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Gnbiscuits

Death?

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So I am going to be honest with y'all, I have no idea how dying works. I mean I understand that if you get your head chopped off or die of blood loss or loose your life in any amount of gory and spectacular ways that the Warhammer 40k universe has in store then that qualifies as death. What I am wondering is how you deal with that player creating a new character? Me and my boyz have been playing Warhammer RPGs for nearly three years now ( We started on RT and moved to Deathwatch but now we on OW) and none of us ever really died. I mean most of these games we had at least 3 fate points and none of us have gotten to close to death in any of RT or Deathwatch to burn through all of them. Well in only war we all rolled 1-7 for our fate points meaning we all have 1. SO now two of my players almost died so they are both down to zero. If it happens again how do I recreate their character? Do they start from scratch? Or do I scale them to about the same amount of XP as the rest of the squad? Lets say for example I have 5 players. 2 of them die in the same mission. Those two make two brand new characters with only starting xp. Does it not seem unfair that now the three players who didn't die now have a HUGE xp gap between them and the two guys who died? I understand that Deathwatch has rules for making new characters after death but that is only when they preform Heroic Sacrifice or have their Gene Seed recovered, both of which Imperial Guard are not capable of. I would really appreciate anyone who took the time to read through this lengthy passage and answer my question. Thank you! 

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I know in D&D, the answer we found that works is the lowest level of the current characters. I'm the only one who has made it the whole way through, from start to now, so I am higher than everyone by a level, or more (13). A few of the others, mostly who quickly decided that they didn't want to play what they had been, are a level beneath me, while a few people have quit, and some newer people expressed interest in the meat grinder, so they are more like three levels below me. If the XP amongst your players isn't quite even, maybe go with the least someone has a cutoff point, or halfway between starting and current for the party. While the party might do well at the same level, and there SHOULD be other teams doing missions, and as they get thinned out, composite teams might need to be formed, it doesn't always fit that the new characters are of the exact same development, by virtue of the progress the survivors made.

 

Another thought, though time-consuming, is to have your characters each have a back-up character ready, at the same level as their current, and then have them gain half the EXP of the active character, so that they kind of keep up, but weren't doing the most critical stuff, until now.

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If you don't cheat (OK, fudge) and barring incredibly unlikely dice rolls, PCs in Only War will die a lot.

 

What I do is give the new PC half of the difference between what the other characters are at and starting XP, plus starting XP.

 

So, say other characters have about 2000 XP (beyond starting XP), New character makes a Gunner. He gets 2000 XP/2 = 1000 + 600 = 1600 XP to start with.

pearldrum1 likes this

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Depends on the game you want to run.

 

You run a game that is a meat grinder then every Player will lose a character sooner or later.  With a high turn over rate I'd say start the characters back at 0 xp to maybe half.

 

If you decide that the characters are the story and you don't really want to replace them as already mentioned you can fudge things a bit.

 

Then there is somewhere in between.  Along with xp you can give more Fate Points as a reward for something outstanding. The Players can always take over the role of any surviving Comrades, turning the Comrade into that Player's new character. Maybe the replacement character comes from another unit (after all the squad is from a regiment with other veteran soldiers) and is transferred into the remaining Squad as a seasoned (transfer xp from old character to the new character) veteran to replace the squads loss. 

 

Just some ideas, hope it helps

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As a war campaign continues you can assume that the whole regiment is seeing action. So award the regiment xp which becomes a baseline for 'transfers' to the squad. My group is very used to death, but it can be jarring to a new player encountering perma-death. But you get such good real fear reactions as opposed to artificial'you are scared'status effects..

pearldrum1 and Lynata like this

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The paucity of Fate Points that OW characters get is an indication that they are intended to die a lot.

 

If you want a different feel (like an action-hero movie, say), just give them more Fate Points.

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If you are willing to do d20, try Stargate SG-1, sometime. You could survive most of a campaign and still not as long as you and your friends took to wade through that hellish inversion of regular d20 ease. Built plenty of other d20 characters, but each SG1 toon took almost three hours, and that with little chatter.

