Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Out of Action Table

I'm normally not squeamish about player character death (either as a player or as a GM). But somehow, running a one-GM/one-player game with my wife, the idea of PC death feels wrong to me. PC death in a one-on-one game feels more "adversarial" to me in a way that it doesn't in a game with a group of players. Here is something I plan to implement in my game with my wife, so I don't have to feel uncomfortable fretting over the possibility of "killing" her solo character.


When the PC drops to 0 hp, the character is knocked unconscious and suffers some additional penalty. The GM rolls on the table below, re-rolling any result that doesn't make sense in context, or adapting the result so it does make sense.

1. Broken Gear. Some of the PC's gear is destroyed (in order of priority: magic item, armor, weapon, other); remove the item(s) from the PC's equipment list. Otherwise, the PC's henchmen either drive off the enemy or successfully grab the PC's body and flee to safety while the PC is unconscious.

2. Penniless. The PC's body is quickly looted by adversaries before henchmen can drive them off or pull the PC to safety. All monetary treasure (coins, gems, jewelry) the PC was carrying is lost. Otherwise, the PC's henchmen either drive off the enemy or successfully grab the PC's body and flee to safety while the PC is unconscious.

3. Wounded. The PC is severely wounded, permanently losing 1 point from a randomly determined ability score. Otherwise, the PC's henchmen either drive off the enemy or successfully grab the PC's body and flee to safety while the PC is unconscious.

4. Alone. Henchmen protect the PC's body and drive off the enemy, but the desperate struggle costs them all their lives. The PC awakens alone on the battlefield, surrounded by dead henchmen and enemies.

5. Lost. Henchmen grab the PC's body and flee to safety, but lose their bearings in the process. Now they are all safe, but don't know where they are.

6. Captured. The unconscious PC is captured by the enemy, along with 1d6 henchmen. They are all now prisoners.

Many of the above assume henchmen are alive at the time the PC drops to 0 hp. If that is not the case, the rolled result will likely still apply, but with an added penalty such as the PC being looted of valuables or magic items, made prisoner, or whatever other effect allows the result makes to sense.

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