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Thread: Regarding Player Character Death

  1. #1
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. Desolate Divine's Avatar
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    Regarding Player Character Death

    So today marks a first in GCEA history. It is the first death of an active player character in the series, however due to circumstances and timing, I feel it necessary to make a statement to clarify this.

    I am summing this up with two key points.

    #1: The death of Truly’s character William has nothing to do with the argument that happened on Discord at roughly 11pm on April 15, AEST.
    Due to the timing of this, those who were present on Discord at that point in time may be tempted to see this as GM vindication. That however is not the case. Whilst there was a disagreement between myself and Truly, William’s death is based upon his actions in game, and the character of the assailant. Had it been Amy, Renny, hell, even Sophie, the results would have been the same. This has nothing to do with the arguement or personal opinions.

    #2: This wasn’t a decision made lightly.
    The reason that GCEA has been so dead today is because I have been conversing with multiple people on whether or not having a player character killed under these circumstances would be okay.

    Ultimately, it came down to two things. Firstly, whilst the assailant’s motives weren’t completely specified in previous posts, it was not hidden that he intended to kill the group. It was quite obvious. In addition to this, the assailants power was not hidden from players. It was made very clear just how dangerous and powerful he was. The risk in antagonizing such an antagonist was not hidden and was very clear.

    This is not to say that insulting every NPC will result in a player character death. This is where the second thing comes in. The assailants motives are that he has seen worlds in the multiverse fall and countless innocent people die as the result of people not being in the world they were born in, and to prevent more, hunts down people who are outside of their own world and won’t return (whether they want to or not). The original plan was for the assailant to be about to kill William when the Team Galactic squadron who captured Matthias and Renny arrive and demand he hand them over. At that moment the assailant determines the Team Galactic squadron are more of a threat, and deals with them first, whilst the team escape in the firefight.

    However, by threatening to unleash a disease which could cripple the ecosystem, William made himself more of a threat by the assailant’s standards, which needed to be dealt with first. For the assailant to not kill William then and there would have been massively out of character and out of line with his ideals and goals. The only way to prevent his death would be to have one of the few beings in GCEA lore who are powerful enough to intervene do that. The problem with that is that most of those beings already have a place in this story, big or small, and to introduce them early would throw a lot of future events off. Additionally it would be very deus ex machina, and would create a sense of plot armour. That player characters will not be killed, and are immune to direct consequences of their actions. This is not the case. Whilst this is the first time this has happened in GCEA, it is not uncommon in other role play games.
    In Conclusion…
    The decision for William to die in the current circumstances was not an easy one to make, but it was the right one. Put simply, given the circumstances there was no other way that would not have potentially game-breaking consequences. Truly is completely welcome to create another sign up, and all the points from William’s card will be transferred to their new character.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask me. I have tomorrow off of work, so will be able to address them relatively soon.
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  3. #2
    Experienced Trainer Lychee's Avatar
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    Oooh! I have questions!
    I guess death is not something that seems explored in most Pokemon stuff very often- what would normally happen in this Pokemon world after a child is executed? I'm assuming there will be some sort of consequences for doin' a murder, since Pokemon worlds generally appear to have societies with laws against it.
    Would normal residents in this universe expect cops and police investigations?
    Would they expect a crime scene thing for the corpse, or a state-funded funeral?
    There doesn't need to be spoilers for what is /Actually/ gonna happen- I'm just trying to work out what our characters might expect.

    I know there are graveyards, and people die- theres at least one scene of that in Pokemon Sun- but they don't always take all their pokemon to the grave with them. Did all of Williams Pokemon also get melted?

  4. #3
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. Desolate Divine's Avatar
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    I csnt say more without spoiling but there will be in world consequences to this death.

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  6. #4
    Experienced Trainer Lychee's Avatar
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    That didn't answer many of the questions, but thats ok! I get that you're busy, and don't want to ruin the story for us!

    I'm just gonna keep asking questions in a different direction instead. This time, not dealing with how the platinum society treats death, but how death interacts with Pokemon!