 

I've statted some RT stuff, and yeah, this system can take a good bit of time.

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Character death is a fact of life in most 40K systems... especially OW and DH.  Whether that's a good thing or not is up to the group.  If you want your characters to last a long time, give them some extra burnable fate.  If you want it to be grimdark (like I do), make it so that fate cannot be burned.  Hardcore mode, if you will.

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Make a stock grunt Guardsman profile for the player to use if their PC dies, so they have something to do while combat is going down. Once the session is over, you can sit down with them and they can build a fully fleshed out character. I keep track of how much XP I hand out every game, so and just give the player that so he isn't the weakest link in the squad when he joins it.

Also, as a bonus if the player makes the death suitably dramatic, award his replacement a bonus fate point. Good roleplaying should always be rewarded, even in death.

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Comrades.

 

Comrades are directly inspired by the need to have a stop-gap character for a player to use until the end of the session, at which point he can flesh out the Comrade as a new PC, or create a character from scratch.  They are statistically identical to their controller, just with a randomly rolled name and demeanor (or player selected, if they are into it). 

 

As for the limits on a fresh character, I keep a track of the XP I have awarded to the group and every new character...whether its a re-roll, a re-make or a brand new character is boosted to that XP level.

 

This is because most of us are adults, with responsibilities that sometimes prevent us from playing, no matter how much we might wish it otherwise.  Punishing someone for a scheduling conflict out of their control definitely falls in the "not cool, bro" category in my book.

 

But more importantly, its because our RPGs are very co-operative, and player "envy" is death on that sort of playstyle, even if it seems cool to that one guy who managed to make it to every game session. 

Lynata likes this

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I`d approach this in one of three ways.

 

1. Have players build a standby character each (preferably of a different spec) and form a "second string" unit to transfer new characters in from between missions.

 

2. Have characters recover (or gain, upto a max of three) a fate point for each mission both they survive and personally complet an objective in without burning a fate point.

 

3. Assume use of your comrade (use as a statline with all the regiment`s bonuses and drawbacks and standard regimental gear and a lasgun) and pick a spec and level up after the mission.

 

In any case have new characters start with half the XP of the old character, in this way they aren`t just a doomed new scrub who`ll die immediately (at least not appreciably more so than everyone else) and the guys who didn`t get mashed into the floor don`t feel cheated.

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I let people start with the exact same amount of xp they've already earned for their previous character. Since most deaths are the result of dierolls (either good ones by the enemy, or bad ones by the player), making the new character start of with less xp feels to me like i'm punishing a player for having bad luck. In cases where the player made  stupid mistake and gets their character killed, the punishment consists of some ridiculing by the group: "We told you that Bob would never ever make that jump across the lava! Why did you try it instead of walking around!"

 

Temp characters to finish the session with, differ due to who's available

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GM usually picks what xp the campaign starts at, then all characters begin at that level/amount everytime one is rolled.  The GM may eventually declare the amount is raised as the game has been going on long enough, but it's never to the point of still living characters.

 

There are some in our group who would throw their lives away simply because they don't like the way they spent their exp, then make the exact same character with those slight changes if we made new characters with the same amount as our dead ones.

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Well, I have not run into the problem of suicidal players.

 

Of course I also allow people to remake their characters at certain milestones.  Every so often we'll do a "soft" reset.  Characters may be remade, almost without restriction.  They keep their names, and generally their career, but everything else is pretty much fair game if they can make a decent enough argument for it. 

 

This allows people to take stock, and makes them satisfied with what is on the sheet compared to the experiences their characters have been through.  It also allows the group to re-adjust slightly if someone has left or joined the group and their skills were needed.

