Day 6: First Character Death. How did you handle it?
This is the first one of these questions I feel like I can provide an answer that I haven’t covered extensively in my blog, which I can also say is a thing that actually happened — as opposed to, “well, something comparable has happened…”
Here’s the thing — I started playing 3e, which is where some of the problems of characters never dying began to arise. I played a half-elf Bard, then an anime character, and I GMed a lot of the time, so I didn’t really play much.
My first character death came about in a Star Wars Saga Edition game. I played a Trandoshan Soldier, who was probably the toughest character in the party. He used Two Weapon Fighting to beat things up with a force pike.
One of the things we discussed before the campaign was whether or not to use licensed characters from the franchise, and if I remember correctly the players’ response was “why not, as long as you do it responsibly.”
I would say my character death was the result of GM error and my stubbornness. See, we had caught wind that Boba Fett had been contracted to take out our party. Now, I disbelieved we were being pursued by Boba Fett for metagame reasons — namely our party was 4th level, and Boba Fett was 16th level.
My character was pragmatic to the max, and in-character I argued that we should go after this bounty hunter who was tailing us. The rest of the players argued against me for the metagame reason that Boba Fett had Plot Armor.
Since most of the debate was based on the metagame, my counter-argument was that it couldn’t be the real Boba Fett, since we hadn’t done anything to attract the attention of an NPC 12 levels higher than us — we’d be “small potatoes,” and it was far more likely that some hotshot was impersonating him.
So, I was ultimately alone in trying to find a method to get Fett off our tail, and I tracked down the information about the bounty hunter’s ship and docking. He had apparently followed us and docked in the same spaceport. I simply planted a remote-controlled explosive and waited for him to return to his ship.
My character was ratted out by a droid who had witnessed me tampering with the ship and since I was in the vicinity, Fett came right for me. The fight was brief — it turned out the GM had meant for the actual Boba Fett to come after us, and he quickly overwhelmed my character.
The GM declared that Boba Fett delivered a coup de grace after my character was rendered unconscious, then he rolled dice, I failed my save, and I announced that my character had died. I was doing pretty well up to that point — at most I was annoyed that I had been wrong, and maybe feeling a little betrayed.
When the GM started in about a “non-lethal coup de grace,” I snapped.
I think I said something along the lines of, “We rolled the dice already. My character is dead. Don’t try to take it back now.”
That was my first and only character death.