I have been noticing tweets here and there about Save or Die in the upcoming new edition of D&D.
I don’t mind Save or Die if I can make a character fast and painlessly or take over an NPC as a new character, getting back into the mix quickly and easily. I wonder if having a batch of pre-gens could help with this? Maybe. This reminds me of another Save or Die option, Dark Sun’s character trees, a mechanical sign that the setting is going to be harsh on your character and license for the DM to take the gloves off.
When something has a Save or Die effect, it has to be cool. It doesn’t have to be epic, not every Save or Die effect needs to be Dragon’s Breath but it should be something that we can remember, something descriptive.
I’d like some way to remember the dead, the stacks of dead hirelings and low level characters who paved the way for the survivors who made it to the higher levels. This might be a moment at the beginning or end of each game where we remember dead characters or a little character graveyard, a bunch of folded up index cards with the dead’s names, deeds and how they died, like a little adventurers’ graveyard.
I do mind Save or Die if I have been asked to make a story for the character, or if the character creation is longer than a few minutes or if the character creation asked me to make difficult decisions that left me with a strong attachment to the character.
I’m fine with games where folks venture into dangerous, monster-infested, highly trapped, arcane holes in the ground and perish. I’m fine with playing a character who ends up being a cautionary tale but get me back into the action fast and give the table a way to remember the dead.