Saturday, November 11, 2017

Jaded Gamer Diary - I can't die!

Of all the 'new generation' or 'indie game design' ideas that really get under my skin this has got to be one of the tops.  The idea that a character can't die unless the player wants them to.  That no matter what, if the player says no then the GM has to bend EVERYTHING into some weird shape to allow them a way to live out of the most unsurvivable situations.

As a GM I can't build tension worth a shit because the players eventually fall into that stage of not caring about how crazy their characters, or their actions, are.  They just go and do dumb ass shit for no good reason just to make the person running the game chase the story through their own assholes to keep them alive.  There is no risk, not a single bit, nothing at stake.  They can't die.  Oh you can bring up all sorts of things like them losing NPCs they care about or failing the mission, but in the end they really don't care.

As a player we all know there is that one jackass at the table who is never EVER going to let his uber annoying piece of wasted sperm and egg die.  That player who makes a character with a really annoying accent that they have to mimic at the table constantly.  The player that will say fuck all and split the party.  The character we all want to see die because he sucks the fun out of the game.  But he won't, he never will.

When you do end up saying I'll let my character die then chances are that will happen.  Because the GM will have already stacked shit up so high to deal with immortal characters that one who is suddenly mortal is going to get squished.

So my 'fix' for this? I don't play in games with the mechanic nor do I run games with this mechanic.  Pretty easy fix.  I sit down at the table and the GM says "Your character can't die unless you want them to" and I say fuck it and get up and leave. 



  1. Total agreement from me. I've left games when I realized the GM was pulling his punches, it just removed all the tension and there's nothing 'heroic' if there's no risk.
    Games that mechanically remove the risk are a no-go for me.