Sunday, October 16, 2022

Saves vs Horrors

 "The opposite of Dark Souls" for GLoGtober.

Death in dungeon games is a strange thing. The penalty for a PC dying is typically that the player must make a new one, perhaps of lower level and attainment, to be introduced as quickly as possible. This is a hard penalty, but not incredibly hard-- you could have a character who is immune to total death and the game would still work.. Many "feel" the loss out of proportion to the cold mechanical affect because they're playing a role or have some relationship to the character, just as we might feel strongly at the death of King Arthur or Patrocles or any other character in good stories.

This creates an opportunity. In games that feature frequent creatures and items that can incur a save vs death, there are varieties of equally punishing but novel and potentially more interesting fates which can be substituted. Here are some to start:

  1. Turned into a rude beast, like a frog or an ostrich
  2. Turned into an intelligent undead creature with a cruel agenda
  3. Rendered incorporeal and bound to an item
  4. Stuck in another dimension
  5. Set under a magic sleep that lasts a thousand years
  6. Turned into a child, an elder, or a level 0 peasant
  7. Contracted Evilitis
  8. Soul bound to a cruél devil
  9. Drudgery as a cog in a vast labor machine, the only escape paying off a massive debt
  10. Face stolen, body ever wandering
  11. Banished to the realm of dreams, only ever able to communicate indirectly through nightmares and mirrors
  12. Reduced to cinematic, laughing, madness
  13. Turned into a thinking, shrieking slurry that splashes weakly along the ground
  14. Santa Clause'd into an eternity of service as a cryptid or fairy tale creature
  15. Mingled into a composite being with 1d6 other people
  16. Gravity reversed
  17. Amnesia so profound as to lock away all class features learned after first level
  18. Forever chased by a giant demon bird
  19. Imprisoned and tortured by bird jailors
  20. The old standby, getting turned into stone

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