Il trionfo della morte, fresco of the 15th century


Death Due to Age
Determination of Maximum Age
Death Due To Disease
(Or Disorder) 
Or Parasitic Infestation
Character Age, Aging, 
Disease, and Death
Yurtrus (god of death)
Hel (goddess of death)
Nerull (god of death)
Wee Jas (goddess of death)
Bhaal (god of death)
Arawn (god of death)
Mictlantecuhtli (god of death)
Surma (god of death)
Yama (god of death)
Death (god of death)
Death, Crimson
Death Dog
Death, Ebony (Babau)
Death Knight
Death Slaad
Death Stealer (Nabassu)
Death Watch Beetle
Death Worm (Necrophidius)

DEATH --> Astral -->

Happy Hunting Grounds
Concordant Opposition
The Abyss

The character faces 0death0 in many forms.
The most common,
death due to combat,
is no great matter in most cases,
for the character can often be brought back by means of a clerical spell or an alter reality || wish.
Of course, recovery of damage sustained might be a problem, but that is not insurmountable.

Question: We are having an argument as to whether or not
a character was killed in combat. You see, we had to leave him
lying on the floor of a dungeon and could not find him when we
returned. One guy (it was his character) says that he got up and
left. Well, we found out later that the character we had had to
leave had been assassinated by another PC.
Well, the guy who assassinated the first character says he is
dead and the other guy says he isnít, and now everyone is
divided over the issue. Is the guy dead or not?

Answer: I couldnít tell you.
I take it that you are not the DM by the wording of your {quest}.ion.
All that I can say is whatever your DM says about the issue must stand.
Whether he was killed or not is not up to the players to decide, IT IS UP TO THE DM.
The DM has apparently decided not to tell you one way || the other, and that is his right.
You also mentioned in your letter your concern about players
arguing through their characters. If your DM wishes to allow strife in the
dungeon, that too is his business. Interaction between characters is
encouraged, and sometimes arguments && misunderstanding will
manifest themselves. This is to be expected. In fact. it isnít necessarily
out of line for them to TURN on each other. Some DMs encourage this.
Remember, whatever the DM decides is final. If you donít like the
way he plays, donít play with him. The only way you can get a DM to
play differently is to remove your character from his game. If enough
people do this, hopefully he will see the error of his ways and attempt to
mend them. I cannot stress enough the fact that you shouldnít argue
with your DM. His word is the final say in his campaign.

QUESTION: There is this character (a M-U) being refereed by an inexperienced DM.
Because of his lack of knowledge, he let the character advance in levels too quickly.
He also has 86 magic items.
By the time the character got to 34th level, the DM had learned from his mistakes and proceeded to try to kill the powerful character.
He tried a Ring of Transference, and when that didnít work he hit him with 2000 (100% MR) thieves. <define: ring of transference>
Is it within the D&D || AD&D rules for a DM to deliberately try to kill a character?

ANSWER: NO, it is not. There are classier ways to handle a
ďmonsterĒ that you have created. One of the best ways, I feel, is to
inform him that because of his high level he is now a member of the city council and therefore must {aid} in the running of the city.
This, if done properly, will prohibit the character from further adventuring.
The city elders certainly would not want nor like their high-level M-U running around in some dangerous old dungeon.
When this happens,
reassure the player that his character isnít dead, just retired, and he
canít play him anymore. The character should then fall into your hands
and become a NPC subject to your will and yours
alone. However, you can ask advice from the player whenever a
situation arises where you arenít sure how the character would react.

    This will give the player a feeling that the character still belongs to him.

A DM should be creative.

Find things for the powerful character to do.
Get him involved with politics.
There are many ways to keep a character busy.
The character could have sons && daughters to continue the ____blood line____.
A word of warning: Donít let any of the characterís magic fall into the hands of his children.
Tell them they must find their own. If you donít, you will only be defeating yourself.
    If you donít like this method or you canít do it, you can tell the
player you will not allow him to play in your campaign until he either
retires the character himself or lets you take away most of his magic.
I know this sounds cruel, but sometimes it is necessary.

If things get really bad, you can always blow up your world and start a new campaign.

