I feel it necessary to comment on Sean Desmond's "Bang! You're dead!". While I agree in large part with the sentiments expressed therein, a number of other options seemed possible.

The "Level the playing field" option, which is dismissed fairly rapidly, does have some significant advantages. Most importantly, it promotes combat-avoiding behaviour. PCs don't have to die to realise that combat is lethal - if major, obviously competent, NPCs die as a result of combat, this will generally make the point.

While this is not appropriate for all genres, I have found it useful both for "dark future" games and for reasonably optimistic science fiction; guns are dangerous, and any game claiming to be "realistic" should treat them as such. Naturally, the campaign setting must be one in which noncombat activities are both possible and rewarding. Also, players who prefer combat-orientated characters may find it hard to adjust.

Roger Burton West