16 thoughts on “What sort of bargains has Death offered?”

  1. I just posted about the only character Death in my first campaign of DW.  Give me a few more sessions and I’ll come back with more stories =)

  2. You may never again address the living.

    The first obvious loophole is writing.  Death popped by to clarify that that counts as addressing, although on the up side the conversation (which the party only saw the PC’s side of) did explain to the rest of the PCs what was going on.

    The second obvious loophole is that you may address, and thus use as “interpreters,” spirits. This makes a certain amount of sense since the character is a Wizard with a history of nattering on to spirits constantly, and I was offered a ritual that would let me summon a persistent helper spirit.  Unfortunately sorting out getting the ritual accomplished has proven difficult, since I can’t communicate my intent to the rest of the party and the rolling train-wreck that is our adventure doesn’t offer a lot of opportunities to hunt down prerequisites.  At one point I had all the stuff I needed and a place to do it, at which point we fled town and haven’t been back yet. Being mute was amusing for a few sessions, but is wearing thin.

  3. The bargain Guy mentions (“You must murder X (a party member) without hesitation when Death calls you to do so.” from https://plus.google.com/u/0/108941275253004747705/posts/47hvGrir8yt ) is pretty sweet. Thinking about it raises a question about the nature of the bargain.  Specifically, is a character capable of reneging?

    In my example (“You may never against address the living”), the answer is Yes, but then my character dies. This seems reasonable, as the bargain is ongoing, and the character is paying the price nearly constantly.

    For the “You must murder X”, it could go either way.  If you can renege, it’s interesting, but it provides a way to avoid the intent, essentially cheating death for a while at no cost. It pressures the GM to have Death call to give the decision some weight. If, however, the bargain is absolute, and the character will commit the murder, that puts greater weight on the bargain itself, even if the GM never makes the call.

    Of course, irrevocable bargains cannot be reneged on. “Henceforth, children will see you as Death.”

    I suspect both ways work fine, but this dead make me consider potentially using “and you will be compelled to meet your obligations,” so long as I’m clear with the player that that is part of the bargain.

  4. I feel like it should be something intensely personal for the character, like gutting one of their main motivations.  If they dream of getting into the good graces of elves, make it so the first elf they touch drops dead.  If they spent a long time collecting the four Stones of Farran, make them give one up.  Find something that makes things more complicated, but make it so important to them it seriously affects their life irrevocably.  Like the perfect karmic punishment for them.

  5. The first bargain I offered was to the Paladin (the character was all about justice) and it was “When you see the woman in white, and feel the icy chill of a nail from Death’s Gate in your hand, you must strike he down. She will die at your hand.” And keep in mind that no one had ever heard of “the woman in white” so it was very mysterious. The Paladin declined, and said he would die with his honor intact.

    Kevin Farnworth, at that time I agreed that the deal should be something that “gutted their main motivation” (at this time, it was killing an unnamed innocent for a Paladin). But every story I have heard so far where the deal asked for something like this, the character declined. I am starting ot think that having the deal force them to go against who they are as a character actually makes the decision easier, as they know they won’t do it.

    Or, maybe the people I play with are just very very character driven. Maybe everyone has not had the same experience. But that is how it is starting to feel to me.

  6. My deal with the Paladin:  You have done well at sending souls to my realm.  You will do better.  You will slay one sentient being every day, or death will claim you.  This was a tough choice for the paladin, but he went for it.  He was Lawful and figured there were enough bad guys around to make this possible.

    My deal with the Thief:  A creature of darkness you will become.  You will never let sunlight touch you again lest you die.  He accepted and bundled up real tight during the daytime.

    My deal with the Fighter:  You shall never know the embrace of another again.  If another’s skin touches yours, you will die.  Soon after, he donned full magical plate armor that he slept in until he was slain by the rival of Death, the Goddess Morena.

  7. Death doesn’t sound all that reluctant about deal making.

    I would think that – on those rare instances that bargains are offered – they should be at least as strange as the mark that comes from failing the Last Breath roll. Failure (if it doesn’t result in instant & final death) should come with white hair, or the lack of any reflection, or the terror of nearby animals, or the withering of local plants.

    Death’s deals should be just as symbolic and bizarrely unnatural as Death’s marks, right? This is an opportunity for Death to earn a pawn in the form of a Hero, someone who can and will have a huge impact on their surroundings.

  8. Had a great death bargain thought.

    Death offers an exchange, you walk through the black gate willingly and death will free on hero or ancestor to the world of the living, or. You can leave and he will free a villain the likes the world hasn’t seen since the end of the last age.

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