Character Life Insurance
Hooray! I died!
Many people don’t ever think about it, but life insurance is like gambling. Well, no, it is gambling. Legalized gambling, with the ultimate stakes: millions of dollars on one hand, someone’s life on the other.
Consider an insurance premium of $100 per month for an overweight middle-aged guy with receding hair and reasonable health (there’s no particular reason that Gamer Bling knows this, of course), which provides the holder with a $1,000,000 policy. The policy holder is gambling at odds of 10,000:1 that he doesn’t survive the month. The insurance company, on the other hand, is taking the long odds that they can just keep the money.
This actually balances out pretty well, since the policy holder doesn’t actually want to win, there being a pretty stiff negative motivator for this. The policy holder’s wife may have different opinions of course, much as Gamer Bling did with regard to the First Edition Official Companion, but the insurance company foresees this situation and writes in special exceptions to help keep kids around the globe from suddenly becoming rich orphans while the family is exiting the life insurance office.
The current approach is far better than the alternative, where the death and millions are decoupled:
Policy Holder: “I’ll bet you 10,000:1 that I survive the month!”
Insurance Agent: “Bet you don’t!” (BANG!)
Policy Holder: “Clearly, I did not think this through.”
Insurance Agent: “I win! Bwah hah hah!”
Well, now you can get a real insurance policy on your fake life. No, not the one in Second Life where you play a nymphomaniac bisexual sixteen-year-old Goth chick with an arsenal of assault rifles and a hot tub the size of New Jersey—seriously, get some help—but your real fake life, which is to say that of your character.
One improvement this policy has over a real policy is that it doesn’t cost you $100 per month.
A second and even better improvement this policy has over a real policy is that you don’t have to die to collect.
Although to cash in, your character has to die, which is almost as bad a fatality as you personally, and a far worse fatality than, say, that of the First Edition Official Companion, because if the latter were to happen, one upside of the whole situation is that the flames of Hell might finally melt the ice around her heart.
Uhh… did Gamer Bling say that out loud?
Allow Gamer Bling to present to you the latest in consumer-friendly insurance policies:
Character life insurance!
This wonderful policy is offered as a free rider to any conventional character portrait package offered by AvatarArt. To wit: if/when your character dies AvatarArt will, free of charge, remit to you, free of charge, one portrait of similar style to the one that you purchased, which was therefore not free of charge, illustrating your character’s death. Free of charge.
Now those of you who’ve been following the story of Gleek the Uberkobold might have noticed he has had a slight penchant for the reckless. He was, after all, a rogue, which is a tricky profession, and he had taken some levels in sorcerer, which, historically speaking, is the kiss of death for Gamer Bling’s characters.
The kiss in this case came from a trapped door.
Which is to say Gleek croaked. Bought the farm. Kicked the bucket. Assumed room temperature. And is now singing slightly off-key and a little too allegro in the chaotic-good choir eternal.
In a recent dungeon crawl, while slightly wounded, Gleek flew across an underground river to inspect a door on the far side (note: no bridge). The door was trapped. And Gleek failed to disarm, with a terrible roll, even whilst using blingy dice and dice accessories.
And the trap went off. No worries, thought Gamer Bling, for Gleek had a 20 dexterity (bumped to 24 thanks to his gloves of dexterity +4) and a +16 reflex save against traps. And Gamer Bling proceeded to roll a 1. D’oh! And he couldn’t even use an action point to bump it up!
And Gleek took therewith 30 force damage, 30 sonic damage, 30 fire damage, and 30 cold damage, so he more or less experienced an entire Megadeth concert in two seconds. Which, given his wimpy sorcerer’s hit points and the modicum of damage he had suffered, put him straight down to -12 hp (a.k.a. two degrees below toast). Before he fell down into the underground river. Across the unbridged cavern from the rest of the party.
In any event, the above description (complete with teardrops spattering the monitor and keyboard) was forwarded to the top… men at AvatarArt. Because Gamer Bling intended to cash in on this whole death thing. Even if the AvatarArt project manager has the same initials as a sub-machine gun.
They came back with this:
Because Gamer Bling had the immortal character sketch, he could in fact send in revisions to AvatarArt. But, aside from a few environmental modifications and the observation that Gleek had morphed his own claws into lockpicks at that time, Gamer Bling has a moral inclination against playing art director in this particular case, because few indeed get to choose their death, which is why famous last words are so entertaining. Especially when they’re words like, “Hey! Watch this!”
Gleek chose neither the time nor the circumstances of his own death, and thus should not be allowed to benefit from it. And, in this case in particular, it should not be allowed to cast him in a better light. Because he choked. Totally.
Let’s face it, Gleek got geeked.
So with a wave of his tear-and-mucus-sodden lace hanky, Gamer Bling waved his approval at the sketch. And thus did the top… men at AvatarArt, doubtless weeping openly into their kidney-rotting moonshine, send forth a professionally not-tear-smudged finished sketch with a basic color palette, which is shown here:
Oh, the humanity koboldery! Oh, how can Gamer Bling withstand seeing his brilliant alter ego getting rocked like a hurricane! Fear the reaper!
Having never been blasted by force, fire, cold, and electricity simultaneously, Gamer Bling had little comment on the realism of the sketch. And the top… men at AvatarArt, who waxed so eloquently at the proper way of killing people with war picks, were curiously thankfully safely silent on the matter.
And so they added a bit moregore color to this bit of gratuitous violence high art, and we ended up with this, the final juicy moment of Gleek, immortalized in 13.5 megs of hi-res TIFF file complete with little green musical symbols for the sonic effect, which you can view in full glory by clicking the illustration at right assuming you correctly parse this convoluted sentence, where the last bit of air that passed between Gleek’s pointed reptilian teeth gave wings to his final utterance on this mortal coil:
Not too keen on what has to happen to get one of these. Even when something is free, the price can still be terribly, terribly wrong.
And also, your mother will probably object to you putting it up in the family room.
The Bottom Line
It’s a pretty great upside to losing your favorite character.
Although at this point Gamer Bling will point out that Larz, our resident fighter, who typically lasts about three rounds until his damage-absorbent sponge (cleverly called his “torso”) reaches its saturation threshhold, also died on a recent adventure. This being a trick that our resident druid has failed to achieve, despite his best efforts and newly developed “my face to your mace” technique.
Since Larz is very heavy, and we were in the outback of Xen’drik, with weeks of travel between us and Stormhome and nary a gentle repose spell in sight to keep Larz from devolving into 300 pounds of rancid cold cuts, we tried the only thing we could: we poured some magic water down his throat. This being magic water that we knew had healing properties, but probably also had a downside, having been drawn from a fountain we found deep in an ancient and evil temple, and upon which waters the resident villain was performing a variety of experiments.
And it did have a downside. Larz roused himself from the dead, but had, shall we say, a hitchhiker somewhere deep inside him, and lo! the GM laid upon his shoulders the mantle of an infernal template. And now he can’t enter the church. And he has horns. And red eyes. But, at the least, he is breathing. And not smelling quite as bad as he would if he were decomposing.
Anyway, we in the party hope this will help Larz become a real bad-ass, since he had the “ass” part down and an infernal influence definitely adds the bad.
Bling Factor: 10
You Need: Hopefully zero.
The only way to get one is to get a custom character portrait.
Your character is dead. He has no future.