension had been built well as he rolled a 5 is so pissed and joyful because it was fun as hell to being so close to living only to have them die melting into a puddle of acid

  9. My first character death: I was the healer. I fell down a trap hole. Into a pit of minotaurs. Then got beaten into a pulp. And then the wizard burned all the minotaurs right after I had died, as the DM had me step into the next room, so they couldn't know exactly what I was doing/how I was…faring…, and I couldn't know what they were doing.
    The next week, my new character was found tied up in the next room, the last survivor of his own party.

  10. I almost had a character to reach 1 year. Just 3 more days, ill get through my first year with my first char. A fight broke out near me and a boulder got knocked over and rolled on me, because I rolled badly trying to sneak away from the fight at low hp. I think gm killed me on purpose.

  11. We were seperated in a battle by a field of darkness in a battle against a Roper. Because we were extremely unlucky that one of the PCs rolled a 1 on a death saving throw, I (War Cleric) had to run over here for spare the dying. In the meantime the other cleric and the barbarian fell as well and it was too much of a distance to save them as they also rolled a 1 on the first death saving throw and so I wasn't fast enough to get to them in time. What made Things worse is that I had no spellslots for Revivify left as the Roper appeared on the getaway from a battle with the Guards of a duergar city in which I had to use them. I think it hit me harder than them, because I could have saved them, if I was just a bit faster. At the time of this writing we are carrying their dead bodies through Underdark in hope to find a way to resurrect them.

  12. Death is inevitable and shouldn't be ignored. Death is the part of life that hallmarks who and what kind of person they were. It keeps me grounded to the game and to my own reality. I could die at anytime, what will people say about me when I am dead? You do you.

  13. I'm about 6 sessions into my first campaign. We've lost 3 characters already. Two because our wild mage accidentally casted fireball when he picked up a key inside a warehouse filled with flammable materials. Good times.

  14. We were trying to escape the Abyss. The beacon would hold the portal back to our world open for only seconds. We could hear them coming…The beacon is lit, we have seconds to get to the light where the portal will appear. We make it! And then… A demon appears, and attacks. Not us, not yet. But the beacon is struck and goes down. The beginning light vanishes. Our Dark Paladin leaves our side. He will relight the beacon. We have to stay alive long enough for the portal to open. We can hear more of them now, getting closer. The Paladin goes back, with a last look at the half elf Druid girl. Her eyes widen as she realises he can't light the beacon and make it back to the portal of light in time. He will be trapped! The beacon is lit. Four more hideous shapes break through to their vision. The Dark Paladin pulls his great Scythe. His dark eyes lock with each of the remaining party members one last time: the mighty Dragonborn, the loyal Tabaxi, and the weeping Druid. "Remember me!" he says. And they see the evil ones advance from the darkness as the portal takes them.

  15. The last time I had a PC death in a game the player had done something incredibly stupid against the wishes of the other players! So they all looted his possessions, kicked a little dirt on him and went on to end the campaign, then split the loot without him before they would let him rejoin as a new character! He quit the game the next time he tried some idiotic act and everyone else drew their weapons on him! Some players are just better off dead!

  16. Some years back I played a Chaotic Evil Priest of Set as my character! I Literally murdered thousands of NPC's, Villagers and townsfolk by poisoning water sources and food supplies! All the while pretending to be trying to help by using my healing spells and Medical skills (which never actually worked for some odd reason) on those who were apparently afflicted by what my cohorts thought was a PLAGUE!!!!! Best character I've ever had and played it to the hilt! None of my party members were even aware of the fact that I was the source of all this death! When they finally did find out I became the end game confrontation and killed several of them as well! I was finally defeated, hanged, drawn and quartered then burned! What a great game that was!

  17. Ah I remember my Minotaur Paladin. Survivor of the near total party kill by a ruthless trap of an evil warlord. He survived and swore vengeance against the EGB. Many sessions later, new friends and allies to protect. Regis (My minotaur paladin) finally cornered the Warlord at the peaks of Icewind Dale. I was just a hit or two away from going down, so calling out my fallen friends and allies… I bull rushed him and myself off the cliff while plunging the Holy Avenger through his chest and lots of muscle and steel collapsing on him.

    In the end, the rest of the party found Regis's corpse with the Big Baddie and Regis's soul was reunited with his comrades that he failed to protect, but he made damn sure to avenge them.

