thread: 2005-03-10 : Character Death

On 2005-03-10, xenopulse wrote:

You guys know by now that my main focus for many years has been GM-less freeform playing, with total character ownership (I get to decide about anything that happens to my character, so no death or even scratch without me introducing it into the SIS). That actually made for a good lab experience, because you can see under what circumstances people let their characters die.

For most people, it's never. They get too attached. I think this makes them potentially miss out on some intense play, but then again, a lot of people play for the social interaction, so they settle in their Comfort Zone. They don't want to lose their play input and player connections. Others let their characters die very often, but get resurrected right after, therefore making the death near meaningless.

For those of us who are really into intense stories and can handle starting over, however, it turns out that Vincent's assessment in the Hardcore thread (I think) was quite on point. I killed a close friend of mine's long-standing character (2 years of almost daily play) at the climax of a story. Similarly, two of my characters were killed in highly dramatic situations (one actually took his life as he was about to be overwhelmed by the enemy, in good old Aliens fashion). But when random idiots attack me, there's no way I'll let my character die just for their satisfaction, even if it would be "realistic" or plausible according to the events. It has to MEAN something, make a big impact, or—as you said—be a final statement.

I can therefore from my own experience only reinforce the two main points:

a) People don't want to be left out through character death (but in a freeform environment, there's little to no input without a character).
b) The death needs to be thematically meaningful to be satisfying. This includes death not being easily undone.

- Christian


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