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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Is it fun to have random deaths?

 The consequences of randomly determined rolls 

So you have random elements in the gamebook, so consequences may be completely down to a die roll. So death might be completely down to a die roll.

All that hard work...


The trouble with death by random die roll is that a replay will not improve your chances next time. At least if your character dies due to an arbitrary choice, then you can not make that choice next time. If there's an unavoidable die roll that leads to death, then the next playthrough has the same chance of failure.

Another consideration is that whether the rolls completely random and I have no control over them? If something bad happens, then I will probably feel annoyed because I had no control over it. Especially if it is more likely that something bad happens. Especially if my character dies. 

Why do this? I know that some RPGs are parodies of RPGs and the game system is inherently cruel, leading to the characters suffering slow, painful and unusual deaths (if they're lucky!). I'm thinking of Call of CthulhuWarhammer Fantasy RPGParanoia and Dungeon Crawl Classics with the 0 level characters.  In some way, if everyone is aware of that, then that is part if the fun. In the case of Dungeon Crawl Classics, I consider the part where you control several 0 level characters and most of them die to be an elaborate character creation process.

With Paranoia, you can just get another clone, so the game does not end if your characters die (reading about Paranoia is treason)

Cthulhu and Warhammer don't really have a game mechanic about death, but they make it pretty clear that it's going to happen (either your characters die or they go insane or they turn into Chaos goo. YMMV on which is the best outcome).

So, maybe there's a flavour reason for having lots of death. That may make it more acceptable. However, a hardcore gamer who wants to win will probably find that the mechanics are frustrating. Also, jokes and references may go over peoples' heads or just be not funny. And having your character die is probably not considered a great punchline by some.

Are the rolls dependent on some score that my choices could change? In this case, then you have more control over success. Just make sure you don't spring that trap that drains skill so you can make the skill roll to avoid death later. Maybe there's an item that gives a bonus for a roll so you can save it for the critical roll. Failure is still frustrating, but maybe less so if you know that you did everything you can to avoid it. Or maybe more so if you know that you did everything you can to avoid it.

Like picking someone to load a gun based on what picture they drew.


1 comment:

  1. I've just thought of another idea - maybe you can get a bonus every time you died in the book. You could spend the bonus to get a +1 modifier ora reroll or something.

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