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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    The obvious solution strikes me to increase the difference between "you're down" and "you're dead". I'm fine with an orc knocking my character out on a critical hit. I'm less fine with this immediately killing me.

    What I usually do is make character death a story event rather than a rules event. You drop at zero hit points, but at no point will the rules declare that you're automatically dead now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Reasonable is the problem point here. I don't think sudden death is either fair or enjoyable - it's merely logical and reasonable within the game world for it to happen. (Nevermind that in most of those cases, your character does have a chance, in form of their AC or Saving Throws. If they fail and die, it means they blew it.)

    In an open-ended scenario, where anything is possible, all players GM included need to swallow the bitter fact that sometimes, you just lose, because it makes sense for what the game is trying to portray. Downgrading enemies who apparently aren't very lethal in the first place is treating symptoms instead of the disease: the game is about violence and death, and those things tend not to be fair.
    This is precisely why I oppose "verisimilitude" as a useful factor for game designers to consider.

    It is perfectly "reasonable" that people die from a fall from a horse, tainted beef or gangrene but is it Heroic? No. Is D&D a game of Heroic Fantasy? Yes. Therefore would it not behoove the system to encourage Heroic Fantasy gameplay even if it is not "reasonable" in light of how the real world operates?

    IMHO, the number one priority of a system is to fulfill its Purpose and for many systems that is to facilitate the genre the system is geared towards. Heroes in Heroic Fantasy stories don't get felled by a lucky Mook before the battle even begins; they may get wounded or impaired by misfortune but they always go down fighting.
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2012-09-25 at 10:42 AM.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Ironically, that thought goes against many traditions D&D has, which are what the designers are trying to uphold. Looking at early editions of D&D, it's obvious the makers had a hard-on for verisimilitude. Bits and pieces of this carried to 3rd Edition, why we have rules for things like diseases and starvation.

    Most of these verisimilitude rules can be circumvented in every edition, but it usually takes place after 1st level. Logical conclusion: 1st level characters were not intended to be heroes starting off, rather it's something that's earned later.

    But even this is besides the point. With or without verisimilitude you can still have inherently unfair scenarios, by accident if you don't know better. There's more to game design than the rules used by invidual pieces - the positioning of the pieces is important as well. The latter is responsibility for GMs and adventure designers, and so the problem needs to be tackled there - if you want heroic fantasy, then you need to arrange your fantasy so that your characters can be heroic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Heroes in Heroic Fantasy stories don't get felled by a lucky Mook before the battle even begins; they may get wounded or impaired by misfortune but they always go down fighting.
    Those stories then restrict themselves in the range of scenarios they can portray (echoing Frozen Feet here). It may be possible to have entertaining stories within these constrains, but it hardly defines the range of possible heroic stories.
    What makes a character heroic is what they do, not how the world bends around them. You can construct a heroic character using a single scene, and the outcome of this scene may even contain the death of said character.

    I think it boils down to a preference of playstyle, purported by two different design philosophies:
    Do you like combat as sport (cas, for short), that is, some sort of "game in a game", where you have as set of relatively certain parameters, and which is, at the most, merely integrated in the larger narrative?
    Or do you like combat as war (caw), that is a much closer relation to the combat and the happenings of the gameworld. Combats under this case follow from and are executed due to what happens in the world. Expecting "fairness" under this conditions is just naive, just like it would be in comparable real-life situations.

    Lets take the "Orc Ambush" as an example.
    Under cas, this is likely an level-appropriate encounter in certain range of difficulty. It is, fundamentally, not different from any other combat encounter. Only its accidental properties (like combatants, positioning, terrain) are unique. The base assumption of being an encounter for X PCs of Y level consuming Z% of their resources (or whatever other metric you have) maintains.
    Under caw, however, the orcs will do whatever lies in their possibilities to execute the ambush as best as possible, which may result in the ambush being fatal to the party, if successful.

    Note, that those are design directions. Cas does not need to be blind regarding the gameworld. And caw does not need to be ignorant that you are, in fact, playing a game.

    So far, Next seem to lean more in the caw direction. Which is fine, since the last edition was very cas-focused.
    Last edited by Zombimode; 2012-09-25 at 11:55 AM.

