Friday, 20 August 2010

Is death on the table?

I'll let you into a secret: if I like my character, the feeling that they could die at random makes me uncomfortable.

This can be somewhat awkward in a game like Vampire, where identification should be strong and the sword of Damocles should always be there... but unless you're in a LARP or a chat or some other hordes-of-players situation it should generally only drop if you bring it on yourself.

Conversely, Warhammer is about the only random-chargen game I like because it's seeped into my bones since I was twelve, and while it kicks up fun characters I never feel attached to them. Which is good, because they're doomed.

So I tend to run games where you can kick back and relax and not worry about the dice falling where they may and landing on your character.

So it's kind of odd how many PCs died in The Watch House...

Buffy provides a system where everybody should be safe due to the many ways of avoiding death provided by Drama Points. This lead to people making madly dramatic choices for the PCs including, yes, dying, usually when their player left the game but in one case several weeks of playing a vampire beforehand.

And in another case coming back and playing the same character despite her having died nine months earlier.

In many cases players weren't coming back - two of them were leaving the country - but I do wonder if death being optional made the option more appealing. Without having the constant threat of death, death becomes another narrative thing to try?

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