I think I’m going to be glad I got my own Dungeons & Dragons Insider account. Getting my own account prompted me to make greater use of the resources available to me, and I’ve already found a bit I’d like to talk about because it jumped out at me: an article that showed up in December’s issue of Dungeon magazine called To Live Defeated.

The article poses over a dozen possible alternatives to slaying a defeated foe: means that don’t (or at least, shouldn’t) require some sort of ritual, or character class, or ability. It’s suggested that by reducing the villain to zero hit points should be enough of a “kill” that the players be allowed to dictate what happens to their enemy — be it permanent scarring, planar banishment, or imprisonment in a statue or the form of a harmless animal.

This is one of those things I totally support, and why not? Defeated is defeated, is defeated. Playing with a couple hard-and-fast rules here and there — with fun in mind — can do remarkable things in terms of storytelling. It’s part of the Dungeon Master’s job to make things as awesome and memorable as possible. For instance, a merciful (mercy in the eyes of the beholder?) character might cut off the fingers of a murderous archer.

I heartily recommend the article to anyone with a DDI account, as it gave me quite a few ideas for both heroes and villains. Not just in gaming, but in writing as well. :)