 

But then, I will be the first to admit that I run a game with friends and work colleagues and emphasize co-operation and player satisfaction.  When I was younger, things were a bit different.  Running a game for a bunch of army guys was a lot less...mellow...and a bit more aggressive.  Things ran my way, or the highway.  I generally still tried to focus on plot and story (first games were the old WoD, and its stuck with me I guess) but since we basically lived on top of each other on the base, we got to talk to each other a lot outside of the game as well.  Friendships and enmities existed independent of the game, and the gaming was only one of several common activities.  But currently the gaming is our main way of spending time together and that's made me more careful about keeping the atmosphere smooth and comfortable for everyone.  When your gaming is one of the main ways you keep in touch and keep a friendship alive it suddenly takes on a different dimension. 

 

Not that I make the plots any easier, or the challenge any lower.  Player characters still get killed for doing stupid stuff, especially if it combines with some bad dice rolls.  But I am much more relaxed about how I run the actual process, and player fun has started to trump my GM expectations.  I've come to the realization that if my guys aren't having a good time at the table...then neither am I as a GM.  That wasn't always the case, but it certainly is now.

 

It's actually kind of funny for me to think back over it, but I guess it shouldn't surprise me.  We all change over time, so I guess it should be no surprise that my style and preferences as a GM has changed as well.

Alrik Vas likes this

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The idea of starting with less xp isn`t punishing the unlucky, it`s rewarding those who managed to make it through. I`m thinking of band of brothers (specifically the episode "Replacements") basically new guys suck, they don`t know the unit slang or practices, they tend to die before working it out, so nobody asks their name until they`ve proved themselves by surviving a while.

 

If there is no penalty to dying there is no point in trying to survive, you might as well just make a kamikaze run at every objective you are set and then build an identical character, do it all over again and trust in you magical ability to learn from the experiences of dead squad members your character never met.

 

The idea of "Player XP" that they apply to any character they make is not one I ascribe to. Charaxters should have to earn XP.

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And that's a perfectly acceptable point of view.  One I used to ascribe to as well, up to a point.

 

I would like to point out, that every system has its own way of tracking and rewarding XP...and not all of them are individually based.  Many of them are not objective based, in any meaningful sense.  Any number of systems only give the bare minimum XP reward for just "showing up and making it through the session". 

 

Table top gaming isn't just about making it to and through a game session to us.  Its about how we play the game.  When we want kill/survival based XP rewards PC games actually do it better and are far more easily accessed.  A number of them even have multiplayer.

 

Since switching my stance to a more moderate one, I have never had any players...no matter how experienced or new to gaming in general...behave inappropriately.  I was a bit hesitant at first...for many of the same reasons that have been stated here.  But my players have responded well, and as a result have made some of the most interesting and memorable characters I've ever seen. 

 

I can see the thematic value of having a "new boot" feeling in a game like OW.  But logically I don't see the difficulty in having personnel transfers from within the regiment's survivors.  In other words, the fresh character isn't unknown or unproven to the squad...he just hasn't come to live with them until their old comrade got gunned down.

 

In other WH40K rpgs, the need to have "noob" characters becomes even less logical.  Rogue Traders and Inquisitors would select people with the competencies they require.  Death Watch marines are all elite.  And BC warbands are unlikely to let the unworthy join them.

 

Every table and group has a different dynamic.  I'm just explaining in detail why I'm pleased with mine.

Edited by Bladehate

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I agree with Bladehate. The only thing I might consider is, if you give out session-based XP, not to give that character XP from last session, similar to someone who didn't make it in physical space. Or half the XP, if it was the end of an adventure and a massive boost, plus a bonus for going out particularly heroically.

Since everyone eventually dies or misses a game, it evens out. And the one guy who makes it to every session and never dies once? Yeah, he'll pull ahead, but in my groups I'm confident that everyone would be proud of him, not jealous. Nor do I think he would pull so far ahead that he'll single-handedly run the entire game.

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I tend to run half xp for missed sessions too I just don't see why a new transer should be rewarded for the actions and/or survival of a dead person.

 

I'm not saying a flat starter should be the new joiner I'm just saying that they shouldn't be on par. Maybe a 15-20% reduction in starting XP compared to the survivors.

 

After all they wouldn't just transfer a veteran serving on the front lines willy-nilly into another squad and leave his old unit in the lurch, they'd bring in someone who is available without hamstringing another unit.