    In the Pokemon universe, it seems there are a few pokemon that deal with the souls of the dead- specifically in this case;
    --- Phantump, who in some entries is "the soul of a child who died in the forest". Could we see William come back as one of these?
    --- Pumpkaboo, whose description is like "The spirit residing in the pumpkin is trapped in this world. Pumpkaboo can carry wandering spirits to where they belong, so they can move on." Which could be a really cool way to show that Williams spirit is trapped in this world!
    --- Lampent, who senses when someone is about to die (and is most often found in forests) and steals the spirit. Could this death make one of these appear?
    --- Duskull, which "lives in forests and enjoys the crying of children" is also a possible contender, since many of the team are in tears, right? Maybe?

    I totally understand you can't tell us about plot things, but do these pokemon exist in platinum, and could death influence them? Could this murder (totally unplanned, but certainly a choice that was made by the players) influence a pokemon we encounter?

    If theres anything more you can tell about the procedures surrounding death in that Pokemon world, I'd love to hear them!

  7. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Lychee View Post
    Oooh! I have questions!
    I guess death is not something that seems explored in most Pokemon stuff very often- what would normally happen in this Pokemon world after a child is executed? I'm assuming there will be some sort of consequences for doin' a murder, since Pokemon worlds generally appear to have societies with laws against it.
    Would normal residents in this universe expect cops and police investigations?
    Would they expect a crime scene thing for the corpse, or a state-funded funeral?
    There doesn't need to be spoilers for what is /Actually/ gonna happen- I'm just trying to work out what our characters might expect.

    I know there are graveyards, and people die- theres at least one scene of that in Pokemon Sun- but they don't always take all their pokemon to the grave with them. Did all of Williams Pokemon also get melted?
    Without any spoilers you should assume that things like murder would get investigated. In Blue the cops have talked with and investigated the team. Now the story may only briefly cover this or it may be a big part of the future but deaths of pcs or npcs is taken seriously.





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  9. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    #1: The death of Truly’s character William has nothing to do with the argument that happened on Discord at roughly 11pm on April 15, AEST.
    Firstly, I don’t believe your motivation in killing the character was out of spite. I’m happy to concede this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    #2: This wasn’t a decision made lightly.
    The reason that GCEA has been so dead today is because I have been conversing with multiple people on whether or not having a player character killed under these circumstances would be okay.

    Ultimately, it came down to two things. Firstly, whilst the assailant’s motives weren’t completely specified in previous posts, it was not hidden that he intended to kill the group. It was quite obvious. In addition to this, the assailants power was not hidden from players. It was made very clear just how dangerous and powerful he was. The risk in antagonizing such an antagonist was not hidden and was very clear.
    The antagonist was presented as so overwhelmingly powerful that there was no way to stop or obstruct him (and multiple characters tried in different ways) from his goal of killing the players. There was no further risk in a character (eg. William) antagonizing the character of Megaman than there was in a character (eg. Amy) rolling on the ground incapacitated.

    Here is a list of some things that did or could happen, when Megaman attacks the characters:

    1. William “antagonizes” him
    i. William and all the other player characters are killed.*
    2. Palila attacks him with her pokemon.
    a. They are swatted away by Charizard
    i. Palila and all the other player characters are killed.
    3. Kinnie attacks him bodily
    a. Megaman effortlessly swats her away
    i. Kinnie and all the other player characters are killed.
    4. The player characters try to knock out his Pokemon
    a. An NPC prevents them from finishing the job
    i. All of the player characters are killed in turn.
    5. Nobody does anything
    i. All of the player characters are killed in turn.
    6. Anybody does anything
    i. All of the player characters are killed in turn.
    *(If you’d like to bring metagame info into the equation, you can change “the player characters are killed in turn” to “deus ex machina arrives and the player characters are saved”.)

    When all the outcomes are the same, it is by definition, not a choice.



    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    This is not to say that insulting every NPC will result in a player character death. This is where the second thing comes in. The assailants motives are that he has seen worlds in the multiverse fall and countless innocent people die as the result of people not being in the world they were born in, and to prevent more, hunts down people who are outside of their own world and won’t return (whether they want to or not).

