I see what you mean. Instead of the "choose the wrong door and die" concept of those good old FF books, or the dreaded (1 on a d20) fumble in D&D, you wish that more computer games let you fail, but where the blows aren't so harsh (start over in one way or another, or you didn't pass this obstacle, so you can't continue), but rather, you're allowed to stumble on and make yourself your own unique playthrough.
I think we're kinda talking about two ways of failing though, and that could be my bad. I don't think the blows you receive out of failing something shouldn't be harsh - I think "failure" could constitute any sort. But in tabletop settings, I feel you can be a lot more flexible about how to interpret that failure. Maybe your character dies, and maybe it's a total party wipe even - but that doesn't necessarily have to be the end of the campaign. A single character could meet their demise and the player could reroll a new one to fit into the old party, or maybe a new quest is opened whereby the party have to find a way to ressurect their old party member or, for example, save them from a horrible fate that awaits their soul by travelling into the Astral Plane and yadda yadda. The consequence of being unlucky could be utterly severe, but the way it is implemented in the above examples with the basilisk and so on, that's not really that interesting a way to even *test* your luck. You're randomly pitted against a monster that casts insta-killing abilities and have to roll to see if you get a standard game over or lose a companion or not. Not only is it unfair or frustrating, from any other perspective it's rather, uh... Boring, you know?
So, going back to that Matthew Colville example I referred to earlier, that villain he ran who had the ability to raise powerful undead out of allies who fell unconscious, well... That happened to one of the characters in his story. One of the players failed the save, fell unconscious and was raised back up as a vampire, who now attacked the party. But the rest of the party was eventually victorious by killing the villain, and in doing so the vampire turned into a mist and fled the encounter. That was the end of that campaign, but on another campaign in that same workplace, another party became aware of certain things happening around their town, and as they investigated further who did they run into but none other than the vampire companion who'd fled the previous game? Obviously they were well aware of who that vampire had been in another campaign, and that was a neat little twist. Things like this could happen in a tabletop setting given how creative a DM can be with a failure or even a companion's death - but it's rarely the case that this sort of inventiveness translates to videogames, mostly because videogames can only be as flexible as what was programmed and written into them. They can't possibly account for every scenario and divergence possible in every situation and interaction, so usually a failure translates into a loss or a game over or a failed quest or something. I figure that leaving things to luck in a tabletop setting is cool because it could be so much more, regardless of what is being "gambled" in that lucky roll, if you get where I'm going. In a videogame on the other hand, where the only outcome is "you lose", I'm not much interested in running into a "choose the right door or die" situation without knowing the "or die" clause or having some means of deducing which is the right door. Basically I don't find Unexpected Russian Roulette a particularly compelling game.
Edited by algroth, 10 February 2019 - 11:51 AM.