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    The obvious solution strikes me to increase the difference between "you're down" and "you're dead". I'm fine with an orc knocking my character out on a critical hit. I'm less fine with this immediately killing me.
    Which is what 3rd, 4th and Next all do with 0 being down and - some number being out. In the case of next it's -CON score + level, which means your average level 1 character has -11 HP before they die.

    It is perfectly "reasonable" that people die from a fall from a horse, tainted beef or gangrene but is it Heroic? No. Is D&D a game of Heroic Fantasy? Yes. Therefore would it not behoove the system to encourage Heroic Fantasy gameplay even if it is not "reasonable" in light of how the real world operates?
    No. D&D is a fantasy game. Heroic fantasy being just one of the possible versions. Further more, it is possible to be a Big Damn Hero without being so strong that you can take crossbow bolts to the face and keep on smiling. For many people, being a hero is more about what you do, than what you defeat. And for even others it's about what you survive against all odds.

    Perseus wasn't a hero because he could walk into the medusa's lair, walkt down the hallway and make his saving throw against being slowed by the medusa's gaze, he was a hero because he concocted a plan wherein he carefully used the resources at hand (including magical items) to outwit and kill the medusa, a creature which had any part of his plan gone wrong, would have one shotted Perseus just like the hundreds before him.

    Should D&D be able to do epic fantasy? Absolutely. But it should not do so at the expense of all the other types of fantasy out there. If they're wise, WotC will have the tiers of fantasy laid out in the book as a cohesive rule set and have them symbol or color coded, such that those that want heroic fantasy would add or remove certain blocks, and those that want exploratory fantasy would add or remove others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    Should D&D be able to do epic fantasy? Absolutely. But it should not do so at the expense of all the other types of fantasy out there. If they're wise, WotC will have the tiers of fantasy laid out in the book as a cohesive rule set and have them symbol or color coded, such that those that want heroic fantasy would add or remove certain blocks, and those that want exploratory fantasy would add or remove others.
    IMO, D&D's never done low fantasy very convincingly. You can do low-powered D&D in any edition (yes, including 4e), but not really low fantasy in the "you're a bunch of townspeople driven out to fend for yourself in the wilderness and get eaten by bears" variety. I've had much more luck on that count with WFRP2, which is specifically designed for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Ironically, that thought goes against many traditions D&D has, which are what the designers are trying to uphold. Looking at early editions of D&D, it's obvious the makers had a hard-on for verisimilitude. Bits and pieces of this carried to 3rd Edition, why we have rules for things like diseases and starvation.

    Most of these verisimilitude rules can be circumvented in every edition, but it usually takes place after 1st level. Logical conclusion: 1st level characters were not intended to be heroes starting off, rather it's something that's earned later.
    Perhaps, then, the traditions are wrong?

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    The obvious solution strikes me to increase the difference between "you're down" and "you're dead".
    3rd Edition did this. There was clear distinction between lethal and non-lethal damage. Both could take you down, but only one could make you dead. Guess which.

    But this probably didn't get GMs to use non-lethal damage for "mook" encounters and lethal for "boss" encounters. Mostly because no-one really told them, I'd reckon.

    And that's the problem here. System is only half of a full game - you need the scenario, the adventure, to squeeze the rest out of it. And for all its tables and guidelines, I feel D&D has never done a very good job at telling exactly what rules to use for which style of game to the GM. Or maybe it's been too long since I read the books and have been talking to too many people who essentially ignore much of what the DMG says.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Craft (Cheese) View Post
    Perhaps, then, the traditions are wrong?
    Hence the irony.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    People who think that all Heroic Fantasy Stories do X need to read more heroic fantasy stories.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    3rd Edition did this. There was clear distinction between lethal and non-lethal damage. Both could take you down, but only one could make you dead. Guess which.
    Close but not quite what I mean. 3E has 0 hp for unconscious, and -X for dead. I'm claiming that X should be a bigger number, or possibly no number at all.