    However, by threatening to unleash a disease which could cripple the ecosystem, William made himself more of a threat by the assailant’s standards, which needed to be dealt with first. For the assailant to not kill William then and there would have been massively out of character and out of line with his ideals and goals.
    You, as the GM, are capable of making and changing goals at whim. You had not established his goals or ideals, so any “out of character” behavior would have gone completely unnoticed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    The only way to prevent his death would be to have one of the few beings in GCEA lore who are powerful enough to intervene do that. The problem with that is that most of those beings already have a place in this story, big or small, and to introduce them early would throw a lot of future events off. Additionally it would be very deus ex machina, and would create a sense of plot armour. That player characters will not be killed, and are immune to direct consequences of their actions. This is not the case. Whilst this is the first time this has happened in GCEA, it is not uncommon in other role play games.
    This,
    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    The original plan was for the assailant to be about to kill William when the Team Galactic squadron who captured Matthias and Renny arrive and demand he hand them over. At that moment the assailant determines the Team Galactic squadron are more of a threat, and deals with them first, whilst the team escape in the firefight.
    Is also deus ex machina.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    Given the circumstances there was no other way that would not have potentially game-breaking consequences.
    The “original plan” would have worked equally well under these circumstances. You control when Team Galactic arrives in the scene, and could have chosen that they arrive just in time to save William, as you had originally planned. It would have been no more contrived than having them arrive just after he is killed.

    As I said above, I don’t believe you killed this character out of spite. But please, don’t act as if your hand was forced or you had no choice in the matter. You are the only person who did have a choice. This was a scripted sequence wherein nobody but you had any choices to make, and you chose to deviate from it in order to kill a player character.

    Thing is, I don’t even think you made the wrong decision. You are correct to say it made sense and was justified in character.

    But I’m unhappy with how things turned out: not that (or the method by which) my character died, but that he was thrust into an unskippable cutscene that came before being allowed to do any roleplaying. I feel like I wasted my time trying to write a character that would be fun to play and to play with. And I feel like I’ve been cheated, never getting a chance to play that character. It makes me angry, because this is not something I chose. The choice was never mine.

  10. #7
    your turn to roll Suicune's Fire's Avatar
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    The way I see it, the big bad guy with a gun was clearly a very powerful threat and one of the characters went into his face, didn't take him seriously, then threatened to literally destroy the eco-system, and didn't heed any warnings. Truly, you knew what you were getting your character into, and now you have to accept the consequences. It's was so obvious that he was dangerous and you ignored everything about it and now you're upset that your character literally asked to be shot, then got shot. Sorry, but DD is in no way at fault here.

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  12. #8
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. Desolate Divine's Avatar
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    You, as the GM, are capable of making and changing goals at whim. You had not established his goals or ideals, so any “out of character” behavior would have gone completely unnoticed.
    This character is a pre-existing GCEA character, who will play a large part in the story. From the conception of the idea of his use in Platinum, his goals and ideals were established. They weren't made public as that would spoil the story. In this integral part of this characters arc, his introduction, consistency is key. For him to not kill William upon discovering he was the most dangerous threat there (by threatening to release a diseased Pokemon (Even if Robocop (not his real name) were able to stop the disease spreading like he said he would, William would still be dangerous in his eyes due to him being willing to sacrifice something much bigger than himself for his own safety)), would set the pattern of this character not following through with his ideals, and showing mercy, making that the standard throughout the rest of the story, which would conflict with other elements.

    This is also deus ex machina
    Wikipedia defines deus ex machina as "is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem in a story is suddenly and abruptly resolved by an unexpected and seemingly unlikely occurrence, typically so much as to seem contrived.".

    Team Galactic appearing was something set up from before William even joined the group. Had I just had a group randomly appear and start fighting would be Deus Ex Machina. Instead, the squadron found Matthias and Renny in Orebourgh, talked to them and discovered where the rest of the group were, and went to capture them. If you look closely, you will see I even coordinated the time skips between the two parties to allow this to make sense. Whilst it may have been predictable, it wasn't out of nowhere, Team Galactic come and save the day. It had been planned thoroughly to a lot of detail to allow the sequence of events to be plausible and realistic.

    The “original plan” would have worked equally well under these circumstances. You control when Team Galactic arrives in the scene, and could have chosen that they arrive just in time to save William, as you had originally planned. It would have been no more contrived than having them arrive just after he is killed.
    This is also false. As I mentioned earlier, William's threats made him in the eyes of Robocop a danger to the world they were in, whilst the Team Galactic Squadron were merely an annoyance. In his eyes they may irritate him, but William could cause the entire ecosystem to fail, and between the two, one needed to be dealt with immediately. Even if Team Galactic arrived five minutes earlier, Robocop would have still pulled the trigger on William because he has made it clear that he will harm the world he is in for his own safety. It would have been they arrived, and before he goes for them, he pulls the trigger on William. I only had them arrive as he does it for dramatic effect. To give players the chance to respond to his death before things go nuts with Team Galactic.

