Alright, I'm bored and tired. Gotta kill some time before bed cause eldest child went to a MLB game tonight, so gotta sit up until he comes home. Looking at the score its 3-3 at the bottom of the eighth. Which means approximately nothing to me. Does that mean that they are almost at the end of the inning or the beginning? Dunno. Doesn't really matter. Not what I want to talk about, I want to talk about blooding.
Blooding is something I take very seriously. Many people disagree with me. Some DMs feel that its counterproductive, and others don't understand specifically planning it. What is blooding you ask? Why killing a character, pure and simple. Maybe not pure and simple. What is going on is that I purposely kill a neophytes character.
Why do I do this? Because, it needs to be done. I strongly feel this way. I want to impress on the PCs that it is a game, and characters die. Sometimes from stupid situations, sometimes from bad die rolls, and sometimes because you do something so stupid that you deserve to die. I've seen many people who's characters start out normal, but become some sort of fantasy fulfillment Mary Sue type of thing. Need to nip that sort of thing in the bud. Remind them it is a game, and to just roll up a new character before the next session.
People disagree with me. Some say its counterproductive and just chases new players away. Others think that death will happen naturally and to just let it happen. I don't. Oh, I'm not going to target them straight off. Never do that. Let them get a feel for the game, maybe level once or twice. Then BOOM. Take off the kid gloves. I'll focus the boss on them, or leave out some healing, or just let stupid take its course.
Death is part of D&D. The lesson isn't just to teach them that characters are just numbers on paper and not to get to attached, but also to teach them that the life of an adventurer sometimes ends abruptly.
In Warhammer 40K, there is a rule called 'Death or Glory'. In essence, you either crunch the tank, or the tank crunches you. I can't remember who said it, but there is also the old Latin chestnut 'Fortes fortuna adiuvat' which translates to 'Fortune favors the Bold'. And of course in our modern internet X-treme culture, 'Go Big or Go Home'. That's the point. D&D is an adventure game. You have to take risks, and sometimes those risks don't pan out. The sooner the PCs realize that, the faster they can get into doing cool stuff. Risk can end in failure, but it doesn't matter. Sometimes the risk is worth it.
There's my reasons. First to stop some Mary Sue, second to show the ephemeral nature of characters, and third to teach the PCs to take risks because the reward is so much sweeter.