DM’s: You Don’t Need Player Consent to Off Their Character

Player Consent for a character to die? What is this? Why is it needed? It’s a role-playing game, things happen, and as the DM you don’t need consent from a player to kill off a character.

In Dungeons & Dragons things happen, players roll poorly, monsters get critical hits, traps get sprung, the bad guy triumphs for a short time and characters die.

This is and always has been Dungeons & Dragons.

At least it used to be that way for years and years, as Dungeons & Dragons was considered a dead game of survival.

You had to make smart decisions, fear monsters around every corner, and try not to get killed, because not all monsters are created to be equal to your level.

Back when Dungeons & Dragons was the Gygax’s game, it was a totally different game, it was a game as described a moment ago and that’s what kept everyone on the edge of their seats, coming back for more, wondering whether or not they will live until the next adventure or die slowly because they crept down that long dark hallways looking for loot?

This meme sums up how D&D is played.

I’ve been running games for decades, and I’ve NEVER ONCE had to ask a player, “is it okay that you will die?”

Thing happen, and while this is a game, this game emulates life – somewhat, to the point you that you should feel as if you are the character. So, you need to sometimes think as if you ARE the character moving around and consider the consequences of your actions. Just because it’s a game, doesn’t mean you can blindly go rushing into a room, slamming the door open and not expect a horrible monster to be a wimp?

Think about it, do swat teams just go bust through a random door, hoping the scum bag drug dealer has no weapons, or has stuff on par with what they are wearing? NO. They think about their actions beforehand, assume the worst and figure out the best plan of action to bust down that door, hoping God is on their side and they don’t die.

BUT, if you act like a fool and run into things blindly, or go into battle thinking it won’t kill you, you are basically an idiot.

You must assume death is possible, otherwise, what’s the point of playing these games? If you want a story-based game, go play a story rpg, D&D is not that type of game.

IT CAN BE, but it’s not meant to be played that way.

The Dungeon Master does not have to pull punches and does not have to lighten up on you. He CAN if he wants to, but that’s being unfair to everyone and the game itself.

Sorry, but you are an adventurer, and part of the adventure is surviving to see the next day, so no, I don’t need consent as a DM to kill you off and neither do you.

I don’t need to lay it out in session. It’s D&D, it goes without saying, “YOU MAY DIE”, but sure I can tell you “this will be a game of heavy combat, this will be a deadly game, so be careful.”

If you are playing in my game, that’s all the consent I need. Sure, I won’t go out of my way to kill you, but if it happens, it happens, and I am not going to ask.

Don’t like it? Move on.

Stop with this bullshit of everyone needs to think your way or else attitude.

Vince The Evil DM

Raised in the '80s and enjoys all RPGs, DC Comics and movies that don't push agendas. The Evil DM is an Ennie Award winning writer that has over 25 years of experience in tabletop gaming, is the host of various RPG Podcasts, including Roll for Initiative and Roll High or Die! He also has his own youtube channel where he hosts gaming advice for the OSR Movement.