  18. Yeah… I had a session where a TPK almost happened due to a PC’s incredibly stupid decision. We just started a new campaign and was only a few sessions in when one of the party members who was a rogue OwlBoy started to duel class as a Warlock( I was already a Warlock but hey doesn’t hurt to have another one). We went into a cave/dungeon, and that OwlBoy decided to fly and activated a trap. All the trap did was activate a magic barrier and we became trapped. Some time passed and we’re all still stuck despite the fact that we got sealed with the soul of a Lich King(whom only I could speak to since I spoke Abyssal) who was also trying to get out since it was stuck here for centuries. OwlBoy decided this was the best time to reveal he was a Warlock by asking his Patron for a way out, after he rolled a Nat 20 for religion check, he was blessed with a gem imbued with his patron’s raw power. As a party we decided the best course of action was to shove the gem into the barrier and overload it with power. However the OwlBoy decided the snap the gem open(the face of the DM was so funny) and release the power of a God in a tiny room. Surely enough 5/7 party members died instantly, just vaporized where nothing was left except for a giant crater in the cave/ground now, and of course me and a Ranger( we only survived because we, unlike the others, fled away from him as far as we could in this room). And Jesus Christ almighty that moment was amazing to witness despite almost dying myself with 2 health remaining.

  19. What about the issue of character level? Do you start them back at 1 or an otherwise much lower level and kind of just let them ride the coat tails of the rest of the group until they catch up? Or do you just level them to the average of the group or something?

  20. If you don't want your character to risk death, claim you have bone spurs and stay home getting fat. You can't be epic without risk.

  21. This will never been seen but I've seen all of your videos and now I will be dming my group in either an evil campaign or Skyrim edition I make from scratch. Thank you for the indepth breakdowns!

  22. first ever death was selmade impale.
    wanted to infiltrade a golblin camp, wich was surounded by spikes.

    climbed on a tree, the branch i was on, cracked and i fell on a spikewall under it.

    Vlad would be so proud

  23. One of my characters never got to say anything. Decapitation by ally thanks to a series of nat 1's.
    It's what really put me against critical failure as a concept.

  24. I played a long running game of D&D when I was in high school and my DM had messed up by letting every character make one of their stats a 20 (thinking it would be fun to be super powerful). He had a tough time coming up with challenges for our group (we had one character one-round kill a final "boss" after rolling 2 natural 20s). So, to try to fix his balance issue, he decided to kill my character off without telling me beforehand that he was going to do it. I was really shocked when it happened because I had grown "attached" to this character and he intentionally made it so there was nothing I could do to prevent the death. The real dick move came after. Once the first character was dead, he proceeded to hand me a new character he had made himself with absolutely no input from me. I hated the new character, and I left the game a few sessions after. I haven't played D&D since.

  25. Our latest campaign had a really sweet moment. A half-elf Bard died while we were fighting the centaur-cleric of a chaotic evil misogynist ice-giant god. The character used their last turn to help us fight while they were hurt and then they got hit by a spell and died. We buried her into the tomb where we were fighting. Our characters debated what to do with her cloak of Elven kind. We buried it with her, but the rogue stole it for himself. The player didn't mind, he just created a new character and that was it.

  26. Me: Dies

    The whole table: SANTOOOOOOS!!! NOOOOOOOO!!

    Me in character: Remember me mis amigos…. (Throws lute and rose at another player before falling into the dark abyss)…my spirit will live on…

  27. My PC is a Wizard, who almost died on the first session (was on 2 fails of death saves before NPC cleric healed me), and twice more since then.(only escaping by ridiculous saving throws). I pre-emptively rolled a Paladin backup character and incorporated him into the story ahead of time, having to fight the party Monk in an (unarmed) honor duel. The Monk won the fight and got to show off some of her cool moves, then the Paladin swore to defend the Monk in her time of need. So now he hangs out at the party base, and will be called up should my squishy Wizard buy it.

  28. I remember the first time I as a DM had evern killed off a character.
    "As the Djinn's lips finish uttering his incantation, the arcane energies he had been mustering produced a giant pillar of flame, engulfing the back line of the party. As the fmales and the heat licked at their flesh, the Warlock cohort, knowing he's definitetly not going to make it, clung to his succubus in fear and panic, tears flooding his eyes. The demoness, in a rare gesture of pure kindness, would lift his head up by his chin, wipe the tears from his eyes, and give a calm, reassuring smile. As she hugged him close, head against her chest, the spell had finished washing them with bitter flame, and the only thing left of the two… were singular gems."

