Alternatives to Death

In an article that suggests something that can only be described as so-obvious-I-feel-stupid, the guys at Gnome Stew have written an article about using alternatives to outright death when the dice fall where they may.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is famous for it’s maiming, and I know this from experience. It’s quite a lot of fun to see what sort of horrible disfigurement is going to befall a character. After a game-ending total party kill (TPK) recently in our D&D 4th edition sandbox campaign, this idea strikes me as all the more attractive. It would take some tweaking to apply it to 4th edition in particular due to it’s death save mechanic, and the players would obviously have to agree to the concept, but I think it could add some interesting gritty flavour (if that’s what you’re going for) and extend the life of the campaign in the even that horrible things happen to the group.

Check it out at Gnome Stew.

Published by


Has been the Dungeon Master for the group since the early nineties. It all started when a school friend’s mother ran U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh for him and some friends. Enthralled by this new thing he'd discovered, he quickly assembled a group of his own and began running games. From that point forward, he was hooked and hasn’t looked back since. He’s run games that run the gamut from old school to indie, and is always looking to try new systems or tinker with existing ones.

2 thoughts on “Alternatives to Death”

  1. Hi! Long time reader first time poster! 😉

    Ok, ok, so i’ve been in almost every RPG game you’ve run in the last 14 years…I thought it was funny…

    See, now this is a definite two thumbs up post right here. Everybody wants to have cool scars and things lopped off of their characters at some point during their illustrious fictional careers as hero’s. I mean come on, bar wenches dig scars right? ;p

    As a logical minded person i did always find it odd that you could absorb a world full of hurt but never carry home any long term or debilitating wounds. Yes i know it is high fantasy, but even limb removal has its place in helping stories unfold.

    Maybe this is why i really like 2nd editions skills & powers and combat & tactics…i loved my crit tables, BOOYAH!!!

    And yes, the aforementioned TPK was disastrous…worst part of it all was my Warlord was not there to prevent the slaughter!!! But, c’est la vie. I am always open to alternatives and new ways of doing things though. I definitely think that for death (while a valuable and real fear players should have) should not always be lurking around every corner. Because we are not just looking at simple player death, but campaign death as well.

    Characters come and go, but when you have a TPK (especially) it can be tough to build a new party of five (yes i know, bad and vague joke ;p) that has the same connections to the goals and purposes of the previous group that came before it.

    So i guess all that to say, bring on the maiming! We all know t’is but a flesh wound anyways!

  2. Yup, I always found it odd myself. I believe we have occasionally improvised on huge critical hits that something happens. But yes in general we do recover and we look great after. I also enjoyed the Combat & Tactics table back in 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons. It worked nomatter what house ruling went on and it spiced up our combats with the “holy crap!” to the “Noooo!!”

    So indeed bring it on

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.