Who Wants to Live Forever?

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It’s not just an awesome Queen song. It’s about wanting to play more than one character in your life, or giving meaning to the life of your character.

Hey, guys, Professor Bill here, and I want to talk about one of my favorite parts of role playing … choosing my own death. It doesn’t have to be emo, there are many reasons why you would want your character to die. Maybe you want to play a different character. With me, I figure that a character can only be known for but so many accomplishments. I mean, sure you’ve slain that ancient red dragon, but lots of people in many games around the world have, too.

For many players and DMs, a character becomes truly memorable when he or she dies, as long as it’s a noble death. No one is impressed by the 12th level barbarian who fell through a sewer grate and broke his neck. Or the murder hobo who didn’t realize that the town guard were all lycanthropes.

No, you want the glorious death. The death that is sung about and remembered in poems and the tales of bards. Not the death that’s sung in taverns only, but sung before kings and emperors.

Maybe you saw “Logan” this weekend (no spoilers) and you got choked up a little seeing a character death (no spoilers). Maybe you want that perfect, tragic hero, like Brandon Lee’s “The Crow.” A character death could be as glorious, outlandish, or meaningful as you’d like. Just talk it out with your DM (or with the player, if you’re DMing).

SkurgeI’m going to leave you with an example, and being a comic book nerd, it’s going to be from a Thor comic (issue #362). Written and drawn by Walt Simonson, Thor, his longtime enemy, “Skurge, the Executioner,” and several Asgardians entered Hel, the land of the dead. Now, their mission accomplished, they had to escape. They came across the bridge named Gjallerbru and decided that one should stand there to hold off the hordes of the dead chasing them.

Skurge ThorSkurge, formerly a one-dimensional character created decades ago by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, volunteered to hold the bridge. His magical axe broken and left with only mortal weapons, Skurge stood his ground and held that bridge. He held it until he was no more, overwhelmed by the onslaught of undead. He stood until his companions could make their escape.

Even though this character did nothing of note his entire 20 years in the stories, so legendary was his death that none would feel worthy enough to speak his name, not even Hela herself, the Goddess of Death. When a stranger would come by that bridge for generations to come and they would ask who the man was to whom even Hela bows her head, the answer was always the same. He stood at Gjallerbru … and that was enough.

It was a good death.

Professor Bill
Comic Book University
Class dismissed

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