  29. All I can think about was the video about a PC jumping off a cliff into water, but slams into a rock and dies instantly

  30. Eulogizing the character would only make half of the players angrier. Makes them want to play that character more. Making a new PC with connections to the old PC will only make him want to play the old PC more, too. This is why comic book characters never stay dead.

    And don't tell them to be happy about creating a new character, as they wanted to do new things with the old one first, before making a new one. In other words, half of this guy's advice is crap.

  31. My character got her brain consumed, then death showed up to collect her soul. She died at lvl 3.

    Everyone in the party were so stressed and upset about the lost, that the DM had to close the session and let everyone vent.

    They now have a chance to revive her, but only if they manage to collect 10k gold. In the meantime, I had to re-introduce a temporary new-member; who'll accompany them until the party can revive her.

  32. The first time a friend of mine died while battling a cyclops a portal oponed in the dungen's ceilling when the pc's characters son that superhero-lands on the party while sad he couldn't prevent his fathers death. But no one cared about it 5 seconds after

  33. One of my current characters has a "last will and testament" prepared in the (constantly less) unlikely event of his death.

    One thing I'm likely going to offer next campaign I run going forward is to let the player have a choice if the character dies – once they'd die, they immediately get to do one last action successfully, regardless of how long it will take (within reason – no "I kill the BBEG from full hit points" or the like, but holding the door against the hordes of undead to let the rest of the party escape through the back exit is perfectly acceptable), BUT the character will die with enough of a sense of accomplishment that they won't respond to attempts at resurrection. Or, they can get out a few last words, maybe try one last spiteful action, and die (potentially successful) and still leave the option of resurrection intact.

  34. I made a backstory for a rogue character which allows for some rather comedic interactions and it allows me to easily replace my character if they die off all of my characters are siblings and their entire family in an experiment to make the perfect Thief have a curse of kleptomania now because how many kids this family has because so many of them get killed off and dealing with kleptomania curses means their kids are more likely to die they have a bunch of them so that some of them can survive and how I RP this character is not always beneficial to the group because I RP this character with an uncontrollable urge to steal preferably not from the group but if they prevent me from doing it for too long I do because my character can't help it I usually give it back though in time I got us arrested once by stealing the king's crown I successfully stole it but then I wore it in front of them while they were giving us a quest after getting out of the prison on our way out I stole the guards sword I didn't have anywhere to hide it though so I ended up putting it back on the guard without being noticed we usually get a good laugh from this though

  35. Just looking for a bit of advice. I am really really against characters dying, like really really. The worry that my character might die really lessens my enjoyment of playing, because I don't understand how having a character who you've spent hours with, developing their personality, character arc etc, who then is killed and you can't play them anymore, is fun. I just don't get it.

    When I DM, my players know that I won't kill them off for good, but my DM in other campaigns would not have an issue with killing us. I also know that my opinion isn't that common; loads of people think it adds to the game but for me, it takes away.

    Thoughts? What do you think?

  36. My first death was caused by another pc he did a total of 93 damage to at lvl 4 me with an arrow of slaying he had, our characters had a very aggressive racial rivalry due to being on opposite sides of the war but the group had survive in nightmarish realm not of own. During a escape chase we had to cross a mountain gap with a massive fall fast forward a little I giving the power of flying so I rescued some of the party over drop but when it came to my rival I reluctantly grab him by the collar since he was small and midway through flight I tell him “you own me for this” in a low angry tone which triggered him to kill me the arrow exploded my body in pieces and launching down below some how surviving only to be dragged away by the ones chasing us to sacrifice him their cyclops deity which proceed to squish their pc’s head with a finger like an ant. This happened today and now I don’t wanna play anymore😭 I even had a somewhat romance going on with a half vampire npc now that dream has been crushed. 😖 Dis is not da wae

  37. had a 7 level half orc. kick open a dungen door looking for some way to save the party that is dead on the floor of the next room…well room full of 25 gobnlens and there boss leader had other ideas.. it was a beautiful bloody mess of torn bodys cracked heads and split guts. 3 nat 20 it was wonderful death boss put his +2 spear throught my head

