A Perennial Favorite
One of the players in Gabriel’s ongoing campaign made the mistake of suggesting they did not feel sufficiently threatened, and they did so in earshot of me, which his entire party will come to regret. They have a game tonight, their last game ever if I have anything to say about it. Disintegrations for everybody. Resurrections impossible, or at the very least undesirable, as these revivified unfortunates could do naught but wail for the remainder of their natural lives, cocooned in a perfect, impenetrable agony.
Walking that line is a tremendous challenge, in a context already fraught with malevolent bugaboos. If you want to tell a story of any kind, and many gamemasters (dungeon masters, storytellers, oracles, directors, etc.) do, a reasonably continuous cast is often core to that - particularly if you’ve worked to nest them in the arc of the narrative. But the comfort we’re talking about is the inevitable result - players come to feel like the marqueed stars of some long running serial, and they expect their trailers to be stocked with name-brand products. They start to demand vegan catering and increasing volumes of exotic, quasi-legal “sacraments.” You can’t really blame them; their characters exist in a universe that you create and sustain explicitly for their amusement. A sense of entitlement is the natural outcome.
In their world, death is something that happens to other people.
Typically, it happens because they, themselves, have killed that person - but let’s not get ahead. We’ll see what we can do to fix their little red wagon in tonight’s game. In this metaphor, “fix” actually means “to destroy in absolute terms.” The little red wagon represents the fragile cage of their mortal flesh, mortal being the operative concept.