    But please, don’t act as if your hand was forced or you had no choice in the matter. You are the only person who did have a choice. This was a scripted sequence wherein nobody but you had any choices to make, and you chose to deviate from it in order to kill a player character.
    If this was a scripted sequence then how come only William was killed? You said yourself that his murder was justified in character. Marina and Drake tried to plead with Robocop. Cody (whilst this wasn't in the post, I mentioned this prior in Discord when you were present, and another player actually directed you to this comment) was attempted to stall and be ready to run when a distraction made itself apparent. There were options.

    And ultimately, William chose the most aggressive and antagonistic of them, against a character who was already planning on killing him. Robocop hadn't responded to the others. You don't know that he wouldn't have stood down. He wouldn't have as it wasn't in his character but you don't know that Truly. Half of the issues you have had have been derived from the mindset of you knowing all. Even when you talked about how Robocop couldn't kill William without blowing himself up. Do you know how the weapon works? For the sake of context, the projectile only explodes upon contact with a surface that it cannot penetrate, as the energy built up needs to escape somewhere, for example the stone ground and road. However, something less dense, it will penetrate and transfer energy through, effectively burning it all at once, such as a person. You didn't know this, and that is okay. But what you did was assumed that you knew exactly how it works.

    The fact is that there are two all knowing beings of GCEA. Arceus and myself. Even Rival Max, the creator, doesn't know some of the plans for Platinum to the detail I do.

    But I’m unhappy with how things turned out: not that (or the method by which) my character died, but that he was thrust into an unskippable cutscene that came before being allowed to do any roleplaying. I feel like I wasted my time trying to write a character that would be fun to play and to play with. And I feel like I’ve been cheated, never getting a chance to play that character. It makes me angry, because this is not something I chose. The choice was never mine.
    I agree that the circumstances surrounding William joining the team and how quickly he died are unfortunate. I would have liked to have seen some more roleplaying done prior, however this was an encounter planned for weeks, nearly two months. Robocop was always going to appear on Route 203 after the players got their first gym. I have actually mapped out where all the major NPCs are on each in game day. They are all on a schedule, performing tasks that make the story run in the background.

    I mentioned the other day how I view the players of GCEA. Numbers dictate that more likely than not people drop off. As I said, there were probably about 25 players total in Hoenn, and by the end only four were still present. Besides myself and Rival Max, there is no guarantee than any given character would be present this time in a year, for whatever reason, be it life stuff or people just losing interest. A key moment like this in the story, that needs to happen at this given point in time, is not going to be moved because there are new characters joining. Unfortunately it is bad timing, but ultimately this was a response to William's actions.

    But please, don’t act as if your hand was forced or you had no choice in the matter.
    I am addressing this last, as the rest is important and I don't want that lost in what I am about to say. Ultimately Truly, you are one to dictate how William acts. You can say that you were forced into that situation by the circumstances and William's character, that it would have been out of character for him to try and reason, or even to not just antagonize and threaten, but why am I not allowed to have that same courtesy? If you honestly believe that there was nothing else William could do due to his character and that situation, then I was put in the same dilemma, where the circumstances and Robocops character dictated that he must kill William, and I guess we are all out of luck in that. But there is one difference. There is wiggle-room for you as the player to break character for the sake of William's survival, as simple as him backing down and shutting his mouth after Robocop called his bluff, and Marina tried to reason with Robocop. The opportunity to back off was there. As the DM there are circumstance such as this where I don't get that wriggle-room. One of those is dealing with a steadfast and driven character such as Robocop. I had zero guarantee that you, and in turn, William were going to be present by the second, third, fourth, all the way through eighth gym. I could only take each day at a time until I got to a point where I trusted you would be present. Robocop on the otherhand, I know will be present. So if I had to choose between a key character who will definitely be there later, and a new player character whom I have never RPed with before, having to break character for the latters survival, it would be the latter. Ultimately, it was not me who killed William. It was you.

