Worlds of Darkness 4: stakes of death

You die, the end?
The World of Darkness is a meanie. It kills you in a dark alley, raises you from the dead and kills you again. If fear of dying does not linger in the back of players's heads as if they were lone women at night in Whitechapel in late 1888, the whole show might look like just a big superhero party.
Before suggesting ways to make death meaningful, it is necessary to evaluate what could be at stake, especially regarding the most precious commodities such as character experience and skills. The current Eve Online format gives each player three character slots by account, one of which can passively earn experience at any given time. What about giving to three characters per account the possibility to passively and simultaneously earn experience while creating two kinds of passive experience?
The first one would be the one we know: your main character, a supernatural creature or gifted mortal, earns experience, and he can lose some amount when he is defeated in combat or dies as described below, but the accumulated value of experience (the number of skillpoints in Eve Online parlance) can be transferred to a new main character. Let's dub it the Account Experience Pool.
The second kind of experience would be entirely losable on death. Your two secondary characters, mere mortals, would earn experience this way. If they live long enough, they can grow into formidable assets... but fragile ones. Let's call what they earn Fragile Experience.
More character slots on the account could allow the use of characters with low skills and no experience gains. Those would be the 'grog' of the game -in the Ars Magica roleplaying game, 'grog' are the supporting cast -the lowly guards.

The concept of permadeath is a mythical dead horse beaten again and again by some of the players who enjoy player-versus-player combat. Even in Eve Online and Darkfall, which position themselves on the pitiless side of multiplayer gaming, there is no way for you to lose your character. The most you can lose is his or her belongings and some values on his or her character sheet. Developers do not want to alienate their customers, and who would not feel upset and disappointed after permanently losing a beloved character to a spike of lag or an exploit-based tactic?
However, there are no clones in the World of Darkness. Not yet! Each supernatural race might conceivably be given a way to escape Final Death, especially if designers accept to alter the current canon. Here is a set of propositions for the three 'main races'.
Vampires, even hacked into tiny pieces and sunburned, do not die. They just fall into torpor and begin to regenerate. Even diablerie (soul-sucking) only diminishes their Blood Potency, without permanently killing them. Provided somebody pours blood over them, they can regenerate more quickly.
Werecreatures, on the other hand, die. Except they can instantly reincarnate by merging their soul with another creature, provided the proper ritual is performed. For example, Joe the Werewolf would reincarnate inside a wolf, which would subsequently shapechange into same old Joe.
Mages could choose among a number of methods to avoid Final Death, including regeneration (Life Arcana), reincarnation (Mind, Spirit), cheating death (Fate, Space) and, of course, clones (Matter, Time) -here they are.

Forms of death
First of all, mortals die, and for good. And when a mortal you control dies, you lose everything you possessed through him or her: information, influence, resources, assets, access. If the mortal was not your main character, you also lose with him his accumulated experience (Fragile Experience). Mortals are the victims who pay the price for the actions of reckless supernatural masters. If the mortal was your main character (hunters, for example, are mortals), he can still die, but the Account Experience Pool is made available to the next character you will put in the main character slot.

Secondly, a World of Darkness is not Grand Theft Auto with fangs. Personal horror can touch the player if he knows he can lose his or her character to the Beast or the Abyss due to degeneration. If a character behaves like a monster, he can become a slave to dark passions without recourse. When the morality score (Humanity for vampires, Harmony for werewolves, etc.) reaches 0, the final price must be paid.
The character would then be retired from the account and become a raving monster, a non-playing character that escapes into the World of Darkness, to be found or hunted down and then put to the Final Death by any other character, possibly anywhere in the game world. Such a degeneration would deprive the player of the character's identity and effective control, but not of his accumulated experience (Account Experience Pool), which could be passed along to a new main character.
(Unprovoked attacks against other characters could thus entail meaningful consequences.)

The last 'form of death' I have in mind I am a bit unsure about. I would like it to be possible for player characters to create prisons (collective endeavours) and imprison captured player characters. Player-controlled guardians would be necessary and escapes would be possible, but I can see how difficult it would be to balance the system to make sure that recovering a captured character is not too frustrating nor slow. There are a great many potential issues with captures; depriving a player of the control over his character is a big no-no. But if a player can use other characters with his one account, and if guarding a prisoner is impossible for anything but a main character, with escape being easy if unattended for...
The system would aim to promote a sense of risk: players would need to choose whether to expose their bigger guns (their main character, the only one worth being captured) in any battle, risk a mortal with some Fragile Experience (avoiding the threat of degeneration) or just use a random thug ('grog') with no experience. Interesting stories could happen about supernatural creatures acting as baits, fights between a handful of them and a throng of mortals, organisations trading prisoners of war, players burning resources and secondary characters to rescue their main character, etc. Jacob Skinner from Night Horrors: Immortal Sinners would really enjoy the feature, for sure!

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