I just had an idea for a cool thing to put on a character sheet: who will care if your character dies? Who in the world will hold your adventuring companions accountable if you don't make it home?
It could be a fun thing to connect characters more to the setting and to add some narrative weight in investing in your party member's survival. "Guys, we need to make sure Dagmar comes back alive; the Jarl will hold a grudge against us if we don't."
@Bad_Quail That reminds me of the way Runequest used to include ransoms for people you were likely to get into a fight with and encouraged PCs to make arrangements of their own.
@ghost_bird Oh shit yeah. Sword, Axe, Spear, & Shield definitely needs a blurb on ransoms.
@Bad_Quail Oh I really like this idea!
@Bad_Quail Believe it or not, OD&D in 1974 had rules for specifying a relative who would inherit your stuff but doing so carried some risk. If you didn't check in after a period of time it was assumed your relative would claim your stuff. You'd then have to pay a 10% tax to reclaim it. And that's on top of the 10% tax the relative had to pay when laying claim.
@jburneko That's not precisely what I'm thinking about as a mechanism, but it's an interesting detail to include in the earliest dungeon crawler. I wonder how much it actually got used.
@Bad_Quail Oh I know. I just thought it was interesting that there was some precedent for that line of thinking all the way back to the beginning.
I have no idea how often it was employed as written.
@Bad_Quail Something like this happened in one of my D&D-campaigns. The heroes were all youngsters from a small village who grew up together. Losing the paladin to an undead horde was rough, but having to tell his parents - the village blacksmith and the guard captain - that their son had died? That was the real stinger.
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