  38. Party magically teleports Helga the serpent tongue to the center of a army of orcs (without player permission).
    Helga has a flaw, a great hated of orcs (thanks to DM insistence on the state the party finds her in within a Orc prison) and goes into a rage.
    Dice are on fire and Helga is a one woman wrecking crew laying waste to the army until she cuts off the head of the Orc army commander.
    DM: The Demon Lord Stillborn appears and cuts Helga in half (no save role given). Precedes to describes how Helga can't be resurrected because she is happy being one of Odin's whores in Valhalla (regardless that Helga is a Viking Berserker and not a Viking porn star).
    Party shows up after remaining Orc army leaves to loot Helga's body for the magic sword she got the previous session and argues about who gets it (note: took 3 months to get that first magic item, while everyone else in the party had more magic items then you could shake a stick at.).

    Last game of DnD I ever played.
    Note: DM played with the DM vs Players mentality and some of the players played the PVP mentality.

    Added note: To be fair the DM didn't know the party teleported Helga without my permission until after he killed her and the party was fighting over who got the sword Helga just got the week before.
    So he tried to do me a solid and have Sara the Dragon Charmer (reason for title: Who was my last character. When the party was cornered by a Black Dragon she stepped out of hiding to protect the party. She tried to act like she was just a dragon fan girl and heard that there was a real life dragon inside of the abandoned fort. So she just had to check and is so excited to finally meet a real dragon.
    Attempt to charm and nature 20.
    Which ended up making me roll up a new character (Helga the serpent tongue). Since the DM decided that the Black Dragon fell in love with Sara the moment she started talking. So he grabbed her and flys off to show her the wonders of the world and get her to agree to become his bride. Hence the name Sara the Dragon Charmer.) fly down on the back of a large male black dragon (her husband) just before the party could get to Helga's body to loot it. Then had Sara pick up the +2 Sword of Black Dragon slaying get back onto the dragon and fly away.
    He also apologized about not knowing that the party set me up to get killed. So he did what he could to make sure they weren't rewarded for it.

  39. One of my player (Melio) wanted to kill another player (Vergil).
    Vergil and Phex stood at the top of a really really long stairway. Melio made his way up and kicked Vergil so he fell.
    But Vergil touched Melio and he was cursed and so Melio needed to eat.
    Phex was confused by his action but he saw the thread of keeping Melio alive, so he shot him with his Crossbow. Vergil was still alive.
    My Players were just like: "Nyehhh, we didn't like him anyway. Lucky for us"
    (sorry for my bad english :c )

  40. First time one of my characters died.

    The DM set up a boss fight who did a handful of attacks that on average drained 25HP, to EVERYONE in the party who failed to dodge. My character was already sitting at 2HP when the boss dealt 30 to the whole party. I was definitely not coming back from that. I wasn't distraught though, I accepted it pretty early that my character was dying. She was intent on protecting another player character, and she had succeeded.

    What happened afterwards was a bit crazy, one of my teammates wanted to eat my characters body. (He was possessed and was being told to do it, he tended to consume strong enemies we fought so this wasn't surprising), another one of my teammates wanted to decapitate my dead body because she had promised to find a body for a shrunken head she carried around. (It granted her powers or something.) And then there was the player character who I saved, he was very very upset by my death, and insisted that the party should return my character's body to her family. It was a big tug of war between the characters, I found all the attention on my character to be pretty amusing— but then the DM tried to write me in as a ghost they could see too and he told me I had the option of choosing what they should do with my body. I have no idea why any of them would listen to me, but I said my character would probably appreciate the body returning to her family. It was dismissed, the body was given to the shrunken head who vanished with it. Not a problem.

    I did have a problem with my character being a ghost though, mostly because the DM was very pushy about me getting a new character, I said I'd probably come back to the next session with a new one. He didn't like that, he hadn't planned on anyone dying, so he immediately wrote in a little kid who he intended me to take over, he said my ghost was to possess him and slowly I would morph back into my character.

    It didn't sit well with me so I dropped the game there. It wasn't the first time we had issues with the DM, so it just didn't work out too well.

  41. And we've had 3 deaths in a few weeks in Curse of Strahd, each cold, brutal, and without ceremony. Last night it was our eldritch knight. Our barbarian in Death House was left there because carrying him out would have been too risky.

    This tone was set when in the first adventure our sorcerer was eaten by wolves. We don't slow, we don't mourn, we just march onward.

