Can you kill someone who has a Persona Point?

So, a few times, now, players have overcome opponents in Bloody Versus, then decided to kill their helpless opponents.

How does this interact with the loser having a Persona Point? When you execute someone, does this deal a mortal wound, or do they just die? Some injuries are just too ridiculous to heal from - decapitation/dismemberment, being chucked in lava, etc.

My sense, since the GM has control over NPC intent, is that players would normally be given Mortal Wounds. The GM chooses to have NPCs hold back from total destruction of the body.

Players, on the other hand, aren’t restricted in this way. Players can destroy NPCs bodies in a way that not even Persona will prevent. NPC “will to live” is reserved for those moments when the NPC takes a probably-lethal wound, like falling off cliffs, being stabbed in the neck, etc., but being chucked in lava is final.

What’s your take on this?

If you want not just a bloody duel (Bloody Versus) but a deadly duel (one of the characters will not come out alive from this situation) you can make it a simple versus test. Whoever fails dies.

In any other situation (after a Bloody Versus or a Fight) I suppose you can make a versus test to end the matter. (Kill your adversary is your Intent.) If your enemy is mortally wounded, and there is no one else around to assist, I think not even need to make a roll.

I went back and highlighted my main question, since I don’t think you answered it.

When you execute someone, does this deal a mortal wound, or do they just die?

My guess is that they die.

I’d say Mortal Wound. Death is fickle.

But if you’re willing to spend a persona point for a complication…you better do in on the BV test.
Otherwise you’re paying for will to live.

But if something deals catastrophic damage—like being submerged in lava—there’s only so much a system can do.

What about players executing NPCs?

In Burning Airships, we’d downed a troll, and (because he had a belief on the line), Culhir decided to hack of its head as a trophy - I presume this counts as “catastrophic” death for the troll?

What did the GM say?

The more I think about it, the more I think it should be “mortal wound until everyone agrees that it’s not.”

Tim allowed it, and I allowed it in Grunweld when Dallin killed the boatman “Saul”. It seemed fair, and in neither case were the GMs super attached to the characters (though Tim was a little disappointed a particular aspect of his troll was never going to come out.) Both were post-fight decapitations, come to think of it.

I like “mortal wound until everyone agrees that it’s not,” though this requires some out-of-character punch-pulling on the part of the players, who (it seems to me) can easily do “catastrophic damage” to a captive NPC’s body. The GM pulls his punches by controlling the intent of the NPCs. It seems a bit weird for the GM to be asking the player, “Hey, uh, hey don’t intend to cut his head … uh… completely off. I’m spending a persona!”

I think it’s fine that there’s an imbalance between NPCs and PCs in this regard - the game is about the PCs. We can get attached to NPCs, but I view them as probes into the characters’ story. Sometimes treasured, but always disposable when sword reaches spine.

Well, part of the game—the emergent part—is making decisions like murdering in cold blood. If the PCs murder their captives, that’s who they are. Let the world react to that behavior.

And your last note is right on. It’s best not to get so attached to NPCs that you can’t let them go. They exist only to act as mirrors to the PCs.

Excellent, all the more reason to handle it this way then, thanks.

Maybe I’m reading the game wrong but I was under the impression that NPCs in BW didn’t have artha.

Important named NPCs do: p. 70 of BWG. There was a similar passage in BWR.

If this executing of foes becomes a norm, consider giving the group a Reputation or the Merciless trait. That would mechanically enforce Luke’s advice to having the world react to their behavior. Foes fight harder if they know that losing = death.

If the question is, “How do you kill someone who has a Persona point?”, the answer would be to put them in situations where they have to use it before you deal that Mortal Wound. Drag the Fight out. Give them some wounded dice, then toy with them like a cat with a mouse. Eventually, that Persona will get spent. Then STRIKE.

Not that I condone such griefing. Well, actually, I might. Depends on the situation, and reason for wanting them dead.

Heh, funny. This is a different question, really (I was really asking about execution of helpless foes who have persona points, not strategies for players to ensure the final death of mobile NPCs).

The GM always can declare that the character “dosn’t have the will to live”.

My rule is: don’t be an ass about it. If you keep bringing back the same villain over and over again, the PC’s will feel that they can’t alter the game world. This is bad form.

However, unless the players are all in agreement (“Look, this guy is lame and we’re done with him. Just keep him dead.”), my named NPC’s can come back with a Persona point.

I once had a named NPC survive immersion in lava. How? He sold his soul to a daemon on the way to being submerged. It was an awesome twist when his mostly-charred half-daemonic self came back to torment the PC’s again. “WE THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD!” “O-ho! You thought WRONG!” Cliché? You bet. A fun time for all? You bet. And after that, he stayed dead.

It’s all about keeping the story engaging.

I know. Just giving you something to think about. ^^

I could imagine things getting pretty hairy if a game session exploded into a PvP Fight, and they really wanted to kill each other.

The really funny thing is that Culhir wasn’t the one who defeated either of the orcs he’s decapitated. The first one, the big one, he got first blood on, and then we wore him down with light wounds. Culhir had a belief about killing a monster to prove he was a worthy heir, so he sawed off the helpless orc’s head! Not to mention the big guy almost killed us, and we were three 5 or 6 lifepath elves with powerful enchanted armour! The second one was an orcish sorcerer, who was wrestled into submission by… I forget whether it was Lunir or Derelion, and then Culhir tried to interrogate her. Of course he failed, and she scared the shit out of him, so he killed her.

The time before that he tried to cut off someone’s head, it was a traitorous elf who stabbed him in the back. Culhir tried to execute him, but his sword skill had been reduced to 0 by wound penalties, so we ruled that he was too weak to pick up the sword, looked like a bit of an ass, and had to get someone else to do it for him.

Not the most EFFECTIVE spymaster ever.