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    PaladinGuy

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    Default What dying SHOULD feel like

    This is how my friend describes how dying SHOULD feel like:
    You are INSTANTLY on the edge of your seat, and that feeling doesn't go the entire time.
    It's the thought of "Holy bananas, I'm at 0HP, I gotta get the HECK outta here without taking a SINGLE hit! The PRESSURE!"
    Just falling unconscious is fine, but it's a very un-interesting for the person just waiting his turn to do nothing but roll a single dice.
    This is what I've come up with to invoke my desired feeling in my players when a character is dying.

    This has been updated due to my HP Thread, and is heavily influenced by 4e.

    Design Goals:
    • Create a clear divide between attacks that have temporary effects (reducing HP) and attacks that have dire consequences (Death Saving Throws & Injuries). This should make it easier for the players to visualize what their characters are going through, both in combats and during resting periods.
    • Discourage Yoyo-healing without using Exhaustion
    • Make falling to 0 more dramatic without removing the player from the game.
    • The more time you spend down the risks should increase. This gives players some leeway to make mistakes while encouraging learning from those mistakes, since the risk gets higher every time you go down.
    • Give my as a DM more freedom to attack characters that are down without it looking like an act of spite against the player. That wolf you're fighting is fighting for food, so ignoring a downed character doesn't always make sense.


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    Hit Points
    Hit points at level 1 are doubled, and hit point increase when leveling is halved.
    I’ve seen some confusion regarding what Hit Points represent within the game of Dungeons and Dragons.
    To clarify, every attack is an attempted lethal hit which is up to you to attempt to mitigate. When attacked, you can negate the attack using Saves and Armor Class (and some attacks simply miss the mark altogether). Other attacks, however, require copious amounts of effort to defend against or otherwise shrug off, leaving you fatigued, cut or bruised until you can recover. Doing so uses uses a finite resource called Hit Points. A character gets continuously more roughed up as his Hit Points run out. Just like a runner can only sprint until he's out of breath, a fighter can only fight until his Hit Points run out.
    This clarification is made to emphasize that Hit Points are not ‘Life Points’ but rather represent minor cuts, bruises and fatigue. An attack that 'hits' might connect, but still qualifies more as poorly mitigated rather than a direct hit. That's how you can recover from getting hit by five arrows in just a short rest.

    Reduced to 0 Hit Points
    When your hit points finally do run out and you are too exhausted to fend of the incoming attack, you take a direct hit and gain the Dying condition.

    Dying Condition
    Some collapse in exhaustion from their wounds, while others make one last heroic attempt to defend themselves.
    When you gain the Dying condition you have to make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or fall unconscious.


    • If the attack that delivered the Dying condition dealt 10 or more damage, you receive one Lingering Injury.
    • If you take damage exceeding half your hit point maximum your character is dead.
    • If you regain any number of hit points you are no longer Dying.
    • At the start of your turn make a Death Saving Throw.


    A Dying character can be stabilized with a use of a Medicine check and a Healer's Kit, at which point the character stops making death saving throws until damaged. A stable character also regains 1 hit point in 1d4 hours.
    When receiving healing, the hit point total is first increased to 0 before applying the additional hit points.

    Death Saving Throws
    A Death Saving Throw is an unmodified d20 roll with a DC of 10. If you roll a 20 on a death saving throw you regain 1 hit point and are no longer Dying. Once you’ve accumulated three failed death saving throw you are dead. Your number of failed death saving throws is reset at the end of a long rest.

    Minor and Major Injuries
    You gain one Minor Injury whenever you take 10 or more damage from a single source either when Dying, while Incapacitated, or as a result of fall damage. You gain Major Injury if the damage is 20 or more.
    Whenever you would gain a Minor or Major Injury, you can choose to gain one failed death saving throw instead.
    Minor and Major Injuries can be removed via the Recover downtime activity.

    Resurrection
    When a spellcaster brings a character back to from the Ethereal Realm the spellcaster uses his own soul to anchor the resurrected character within the material plane. If the spellcaster’s ever dies, the soul of any character he has resurrected is ripped from his body as a result, leaving him as a Spectre or Ghost.

