Well, it seems that I gave up blogging for Lent, but I don't think St. Peter will be offering me props for it when I get to those pearly gates -- since, to be honest, my lack of posts has been more an exercise in lameness and being too busy than a sacrifice honoring Jesus's 40-day desert sojourn.
Nonetheless, given the Easter holiday, it does seem to be a propitious moment to breathe some new life into my blog, to raise it from the dead, so to speak. So let me cry out with a loud voice: Wemic, Come Forth! And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin. Hmmm. Wemic mummy. That's fodder for a future screed!
It wasn't always so easy to raise the dead. When we played First Edition Dungeons and Dragons back in high school, we thought it smacked of cheating to allow unlimited raises every time you died. So we had a house rule that each character got ONE raise, and after that, das ist kaput.
And none of that namby pamby negative hit points for us, either! When you hit zero, that was it. Well, under these house rules, it was an achievement to manage to get my ranger, Armath, up to tenth level. He had already died once and been brought back, so he was living on the precipice.
Well, Armath found a set of magic eyes that bestowed magic vision. The catch was that you had to rip out your own eyes and pop the magic eyes in the sockets. They each looked something like this.
So I say to my Dungeon Master, "Well, how much damage will I take if I rip out my eyes?"
"Um, well, 1 to 100 hit points," said the DM.
Armath had exactly 98 hit points, so I figured this was a pretty safe gamble.
I rolled a 99. But unlike Agent 99, this 99 was not so easy on the eyes. And that was the end of Armath.
Nowadays, ho hum, another respawn. For players in the mindset of video games and MMORPGs, dying is no inconvenience. After all, heaven forbid the player should have a negative experience, pick up her marbles -- I mean, her monthly online fee -- and head out for games unknown.
That's another reason I love The Wold, an online play-by-post D&D site I haunt -- death means something. The Wold is straight-up core D&D plus a few house rules. One of those house rules is that if you want to be brought back from the dead, your entire party has to appear before Gargul, God of Life and Death (played by a DM from another game in the Wold, not your usual DM) and plead your case. This is not a mere formality -- playing Gargul, I once struck one PC dead and caused another's tongue to drop out of her head. She had to carry around her own detached-but-still-living tongue until she learned to be polite to gods.
Now, I'm not lauding Armath's two-strikes-and-you're-out death as a model system. But I do think that jumping a few waterfalls is a good idea before a raise. Your players will value their characters more if death has a bite to it.
Update [6 Jan 07] Fixed two broken links.