    Additionally, and this is just a personal note, from where I stand, and I have spoken to others who agree with me, it seems more like Williams actions were a challenge to me as a DM. To force me into a position where the only options were to do something undesirable (kill a player character), or to break the NPC, and in turn what is planned with them for the story, especially seeing as this didn't happen too much later than one of the numerous spirited debates between us about the NPCs and their role in the story. Ultimately, from where I stand, I had told you not too long before that the NPCs served a story purpose, and needed to be there for that, and you attempted to force me to see breaking that as the lesser of two evils. Unfortunately for you, in these circumstances, killing the player character was desirable.

    I have work tomorrow so will be going to sleep now, but that is where I stand. Take it or leave it. You are more than welcome to create another character, however now you know just how seriously I take the worldbuilding of GCEA.
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  14. #9
    I have been directed here to ask questions, so I figure I may as well ask the questions that I have.
    I'm not really holding back here, so answer these at your leisure -- or feel free to ignore them, I suppose.

    1. Get Out Of The Car!
    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    "Get out of the car." The head grunt says, as he opens the door.

    He leads you towards the clearing, with the other grunts in tow, before forcing you to your knees...
    What on earth possesses the Grunts to get their bound captives out of the vehicle? They're not going to drive the car away, and it's unlikely they're run (and even so, they wouldn't get far -- and they're bound). I understand the point from a "fun"/gameplay standpoint is to get the other characters involved in the scene, but you just made a big deal about running NPCs faithfully "in character."


    2. Preach It, Brother!
    Spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    "I have seen many worlds and countless people die, as a result of people leaving their own world and inhabiting others," the assailant said, raising his voice. "And now you have threatened to destroy the ecosystem of a world that is not your own! You are exactly why I need to do this. To protect the worlds, people like you need to be removed. Now."
    Why do you decide to proselytize in the same post as you kill a child? I understand that the character feels justified here, but the fact that as the GM you feel the need to include this parting shot makes it look like you agree with the psychopathic, would-be mass murderer.


    3. I See Everything
    Spoiler:
    Why do you write posts in First Person POV? You're the only player (currently, I don't know GCEA's history, but it's frankly irrelevant) to do this. That alone makes it jarring. However, you're also the GM. We as players, rely on you to describe the world and actions of all the NPCs in the game. You are our eyes and ears. By combining GM duties with in-character posts, all the information that the players receive is already filtered through Sophie's point of view. Assuming she's not privy to all information, and doesn't see everything (and we do assume that, since she's just another player character), Players are missing out. (Since this is proactive roleplaying, this means that only things that Sophie describes/interacts with canonically exist. Therefore the majority of the action, described by the GM, is centered on her -- and furthermore, she gets the first crack at it.) Alternatively, it could mean that despite being "just another player character," Sophie really does have all the information that the GM has. That's problematic for more obvious reasons.

    Even if you were just a player and not the GM, it still looks weird and breaks the flow to switch the tense I'm reading in.


    4. Where Is Everybody?
    Spoiler:
    As of this post, isn't Sophie already hidden among the trees? Even if she's able to see what's happening in the clearing, no baddies should logically be standing in front of her.

    Alternatively, if she is in the clearing, isn't she psychically restrained, via this post? Hence, unavailable to: battle the charizard/robocop; defend herself; smash a galactic grunt with a rock, or; run away? I made a big deal about Cody's action being awful in discord. If you want to hand-wave the repercussions for an in-character action done simply for flavor, I completely understand (but it does bring up questions about consistency.)


    5. If I Had A Hammer...
    Spoiler:
    Why did you feel the need to place a graphic violence warning before the violent death of several unnamed characters (literally, "Grunts," without personalities or any expected emotional investment), yet not before the equally violent death of a child?


    6. Spoiler Alert
    Spoiler:
    Why are you so concerned with "spoiling the story" when it comes to fundamental things like how the Pokemon world works -- things all players need to know and characters would have some prior knowledge of:
    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    I csnt say more without spoiling but there will be in world consequences to this death.
    But you are happy to tell us what an NPC thinks, his motives and his history -- when there's no way of our characters knowing, and it has no bearing on anything the characters do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desolate Divine View Post
    The assailants motives are that he has seen worlds in the multiverse fall and countless innocent people die as the result of people not being in the world they were born in, and to prevent more, hunts down people who are outside of their own world and won’t return (whether they want to or not).

  15. #10
    Mary Mary tell me how your garden grows. Desolate Divine's Avatar
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    I have answers to all of these however it is past midnight and I gotta be at work in seven hours so I will be addressing this tomorrow, probably after work if you dont mind waiting.

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