Living and Dying Heroically…

2008 January 14
by Dante

Over the last week, we’ve explored various aspects of being a good, virtuous character. Today I’d like to focus on the alpha and the omega of being a hero: life and death situations.


Most heroes live their life with a certain level of commitment to a cause. For some, its religion. For others, it is a philosophical ideal or some other altruistic pursuit that is very important to them. Usually it is something that has directly impacted their life prior, however there are some “grown heroes” that acquire a personal cause that has never come home to roost.

It is important for players to really consider the motivations of their characters as they progress them through their life. As previously mentioned, a “one-trick pony” type of character that flatly acts a certain way given a certain stimulus usually makes for a poor hero. The character’s level of commitment may ebb and flow throughout their walk through the campaign, and having a player take special notice of this and really embrace roleplaying these changes can make for a very enthralling experience.


I have an excellent example from our recent campaign. One of our players had a character that had a very strong bond with a certain religion and several other members of our adventuring party. She did an excellent job of roleplaying the ebb and flow of her beliefs, and really internalized the transitions that her character made throughout her life.

She had decided during one of our “in game” story breaks that she had become tired of the constant conflict and was ready for rest, so she made the decision at that time that she would go peacefully into the afterlife and be unwilling to return to this world should she die.

Unfortunately, her character fell in battle during this past week and the character remained true to her word and was unwilling to return from death. Her player had obviously thought this out long and hard, and I was taken aback by her level of dedication to the way her character felt about this matter.

To me, that exemplifies a truly heroic character and a truly good player. The character was given enough depth to actually react to the changes that life had given her, and her player remained dedicated and didn’t attempt to explain away that decision.

Dedication to a cause, both at a player and character level is what it’s all about everyone. That’s how you make a character truly heroic!

2 Responses leave one →
  1. ChattyDM permalink
    January 14, 2008

    So I take it that Ari decided to retire and join her deity in the Elven realms?

    That’s dedication all right.

    Rock on Stupid Ranger!

  2. Stupid Ranger permalink
    January 14, 2008

    Yeah, Ari was too scared to fight in that battle (stupid fighter low will save), so she didn’t have to face her mortality yet.

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