  42. I had a player death in the game some time ago. Sadly, it was treated as no big deal, and it really kind of urked me. One of our guy, a funkiller, mulled over what gear he would get from the encounter and even wanted to make a deal with the person who killed his party member… it actually made me not want to play with this group for a while. I took like a month long break. Also, in my games, I have a psychopomp that must be bartered and appeased in order to come back. All resurrection spells summon him, no matter what and the surviving party members have to roleplay to get their member back to life.

  43. I like to add a mysterious note.
    "Does your soul[player] go willingly?"
    If yes I just nod and describe as they pass on into the after life.
    If the soul [player]isnt willing.
    I describe as the soul rises up towards the heaven but leave more of a mysterious note so if it were to happen they perhaps will find a DMNPC later that could be their soul getting a second chance in a new body with no memory or if their pure will power pushed the soul of a War forged or something like that out as they are left with fragments of memories never much more than the faint idea of how someone acts, a trait they liked or hated about a friend, a warm feelint fills their mechanical cold heart as they meet these familiar strangers.
    Perhaps with a spell like wish, they could wish for their metal ally would be brought back to their body in front of them, as if they hadn't passed away from this mortal coil.

    My players haven't had a characters death impact them yet but I sure do have plans.

  44. So I am making a campaign centered around naval combat in the year 1943 in the Atlantic in the middle of WWII. What do you guys think is better: the player getting rescued from their sinking ship or, if the player chooses to go down the 'the captain goes down with his ship' path, transfer his 'being' to another captain of an existing ship?

  45. My sister and I have different ways of dealing with PC death while Dming, so I'd figure I'd leave our methods here for anyone to take as they please.

    My sister tells her players beforehand that Permadeath is a thing that can happen in her story, but she lets them make their death saving throws in private, letting them choose to share the result if they want. Not even she knows the result until the player speaks up and says they've stabilized or died. She states that "If you want to fudge your death saving throws, do it. Death is a real part, but if it's going to kill your enjoyment then don't adhere to it."

    I ask my party before hand if they even want to play with permadeath. If a general agreement is made that they don't, we work out a different consequence for when death would have happened. If they give the greenlight, then we do death as normal with one small exception. On RPGDriveThu, I picked up a 'Lingering Soul' Race.

    If a character has a 18+ Wisdom score upon death, and died in a scenario where the character would be beyond pissed at being dead, they make 1 wisdom saving throw at their turn. Pass three in a row across three turns, and they come back as a lingering soul until properly resurrected. If they fail once then they're dead-dead. I've never had a character die in the proper scenario to use this, but I'm holding it for the day.

  46. I was dming a game a few days ago. Our level 8 rogue fell in battle after months of sessions, what made this so memorable is that he was so attached to his charecter he starting shaking and began to cry, like a lot. We all felt really bad but he never forgot from that day forward that, players indeed are mortal.

  47. Writing this in 2019, having DMed about 5 sessions, this is fun to watch because my players were on the edge of death 3 times already XD
    these situations were emotional indeed, even for me beacause lethal threat wasnt intended

  48. My first character death was a wood elf ranger named Isaac, he had a wolf and let’s just say it attacked a guard and the guard killed it, I went into a blind rage and when I came out of it, every one of the guards was dead. I had to go to help my friend out of jail, long story, but basically I walked in the jail and a knight surprised me from a corner, downing me instantly. I succeeded my death saved and I was about to get up but he stabbed me to make sure I was dead. That was sad.

  49. You act like my party members would be sad if an ally died. I’m pretty sure they’re all trying to get each other killed hahaha

  50. Story time: my very first time playing DnD I wasn’t told my character would be played by the DM without me when I was gone (I assumed since I was going away on vacation I’d be taken out of the game entirely) and I’d only played two sessions. Right after I’d told everyone I had to go, the DM, my best friend, messaged me the morning I was heading off on vacation “hey hope you don’t mind but your character died while I was playing them”. I said I did mind IMMENSELY and begged my friend to bring my character back because I hated the idea that I couldn’t even roleplay their death, or be present for it (or that their death wasn’t at all due to my own player choices so it felt unfair). They said they couldn’t do that because it was “the rules”. And somehow I convinced myself that I was the bad guy when I got really emotional and told them how upset this made me.

