Why You Need to Die

WhyYouNeedToDie_Featured“Why end a good thing?”

You’ve might of heard this saying before — hell, I almost guarantee you’ve heard it somewhere within your life. If you are enjoying something, why should you end that enjoyment and risk losing it forever? Endings are so final! It’s reminiscent of death – the ultimate ending. Hell, we have entire sections of religious texts all about the big ending. So, I understand naturally why someone would look at the idea of an ending and shriek like a man-eagle.

However, I’m here to say that endings are a beautiful thing.

What is Star Wars without the Ewok kegger at the end? What is Moby Dick without the final confrontation with the big, white whale? What is Mass Effect without shooting that Marauder and then choosing a color…. wait, hold off on that last one. What I’m trying to get at is that everything has to come to an end at some point, and that since you were the one to bring your creation to life, you should be the one to let it go.

A few months ago, Fandible lost a dear friend of ours… Barsha Da Barsha. The lovable Freebooter was created the first month of Fandible, and with every skull he barshed, our love for him grew. As Jesus would say, “Barsha was the darling of Fandible.” Or at least that’s what I assumed his groans and eye rolls meant.

Barsha remained a staple of the Rogue Trader series for nearly three years and even made the occasional visit to other games. Yet, when the third year of Rogue Trader was about to begin, I sat with Jesus and told him that it was time to retire Barsha. I didn’t necessarily want him to die – though I would have been fine with that – but I didn’t want him to remain. He had done everything I wanted him to do and more. He went from a violent, dim-witted Freebooter to a lovable, violent, dim-witted avatar of Orciness.

When you’re roleplaying, you never know when death is going to strike. However, I’ve always believe that a good GM shouldn’t let dice dictate when a character should be ended unless they state early on that the game is incredibly deadly (I’m looking at you, Shambling). Sure, dice should be able to make your character’s life hard or make them look bad, but it shouldn’t be the thing that takes a character out of a story. A character should go into a game with a set of goals in mind. Some goals might be concrete (“I want to rule the kingdom”) while some might be abstract (“I want to do something that would make my fictional father proud”). And I believe that when you complete the goals, you should ask yourself if that was the story you wanted to tell for this character, and if it was, then end it.

I’ve seen characters redevelop their goals (Byron) during game play, and I’ve seen them expanded, but the one thing I hate to see is a character who has gotten everything he’s wanted and is left just sort of floating there. Nothing is worse than seeing someone in an MMO RP playing the most feared bounty hunter in the galaxy… who now simply sits in front of a bar in a cantina, not talking to his RP wife. If I wanted to see that sort of action, I’d just take my Larping buddies to a strip club.

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that death and finality is a beautiful thing. Shakespeare loved it. Stephen King loves it. And I love it. It’s important to play a character you love, but don’t let that love chain that character to a life line. Sometimes, it’s time to go Ol’ Yeller on it! So, next time you find yourself simply existing in a game with a character that seems without goals or ambitions, talk with your GM. Ask for some help to either revitalize the character or with ending their story.

Stay classy, Fandible Readers!


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About the Author
Billy started out his roots like many roleplayers - D&D. Playing it and then Vampire all through highschool and college, Billy picked it all up again when he made the move from Michigan to New York. Now working in publishing, Billy does what he can to view roleplaying games through a narrative's lens. Does that sound classy as balls? It should.

8 comments on “Why You Need to Die

  1. CaptainStabby says:

    “Orkses is never defeated in battle. If we win we win, if we die we die fighting so it don’t count. If we runs for it we don’t die neither, cos we can come back for annuver go, see!”

    Waaaaaggghh!!!

    #TeamBarsha

  2. Angela says:

    #BarshaLives

  3. Syren says:

    Another orky footnote if I remember correctly Barsha is the reason for the Fandible tagline. Said poetically from David about the audacity required for you to play him.

    #BarshaIsFandible

  4. Arvandus says:

    When David said that during the Rogue Trader game, it hit me how much that fit the podcast. To Barsha, showing how smart you have to be to role-play that stupid.

    #TeamBarsha

  5. Jake says:

    I think you can have a perfectly good time sitting down and playing a character without any long-term goals besides “Provide a force of unpredictable chaos” in a game, but if you’re not having fun then you may need to retire them for someone else. It’s sad, and we will miss these characters, but they’ll always live on – especially if you record your games and post them online for everyone to find.

    We miss you Barsha. Only you could turn leading a group of Chaos Orks on a planet-destroying crusade into a tearful farewell.

    #TeamBarsha

  6. Barsha Da Barsha says:

    I’m curious – Does anyone out there have any good character death/retirement stories? Leading an army of Chaos Orcs into the Warp for battle is pretty crazy but I’m sure you people can top it.

    So what is your best character death/retirement story! Let’s hear it.

  7. Syren says:

    So I was playing a fairly long game of Anima: Beyond Fantasy. Within I was playing a heavily 40k inspired mentalist, or as we frequently referred to him as psyker. He was known for being hilariously ugly, mind breakingly scary, unfathomably forward, morally ambiguous, somewhat insane, and being the buffmeister during combat. Pretty much making the party very hard to kill. He was well liked by most of the party for being fairly awesome, loyal, and altogether cool. One day though he did end up getting killed, and one of the characters, while having the power to bring him back with some risk chose not to because the character believed that he was irresponsible with his power(which wasn’t really untrue, though slightly hypocritical for the person accusing) and he was left to die.

    But I got to keep playing, as the mental scars that were left on his best friend(another character) from his death and blaming her other friend/herself/the world for letting me pass on. As well his spirit was caught by the big bad of the current plotline’s ally to be used against the main party. I plagued her mind endlessly until it all came to a very overwhelming head as she had a breakdown before the last boss fight and came to terms with what the character would really want from her after he died. And in the final battle while the me dragged back was very jaded by his death, the one who let him die ended up proving they were true to their ideals by sacrificing her life so no one like the two of them could abuse their power. Which sent him on a mental breakdown of his own, and with his help they were able to use the fact that the ally of the big bad that owned me was pretty much pure chaos, and the big bad himself was more of a god-monarch. She let me loose on him and I got to fight with them all one last time. We kicked his ass back to the space between worlds and I was left able to say a more righteous goodbye to everyone before fading into the next world.

    It was pretty good.

  8. fairystail says:

    Well about character life/death i have a favourite story
    He was Frank N. Stein an elderly mad scientist type of doctor with a mutant dog, called dog just so everone knew it was a normal dog, in Interface Zero. First session everyone but him died or got seriously injured and he became a gang boss. five sessions later he’s on tv, a gang celebrity who owes his hide to three or four different people and they’re calling him Poppa Death, he had his own logo!
    Some people are planning on releasing lots of mutants to attack the city and Poppa Death get’s involved, stops them by blowing up the place.
    People call him the next Hitler and no one is entirely sure if he is still alive or not

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