But, if at all possible, try to keep the character so busy as an NPC that
any thoughts of adventuring are just pleasant memories of when he
was younger.
    We all make mistakes when we first start a campaign.
Correcting them is the hard part.
Try to xplain to your powerful players that the game balance is now lost and you would like their help in restoring it.
I am sure if you ask them nicely, they will be glad to help.
The game is supposed to be fun.
If you are having a miserable time, why play?

Q: How about some guidelines on character wills?

A: Wills, of course, have to be written
before death; furthermore, the beneficiary
of the will gets only the wealth && magic
that the dead character has actually left
behind at his residence, or that which is
recovered. If the character died in the
remote lair of a huge dragon, for example,
either the dragon or the character's companions
will have the character's money && equipment.
The dragon certainly won't be willing to give them up and the
characters might not either.
    You can put other limits on wills. One
common limitation is that the beneficiary
be a 1st-level character that is rolled up at
the time the will is made. The new character
starts with only his inheritance; he has
no other $ || magic. The character
might be higher than 1st level, but he still
has no $ of his own. He might even
have to pay an inheritance tax (10-40% is
the common range).

Death Due To Age:
This is a serious matter, for unless the lifespan can otherwise be prolonged,
the character brought back from such death faces the prospect of soon dying again.
    <"the prospect of soon dying again"(game school) : the character dies again at the next sunset> <game school? --> nice idea, though>
Beyond the max. age determined for the character in question,
no form of magic which does not prolong life span will work.
(Thus, some characters may become liches . . . .)
Of course, multiple potions of longevity, wishes, and possibly magical devices will allow a greatly extended life span,
but once a character dies due to old (venerable) age, then it is all over.
If you make this clear, many participants will see the continuity of the family line as the way to achieve a sort of immortality.

Determination Of Maximum Age:
Unless the character dies of some other cause, he || she will live to old age.
Use the following table to find the xact age at which a character will die of "natural" causes:

Dice Score Character Age Category Variable*
01-10 old, lowest age +d8
11-25 old, highest age -d4
26-60 venerable, lowest age +d6
61-90 venerable, highest age -d10**
91-00 venerable, highest age +d20***

* Use the die to determine the addition or subtraction to the span of years in the category:
    UNDER 100        1 year intervals
    100 to 250          10 year intervals (+ or - d10**)
    OVER 250          20 year intervals (+ or - d20***)

 **Treat a roll of 0 as naught rather than as 10,
so in effect a random number between 0 and 9 is being generated.

***Treat a die result of 20 as naught,
so numbers between 0 and 19 are being generated.

Examples Of Max. Age Determination:
The dice rolled indicate the dwarf character will live to old age, lowest figure, +d8.
As the span considered is 100 years, d8 stands for decades, so the character will live for 251 years + 10 to 80 years +0 to 9 years.

The same dwarf considered above is to live to old age, highest figure, -4.
The variable is -10 to -40 years, -0 to 9 years.

The dice rolled far a half-orc character indicate that he will live to venerable age, highest figure, +d20.
As the span considered is under 100 years, the character will live for 80 years +0 to 19 years, or 80 to 99 years,
as a result of 20 equals 0 years added to maximum venerable age shown far the character race.

The dice show that a high elf character will live to venerable age, lowest figure, +d6.
As the span of years for this character race is 400 years, the character will live to be 1201 +20 to 120 years, +0 to 19 years,
or to an age of 1221 to 1340 years.
Assume that the d6 shows 4, so 80 years are added (4 X 20 = 80) to bring life span to 1281 (1201 + 80),
and then d20 is rolled and a 0 comes up, so total life span is 1281 years (1201 + 80 + 0 = 1281).

Death Due To Disease (Or Disorder) Or Parasitic Infestation:
Any character brought back from such a state will suffer the ravages of the disease|| infestation --
permanent losses in abilities, for example,
until magically countered.
Furthermore, such a character will be 90% likely to still be suffering from the cause of death unless a curative is used.
Even then, the character will have to spend time recovering as if from a severe illness.
Ability losses which have been permanently sustained will not be corrected by a curative of any sort, including a cure disease spell.
    <note: the simplest way to deal with herbs, that i know of, is that the herb reduces the severity by one rank>
    <so, the right herb might reverse an ability score loss ...>
    <maybe not very realistic, but mnemonic, symbolic, and, most of all ... game school>
Magical corrections (wishes, alter reality, spells, and magical devices) will certainly correct these deficiencies.