    I stopped being friends with them for months. And we’re friends again but I can’t remember in all the conversations if they ever admitted what they did was… pretty shitty to a new player and a close friend.

  51. So ugh,… I had a player die, and his next character was a necromancer, who found and summoned his last character as a zombie.

  52. I have had two thus far over a few dozen characters, 1 was stuck in a swamp and trapped by vines the other and more recent was a turtle who went from full health and a 25 AC to nothing in one disintegration ray by a beholder……now i play his friend and older brother who will try to force/bargain/plea the mad mage to bring the tortle back.

  53. I recently had a character die I feel died under questionable circumstances and I was wondering if I could get some feedback from some knowledgable DM's here.

    So my character has a chunky health pool of 52 at lvl 3 (he was gunna be the attack sponge of the group). I was standing at 15 health and one minor enemy (a Centaur because of our campaign) attacks me. 1st attack brings me to 0 then to 1 thanks to me being a half-orc. 2nd attack. Effectively dropping me to 0. I'm unconscious. Attacks yet again (lvl 3 minor mob huh?). This time crits due to advantage on me because I'm unconscious. Hits for 90 damage. This was all in one turn.

    Now my DM has been adding flavor to the crits using a chart. Initially the one he used just had effects like, target is bleeding, or you would knock the weapon out of their hand… Etcetera. Of course it worked vice versa.

    He was using a new one for this fight. One I had never seen before. 2 out of the 4 choices included quadruple damage. 1 triple. And 1 just status effects. You can guess which one I got…

    This was my 1st character. I poured my heart and soul into him. I rp'd his death and I buried him emotionally as well as physically. I have never felt more conflicted in my life. I had fun playing dnd… and I could roll up a new character, but god the future I had planned for him…

    I take character creation to extremes, so yeah I would be emotional over any characters death regardless, but I would accept it. This just feels wrong and no resurrection spell will ever make it feel right again.

    Am I wrong?

  54. If you were playing AL in season 8 it's fine, dunno how it is in 9. But you should have enough gold to keep yourself covered. (Just hope you aren't a wizard trying to get new spells) Then again this vid is 2 years old pfft.

    If you die early, before 5; meh re-roll.

    If you die 5+ You have revivify; try not to lose your head.

    If you die 13+ You have Resurrection; try not to lose your soul.
    Between those two you have Reincarnate, but you may have to kill yourself a few more times to get the race you want.

    Then True Res if you meet a particularly terrible fate at around 17th.

    If non AL DM maybe rip you.

    After finishing AL we all wanted to keep playing, so now I'm hosting epic campaigns in a setting to earn epic boons, but loses cause you to lose epic boons instead of perma death (not to say you can't perma die, but in truth there are are things worse than death… Like locking someone who is unable to cast planeshift or planes walk in anyway in an obscure rando demiplane.)

  55. Lol. My DM and I, who have been playing for years, recently returned to play, and we had 3 bnew dnd virgins. In the very first battle, of the very first scenario, my rogue died. The DM and I were just laughing about it, as it was the result of me taking an extreme gamble, which would have been epic if I pulled it off. The 3 new players looked shock, as they never even considered permanent character death in a game before. Such fun times.

  56. I used to feel bad about my players losing their characters. I’d even apologize and offer them some buffs and extra coins for their next character. Then I started playing Lamentations of the Flame Princess…

  57. i was in an uncontrollable rage and accidentially killed a character, that moment couldn't be epic in anyway, the other player was sad

  58. My first char died on lvl1 getting a High-Roll Crit of 30dmg, just got deleted by a slightly above-Average enemy. The Party decided to loot my corpse and then burn the rest in a Fireplace.

  59. Some GMs like killing players. This is particularly true with organized play, where GMs seldom suffer the consequences of killing off Player Characters (namely, no one will play with him anymore.)

    More importantly, it is poor story telling. When a GM kill a player character, the player really has no choice but to pack up and leave. There really is no reason for a player to waste his time by sticking around and watching the rest of the adventure. The player is effectively eliminated from the game. Moreover, if the rest of the party is of more advanced levels, bringing a new level one character in the game really sucks the fun out of the game. A level one character really does not mix in with higher level characters. So killing off a player charactrer should be viewed as in invitation for the player to leave the campaign.

