Remember a couple months ago when I was all "oh, man, Trollsmyth's game is really scary even though no one's died yet?"
Wednesday's session of the group game saw five rolls on the ever-hilarious Table of Death and Dismemberment. Which works out to one arm broken, one arm ripped off entirely, and one instant death. Luckily, the arm that got ripped off and the arm that was broken were the same arm, and belonged to the PC who no one likes anyway, and it was a hireling who got her head eaten by slaadi. But still, we're talking about a very brutal session here.
Something like this was going to happen sooner or later, and it could have been a lot worse. The fight in question ended up involving two slaadi, an ancient sshian vampire, and a werewolf, and it easily could have turned into a TPK if we'd rolled badly. Or worse. As it is, we lost a fighter, the rest of the party is pretty torn up, and the sun's going down with the vampire and the slaadi still on the loose. But if I've learned one thing from Trollsmyth's game, it's that things can always get worse.
The table, despite its name, does a lot to increase the survivability of the characters while still allowing for a lot of tension during combat, but you do only get that tension of the table bites you every once in a while. I know this session has me very glad that the group in the solo game is as safe as it is, for now. I'd liked the character who died last night, but I hadn't known her as well as I do a lot of the ones in the solo game.
Partly because of that, I'm fairly happy with how things went last night. Yes, we had our characters utterly dragged through the mud, but that's where good roleplaying comes from. (And by "good" I don't mean "well done" or "high quality" or anything else like that. I just mean, well, good. Entertaining and satisfying. The kind of thing you want a one-syllable Germanic word for.) Figuring out how my character's going to deal with her decisions getting people killed, how she's going to react to discovering that the other PC, who she's never liked that much to begin with, is a werewolf, and just plain dealing with the nightmare that is going to be the next few days in-game is all going to be fun. (Not to mention that the party wizard had been dating said now-armless werewolf. "Hey, don't lick that!") Not so much for the characters, but it will be for me.
But it's still the first death of the game. And if I'm remembering correctly, it's the first death in any continuing campaign I've played in. (Not counting the one where rocks fell and everyone died at the end.) I've lost a character or two in one-shots, and I've killed a handful of PCs while DMing myself, but I haven't played in many long campaigns, and those I have played in have tended to be things like Star Wars, high level 3e D&D, and similarly death-proof milieus.
So that's going to be interesting. Wondering "What's the right way to deal with the death of an imaginary person?" is interesting, if a bit odd. Between that and getting the refresher on just how dangerous low level D&D can be, I'm looking forward even more than usual to the next session of that game.