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    Death and Dying
    When your hit points finally do run out and you are too exhausted to fend of the incoming attack, you take a direct hit. Some collapse in exhaustion from their wounds, while others make one last heroic attempt to defend themselves.
    When you are reduced to 0 hit points you can make a Constitution Saving Throw, the result of which determines how much you recoil from the triggering attack. If you manage to maintain consciousness you are still extremely vulnerable. If you get hit by an attack while at 0 Hit Points, you receive one lingering injury. You still roll Death Saving Throws as normal.

    The trick is, the DC for remaining conscious is 5, meaning a PC almost always makes it. This fundamentally changes how gameplay continues after being reduced to 0 hit points. This makes being reduced to 0HP feel more like this and less like this. The Constitution saving throw moves the focus of the entire table to the dying player, making the moment all the more dramatic, and having the player be able to react on his next turn puts the dying player is at the edge of his seat, trying desperately to save his character.
    Not specifying the meaning of "how much you recoil" gives me the extra chance to make the moment even more dramatic, by adding effects according to the specific scenario.

    Spoiler: Old Dying Mechanic
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    Death and Dying
    When your hit points finally do run out and you are too exhausted to fend of the incoming attack, you take a direct hit. Some collapse in exhaustion from their wounds, while others make one last heroic attempt to defend themselves. To speed up play, it is a good idea to decide beforehand which option your character will take, if the situation arises. When you are reduced to 0 hit points, you can either:

    Use a reaction to make an Armor Save
    Use a reaction to receive a Lingering Injury
    Fall unconscious and start making Death Saving Throws

    Armor Save Credit: AdAstra
    When any bludgeoning, piercing or slashing damage would reduce you to 0 HP while wearing medium armor, heavy armor or a shield you can use your reaction to make a Dexterity saving throw to interpose your armor or shield between you and the incoming attack. The DC equals 10 or half the damage you take, whichever is higher. On success, you manage to save yourself from harm, fall prone and are reduced to 1 hit point, but the item used to block the attack suffers damage. A damaged armor or shield has its armor bonus reduced by 2 and cannot be used to make armor saving throws until it is repaired. A damaged piece of equipment can be fixed via the mending cantrip or Smith's Tools during a long rest.

    Lingering Injuries Credit: S. Baker
    When an attack would reduce you to 0 hp you can use your reaction to be reduced to 1 HP and take one Lingering Injury from the Lingering Injury Table. Lingering Injuries can be removed by means specific to your injury, as noted in the Lingering Injury Table.
    This further emphasizes how Hit Points are recovered by catching one's breath, while direct hits require more urgent attention.

    Exhaustion
    When you regain consciousness after being reduced to 0 HP, you roll a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take one level of exhaustion.




    Spoiler: The Post After That
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    Death and Dying
    When your hit points finally do run out and you are too exhausted to fend of the incoming attack, you take a direct hit. Some collapse in exhaustion from their wounds, while others make one last heroic attempt to defend themselves.
    When you are reduced to 0 hit points you take one automatically failed death saving throw and have to make a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or fall unconscious.

    Death Saving Throws
    How close you are to shuffling off this mortal coil is represented by Death Saving Throws, which are unmodified d20 rolls with a DC of 10. When a player has accumulated three failed death saving throws he is dead. Your number of failed death saving throws is reduced to 0 at the end of a long rest.
    When you start your turn at 0 HP, you make a Death Saving Throw. You also gain automatically failed death saving throw when you take 10 or more damage from a single source while at 0 hit points.

    Resurrection
    When a spellcaster brings a character back to life their souls are tied to one another. If the spellcaster ever dies, any character he has resurrected dies with him.

    Lingering Injuries
    Lingering Injuries is an optional mechanic players can use to replace an automatically failed death saving throw, such as the ones gained when reduced to 0 HP or when taking damage while at 0HP.
    For a Lingering Injury as a result of a creature or effect with a CR of 4 or lower roll a d10, add 10 to the result and consult the Lingering Injury Table. For a Lingering Injury as a result of a creature or effect with a CR of 5 or higher roll a d20 and consult the Lingering Injury Table.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-08-23 at 03:45 AM.