    Think of Star Trek. If Kirk had been killed, the series would effectively end. Instead good story telling would dictate that it would be far more interesting if the party fails its mission, perhaps with dire consequences to the game world. Of course, Game of Thrones killed of characters with abandon, but it had a lot of characters — and in the end, no one was left.

  60. I experienced my first character death 3 weeks ago. It was almost a total party kill. 6/8 of us died. One was saved because she was absent that week, so she woke up with everything just gone. The other had a blessing from a god so she teleported to safety.

    What happened was this. We were level 9 and we were roaming the forest and on our way to go kill a dragon that's been terrorizing the local people and villages. On our way to the dragon, a storm was heading towards us and it felt powerful. Our ranger was able to identify it as an event caused by somebody powerful. We had no where to go so the entire party hid in the trees, except for me, the parties main sorcerer… I used mold earth to build a little hut with tunnels to prevent flooding. Then finally, a boar approached the clearing near us, it was massive and had blue shards and electricity coming out of it. Out of reaction, we went straight into combat as we were all pretty powerful. Somebody made a mirror image of the hog and the hog kept attacking this false image because it was stupid… our other magic user used hold person or monster to hold the boar down, it couldn't make any saves at all so here's where I come in… I took the feat dual concentration and just barraged it with immolation…

    Our dm was a little upset as she prepared this encounter for weeks to finally have something to counter me… the sorcerer. In actual length of the battle… the boar was turned to ash in less than 6 seconds. Only to then have the storm become worse so we found a cabin to take shelter… a man was there but I took off on my own away from the party as my sorcerer started to "feel extreme terror and dread" out of nowhere. So for the parties safety… I left and eventually regrouped once I figured I was safe.

    My table always hates my characters for some reason… we have 3 players who will just hate all of my characters for absolutely no reason. My alignment was chaotic good and usually is or is neautral good for other characters. But anyways, I come back to my party wanting me dead so I paid this strange landowner 20 gold to stay in his best room and be away from a party that hates me. But I wake up and the feeling of terror is still there and we all discuss it and we discovered that I pissed off the God of destruction and I killed his favored pet… he wasnt mad because I killed his pet, but how I did… it was as if i was mocking his power because the boar was powerful and i slapped it around like a soggy wet piece of bread. My character then feels the need to ask the god for mercy and forgiveness and the landowner steps out of the cabin to see me yelling upwards towards the stormy sky. He suggest, "well he is the god of destruction, maybe he wants you to destroy a village.. an eqaul price to pay for killing his pet"… the dread increases as I silently recognize that the landowner is the God of destruction in disguise. So for the parties safety, I silently obey and leave to go find a village to destroy. The party calls me coward, but they still have no clue I'm doing this to save them and to please an evil god before he rampages and destroys more people…. it was a village… or the whole region… my chaotic good sorcerer had to make the sacrifice… kill the few to save the many. He loved his party.. especially when he was introduced in the story at first and started off as a captive.

    The party then heads out the next day, going the opposite direction that I did, to go defeat the dragon. But the other sorcerer stays behind and stays at the cabin… he then gets alone time with the landowner and then once actually alone together, they talk, and introduce themselves completely to each other. Little need to say but a battle started and the other sorcerer would rather attempt to kill the God and save everybody rather than simply obeying and losing anybody. The party got a bad feeling and the giant and hobbit go back to the cabin where a major battle starts. The battle goes on for almost the entire night, as they constantly heal.. but finally… our cleric sorcerer makes a posion and drinks it, so that the god of destruction doesnt get the kill, stealing yet another kill from the angry god. This enrages the God and as a result, the goliath and hobbit are instantly killed and buried deep… our ranger gets a bad feeling and teleports with a blessing to another land several days away. Our dragonborn teenager waant there that week so she was asleep in the cabin the whole time the party fought the God. My character, was molding earth underneath a village to bury it…. but as soon as he gets an odd feeling that the party was destroyed and killed off, he takes out his dagger and stabs himself. Without his companions, saviors, and newly found best friends, he decides life is not worth living. So with his final act, he built an anti flood system for the village before taking his final breath so he may protect the village. The village would never come to recognize theres a new anti flood cavern underneath them, and they would never come to discover the body of the villages savior inside of that new found cavern.

    Chaos filled the world, and our next campaign began with a whole new party that is filled with unique characters. warforged, a shardmind, a kitsune, a blood angel, a shadow elf, a drow, and a half elf.

