thread: 2005-03-10 : Character Death

On 2005-03-11, Ben Lehman wrote:

Character death...

I keep talking about Polaris, but it's really what's on my mind these days.

See, one of the things I've always found frustrating about RPGs is how much people are afraid of death.  No one will do anything daring or dashing or foolish or heroic because they are worried that they are going to die.

The common solution to this, common because it is a good one, is to assure players that daring or dashing or foolish or heroic things will not get their characters killed.  And that's all well and good, and it works, but it doesn't really fix the problem.

In a novel, in a movie—death is cool.  It is just an awesome moment.  Putting death off in moments where characters act like protagonists is a good way to get characters to act like protagonists, but it isn't a good way to get the cool death.

In a novel, a character might get death as the response for acting like a protagonist.  And that isn't bad.  That just makes it even more awesome, really.

Polaris is all about making it okay to lose.  In Polaris, as I keep saying, death is the good ending.  Death means that you were just that awesome.  That you were strong willed enough to stand against evil.  I want Polaris players to want death.  To thirst for it.  To just wait for the moment that they can get it.

We'll see how it goes.



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