What Remains?*

Players: don’t you hate it when you character dies? For most of my life, and in most of the games I have played, the idea of being forced to hand in my character sheet, one I’ve put so much into building up,  garlanding with story, tchotchkes, booty, and loot, it’s almost… unthinkable.

Playing in noisms’ Three Mile Tree campaign cured me of this fear. In that campaign I’ve watched five of my characters die and, if anything, I was a bit impatient for the last one to kick the bucket by the time the dice fated it. No one character is the story, the campaign is.

It is fun, though, to see where those dead characters’ life stories pushed the world. With this in mind, as some sort of a compensation for a player’s character death, why not allow that player to indulge in a bit of legend-making, a bit of “hey, why not stick around for your own funeral”: ask the player of the dying character to name one thing for which, in years to come, that character will still be remembered. It doesn’t have to be something they actually did, in fact it’s probably more fun if it’s untrue. “Remember Men-Kheper-Ra? If he hadn’t started tinkering, trying to breed humans with insects, then we wouldn’t have had stag-beetle men and all of this horrible mess could have been avoided”.

(This is a sort of simplified riff on my game In My End Is My Beginning, where dying characters look back at the turning points and missed opportunities in their lives). 

*What Remains is also the title of a book by my friend (and I hope, some day, my undertaker) Ru Callender. It will be in all the bookshops, and hard to avoid, from next week. Read more about Ru’s book What Remains: Life, Death and the Human Art of Undertaking.

I also have a book coming out soon: sign up here to be notified when King Arthur vs Devil Kitteh launches.



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