In the B/X-ified The Temple of Elemental Evil game I am in, I lost my character to an illusory basilisk.
He was a 6th level Fighting Man who had been with the party since day 1. He loved drinking, unsuccessfully hitting on monstrous women, making cloaks out of wolves, getting naked in the dungeon (#Skyclad), and fighting ’round the world.
Was there a grand, epic story of trying to impress his people or getting vengeance for a distant relative that died in the Temple of Elemental Evil a bajilloin years ago? Did his death have narrative meaning?
He got turned to stone because of a stupid decision. Always, always have the person with the mirror peek around every single corner. Either that or have the kind of #DiceControl that you have always succeed at your save.
As far as we can tell, there is no spell in Basic or Expert that de-petrifies someone. So either one of our magic users gets to name level and invents that spell or St. Cuthbert grants a miracle, he will stay that will until the end of time.
The party hauled the statue back to town and set up at the Inn of the Welcome Wench. Then paid women to grind on it like an oddly shaped stripper pole. It’s what he would have wanted.
Is that stupid and immature way to remember a fallen character?
But it was a heck of a lot of fun.
Then, I rolled up a new character (3d6 in order as Gygax intended). The game continues.
That’s how a real D&D player deals with character death.