Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:28 am
Orjetax wrote:... How does the "consequences for PC death" practice impact play on the tabletop? Are all "PC" models loaded with as much equipment or other benefits as possible in an effort to prevent the chaos of character death? Or do your players take a more RPG-view and appreciate character death and its consequences as part of the fun?
The consequences vary with every player character death. When they die the player is temporarily out of the game. They then choose, in discussion with me, who their next character is, but rarely does the new character simply pick up the reins of the last. If they have an heir, for example, then they could become that heir - but they might be still young, or the inheritance disputed, or the realm in some way damaged, perhaps as a consequence of the first character's death. It's not easy to explain in general terms so I'll do specifics ...
When the vampire duke died in battle, an NPC lesser vampire, his lieutenant, Captain Theobald Hackspitt, took command of the (now somewhat crumbled) army and retreated from the field back home. That character was one of the alternative options offered as a new character for the player, but he chose instead to become the vampire Duchess Maria. She was an NPC - a blood relation of the Duke in life - who had been employed in a cunning trick earlier in the campaign. Although it's all in the story, it's not always obvious, for various reasons, so I ought to explain what really happened to her ...
There was a battle in which the scenario was that she was trying to escape being killed or captured by her cousin, advised by her council that her town was doomed (see viewtopic.php?p=35374#p35374). The subsequent battle report showed her at the last moment escaping (see viewtopic.php?p=35478#p35478). The whole report was accurate except for the very last part - in truth, she did not escape. I had to report it this way because the vampire player said he was going to make her a vampire, beholden to him as her sire, and then use her somehow as a pawn/spy/saboteur. I did plant clues, like the fact that she disappeared for some time and then reappeared unexpectedly, and every time I described her I dropped heavy clues. Examples include when I described Lord Guglielmo saving her by fighting the vampire duke: "Somehow, though no living witnesses can explain how it was so, he survived just long enough to save the duchess. Finally, as she fled into the hills, the vampire’s cold blade, a horribly curved butchery tool, carved him in twain." Notice how I basically report there was no living witnesses to this rather incredible event? Later Biagino expressed his surprise when she arrived at the city: "The Duchess Maria had been missing for nigh upon two months, and in the second month it had become generally presumed she must have been killed after her flight from the battle before outside her city of Ebino. Now it seemed that those few who had claimed she was hiding, waiting until it was safe to continue her journey, had been right." It only 'seemed' that way though - see?
When Biagino later met her, begging for her assistance in raising the Viadazan Crusade: "... hers was a cold civility. She addressed them correctly, listened politely, little else. She offered them the bare minimum of respect required, as if listening to them was simply a duty of her office. At first Biagino had thought it was a distracted state of mind born of her dreadful loss, the trials and tribulations of her flight. As time went by, however, he changed his mind. Her haughty manner, her aloofness, were deep-rooted, not merely an affectation to hide a traumatised state of mind." He was making wrong assumptions - she was like this because she was a vampire. In a later piece, telling of the Viadazan Crusaders gathering for a blessing, Biagino describes a recent nightmare featuring the duchess: " ... In the dream he was once again petitioning the duchess, though this time her demeanour was somewhat disturbing. She scrutinised him with cold malice in her eyes, every trace of the gentle respect born of her nobility gone. When he spoke, she smirked cruelly. When he pleaded, she laughed mockingly. Lord Adolfo sat gazing at her all the while, quite ignoring Biagino. It was obvious he wanted her, perhaps as a wife, perhaps merely to satisfy his base lusts? ... [Here in the dream Adolfo turns into an orc - he is reputed to have orcen blood in his family line, which incidentally why when he became a vampire I made him a 'Strigoi' in terms of rules and stats - a bestial form of vampire seemed perfect for someone orc-tainted blood.] .... "Then, when Biagino’s words finally dried up, just like they had in the waking world meeting, the duchess did not thank him for his concern and dismiss him politely – as she had done in the real meeting - instead she launched into a tirade of abuse, listing his sins (both old and recent), his many faults and frequent mistakes, even his most private failings, to show that he was unworthy, too sinful to serve a god, too weak to command men, to foolish to survive the onslaught of Miragliano. As her voice turned into a shriek, unpleasantly counter-pointed by Lord Adolfo’s grunts and groans, Biagino had fallen from the dream to arrive sweating and shivering in his bed." Morr, the god of dreams, kept trying to reveal truths to Biagino (as I toyed with revealing them to the players.)
Anyhow, later the Duke died in battle (Prologue of which starts here viewtopic.php?p=37636#p37636). The Viadazan peasant crusaders were miraculously victorious. (Not a little bit due to a series of very lucky dice rolls in the battle.) BUT as they fought, little did they know that the city they were fighting for was being captured by the recently turned vampire duchess and her newly turned vampire thrall Lord Adolfo, who had poisoned Adolfo's own troops to make them undead, and summoned more undead from graveyards etc. All the necessary necromancy was made much easier by the significant absence of nearly every priest of Morr (who were with the peasant crusaders of course.)
So the vampire player said he would keep it in the family and become the vampire duchess, not Adolfo, not Hackspitt, nor anyone else. This meant he now commanded a much smaller realm and army (Viadaza instead of Miragliano) and couldn't simply order the other vampires made by the duke, for they were in terms of the gift of vampirism, not the vampire duchess's to command. The undead advance southwards now stalled for some considerable time as the vampire duchess went north and defeated the other vampires by treachery. She tricked them into meeting for a parley and then launched an attack (I did warn the player if she lost the fight then it would knock him back even further in campaign power, but he went for it anyway). We fought a secret little 4 model skirmish on a bridge - her and Adolfo versus Theobald Hackspitt and another vampire hero he had sired.) She won, and then spent a while securing Miragliano and her own possession (when alive) Ebino. Little mention of this is in the reports because it's not the sort of thing that living Tileans would find out!
If the player had chosen to be Adolfo, he would have been effectively in the same situation, although would have to deal with being under the spell of the NC duchess. If he had become Theobald then he would still have a reduced/damaged army, plus being in retreat, plus having vampires as enemies too. There would have been 'consequences' whoever he chose. (Note: In terms of gameplay, consequences that are reflected on the tabletop would be stuff like having to roll on the character injury chart. We have recovery rules for fallen characters (not overkilled ones though, they are very definitely dead, and this includes if a cannonball does more wounds than a character has left). If they survive, they have to roll on an injury chart - results can be permanent, and can include becoming a prisoner. We don't seem to use the chart much though, as characters seem to be very obviously dead. We even have rules for trying to capture an enemy character rather than kill him - although I can't recall the last time that was tried.
So you can see it can be complicated. There can also be a LOT going on that is only hinted at in the reports and stories. And the stories can even be used to distract and/or give clues at one and same time!
You could contrast this with the player of Duke Guidobaldo Gondi of Pavona (he plays a great tyrant - his ideas are always as cruelly efficient as they are unexpected to me). His own RL son (aged about 9) was theoretically playing his game world son, Lord Polcario, yet even so, the player didn't want to risk his own character's life and sent his son up a ladder to fight a challenge against Prince Girenzo of Trantio (see viewtopic.php?p=44771#p44771). Young lord Polcario died. His RL son was sad! And boy did we feel guilty. Cue the Duke's player saying: "I have another son, you know!" The boy now technically plays Lord Silvano, his youngest son, although the real world lad in question still thinks we adults are playing the slowest and most boring game ever invented by man.
Other players don't even send their character into battle - if they're not on the tabletop they're a LOT less likely to die!
Short answer to your other question: Players equip their characters according to their army books or campaign composition lists. Some do it with roleplaying in mind too.