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I hope there will be special circonstances when insta death is a possibility. However this should not be overdone AND the player should be able to see it coming. For example, when Perseus faced the Medusa, he knew that looking at her gaze would turn him to stone (and end his life). So he had to find a way to prevent that. This led him to one of the most epic encounter ever told. Players should be able to live such encounters. You know that a detail in the encounter can mean your end, but there is always a weak spot you can find. 

 

This would encourage stories encounters, which are way more interesting than meaningless criters.

 

Should players be able to do that to ennemies ? Yes but in the same, idea, ennemies should know when players wield such death dealing powers ! 

 

It's not meta-gaming proof, but revealing the information to the player before the encounter would render meta-gaming useless.. as you will learn it before the encounter anyway. What it will do is built up tension before the encounter. Will your strategy work ? Is it true ? How can you prevent this ? 

 

I think this can bring much. 

Edited by J. Trudel
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Instadeath can be a fun gameplay element, but only if there's enough information that you can fairly avoid it. NetHack, for example, would not be anywhere near as fun as it is without all of the myriad stupid deaths you can experience, from choking on your food or dying from food poisoning, to taking a misstep and drowning in a pool, to falling down the stairs while wielding a ****atrice corpse, to being zapped by a gnome carrying a wand of death.

 

But it's only fun because almost all of those sudden deaths are avoidable, and the game lets you discover the ways of avoiding them through those infinite replays in procedurally generated dungeons.

 

I do not like instadeath in RPG's with precreated rather than procedurally generated content. It just leads to types of gameplay I don't enjoy: saving and reloading repeatedly to discover the hard counters, followed by saving and reloading repeatedly to abuse of any instadeath-dealing spells or abilities. In fact, this is the feature I liked least about the IE classics. I defeated Firkraag by preparing all the Feebleminds I could and reloading until one of them bit, for example. That was an exercise in bloody-mindedness, not tactical or strategic acumen.

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What I am suggesting is leave it up to the Player to "Resist Death" instead of basing it on a "Lucky Dice Roll".

 

That's why what I am trying to continuously suggest is the same as "Resist Meteor Spell" and "Resist Death Spell" in the context of what I am suggesting.

 

I am not suggesting "Hey guys let's bring back the lucky dice rolls Death Spells from the IE games". No. I am trying to suggest something new that the Player can control. Kind of like Dark Souls (this is an extreme example/concept of what I am suggesting): if you don't dodge the Dragon on the bridge, you are most likely dead <- Death-Effect. But you can dodge it, right?

 

The complaints seem to be, in this thread at least, that Death Spells in the IE games were "Hit or Miss" Spells based on lucky rolls. If they hit, you are dead. If they miss, nothing.

 

So what I am suggesting is to remove the chaos of "Luck" and implement "Awareness", "Reaction", "Tactics" and "Skill" elements regarding Death Spells for "Balance's Sake".

 

EDIT: I am suggesting the implementation of "tools" (options) for the Player to defend themselves against Death Spells.

 

1. Enemy casts "You die"-Spell

2. Player casts "I think not"-Spell

 

perhaps you can take total cover behind your tower shield so the mage doesn't have a target for the spell? (i know dnd didn't allow this), or the rogue uses a smoke bomb?  druid casts mid sand storm to blow some sand in the caster's eyes?  the ranger shoots the mage's hand so he can't perform the necessary gestures?  if it is just spell on spell action then it gets pretty boring.

I never said that you require a single-sort of spell to stop a Death Spell.

 

I like options too, and different ways to stop things or use things are always fun and tactical. I'll repeat myself:

 

"Death Spells should require a 100% sure hit"

 

- This means that a Level 1 Protect Spell could defend against 25%.

- If the enemy weakens me with confuse, silence, stun, poison etc. etc. that would heighten the chances of a sure hit.

- Additionally: Some death spells could be conditional or having "requirements". "Cast Honey Poison first to follow up with Demon Killer Hornets". 

the first example is pretty much just a 100% damage spell, not really a death spell, again maybe any sort of magic mitigation would reduce the damage, not just a spell so it isn't spell on spell action.

the second example still just relies on magic, why have non mages at all?  throw out enough spells and the enemy dies, no matter how powerful or numerous.  not saying it isn't an option, but i don't see how it helps to sell your method.

the third is like the second, only more specific and may be conditional on area (like an area that has demon killer hornets), and if they are in the area then maybe there is some known defense against them that would have to be used, which means casting fireball or some such to destroy that protection, then cast honey poison and then survive until the bees show up, assuming your protection is still up by that time as well.

I don't understand the stigma towards death spells. For all purposes considered, I assume we are speaking within the realm of D&D mechanics.