    (then again, in 4E X is so large that it's practically impossible for characters to die, except in case of TPK; that's not what everyone wants either)
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    (then again, in 4E X is so large that it's practically impossible for characters to die, except in case of TPK; that's not what everyone wants either)
    That depends on how often the GM uses Coup de Grace. I've found 5e fairly lethal despite the generous margin, simply because coup de grace is often a fairly intelligent tactic to use in it, particularly for monsters who drain HP, in 4e, where combats last longer it is an even more viable tactic. I'd consider their method fairly viable really, though it wouldn't work well with 5e for the first few levels.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Close but not quite what I mean. 3E has 0 hp for unconscious, and -X for dead. I'm claiming that X should be a bigger number, or possibly no number at all.
    Non-lethal damage was exactly what you're after. No matter how much you'd take, you'd only fall unconscious at most. Yet, lethal damage remained the norm.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    So, for uninitiated; What is the basic difference between this and 3.5? Are they going for a different feel, adding more detailed rules or just trying to streamline things?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    (then again, in 4E X is so large that it's practically impossible for characters to die, except in case of TPK; that's not what everyone wants either)
    That's only if their stabilized though if your going to die its more likely going to be by 3 failed Death Saves then reaching Negative Bloodied. But once you get to Epic Tier you just use your get out of death free card

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozen_Feet View Post
    Non-lethal damage was exactly what you're after. No matter how much you'd take, you'd only fall unconscious at most. Yet, lethal damage remained the norm.
    But what it your rules apply a hefty penalty of say, -4 to hit, to deal "non-lethal" damage with a weapon like a sword, quarterstaff, or falchion?

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    I can say that I've had a 4E combat recently in which a player only did not get reduced to negative bloodied value because a monster rolled low on the damage dice of their AoE attack. It can happen, it's just rare except in the case of a CDG.

    My response to Mearls' article is basically what certain people are saying in the comments: if you want a "simple, easy, scalable mechanic that tackles these issues" in regards to healing, hit dice, and death, why not use a mechanic that is all of those things: healing surges? The numbers could use some adjustment (probably much less surges per day in Next), but they do generally work. You might need to boost HP a little to make them more meaningful to lower HP characters, but it sounds like they may be doing that anyway.

    Ideally, I'd like to see monster accuracy and damage go up along with player HP. Right now combat seems too much like a missfest on the part of the enemies with the rare hit now and then that can be either crippling on low HP characters or a moderate inconvenience on a hill dwarf fighter with toughness.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Nu View Post
    My response to Mearls' article is basically what certain people are saying in the comments: if you want a "simple, easy, scalable mechanic that tackles these issues" in regards to healing, hit dice, and death, why not use a mechanic that is all of those things: healing surges?
    That depends on which issues you're talking about, but in general there's no reason to use two systems for health (HP and surges) where one will suffice.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    That depends on which issues you're talking about, but in general there's no reason to use two systems for health (HP and surges) where one will suffice.
    They're already using hit dice. Surges would work better, scaling better and being more consistent. If they want to limit out of combat healing, something like surges seems like a logical idea, because I doubt they're going to go with something like "you heal to full anytime you rest."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nu View Post
    They're already using hit dice. Surges would work better, scaling better and being more consistent. If they want to limit out of combat healing, something like surges seems like a logical idea, because I doubt they're going to go with something like "you heal to full anytime you rest."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nu View Post
    They're already using hit dice.
    Yeah, and they're getting criticism for that. As I recall, surges were 4E's solution to the "ten minute adventure day" problem, and they completely failed to do anything about that. So what problems do you see that surging (or hit dice) solve?
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    People who think that all Heroic Fantasy Stories do X need to read more heroic fantasy stories.
    I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with any Heroic Fantasy story in which a protagonist is killed by tainted beef or an untimely fall from a horse while on his way to slay the dragons and rescue the princess

    Heck, even Song of Ice and Fire -- a dark subversion of Heroic Fantasy -- doesn't have their protagonists die from random acts. Crippled yes, twisted certainly, but even in a series with as broad a cast of characters as it has there are vanishingly few (if any) who die from what could be called a mundane cause or unfortunate accident.

    Also: D&D is, and always has been, a game of Heroic Fantasy. Pick an edition, and show me proof it isn't.

