Challenging the assumption that permanent death of character must be at stake in D&D
In my Arcana Evolved campaign, I've been working at removing death of character from the table.
Characters in my game are built with 32 points, come in at the same level all the other characters are at, everyone gets standard wealth (when they level up, they get to buy/improve items up to the standard wealth), hit points for each level are non-random (die size/2 + 1 + Con bonus - even at 1st). So there is nothing mechanical that stops a player from erasing the character name and damage from his dead charater's sheet and writing a new name down and introducing Fred II to the party.
And I won't even raise a social barrier to them doing that. I've even suggested it once or twice.
So why even make the player do that? I suggested to my players that at the end of an encounter, if a character died, they can simply state, no, I didn't die if they want. If they're ready to move on to a new character, cool.
My players resisted. That would be taking away the threat of death and cheapening the game. But they aren't losing anything by introducing Fred II that they haven't already lost (the character did still go down in battle).
Last night, a PC died. They were going to have him raised which would take 7 days and 7 castings of raise dead, and then the PC would lose a level. Likely no one would play a character who was a level behind when they could bring in a new character, even Fred II. So let's not make raise actually cost a level. But there's still this 7 days thing.
I again pointed out that the player could just bring in Fred II. And I re-offered the possibility of just sidestepping the BS and let the player reject the death. And I think it finally sunk in.
Does this idea really cheapen the game? Not if one accepts that basically all characters are the same level and have the same wealth.