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    This is a lot more complicated and punishing to players, but if that’s what you’re going for then more power to you. I like the idea of PCs enduring beyond 0 hp, but I wouldn’t add lingering injuries like your eyeballs being destroyed since that’s essentially a character death at low levels. I would allow PCs to take half turns, either actions with disadvantage or movement at half speed. I’m a merciful god DM, so I prefer to save crippling injuries and deaths for appropriately dramatic narrative moments.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBear View Post
    This is a lot more complicated and punishing to players, but if that’s what you’re going for then more power to you.
    Hm, not quite. I'd love to hear how you experience it as more punishing, when it gives players an extra chance to save themselves after going to 0. Traditionally you take a hit that reduces you to 0, and you start dying. In my case, you take a hit that reduces you to 0, and you don't start feeling it until the next hit, essentially giving players one extra hit of HP.

    It's not supposed to be complicated, since the rules can be explained as it happens. Complicated applies to rules that require a break from gameplay or need to be explained before hand. I am maybe to close to this, do you think I can reach my design goal with a more streamlined mechanic?

    I like the idea of PCs enduring beyond 0 hp, but I wouldn’t add lingering injuries like your eyeballs being destroyed since that’s essentially a character death at low levels. I’m a merciful god DM, so I prefer to save crippling injuries and deaths for appropriately dramatic narrative moments.
    This is a very good comment. I've had the discussion about the lingering injuries before, and I'll be keeping the lists on my side of the screen. I will have the players roll, and then read the (audited) result to them, essentially ensuring that they injuries don't go into the territory of forcing the player to roll a new character.

    I would allow PCs to take half turns, either actions with disadvantage or movement at half speed.
    Are you talking about having the vulnerable state being "When at 0 hit points you cannot take actions", for example, instead of the risk of receiving an injury? I'm curious how a player would experience this mechanic. The goal is that a player can use all the tools at his disposal to save himself, but if he fails there are consequences. Removing some of the players tools might have the opposite effect of what I want. But maybe it works out just right. I'll think on this.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-07-19 at 07:27 AM.

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    The punishing part is the lingering injuries. Without that it’s just a nice boost for players and an opportunity for dramatic clutch plays. I approve.

    The part I’m most confused and concerned about, apart from the severity of the injuries, is that you expect this to be a risk/reward trade-off, but there doesn’t appear to be a choice of whether or not to take that risk. You make the save, you are now in danger of serious disability. If another enemy goes before you do, ya fükk’d!

    I like this system for a Darkest Dungeon run, which is something I’ve had on the back burner for a while as my first mega dungeon, but it seems a bit too dangerous for a character driven campaign.

    The notion for my version is that either:

    A. You can take either an action or your movement. Attacks and ability checks are at disadvantage, movement is half speed.
    or
    B. Same as above, but you get to move and take an action.

    Depends on how it plays. Probably go with B.
    Last edited by ZenBear; 2019-07-19 at 11:19 AM.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    I originally had the idea of allowing a choice, but deemed it too complicated. Do you think I should implement a choice system? If so, what would be the choices? Fall unconscious and start dying or remain unconscious, risk an injury, and start dying?

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    If you intend to keep the risk of injury, I would give them the option to “flop” like a soccer player and hope to divert the foe’s attention to more credible threats. The idea being they either soldier through the pain and go for a clutch play, or drop to the floor cradling their injury. In neither case is the target unconscious, though this brings its own issues with rousing unconscious PCs taking hours normally.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBear View Post
    If you intend to keep the risk of injury, I would give them the option to “flop” like a soccer player and hope to divert the foe’s attention to more credible threats. The idea being they either soldier through the pain and go for a clutch play, or drop to the floor cradling their injury. In neither case is the target unconscious, though this brings its own issues with rousing unconscious PCs taking hours normally.
    I'm going to use this next time I'm a player!

    "It's your turn, what do you do?"
    "I make an *ugggghhh* sound and fall to the floor, pretending to be dead so the orcs fight my teammates instead of me"
    "..... Uhm, okey, roll... umm ... Deception?"