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Well, because it's not about the character, but the player. I don't care how much nonsense I have to make up to get them a character with similar experience, although in OW it's easy: The entire regiment is fight, EVERYONE is gonna have roughly the same XP.

Not that your way is particularly bad. I could easily live with that, as a player. Flat-out 5000xp behind the rest? That I'd resent.

Traejun likes this

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If the squad has already completed some missions and gained a reputation as tough fighters and people who get stuff done you could use that as the justification that they get more promising recruits or even experienced replacements.

 

And the one rule of thumb that I've seen used is to give the new character 50% of the exp the most experienced character has. (Maybe more if you're replacing the squad leader.)

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And the one rule of thumb that I've seen used is to give the new character 50% of the exp the most experienced character has. (Maybe more if you're replacing the squad leader.)

I've used this a lot. Not in OW, but in a variety of other games, including RT.

The idea is that XPs are a reward for succes - you're not punishing the unlucky guy, you're rewarding the ones who managed to keept their characters alive.

 

My current OW campaign (in which I am a player, not the GM) builds new characters on the same XP total as your dead character. And when we take in a new player (recently necessary, due to players leaving, stupid RL), they simply get the XPs that everyone else has. Which currently means our new medic has 100 XPs more than my sharpshooter, because I missed an early session and didn't get full XPs for it. Do I begrudge him? Not at all, he (the player) seemed more bothered about it than I was.

 

In a game as focused on physical combat as OW (atleast our campaign), I can see the point of having characters fairly close in ability. If I was the GM, I'd probably simply hand out the same XP as everyone else had, rounded down to the nearest multiple of 1000 XP. Still an incentive to not just suicide run as mentioned above, without being crippling.

 

This all being said, I should perhaps mention that I'm a bit bothered by all this insistance on "party balance" and the like. Many of my most enjoyable gaming experiences have involved wildly unbalanced situation, but where the GM (and players) managed to overcome and even use their differences. When we play Ars Magica, Master and Apprentice seems to be a common theme, and those certainly have a difference in power levels!

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Well, because it's not about the character, but the player. I don't care how much nonsense I have to make up to get them a character with similar experience, although in OW it's easy: The entire regiment is fight, EVERYONE is gonna have roughly the same XP.[...]

 

It isn't about the player though, XP is earned by characters, and like RL their knowledge dies with them.

 

Any XP granted to a new character is a boon given at the GMs discretion.

 

Only a very harsh GM would give you a fresh scrub recruit, but having no penalty for death just invites abuse, diffuses tension and breaks immersion.

 

As for the "whole regiment fights" argument, yes the whole regiment fights, but probably not at the same time. Injuries, duty rotations and replacements mean there a number of members of a regiment who wouldn't be serving on the front line. Which is for the best really or they'd have no reserves to commit.

 

Obviously those members who are free for re-assingment to a new squad would often have been out of the action for some time and not have gained as much field experience.

Edited by Askil
Tenebrae likes this

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Well, i would say, always have your players have the same amount of Exp...

 

Have your players make backup characters... or have the characters make several characters, and decide which one they plays in the given situation. then they can always switch another character, that they already now and like :)

 

Well, you can have a lot of fun making several unique character that the you offer the player, in case their own character dies, and they haven't made a back-up, and then they can choose to play it or make a new one when the oppertunity arrises...

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Having backups is nice, certainly, but I might have problems knowing what to make.Specialists are, at least by some GMs desires, more "as needed" than real characters, and some of the trooper classes are "only need one". I make a heavy; should I now make two more heavies, in case I die? I might like a Sergeant, but we hopefully already have one, and if they aren't dead, I doubt we need two. I see Operator in the same light, whether driving a transport or not. Weapon Specialist and Heavy are really the only "multiple applicants requested" jobs, IMO. Medics and Operators, not so much, and Sergeant is special.

 

Granted, this would be my limitation with or without backups, so I'm just speaking to babble, at this point ;)

Tenebrae likes this

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