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OOC Conversation Starter: Rules of Character Death

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OOC Conversation Starter: Rules of Character Death

Post by Arcadia Caughey on Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:58 pm

sharing this article for conversation fodder!

it sometimes bugs me to this day that i did a resurrection SL.  it was a huge part of arcadia and archer's current/past relationship at the time, and a huge plot point for her because it was her calling to bring him back and she refused to do it (and thus embrace who she was) for over a year, but...yeah, i'm not usually a ressurection fan.

what do you think? my other one - also inspired by harry potter - is that skyrocketing the death toll does not necessarily make something more dramatic and runs the risk of coming off as hollow and gratuitous. oof do i have that conversation with my young writers a lot, as they set out to rack up those bodies Hamlet-style...
Arcadia Caughey

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Re: OOC Conversation Starter: Rules of Character Death

Post by Epiphany on Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:55 pm

Alright.  Character death. This opinion mostly relates to Main and Secondary characters.

I remember reading The Wheel of Time and a few books in a character that I loved 'died'. I had to read the part a few times because I couldn't believe what had happened. I literally threw the book across the room and left. I mourned for days and it was weeks before I picked the book up again. In my opinion - that's the reaction you want when a character dies.

In all my years of playing, I've never had one of my main characters die (bringing them near-death, I'll do that if it fits the story), until De'Ryanna in story-line years ago. I had written myself into a proverbial corner and that was the only solution. It highly pissed me off, like shut down the computer, walk away, upset. Was it dramatic?  Yes, it wasn't expected and those involved still feel the repercussions.

Resurrection is good, within reason. If it makes sense. Has the death and re-birth taught the character anything and have they changed? My problem with resurrection is that many people will kill their character, bring them back, and they act as though nothing happened. In the real world, death changes people. I know that media is fantasy, but realism has to play a part as well. So when I see people kill their character - or even toss them into a traumatic situation- and they come back like it was nothing "This is my 5th time dying, no big deal!" it makes me wonder about their thought process.

Whether you're a first time writer, or an old vet when you think about killing a character you should also think about the effects that death will have. Not just to the character, but what about their friends, family, things that they were involved in, how will all that be affected? If the writer decides to bring the dead character back, those things should be considered again.

Killing a character isn't the same as the phrase "when you don't know what to do, add ninja's" (which is a whole different rant..). Don't kill a character because you're bored and don't know what to do with them.  Have a reason and make an impact.  Hopefully the right impact.

I wrote too much . . . Getting off my soapbox.


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Re: OOC Conversation Starter: Rules of Character Death

Post by Venis Jordianthan on Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:30 am

I told Pip-mun that I wasn't sure if it was a good idea for me to comment on this. Given who my characters are, both my creation and those I've inherited, it just didn't seem like a good idea.  But, that being said, I decided to chime in.

Other than Venis, who has died a few times and in various ways, I've never killed off a main character.  We'll discuss her in a moment.  My other main, and secondary, characters are not immortal.  Ok, Seleen is a vamp, but that's not immortal, that's long lived and hard to kill.  I have killed off a secondary character though.  And when I was asked why I didn't just bring him back, my response was easy.  He died in battle, it was an honorable death, and there's nothing more to his story.  Bringing him back served no purpose. Sure, he could have came back and lived a long life with a wife and kids and maybe had a few more battles, but why?  Instead, his family had a wonderful ceremony that celebrated his life and he was honored by his comrades.  

If I were to kill off a main character, it would be for a reason, and there would have to be an excellent reason for bringing them back.  This is simply because, as I said, they're not immortal.  And I don't think that characters should be brought back just because you miss them or something.  

Third tier characters (NPC's, cannon fodder, meat shields, etc.), I see no purpose to resurrecting them.  They're created to be disposable, sifted through, and not have an actual identity.  A name does not an identity make.  Now, when a third tier character climbs the ranks (ie, Isah, Ivan, Manny), they're bumped up to secondaries and are given the same protection from death as other secondaries.  But then we're back to there had bettered be a damned good reason to bring them back.  And the fact that they have a spouse or significant other is not reason enough.

Venis, she's my exception to so many rules.  And some days, she's a little too big for her britches.  Which makes it a good thing that an NPC recently climbed the ranks and became a secondary. That particular secondary takes no shit from V. and tells her what for.  I guess that's why she needed to become more than an NPC.  Venis needed her.  

Venis has died seven times.  The first time was when she was turned into a vampire.  I didn't bring her back, her sire did.  Twice she died while becoming a God.  Again, I didn't bring her back, someone else did.  She has died four times since I started playing her on the Internet.  The first time was when she and Gawain formed their bond.  He saved her and then she had to save him in return.  The other three times, she was able to come back because of her bond with Gawain.  And there's a, yet to be published or even finished, RP story line where she was supposed to die again.  

So, what was the impact and lessons from all these deaths?  Her first death, she learned to trust no one.  And she didn't trust anyone again until Gawain, and then Kahn.  Now, there are some she trusts, but not many.  The next two?  When you've got a job to do, get off your ass and do it.  She had never fought so hard in her life, or afterlife.  And hasn't since either.  She had to go through the same thing over again when Gawain became God of Death, and then a third time when Kahn became God of Death.  But she was better prepared those times, and she had her bond with Gawain keeping her alive.  The night that she and Gawain bonded themselves together, she learned to never let her guard down around those who are as powerful as she is.  But there was one death that she didn't learn anything from.  She just came back pissed off and killed the one who had killed her.  It was a stupid and pointless death and her resurrection was because of how stupid and pointless her death was.  Do I regret it, no.  Did it make sense, yes, because she is a lot harder to kill and keep dead thanks to Gawain.  And in this unfinished and unpublished SL, she would have been resurrected again, because that was the point.  It was for a purpose.

As far as V.'s death toll.  There have been deaths for a purpose, like to make an army.  There have been deaths for food, but those were mostly NPC's.  And then there have been other deaths.  Like the guy who cut her.  His mun asked me if Venis could kill the character.  But as far as in the story, her only reason for killing him was because he cut her.  In character, V didn't know he was a serial killer.  She knew that he was a pedophile and a necrophiliac, because that was what she walked up on.  She could have fed from him.  She could have put his death to good use.  But because he pissed her off she just murdered him.  And there are times that she does that.  But, she is very, very, very, particular about who she'll resurrect. There has to be a very good reason for it.  Even Gareth, he's like family, Tasha's first love, but she wasn't bringing him back without a reason.  There was a reason Gawain killed him, so Venis wouldn't bring him back without one.

So now that I've ranted on about death and resurrection with seemingly no point, let me get to the point.  In real life, death is eminent.  We are all going to die at some point.  So why wouldn't it be the same for our characters?  And we don't get to just come back all willy nilly, so why should they?  But ... That being said ... We get rushed to an E.R. and sometimes they can bring us back.  So, if the reason fits and there's a purpose, why can't they come back?  But yes, each death should count.  Each death should mean something.  Each death should change something.  And extremely traumatic events fall under the same rules.  Venis hasn't seen much play lately, but there have been hints where she has seen play, and in case no one noticed, she has changed because of the darkness.  Benjamin may have taken it from her, and without killing her to get it, but there's a change.  And if no one has noticed it yet, hopefully you will soon.
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Re: OOC Conversation Starter: Rules of Character Death

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