    I think it's a fantastic strategy. I'm going to use it as a warlock; burn my two spells and then just peace out xD
    I still don't fully understand your choices. Either you fall to the ground or you fall to the ground? Am I misunderstanding "flopping" :O

    Well, if you had the goal of allowing a player full control of his character post 0, but add maximum tensions, encourage the player to play like his time is running out , and discourage yoyo-ing, how would you do it?
    The only thing I could come up with was "Bad thing happens at 0, bad things happen if you stay at 0 and don't get the heck out of dodge"

    I decided on Lingering Injury simply because it felt the most dramatic and the next best thing to a killing blow. They're not all that bad either, due to auditing.
    I used Death Saving Throws instead of Exhaustion because two long lasting effects suck, and Death Saves only go up to 3. Also, using rules in your housrules make them less like HOUSErules and more like houserules
    The constitution save is just a quick fix to make the mechanics flow better during gameplay, since a player always expects something to happen when he goes to 0.

    "You feel you are at death's door, and you recoil from the force of the attack. You are pushed back 10 feet, and feel the blackness closing in. You barely manage to remain conscious and fight through the pain. You fear you will not be able to defend against the next attack that comes your way".
    Feels much more dramatic when the player is immersed via a roll, although I guess it's not really needed. The roll give me a chance to excuse the "you remain conscious" rule, and hopefully make it feel more like a "Yes, I achieved this outcome, and it's accurate to my character since the outcome was decided based on my character's abilities."
    It also just fits reeaaalllyy nicely to say "roll a con save" Before I announce the "you remain conscious". It's likely to get a HUGE sigh of relief the first time it happens ^^
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-07-19 at 12:20 PM.

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Haha, cowardly Warlock who flops when he burns his spell slots sounds fantastic! Make him a GOOlock with lots of utility Invocations so he’s not really contributing much to combat anyway and can psychically advise his allies from the dirt. 🤣

    The CON save is perfect for this, I’m all for it. My edit of your rules would be; you roll the CON save when you hit 0 and if you succeed you can either soldier on with the risk of injury or flop to the ground conscious but out of the fight.

    My own version would be if you succeed the CON save then you remain conscious and functional, but your speed is reduced by half and all attacks and ability checks are at disadvantage.

    This basically gives players more agency after hitting 0, able to get themselves out of harms way or provide limited support for their allies. Thus I can correspondingly increase the deadliness of encounters just a bit to keep things interesting.

    EDIT: If you want to discourage yo-yoing, I think Exhaustion levels after every down/revival is a good deterrent. Pushes healers to keep people topped off, but that comes at the cost of the healers not having as many spells for combat.
    Last edited by ZenBear; 2019-07-19 at 12:50 PM.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    IME this is a good way to make your melee players sad, and create a lot of animosity between them and your backliners.

    My 5e GM implemented rules like this just before I quit playing 5e altogether. It was me (the Barbarian) up front while everybody else (including the two Rogues, to my constant annoyance) hung back and plinked at enemies from a distance. I went down in nearly every combat because of having to eat damage from 6 enemies at once while everybody else just chilled, and over the course of the two sessions this rule was active, I lost three fingers, a toe, and an eye, each successively nerfing my ability scores or derived attributes (and robbing my ability to use my weapon of choice), making it that much more likely I would take more injuries later.

    It takes all the feeling of being a hero out of the game and just makes you feel like a chump.

    If you absolutely MUST introduce rules like this, take cues from a system that implements them well: Savage Worlds, where the injuries can be either temporary or permanent...and then dial those rules back a few notches too.

    Savage Worlds gets away with it because all the characters are supposed to be mere mortals; it goes for a grim and gritty feeling and everybody buys into that when they agree to play, so it's all cool. But nobody plays D&D for that; it's a Heroic Fantasy game.
    Last edited by Rynjin; 2019-07-19 at 02:13 PM.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBear View Post
    Haha, cowardly Warlock who flops when he burns his spell slots sounds fantastic! Make him a GOOlock with lots of utility Invocations so he’s not really contributing much to combat anyway and can psychically advise his allies from the dirt. 🤣
    Haha, perfect!
    If only Lazy Warlord were still a thing *cough*, it would be amazing with telepathy bwahahha
    Death and Dying your version of your version
    When your hit points finally do run out and you are too exhausted to fend of the incoming attack, you take a direct hit. Some collapse in exhaustion from their wounds, while others make one last heroic attempt to defend themselves.
    When you are reduced to 0 hit points you can make a DC 10 Constitution Saving Throw to desperately cling to consciousness. On success, you remain conscious, but your speed is halved and you have disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. You still roll Death Saving Throws as normal. When you regain any number of hit points you receive one level of exhaustion.


