A rpg game with no Revive items.

derge12

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Would Rpg game be hard if there were no ways to revive Party nembers?

What I mean is that ones they die in combat they are gone forever.
 

Quexp

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Perhaps but other factors play into how much losing a character affects the player (ex: battle difficulty, cost in getting another party member, whether items are lost with character, etc.).

In most cases, losing a character would make the game hardER but possibly not hard.
 

Nolonar

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Fire Emblem has perma-death, but it's a Tactical RPG where you can recruit several dozens of unique characters. It's not really hard, but many players choose to restart the map whenever they lose someone. Playing through the whole game without losing anyone can be pretty hard.

Perma-death in RPGs is probably harder for the developer than the gamer, both in terms of balancing and storytelling.

If the player loses units towards the end of the game, they can just replace those units with one of their many reserve units. However, those reserve units may not have the necessary experience to be useful. And if the player loses units at the beginning of the game, they won't have any replacement units to use, which would make the early game much harder.

From a storytelling perspective, you'll need to explain why your characters are doing what they're doing. If Alice wanted to defeat the Demon Lord, and Bob decided to tag along because Alice is an interesting person, then if Alice were to die, why would Bob continue the quest to defeat the Demon Lord? And if Bob died as well, why would Charlie take over? What if Alice needs the Master Sword to defeat the Demon Lord, only Bob can acquire it, but he dies?

Of course, you could solve this problem the way Xcom does: by removing all important characters from combat, and making all combatants randomly generated units. Or you could do it the way Fire Emblem does: by limiting the secondary characters' impact on the main story branch, and showing the Game Over screen whenever an essential character dies.


As a result, perma-death leads to the following problems:
  • A shallow cast of protagonist, where nobody has any real impact on the story.
    • To avoid a shallow cast will require a massive amount of planning effort for the story to still make sense, no matter who dies and when.

  • Lots of characters to replace those who die (have fun creating all the sprites, or implementing a system to procedurally creating them).
    • Procedurally generated characters inevitably leads to a shallow cast.

  • More demanding balancing to ensure the game isn't too easy or difficult at the beginning or end.
    • This includes keeping the party balance in mind. What if the player loses all their healers?

  • Limited possibilities in terms of gameplay. What if the only Pokémon that can learn "Strength" dies? How will the player push boulders and progress?

  • Save scumming. Many players will simply reload their previous save over and over again until everyone survives.

When designing a game with perma-death, you should always assume that all characters who can die have died, and design your game accordingly.
 

Frostorm

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What if, instead of perma-death, a game utilized a "semi-perma-death" mechanic instead? For example, if an actor dies in combat, the player would have 5-6 turns to cast Revive or use a Pheonix Down on the fallen actor, or else that actor will be gone forever. Thoughts?
 

kirbwarrior

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How easy it is to heal your party directly correlates to how lethal your game can be. If death is permanent and healing only happens at town/church/between battles (ala Fire Emblem), then fights often come down to the combination of battles causing the death of a person with no one attack ever doing it. If death can be undone with any healing skill and item, then even random encounters can get away with massive damage.

However, if you lean on lethality AND death being permanent, you get something of a nightmare if the game is too long.

What if, instead of perma-death, a game utilized a "semi-perma-death" mechanic instead? For example, if an actor dies in combat, the player would have 5-6 turns to cast Revive or use a Pheonix Down on the fallen actor, or else that actor will be gone forever. Thoughts?
I also like the opposite, where the party members can never undo death but an NPC can (such as DQ's church). Both ways, you must worry about death, but you have something of an out.
 

Piyan Glupak

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If the consequence of doing badly in a fight is worse than the player wants to accept, then the player will almost certainly revert to a previous save. (This is one reason why I abandoned party surrender as a mechanic.)

Permanent death implies that the player can recruit or use someone from the reserve party to replace the casualty. Perhaps the new battle party member could be above level 1 but of lower level than the casualty?

Another possibility is to have casualty removal after a very short time outside battle with 2 possible revival processes. If the player is quick and has a stimulant available (or a spell equivalent) then they can revive a party member who has not yet been removed. If the player doesn't do that then the character is removed and the party has to do a more expensive and perhaps inconvenient procedure to bring the casualty back to life, such as by visiting a temple.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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What if, instead of perma-death, a game utilized a "semi-perma-death" mechanic instead? For example, if an actor dies in combat, the player would have 5-6 turns to cast Revive or use a Pheonix Down on the fallen actor, or else that actor will be gone forever. Thoughts?
This is exactly how Final Fantasy Tactics handles it, and I love it. You have three turns to get a Phoenix Down to the fallen or cast Raise/Arise on them, and if you miss that window, they're gone. The exception to this is if you're fighting in a Jagd (they only appear in FFTA and FFTA2, I think). Should someone fall there, they just die outright.

Of course, that doesn't mean I don't love Fire Emblem's permadeath, just so we're clear.
 

kirbwarrior

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The exception to this is if you're fighting in a Jagd (they only appear in FFTA and FFTA2, I think). Should someone fall there, they just die outright.
It's slightly more complicated there. You can still revive them in FFTA and there is no turn count, but if you don't then they never come back. The game doesn't actually kill them off until the battle is over. In FFTA2, however, revival isn't even possible without a judge present.

On the flipside, wow I kind of like the idea of an rpg that has recruitables to have a place you can put their lives on the line when revival is usually a nonaffair.

If the consequence of doing badly in a fight is worse than the player wants to accept, then the player will almost certainly revert to a previous save.
This is such a good point. Players will weight the consequences of reloading versus causality. FE has a great permadeath system... that most people (including myself!) ignore in favor of reloading and doing better. It's so rare to actually move forward with death that Ironman is a term for when people do.
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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It's slightly more complicated there. You can still revive them in FFTA and there is no turn count, but if you don't then they never come back. The game doesn't actually kill them off until the battle is over. In FFTA2, however, revival isn't even possible without a judge present.
Ah, you're right. It's been too long since I played, obviously.


This is such a good point. Players will weight the consequences of reloading versus causality. FE has a great permadeath system... that most people (including myself!) ignore in favor of reloading and doing better. It's so rare to actually move forward with death that Ironman is a term for when people do.
Personally, I reset because I consider a run complete only if I got everyone through, and having to restart a map is a suitable punishment if you don't want to Ironman it. That said, I do admit that Mila's Turnwheel in SoV and Divine Pulse in 3H are nice to use if you flubbed a command or something. Tiny mistakes like that make a full map restart really punishing.
 

pawsplay

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What is the goal here? The original Final Fantasy had no revive items, and the life spell couldn't be cast in battle. Is perma-death the objective?
 

Volourn

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You would just have to balance for it. Many fantasy RPGs have raise dead mechanics so they are balanced so death (and of course trying to avoid and returning from it) are all taken in account. Many games have insta death effects because of this. If a RPG doesn't have raise dead mechanics then such insta death mechanics should likely not be used. The goal would be to balance the game to make death uncommon/rare (unless the player does something foolish). Afterall, if you can't raise a dead character and death happens frequently that will just lead to reloads at best or them quitting the game at worst.
 

Sullien

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I mean it doesn't necessarily make it harder, but what it does is make it trickier, and it would depend on the style of game; a JRPG for example would likely fall apart completely if one of the main characters just suddenly died in a random encounter.

Perma-death can bring immersion if the game is a sandbox or if the characters are ultimately not critical to the story. If it feels cheap might just make your players save abuse or cheese out battles.
 

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