Character Death

Reading through the rulebook and what I’ve found online, it seems that character death is a pretty common event in Torchbearer. How often does it actually turn up in play? How have people handled it? What happens if a character dies halfway through a dungeon and the player is left without anything to do?

If they didn’t feel like watching, they could either go home or make another character. It wouldn’t hurt to have an extra character made up and ready. As a GM, you also sorta have control of it. If you don’t feel like killing someone off, just give the party a twist.

I’ve never killed a character in my games. I find it much more interesting to keep adding twists and slapping on conditions. Most players have the good sense to back down and camp or head back to town before pushing their luck though.

I don’t know about common, but it happens. It used to happen more in our early games. In fact we had a few total party wipes in consecutive sessions before coming to grips with pacing and the consequences of failure. Definitely improves the gameplay and RP to expose players to death.

The players shouldn’t feel safe. If you take death off the table, you are doing the characters a real diservice. This is a bloody gritty existence and death is a very real possibility.

As for getting the players back into the action… It is really easy to have the party find a lost adventurer from a previous expedition.

Great responses, thanks. Would you recommend telling new players that it’s quite possible to get killed in a kill conflict, or let them work that out themselves?

I would warn new players when they recklessly declare they want to kill something. If you know the rules you are on your own.

I warn players that the system can be deadly. I even demo the conflict system.

It rarely matters. Most folks charging gamely into their first conflict: Kill Attack/Attack/Attack. Someone inevitably dies.

It’s very difficult to preemptively knock players out of their ingrained habits from other games. So I think it’s best to go easy in their first TB sessions and gradually increase the pressure as you go.

In my experience, it’s not too hard or cumbersome to make a new character, either. When you know the system, it’s a matter of minutes.

And FWIW, we lost two high level characters recently and thus were forced to take a hard look at death in the system.
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