    As far as the high-lethality of early editions this was more of an "everything can kill you" sensibility born of certain designers (i.e. Gygax) than a slavish attempt to simulate a medieval world. And while there were such elements in those game I have yet to find a 3.x Player who has pined for realistic armor costs, weapon vs. armor adjusted AC tables, or meticulous tracking of supplies; I, for one, am glad to have rulebooks that spend fewer pages on medieval culinary arts and more on how to make and be an Adventurer.
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2012-09-25 at 05:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yeah, and they're getting criticism for that. As I recall, surges were 4E's solution to the "ten minute adventure day" problem, and they completely failed to do anything about that. So what problems do you see that surging (or hit dice) solve?
    If anything it works to solve the exact opposite problem. When I first read the 4E player's handbook, I thought healing surges were supposed to act as a limit to how long you can go without resting; Surgeless healing is all but nonexistent, and combine this with "classic" random encounter rules where the players can't rest without heading back to town, and you have a fairly effective "time limit" that's

    A. Not based solely on spellcasters; it affects all classes equally.

    B. Not dependent on how much healing you choose to bring into the dungeon, e.g., buying a Wand of Cure Light Wounds or seven won't help you.

    C. Allows most of your actual attack powers to be at-will and encounter-based, with dailies being reserved as "supers" for rare occasions.

    Of course when I actually played it I realized this was absolutely not how 4E's vision of dungeon crawling is supposed to work: You walk down a corridor from setpiece to setpiece, resting between each one, and the extended rest only existed for historical reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle_Hunter View Post
    Also: D&D is, and always has been, a game of Heroic Fantasy. Pick an edition, and show me proof it isn't.
    Obviously I must be right, since you are unable to prove a negative claim to my satisfaction.

    But, yeah I agree with you that D&D ought to model heroic fantasy much better. That actually, IMO, means reducing the power level a little while still giving PCs tons of options. There shouldn't ever be a level where an entire army poses no threat to you, while I would argue a rat should never become a threat.

    That said, high lethality is not necessarily a bad thing; my problem, and I suspect most people's here, is that character death should have meaning. Diseases poison and starvation should weaken and maim, hordes of minions should wear you down, but death should only happen in ways which highlight character awesomeness or player incompetence. I have no issue if Boromir dies on a pile of dead Uruk-Hai, or if Gandalf gets ganked by a Balrog, but even Pippin shouldn't be killed by a freaking rat.

    Basically, high HP values (relative to damage) and fewer outright SoDs would make combat seem more epic and make it more dependent on Player skill rather than luck. This would also benefit the DM; BBEGs are typically built using PC classes, so any bonus to PC survivability also reduces the "they one-shotted Darth Vader" issue significantly.
    Last edited by Water_Bear; 2012-09-25 at 05:56 PM.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yeah, and they're getting criticism for that. As I recall, surges were 4E's solution to the "ten minute adventure day" problem, and they completely failed to do anything about that. So what problems do you see that surging (or hit dice) solve?
    Surges solve three problems.

    (1) They provide a hard cap on healing, because it's otherwise much cheaper (action-wise) and easier to heal in 4e. This is an intentional decision - if your Leader is healing with Minor actions or alongside an attack, and their healing refreshes every 5 minutes, you need a . The designers didn't want healing to cut into the other fun stuff you want to do.

    (2) They allow you to feasibly adventure without a Leader, since you can do some limited in-encounter and full between-encounter healing on your own. Again, with a hard cap.

    (3) Provide better distinction between tougher classes (mostly defenders) and weaker ones (like controllers).

    10-minute adventuring day doesn't really enter into it, as I recall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noparlpf View Post
    Why not? It works fine for my Pokemon.
    I did not comment on how good/bad an option it was. I merely said that WotC was unlikely to use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Yeah, and they're getting criticism for that. As I recall, surges were 4E's solution to the "ten minute adventure day" problem, and they completely failed to do anything about that. So what problems do you see that surging (or hit dice) solve?
    Surges did more than just attack the "ten minute adventure day" problem. What problems they solve depends on how they are handled, if they can be spent in combat like in 4E via the use of certain spells and powers, they serve as a generic baseline for healing effects to allow the developers to carefully control how much a character can be healed, without being subject to the "overpowered" effect of the current Healer's Touch (which I think is too easy and too necessary for any healer), and without subjecting them to be too random without such an effect. They scale to match the recipient, unlike a Wis modifier (scalable was a concern of Mearls). If they are more like hit dice, and can only be spent out of combat with a healer's kit, they offer a reasonable, limited method for adventurers to keep themselves going for a time after being beat up, without necessarily requiring healing magic. But I personally don't like how random hit dice are for low-to-mid Con characters, and how few characters get at low levels (I'd prefer somewhere between 3 and 5).

