Every so often, LARPing teaches me a little something that I can bring right to the table (if you don't know what LARPing is, read this post!). This little lesson deals with killing off characters - a topic I discussed not too long ago.
So, a character dies. Always an icky business. You're looking down behind your DM screen and see the natural 20. You glance at your notes - they have twenty hit points left. You look at the stat block of the goblin - x4 multiplier. You roll again... another 20. The time has come (the walrus said) to make a decision.
Do you fudge the roll?
Do you go ahead and kill off a character?
But, this is a GOBLIN! A random encounter gone horribly wrong!
What if you just gave this critical... a raincheck?
Sometimes, the random encounters can get out of hand. Even the planned ones can! PC's can die at the worst possible moments, when it would completely disrupt the flow of the game, at the hands of a minor and nameless foe, or in any one of another one hundred inconvenient ways.
Fudging the dice to make your PCs invincible can be lame, and can remove the fear of death from your campaign which can make things hard on all fronts.
So, fudge the dice for now, but that PC has died, and sooner rather then later (Final Destination style) that character's going to die - though in a much more epic way. Add in extra damage when the PC faces the next boss, or add a deadly trap to an important plot hook around the next corner.
You can postpone death to a point when the other players (and you) will be able to give the death the attention it deserves, and feel like the PC didn't die for no reason. If you're playing a game where there's no coming back from death, this could be especially effective.
Delaying a death hinges on one big thing though - not telling your players. It can cheapen the initial battle, and make them angry about the second death, even if you were doing it for them.
Keep it to yourself, and don't forget about it! Writing yourself a little "I.O.U. One Death" post-it to remind you later doesn't hurt!
4 hours ago