The Library and Character Death

When I got my current job in a public library, they already had a D&D program going. A hired DM was running 5th edition and was popular with the patrons involved. The DM got a new job and didn’t have the time nor the spoons to continue, so I have to take over until we transform our D&D program into more of a gaming program, less dependent on a 1 hired DM + 5 players model.

I don’t want to run 5e; I had run a houseruled version of it before and found it tiring to run. So, I’m running Old School Essentials.

The 0 HP = Death thing can be unforgiving, so I took a houserule I had written before


modded it a bit.

I used it this past weekend. 2nd level Halfling, Scamp, got mauled by a wyvern after some rough die rolls and bad luck. I asked the player what Scamp’s folk believe about the afterlife and Coach, a first time player, said that there is probably a feast in the hobbit afterlife. Rock on, I narrated Scamp’s beloved late Auntie letting Scamp know that he could come with her and join the Great Feast. Scamp said they weren’t ready to go yet and so the Auntie said that there would be a price, a scar of some kind.

We jumped out of game and I asked Coach to come up with a lasting injury that might come out of the wyvern’s mauling of Scamp. Coach came up with a loss of an arm, which is honestly rougher than I would’ve been, I think.

I checked in with Coach at the end of the game, made sure that option was satisfying and she said it was, that they weren’t ready to give Scamp up.

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Thank you for sharing!

I used a similar hack for my last DW campaign, a couple of years ago. If I will find the text I will translate it in English and I will post it here.

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That’s actually really cool, and shows the commitment to permanent change from the player as well.

Did the lost arm come up at all in the following sessions? I can imagine a couple of hypothetical situations where you could really say “Wow, he really did lose an arm back then”! I’m really excited by the potential for mechanics like this to change the trajectory of play.

I remember some of my best memories from Dungeon World involved a 7–9 result on the Death roll, which forces a tough choice between dying, or living forever changed. It’s really too bad the other results ain’t nearly as interesting!

I like this 3-strikes version much more. No rolling, always a permanent change, and death is final at a certain point (and becomes nearer and nearer). I think being at your last death must be very tense!

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