Most of my games feature the PC's as centerpieces to everything that is happening in the story. As centerpieces, the characters are a little different than most other regular folks in the game. They are heroes. The ones that can do - the ones that will risk it - the ones that will inspire both young and old to acts of greatness. They are what most people wish they could be.
One of the reasons most people will not rise to the level of heroes is the cost. Death, insanity, incarceration, injury, and many other problems usually arise from heroic acts.
I have ran into a few players that embrace that concept along with some GM's. By far, most people, in my experience, shun the costs of heroism in their games.
As a player, I can fully understand why so many people stay away from that concept. I have had an experience that really opened my eyes to their plight.
My first time facing the possibility of death was not very fun. I had worked very hard on my character over a period of several sessions. I had a large amount of information on my background story and some very well defined ideas for his growth as a person. I also felt like that character was only starting in that journey and killing him at that point would rob me of all that time and effort I put on him.
As I was roleplaying that character, I was faced the possibility of death over something really, really stupid. As a player, my heart was racing, and I literally panicked at the possibility of having that character killed by the GM.
The GM had every reason to kill that character. As a fellow GM, knowing the gaming system really well, I knew my character deserved to die. As a person however, I was not ready to let go of my creation.
The GM decided not to exercise that possibility, citing the fact that I was not ready for failure at that time and neither was he. I asked the GM what I could do to prepare for that eventuality. His answer was simple: Have another character made, so you join up with the group right away. He did not like having players sitting around not being part of the game.
Since I wanted to prepare myself for that eventuality while freeing the GM to do as he wished, I prepared a second character for my next session. I also took that opportunity to let the GM know that while I liked playing my current character, I would allow him the freedom to kill it if he chose to.
I accepted failure as player and was ready to pay the price for being a hero in that game. I also allowed the GM the freedom to chose any options for his game.
As a GM, I now ask that my players do the same.
Accept that you play the life of a hero. Someone that is above and beyond what the average person will ever be. Being a hero comes at a price. You should be ready to pay for it and not expect the GM to restrict himself on your account.