<Note: A character with a CON of 18 and an Int of 17+ and a Wis of 17+ might have a 5% chance of returning as a revenant.>
<A slain deity might raise again as a revenant...>

<Note: Slain characters might become phantoms.>

<Note: Slain characters might become astral searchers.>

<Note: Slain characters are likely to be eaten, if left behind.>

Question: If a character is killed by poison, does a
Neutralize poison spell have to be cast on the character
before a successful Resurrection is possible?

Answer: No.
The Resurrection spell will take care of the poison if it is still in the body and still potent.


Hi Merric

Originally posted by MerricB
G'day Gary!

Were many characters raised or otherwise returned from near-death experiences <NDEs> in those early days?
I know some campaigns never allow the raising of dead characters, and others (such as my own) have it as almost commonplace.
(You can draw your own conclusions as to how often characters die in my campaign )

PC death was pretty common.
Lower level ones were generally written off.
Hioghtr level ones able to pay the cost, or with a Wish spell were brought back. <raise dead = > <resurrection = >
Yrag died several times, and the same is true with most of the "famous" PCs from my campaign.
Thus magic items enabling use of a Wish or Wishes were highly prized and generally reserved for bringing back a beloved character.
The rule about being brought back no more than a number of timnes equal to the character's constitution was not fluff, but meant to restrain the more foolhearty players in risking their PCs.


Quote, RFisher:
I was thinking of asking what question you get asked the most.
Then I thought it might be more interesting to ask:
What is a question you hardly ever get asked that you think should be asked more often?

You found just the right question, one that I am interested in answering too!
If nobody has asked, who cares what I think about something not sufficiently interesting to others to have inquired about? 

Oh all right: Do I enjoy killing PCs when I GM?
A The answer is definately not in the least, especially if they belong to regular players.
there I do all I can to prevent such loss without directly intervening in players' actions for their characters.
rather like playing "giveaway checkers,"
such a session can be fun and challenging as a convention game where arbitrary means of having characters meet their demise are out of the question.
The last session I played like that was at GenCon 2002, and darned if one of the nine PCS didn't manage to save her PC from death, so the team beat me as the GM.


Originally Posted by Gray Mouser


My question is this: Did you experience the same sort of thing when starting out?
I'm sure since you were older and an experienced wargamer there would be a major difference at least in rate of PC death, but I'm wondering if, for instance, the famous Mordenkainen or Yrag, et. al. are all originals or if he's actually "Mordenkainen III." ;-)

Gray Mouser

I never lost any of my main PCs, although most of them "died" at least once and were resurrected or wished back to life by their fellow adventurers.
Even though I was over 30 then I did now and again get a bit rash.
Once when the DM was really lousy, Yrag threw himself on his sword in disgust.
Murlynd, Robilar, Tenser, and Terik brought his corpse back and had him <font> resurrected...with another person as the DM 

A fighter PC of mine in Brian Blume's campaign with a natural 18 STR, 17 CON and 16 DEX was killed before getting to 2nd level, lost and gone forever <frown>
The same is true of a half-orc
cleric-assassin PC of mine, but he got to 3rd level before biting the dust.


Originally Posted by mythusmage
There's another consideraton, who says they're going to let you?
You'll get away with casting Rock to Mud on the temple once, maybe twice, but after that the BBEG's going to be looking for you.
And to show you what a complete rat bastard I am, I don't give anyone an absolute safe haven.
You don't take reasonable (and some unreasonable) precautions it will kill you.
You are not playing the hero in a story, you are playing a common schlub in a very dangerous profession.
A profession that kills the stupid and the complacent.


And add "overweening" to the list of likely targets for elimination 


With my regular group there was seldom a PC loss...
after they became veterans.
(That applies to my own PCs as well,
although a rew raise dead && wish spells were needed to maintain the major characters I played;
as it true of the players' PCs in my campaign )

Players that took foolish chances,
ignored warnings,
lacked the proper wherewithal to take on a problem or fight an opponent were likely to suffer PC loss.