I am very surprised my last post received so few comments. I thought is was a subject universal to gamers, and gaming of the RPG variety. Perhaps not.
Contemplating death (In a manner of speaking), got me to thinking about the lives of player characters, and what, short of death, would strike them as a significant blow, or loss.
While thinking along these lines it occurred to me that PC death, extremely rare in my games as I've noted, is considered a thing to avoid by both player and GM alike, because you lose much more than your character. In the campaigns that I run, you lose all the plots, subplots, relationships with NPCs, and everything you've developed over however long you've been playing that character. It is that which my players fear. It is that which tends to make them cautious, paranoid, and wary of the reaper.
The subject of loss over death, and loss of what a PC has gained, oddly came up today with my one difficult player. OK, all my Players can be pains in the keister, but in that lovable, entertaining way your friends who you game with can always be pains in the keister. No, this is the one guy in the group I've mentioned before as the only guy I periodically think of kicking out.
In a discussion we were having (yet again) about his Traveller character going off and doing his own thing, against the grain of the plot and the rest of the group, he had the gall to say that of all the characters in the campaign, his had the most to lose.
Ignoring the sheer ego of the statement, I asked him why he thought that to be the case. What made him say so? He could not clearly answer. He simply said he didn't want his character to die.
Granted, that is true of nearly every character, belonging to nearly every player, everywhere, in every game, ever. Other than that...?
It got me thinking ever more deeply about what this PC had gained. What had this player and his PC really accomplished over the course of our 21 game sessions of Traveller so far?
The answer is...nothing.
Unlike the rest of the group, this fellow maintains the classic 'murder-hobo' mentality. He seeks to make money, and most of his attempts to do so involve discovering/stealing something of value before someone else gets to it. He also tries to wheel and deal with NPCs, looking to set up some cockamamie scheme or other to get rich quick.
He has made the least money of any character so far. He has also, comparative to how much he has, spends the most.
He has been arrested once, legally freed thanks to another PC's legal expertise, and nearly killed at least three times.
If this PC were to die in the next game, what would he leave behind? Who would miss him? What great event would fail to unfold?
You got me.
He has an NPC sister, but in classic Old School fashion, she is viewed as an NPC who can help him when he needs it. That's it. Like an Henchman or Hireling that he doesn't need to pay because she's family. Recently she was kidnapped, and he decided to go on a different mission that would benefit him, while another PC went to save the first guy's sister.
(Of course, she's kind of bad ass, and the rest of the group likes the character).
Now let's look at what the other PCs in the campaign have accomplished in 21 sessions.
1) Two have gone into business together, and through the efforts of the two of them and another PC, gained a contract with the security department of a major megacorporation.
2) In conjunction with the above, two of the aforementioned PCs have made deep connections and allies among Imperial Naval Intelligence and SolSec (Solomani Security).
3) Early efforts by several of the PCs developed a unique way of hiding a ship in the asteroid belt of a star system that they patented and sold to the Imperial Navy. The Navy has decided to purchase all rights to the idea for over one million credits.
4) On a more personal note, one PC has reconnected with his (NPC) son, and his estranged father (NPC), though the father is now missing in action. She also negotiated a contract with an Aslan clan that impressed the Aslan so much, they began to speak socially. Soon, the Aslan Clan Leader's younger sister and the PC's son were hitting it off, and they decided to negotiate, well, arrange a marriage.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. If any one of the other PC's died, there would be people grief stricken, unemployed, enemies ready to pounce, Aslan ready to pounce back, investigations, conflict, madness! If these PCs were in danger of losing a NPC loved one (which actually has, and is happening in the story), they would move Heaven and Earth to try and prevent it, or take revenge on those who harmed their own.
I love this campaign. I love what it's about, where it's been, and where it's going. There have been rocky parts for sure, but overall, I can't wait to run the next session.
Then, there is just this one guy who, if he didn't show, or his character died, only he would care.
Never be that guy.
Today, July 23rd, is officially Batman Day! Happy 75th Birthday to the Caped Crusader!
July 20th commemorated the 45th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and Neil Armstrong becoming the first Human being to walk on the moon. A big day for him, a giant day for mankind, and a major fascination and inspiration for me.
I may not be on much for a bit. The blog will be powered down for a week or so while we refit the Warp Core, and run a level 3 diagnostic on the Communications and Sensor arrays. You may see a post now and then, you may not. Hopefully we'll be ship shape and out of Spacedock by mid-August.
Take care all!