  61. Watching this clip just hours before continuing a campaing which we left off wandering into a deadly trap. Don't see us walk out of that one

  62. For 2 years I wrote in a journal about our journeys, my personal thoughts and feelings, whatever may it be. And when I died, hilariously by a rockslide of all things, they took my journal and read through it all. Pretty embarrassing. And now one of them carries it with them all the time.

  63. My first PC death was my level 8 High Elf Eldritch Knight. We were mid fight during an orc raid. Thee orcs straight up just turned tail and started running during the fight and I, along with the rest of the party thought we had won. What we had not noticed (DM rolled against the group's average passive perception) was the giant shadow on the ground approaching the party from behind. My PC's famous last words were, " Not so tough now are you, scumbags?!" DM had me roll a dex save with disadvantage, nat 1. The Red Dragon landed right on me, crushing my dumbass and instantly killing me. An epic, cinematic moment that, looking back, was awesome. Of course i didn't see it that way in the moment 😛

  64. my first death TLDR at bottom

    me and friends have been hired to kill a undead army no biggie
    the 6 of us went into the crypts and with a mixture of bad luck and poor planning we set off a trap
    this trap teleports the player to the end of the crypt to fight the lich
    i was teleported and used stealth to hide from the big bad after blinding him with a flash bomb and sand grenade
    every turn after they chose stuff to do i had to try and hide from this abject horror eventually after a whooping 11 turns i am discovered
    "you can't hide from me my new mortal plaything"
    "i gave it my best shot i just didn't want to die…im sorry for blinding you"
    "you talk like words can save you"
    then the battle began and he rose the undead in that room all veteran warriors
    my friends hear this exchange coming from down a hall that lead to the main crypt room and after just 2 turns of just me vs the lich the main door burst open and i see my friends but they are weak from all the damage they have been taking and i was holding most of the potions eventually my friends healed up and then they started to fall in battle until we are fighting our risen dead friends (we had a plan to save them) then it was just me and our cleric i told her to "run you are the only one who can bring us back" i then after she had escaped used a very weird mix of things to make a sort of dragon bomb (dragon breath venom, heavily compacted gunpowder, ground up dragon toadstool)
    "surrender or i destroy us both"
    "i didnt even surrender to death you fool i will not bow to some lowly mortal"
    "i will see my friends souls in the afterlife you undead corruption"
    "you will become my personal walking trophy"
    "you will become dust"
    i drank the concoction and used breath fire i became a bright and massive explosion right next to the lich his body became dust in moments my body was deteriorating i no longer had a jaw and if i didn't have dragon scales i would have become a fiery puddle instead of a concentrated flaming bomb but within a matter of 15 seconds i was nothing but blood upon the stone
    breath fire was so strong it blew up most of the room in front of me and then the room behind that room and the room above that room it became a blast so big it damaged the world above it made a hole straight up destroying houses roads until it hit a nearby mountain killing a dragon (literally killed a dragon) then when it dissipated it was called "the day hell said hello"

    my body was unrecoverable but the blast i let off was the invention of the flame thrower and nuclear bomb all at once

    my friends were resurrected and each of them wore a dragon scale patch to honour my passing from the dead dragon

    I burnt a lich to dust with a mixture of makeshift explosive potion and fire breath which blew up most of a town and killed a dragon on a mountain my body became nothing but melted skin and blood

  65. There was another video on another channel about character deaths and how hard it can be to convincingly kill a character. In D&D, you have resurrection, true resurrection, wish, and if your character was good or lawful good becoming a celestial in the afterlife (I assume, since some evil characters can become devils). So how do you justify using none of those methods to bring back a PC?

  66. MM gives such basic general advice. It's like he makes these things because he knows they'll get tons of views because of CR.

  67. A players character recently died to hold the enemies at bay for as long as he could to enable the others to flee. Now I think that his Patron liked how he sacrificed himself and wants him as her new Champion of the Raven Queen. He was quite excited for this idea.

  68. I actually had no idea how to handle player characters' deaths before seeing this, this was actually pretty well helpful. Makes the mood WAY better when someone slips on a fruit peel and passes away.

  69. MM: 'remember that this is just a game'
    also MM: 'perhaps you can go out and celebrate the life of your character with friends'

  70. One thing I think everyone should do is always make a backup character just in case you do die. That way you can be brought back into the story sooner rather than sitting there making a new one while the group pushes on

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