    And while you state that they "didn't solve the problem of the ten minute adventuring day," I'd still say they do help address it, and with some work on the rules for resting, could still work as a solution. For example, I don't allow my players to take an extended rest if they cannot find a secure location, so no mid-dungeon extended rests (without higher level rituals anyways).

    Healing surges also promote a style of play I find satisfying, which is brutal combats where HP totals go up and down. From what I saw of 3.5, it was often considered to not be optimal to use healing during a fight unless it was an emergency, especially due to touch restrictions and requiring a standard action to heal in most cases. Healing magic was usually used after the fight ended to keep the party going. I prefer the 4E style, where HP totals radically drop in combat only to be boosted back up by much easier healing. To keep a party on its feet, doing this constantly, and yet making healing not too potent, a system like HD/healing surges works very well. There does need to be some check on healing, but I'm not a fan of how limited healing is in the current iteration of Next.

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    Obviously I must be right, since you are unable to prove a negative claim to my satisfaction.
    In this case it is a mixture of being away from books and the claim being so self-evidently true that I am more than a little surprised to hear someone argue otherwise. It is like suddenly hearing that The Lord of the Rings is actually a trilogy about the birthday rituals of Hobbits.

    Tell you what, I'll grab my AD&D (2nd Edition) PHB and/or DMG and see what it has to say
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with any Heroic Fantasy story in which a protagonist is killed by tainted beef or an untimely fall from a horse while on his way to slay the dragons and rescue the princess

    ...

    Also: D&D is, and always has been, a game of Heroic Fantasy. Pick an edition, and show me proof it isn't.
    From Mike Mordard

    In OD&D, there's no guarantee that things are fair. One of Gary's and Rob Kuntz's favorite stories, says Mornard, was Clark Ashton Smith's The Seven Geases, in which (spoilers ahead) the hero survives a horrible death at the hands of seven different monsters only to die meaninglessly slipping from a ledge. That was one of the seminal texts of D&D, said Mornard, and one of the stories it was designed to model. "The story that D&D tells," said Mike, "is the story of the world. Heroes aren't invincible."

  28. - Top - End - #1318
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    From Mike Mordard
    Well I'll be a monkey's uncle

    Has anyone read this story? In any case the entire run of TSR Fiction tends to go in the more traditional fashion so I'm thinking there has been some shift since OD&D.

    But yeah, good find.
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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Has anyone read this story? In any case the entire run of TSR Fiction tends to go in the more traditional fashion so I'm thinking there has been some shift since OD&D.
    I have. And to be fair the hero isn't heroic in the sense of Aragorn or Frodo, and certainly doesn't choose his journey. From the readers perspective, he's mostly mere protagonist, but he is described as being a heroic individual (where heroic is defined as doer of mighty deeds). That said, these sort of anti-endings were not uncommon for the literature of the time. Consider Heinlen's Stranger in a Strange Land, where while sf, the protagonist none the less dies at the hands of an angry mob.

    Still, you can read the story for yourself online http://www.eldritchdark.com/writings...e-seven-geases

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    Default Re: D&D 5th Editon Discussion: 6th thread and counting

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    Consider Heinlen's Stranger in a Strange Land, where while sf, the protagonist none the less dies at the hands of an angry mob.
    That is quite a different kind of Hero -- The Martyr.

    He dies so that his disciples may live (and he lives on within them thanks to magic cannibalism) and ultimately save all of Humanity by giving them the power to stop the Martians from destroying the Earth.

    Not quite the same as keeling over after eating bad pork or breaking your head open on a rock after tripping over your own two feet.

    Thanks for the link though
    Last edited by Oracle_Hunter; 2012-09-26 at 12:52 AM.
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