Except under unusual circumstances, you won’t get time to prepare for character deaths — crappy rolls, bad luck and other spur-of-the-moment factors will make sure of that.
Personally, I haven’t had many PC deaths on my watch, but thinking back I’m pretty sure I’ve managed to handle each of them with a complete lack of skill and without any sense of drama — in other words, as gracelessly as possible. It’s not that I try to be a dick about it, it’s just that PC deaths tend to take me by surprise, and all of my GMing skills go out the window.
Assuming you’re running a serious campaign (not Paranoia, for example), and that PC death has meaningful consequences in your game (not just poof, you’re back), how do you go about describing a PC’s death to your group?
Do you focus on the PC’s player? Do you let that player describe her character’s demise? Do you try to move on as quickly as possible?
This will likely be the last question post before TT goes into reruns, and I’ll be shutting off the comments before November 1st. If you want to weigh in, don’t wait too long!