Had a situation Friday crop up, where a player commented to me, that he feels PC's in rpgs should be somewhat 'immune' to dying off early in a gaming session (say before hour 2 of a 4 hr slot), just so that said player should feel he at least got "His money's worth" from the event..
Talking on a smoke break with some of the Shadowrun/pathfinder/b.tech people i saw outside, i got a varied response from them when i put HIS comment to them as a question..
So SHOULD a player, have some sort of expectation, that if he say pays for a 4 hr slot of gaming, but something goes real bad early on (they get into combat when they shouldn't have, dice rolls go pear shaped etc), that they shouldn't die before say the halfway mark??
I don't think a character should ever die during a convention game.
The player is there to enjoy the game for the duration of the event, and it's the GM's responsibility to make sure that they have the opportunity to do so.
No, they should have no expectation of staying alive the whole time. If you die during a run, even early, too bad so sad. That said no game should be setup as a PC killer. I've played a couple of those over the years and they are never any fun for anyone but the GM who always seems to be the worst kind of GM.
I try very hard not to kill my players' characters. But if they die, they die; it's part of the game. They can always be given an NPC antagonist to roleplay.
I wouldn't say immune. But as a GM, if your scenario is designed in a way that PCs are facing a potentially lethal situation early on, you should make sure the players are aware of this ahead of time: "This is a dangerous scenario", "Combat is very deadly in this system", etc. You may want to re-evaluate your adventure: is a potential deadly combat in the first hour really necessary for the story you're telling?
It depends in part on the game, too. Players will expect at least a couple of PC deaths by the end of Cthulhu. I ran Paranoia Trek three times, and all 22 players lost a clone before they even got to the mission briefing room (an unfortunate side effect of asking for directions to the XEQ Shin room.). But PCs get six clones in Paranoia so it wasn't a big deal.
I also run Can of Whupass, which is a last man standing format. Before the event I talk about why this kind of format can suck: other players can hang on up on you, a very lucky roll by an opponent or a critical failure can take you out, etc.
So I talk about what we do to compensate players who get knocked out early: they can't be knocked out unless they've had the chance to make at least one attack, they get to pick first from the prize box, they can play an NPC later in the game.
It was in a Sw D6 game, where half way in (time wise, roughly 3/4ths of the way in of the module itself), they triggered an ambush situation, where 2 of the pcs got knocked down into the mortally wounded 'status'.. (One should have been killed from the get go, but as he was on iirc his 4th or so game i knocked it down to MW due to the rest of them being higher "Level pcs"), He just bled out before medical help got to him...
You've started this discussion before (on the previous forums) and I don't think you're getting (or going to get) anything you haven't seen there, but FWIW:
Whether player elimination in an RPG event at a convention is acceptable to the players is going to vary greatly based on the system and type of event. Organized Play scenarios and horror events/systems are ones where players are more likely to expect elimination in my experience.
I personally choose to not design convention RPG events where player elimination is likely. Thus Paranoia, where your character is expected to die a couple of times but isn't eliminated when that happens. My past convention events in other systems have reflected this design philosophy as well, as does my GMing style.
For most RPG's, danger is part of the character's job description. If you take that away, you detract from the experience, IMHO.
That said, for a con game I think it is incumbent on the GM (or the adventure writer, at least) to back-load the danger so that most of it comes around the climax of the story. And it seems OK to me for a GM to protect characters from death by sheer bad luck, at least early in the scenario. But death by player foolishness should always be possible, and shouldn't be prevented.
Some game systems tend to be more lethal than others, and giving a warning at the start about that seems reasonable. Something like "Hey, this is Classic Runequest, and if you get into a fight you're one bad die roll away from being nicknamed 'Stumpy', so trying to talk before you fight is usually a good idea" seems fine. If the players don't heed the warning I don't think it's up to the GM to protect them.
I don't expect not to get killed in an RPG scenario. If that makes sense.
But I do appreciate when a GM rewards stupid behavior with lethal consequences. I had that happen on a game Thursday night. The PC next to me did something stupid. I even interjected and asked them, "are you SURE you want to do that?" They confirmed that they did and they ended up dying for it.
Then they got upset when they died.
Well... who's fault is that?
For the LARPs I run, I completely agree that a player should be able to keep playing for the entire time they paid for.
How that is accomplished depends on the game, however. A lot of the time there is some sort of 'Ghost Rule' in effect, a rule we got from a guy who's been running games at the con for a long time. If you die, your character comes back as a ghost, with memories, able to continue to interact and accomplish goals. If it's a Sci fi game, it'll be a hologram.
But other games are different. Ran one last year that was the apocalypse, an alien invasion and the end of the world. If you died, you died. But we had a pile of additional characters that you would come back as. We had one woman who got killed three times, I think. :) That was a killer scenario, and we told people it would be that way. But everyone kept playing the whole time.
However, I played in a mini game at this Con, Monster Smash, by Red Shirt Games. A battle royale of monsters in an arena. Two hours of mayhem, and if you die, you're done. That's part of that game. No role playing, just combat. And an rpg could be sold and run similarly.
The key is if the players know what they are getting at the start.
I've been killed numerous times during a GenCon game but normally close to the end (within the last fifteen minutes). So I feel like all my GMs still had an element of danger while also ensuring that their characters had fun.
Eh, I've died before - it's the consequence of occasionally doing something seriously stupid (or rolling a massive fail - those 1s love me!). I usually take it with a laugh and a smile, then take over an NPC or something... Sometimes I just hang out till the end of the game to see what happens, sometimes I take off :D.
I actually ended a whole game early one time because I rolled GOOD and negotiated a treaty with the people we were SUPPOSED to fight.... ::grins::
But anyway, mostly people need to remember - it's a game that CAN have lethal consequences... prepare yourself and be grown up about it people!