    Death and Dying your version of my version
    When your hit points finally do run out and you are too exhausted to fend of the incoming attack, you take a direct hit. Some collapse in exhaustion from their wounds, while others make one last heroic attempt to defend themselves.
    When you are reduced to 0 hit points you can make a DC 10 Constitution Saving Throw to desperately cling to consciousness. On success, you remain conscious, but are extremely vulnerable to attacks. When you are hit by an attack while at 0HP you receive one Lingering Injury. You still roll Death Saving Throws as normal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    Over the course of the two sessions this rule was active, I lost three fingers, a toe, and an eye, each successively nerfing my ability scores or derived attributes (and robbing my ability to use my weapon of choice), making it that much more likely I would take more injuries later.

    This is a VERY good point :O

    "If a character already has a lingering injury, he/she instead falls unconscious"

    I'll check out Savage Worlds, it sounds cool.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-07-19 at 02:37 PM.

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    I might even make the DC match Undead Fortitude; 5+damage, no save from a critical hit.

    I agree that injuries do tend to accumulate on melee characters more than ranged, and that causes problems. Perhaps a good solution would be to increase the number of ranged enemies, impose disadvantage or grant cover bonuses to targets engaged in melee, and/or have monsters actively pursue the back line.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur;24041819

    [FONT=Verdana
    This is a VERY good point :O

    "If a character already has a lingering injury, he/she instead falls unconscious"

    I'll check out Savage Worlds, it sounds cool.[/FONT]
    It's probably my favorite RPG system in terms of how tight the mechanics are, though nothing really beats Pathfinder for the marriage of mechanics and options for me ATM. I definitely recommend it.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by ZenBear View Post
    I agree that injuries do tend to accumulate on melee characters more than ranged, and that causes problems. Perhaps a good solution would be to increase the number of ranged enemies, impose disadvantage or grant cover bonuses to targets engaged in melee, and/or have monsters actively pursue the back line.
    Thankfully the ranged/melee gap isn't big in my games. The ranged characters tend to be high priority targets (if it has a spell book, it is targeted. If it has a holy symbol, it is targeted). It's drawing fire that is usually a problem for the melees, rather than avoiding it. They also tend to go at least +2 con, and both the Barb and the Fighter have proficiency in con. So I, yeah, not an issue, at least in my games. I mean, if the big guy with a shield decides to retreat, he's not gonna be followed. The enemy is however going to take full advantage of the gap in the line of defense, and get that cleric, and get him good. I have noticed, however, that if I have multiple melee enemies, they tend to swarm the front line. Thankfully that's usually just low damage creeps butting their head against fighter AC and barbarian resistances. Critical hits happen more often against melees, but deaths are distributed pretty evenly, erring on the side of stupid.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-07-19 at 05:04 PM.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    Thankfully the ranged/melee gap isn't big in my games. The ranged characters tend to be high priority targets (if it has a spell book, it is targeted. If it has a holy symbol, it is targeted). It's drawing fire that is usually a problem for the melees, rather than avoiding it. They also tend to go at least +2 con, and both the Barb and the Fighter have proficiency in con. So I, yeah, not an issue, at least in my games. I mean, if the big guy with a shield decides to retreat, he's not gonna be followed. The enemy is however going to take full advantage of the gap in the line of defense, and get that cleric, and get him good. I have noticed, however, that if I have multiple melee enemies, they tend to swarm the front line. Thankfully that's usually just low damage creeps butting their head against fighter AC and barbarian resistances. Critical hits happen more often against melees, but deaths are distributed pretty evenly, erring on the side of stupid.
    This system sounds very fun to use in those clutch moments, and if you tend to spread around the "love" it shouldn't be too punishing. Quick question though, when you're hit by attacks at 0 hp, do you need to roll again to remain conscious? Probably best to make that clear either way. It might also be good to set up a small "buffer" or like, negative hit point maximum to ensure you don't make your heroic save to remain standing, then immediately get your leg ripped off by a rat or something. It should definitely be small, but maybe equal to your hit die average+con, so you can't be immediately dealt debilitating injury by like, a single punch? As is, the nature of death saves still being active makes it so the character can never take more than 3 hits. It will make the characters more durable in their "last stand" state, so if you want that, it seems like a good idea, and if you don't, feel free to throw it out. Also, as written, spells like fireball don't deal lingering injuries. Not sure if that's intended, but if not, it's definitely better to change "you get hit by an attack" to "you take damage",

