The black gate:

The black gate:

The black gate:

When I have my players come and meet Death, I often have a kind of Norse feel to it. Kind of like Valhalla or Sovngarde in Skyrim, I have it almost seem pleasant. Something like a large dining table with all of one’s kin feasting and beckoning the PC to come to their final resting place. In this way, when the player doesn’t end up dying for good it is almost like Death is actually being withholding to the PC; like being alive is the worse consequence.

Who wouldn’t want to leave a life of strife and constant toil to sit among the ancient brethren?

What if instead of making a deal with death to stay alive, Death denied the eternal bliss of the Black Gate until the player did something worthy of it? 

3 thoughts on “The black gate:”

  1. I think it deserves further thought. Sure, every player wants their character to have a happy ending (retire in comfort/power, ride off into the sunset, whatever). But most don’t want this at the expense of not being able to use that character’s power to exert influence on the world (the fiction) anymore. What exactly would a re-write of the Black Gate move look like with your re-framing? Does a 6- look more like a 7-9? Does the 7-9 become like the Barbarian’s ability to make the offer, rather than Death? Does a 10+ end that character’s adventuring career, but gives them a happy ending? … Something about this doesn’t feel quite right, just from a storytelling perspective. Any death in an RPG is only sad because players were attached to that character, and as a rule, would usually prefer to continue playing them rather than rolling something new. (Though I recall reading somewhere about the “Stable of Characters” style of character retirement featured in early D&D games – may want to look into that. Here’s the thread: )

  2. I don’t mean to implement this through a mechanical lense, I mean moreso that we view death of a PC through a westernized view that the ‘after life’ something to be feared and not embraced. Other cultures may not view it that way and such, our RPGs don’t reflect that much, if at all.

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