This is not intended as a subtweet, but I’ve started reframing the loss of a character as “they leave the story” instead of “they die” and it’s really changed my perspective on character death.
What if losing hit points wasn’t about “you’re taking injuries” and culminating in “you’ve taken so many injuries that you die”
What if it was “Things aren’t going the way you wanted” and culminating in “You realize you can’t do this anymore and you plan to leave”
If you hit 0-HP during a fight, you can keep fighting, you don’t suddenly disappear. Because fuck it, if you’re gonna leave, you’re gonna at least leave your friends in a good position.
But when the fight is over: “Guys… I just…I can’t.”
And we all know. And it’s okay.
We help you make your plans to leave, if you need it. We go back to town together, have one last night at the tavern, drink to the times we shared, if that’s what you need.
Then we say good-bye. And it sucks, because you’re still out there but we’ll never see you again.
And then maybe yeah, sometimes you hit zero and you say, “Looks like that’s the end for me.” And the enemy hits you, and you drop.
We put rules in the game for that too. So that we can avenge you.
But if that’s not what you want for your character? You don’t have to.
Attrition isn’t just about “This work is dangerous and you’re probably gonna die.”
Attrition is also about “This work is traumatizing and at some point you’re probably gonna decide you can’t do it anymore.”