I've been playing Pathfinder for about a year now, and I've been fortunate enough to not have to deal with the death of a character...until now!
My husband and I have been playing in a Rise of the Runelords campaign, since last December. It's the first gaming group I've ever been a part of. The group is a good mix of new and seasoned gamers. Our party is well balanced, and we work well together. We have a Fighter, a Paladin, a Wizard, a Bard, a Summoner (my husband), and a Rogue (that's me).
We're all Level 7 adventurers now, and we never felt like our characters were in any danger of dying. Sure, we had some tough encounters, but we always walked away with an awesome story of our latest victory.
The question had been raised, that perhaps we needed tougher fights. Our last gaming session was a fairly normal one, until our characters boarded a ship to a far away village. During our journey, we encountered a Blue Dragon! A FREAKING DRAGON!
The dragon was shooting lightning left and right. I was invisible, and saw an opportunity to do some ridiculous sneak attack damage. Even though my husband told me to hold my action, I just went for it...and missed. Now I'm standing right next to a Dragon that would attack, and kill me all in one round! OMG!
My character was dead. No saving throws, no epic Boromir speech before I pass on to the next world...just...death.
This was a moment I knew would happen eventually, but I wasn't fully prepared for it. Since we were in mid-combat, I couldn't be a baby about it and hold up the rest of the encounter, but I was devastated.
What happened next was a blur. The rest of the party continued the battle, and avenged my death. The entire time, I was scrambling to think of what new character I should be making.
Should I make another Rogue? I've only played Rogues. Should I try to play a different class? How will this new character fit into the party? I need to make a new level 7 character! How long is that going to take? Am I going to miss the rest of today's session?
While I was internally freaking out, my party was slaying the dragon, using magic to keep my body from decaying, and they turned that ship around to get me resurrected!
Our characters formed some strong alliances during our adventures. So they called in a few favors, and pooled together a lot of our Gold to have my Rogue brought back to life!
I was so thankful that I could keep playing, and that they cared enough to use all our resources to bring me back. Our Game Master has given us opportunities in the past to retrain our characters, but I never felt the need to change anything about my Rogue. After her death however, I think my Rogue would want to retrain, and be tougher. So I started thinking about how I could make a better Rogue.
With the approval of our GM, I'll be retraining my character into a Ninja (an alternate class to the Rogue). I'll still have my same back story, and the same role in our well balanced party, but I'll have more tricks up my sleeve.
So, having my character die was terrible and scary, but it created a good story opportunity to change my character for the better. I'm pretty excited to play this weekend.
If I learned anything from this whole experience, it is that I have the most awesome gaming group ever, and I should always have a backup character ready so I don't have to panic over a PC death again!