Today, I was thinking about death mechanics. I was thinking about Character death and how unsatisfying the mechanics presented in various systems are. To my pleasant surprise I discovered that I’m not the only one who’s been thinking about this recently. There are two other RPG Blogs that I am a huge fan of: The Angry GM, and Gaming Ballistic. If you aren’t already familiar with either of these blogs, you should stop reading mine and go read theirs for a while.
In any case, I was pleasantly surprised to see a write up from The Angry GM about Player Character Death. If you don’t feel like going and reading the article, the summary is “Death is important for games and stories, and so it is appropriate that it sucks. If you really want to avoid it, here are some alternatives”. I agree with this sentiment – I’d go so far as to suggest Resurrection be removed from D&D. However, The Angry GM’s arguments for how death sucks involve a lot of meta-game pain for the players, as opposed to in game pain for the Characters. That in itself is something I tend to want to avoid, but beyond that I always favor mechanics that increase player choice.
Just about every RPG has some sort of damage mechanic; a way of figuring out what happens when a Character takes a hit in combat. Exactly how the Damage Mechanic is implemented is heavily tied into the underlying mechanics of the game and has an enormous impact of the “feel” of the game during play. Here we’re going to look at some commonly used mechanics, how those tie into the underlying mechanics, and how they affect the feel of play. Finally, we’ll introduce a possible mechanic for Living Myth.