  • Traps frequently kill characters in many games without even offering a chance to respond. It's expected that when in a dungeon, you should expect traps. Traditionally, rogues have been the only characters adequately equipped to detect and disarm them. Nobody complains?
  • Dragon breath has a very strong chance of killing an entire party with a single utterence--unless you are protected against X Element. It's expected that, when given reasonable suspicion, you should expect to deal with a breath weapon. Traditionally, only magic users have been able to grant protection from this and only at various degrees. Nobody complains?
  • Critical hits have the capability of killing many character outright. This can occur any time a weapon is used, with no limit. Many fighters have the ability to increase the frequency and potency of their critical hits. There are very few ways to mitigate this risk. Nobody complains?
  • Some magic users have the ability to damage, manipulate, and kill entire parties with a single spell. It's expected that, in a world of magic, you will face magic users. Traditionally, only magic users have the ability to provide hard counters to offensive magic. Suddenly, this is a problem?

Death spells have never been any more difficult to overcome with a roll than any other spell--often times, they are much more easily foiled than any other spell. There are many ways to provide, not merely a hard counter, but to enhance saving throws to mitigate risk. Furthermore, Death spells generally have limitations on what challenge rating of creatures can be effected, and how many. There is also the typical "all or nothing" caveat. Many variants of death spells even require multiple saves, screening through multiple "opposing stats" giving the defender an extreme advantage.

 

There is nothing unfair about instant death spells. There are many other threats which provide an equivalent threat, or are even more severe and difficult to respond to. To me, it merely sounds like many players here do not wish to be bothered with things such as scouting, information gathering spells, or being bothered to be prepared for a contingency that many never come.

 

I'm not saying that every mageling should toss direct death about. I believe that it should be a higher tier ability, which proportionate inputs or risk to the magic user. However, it shouldn't matter if a foe kills you in one round with a sleep spell followed by a "coup de grace", or outright via trap, breath weapon, or other spell/ability. In a world of magic, character should be prepared to deal with magic. By no means should a spell system be limited in scope because some players may find coping with it irksome.

in your last example one class is the instigator of both offense and defense, and the threat isn't ties to an area, so it can happen at any time.  that is the issue with it.  in games they tend to shy away from insta-kill traps, yet they keep the spells, it is a double standard that cheapen rogues, while the strength of save scumming and program triggers strengthen enemy mages, which as the defense against mages is mages, makes your mages more important.

 

example of program triggers:

a powerful mage speaks to the character that is in visual range, whether or not he can be seen, which breaks stealth and removes time from buffs while speaking, then the mage prepares for the fight, even if he should not be aware.

 

the reason as to why they tend to remove insta-kill traps is due to the lack of counterplay or the dependance on having a class in your party for just that reason.  in other words game designers often feel that forcing players to spend resources to defeat insta-kill traps just for the sake of having insta-kill traps in game is pointless, though they don't see how insta-kill spells are in the same boat, mainly due to the greater utility of the mage, which means that anything that strengthens such class is a step towards unbalancing a delicate mechanic.  as it is seen that rogues have limited viability it would have been more prudent to keep them as guardians of the party against insta-kill, rather than a class that is still seen as useful even without such benefit in order to maintain balance, though if they did we might be talking about insta-kill traps right now.

 

I hope there will be special circonstances when insta death is a possibility. However this should not be overdone AND the player should be able to see it coming. For example, when Perseus faced the Medusa, he knew that looking at her gaze would turn him to stone (and end his life). So he had to find a way to prevent that. This led him to one of the most epic encounter ever told. Players should be able to live such encounters. You know that a detail in the encounter can mean your end, but there is always a weak spot you can find. 

 

This would encourage stories encounters, which are way more interesting than meaningless criters.

 

Should players be able to do that to ennemies ? Yes but in the same, idea, ennemies should know when players wield such death dealing powers ! 

 

It's not meta-gaming proof, but revealing the information to the player before the encounter would render meta-gaming useless.. as you will learn it before the encounter anyway. What it will do is built up tension before the encounter. Will your strategy work ? Is it true ? How can you prevent this ? 

 

I think this can bring much. 

 

this is a post that is a good one as to why insta-kill mechanics are good, and also how to do them right.  the thing that made greek mythos so epic was that it was about weak little mortals being cunning and smart in order to overcome godly magic, rather than some other god out godding another god.

Edited by jamoecw
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There is no challenge or skill on "save or die" mechanics, because it´s entirely based on a single instance of luck where you have no control over it... It´s the kind of things i disliked about PnP RPGs from yesterday (and tomorrow, because they are bringing that back on D&DNext...ugh)

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