    Another thing, more of an implementation issue than anything else. In a game where players rarely die, this will probably see very little use. Almost all of the time, if you have one character that you value very highly, it's usually a better idea to wait out for healing than to risk something detrimental in the long term. However, if you go through character sheets like tissues, I could see this coming up a lot, and creating tons of cool moments for the players. Lots of dramatic turnarounds, and equally dramatic deaths. Even if it rarely comes up, it's another tool the players have in their pockets, which is always nice. Especially when 5e rarely give you tools for such situations other than yelling for a Healing Word.
    The stars are calling, but let's come up with a good opening line before we answer

    And here's a rat for the road ~(,,_`;;'>

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by AdAstra View Post
    This system sounds very fun to use in those clutch moments.
    Thank you! It's kinda funny that you're helping me create a mechanic that will be replacing another mechanic you helped me design ^^

    When you're hit by attacks at 0 hp, do you need to roll again to remain conscious?
    No, but I'm unsure how to best clarify it. I did change the phrasing a bit, maybe that solves the issue?

    When your hit points finally do run out and you are too exhausted to fend of the incoming attack, you take a direct hit. Some collapse in exhaustion from their wounds, while others make one last heroic attempt to defend themselves.
    When you are reduced to 0 hit points you can make a Constitution Saving Throw, the result of which determines how much you recoil from the triggering attack.

    The core of this Houserule is removing 'unconscious' entirely from the dying condition. The Constitution saving throw actually does nothing, and the player will always remain conscious, regardless of his saving throw result. Having this mechanic specifically vague simply makes it easier for me to tweak between sessions and add dramatic effects on a case by case basis.

    It might also be good to set up a small "buffer" to ensure you can't be immediately dealt debilitating injury by like, a single punch?
    This is very good point. I just read the stat block for a Troll for a first time recently, and it really cemented the possibility of having some kind of a threshold.

    If you manage to remain conscious you are still extremely vulnerable. Taking 10 or more damage from a single source while at 0 HP results in a mortal wound, represented either by an automatically failed death saving throw or Lingering Injury.

    I always liked the idea of letting a player CHOOSE to take a Lingering injury, and I've found a way to implement it here. "Single source" is also kept intentionally vague.

    As is, the nature of death saves still being active makes it so the character can never take more than 3 hits. It will make the characters more durable in their "last stand" state.
    The added durability is intended. The flaw is that I didn't even know death saving throws reset as soon as you regained HP, and this whole thing was designed around death saving throws that reset after a long rest. Let me fix that real quick.

    In addition, you roll death saving throws at the start of each of your turn while at 0 HP. Your number of failed death saving throws is reset at the end of a long rest.

    I have yet to address big hits reducing a player to 0, instant deaths and negative hit points. I'll leave all this vague on purpose, at least for the time being.

    Also, as written, spells like fireball don't deal lingering injuries.
    Fixed! Thank you!

    In a game where players rarely die, this will probably see very little use. However, if you go through character sheets like tissues, I could see this coming up a lot, and creating tons of cool moments for the players. Lots of dramatic turnarounds, and equally dramatic deaths. Even if it rarely comes up, it's another tool the players have in their pockets, which is always nice. Especially when 5e rarely give you tools for such situations other than yelling for a Healing Word.
    A part of the design process was realizing that although the dying condition is a rare one, it really needs to have exactly the right impact on the players. It is arguably the most important condition to get right. It has to be dramatic, but have clear rules and guidelines. It has to be punishing, but not unfair or unfun. It has to leave a mark on the character, but without being crippling. And that's ontop of all the other general practices of making a good game mechanic.

    That's why I really appreciate your advice. Thanks for taking the time to leave constructive criticism, your insight is always extremely helpful :)
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-07-23 at 07:25 PM.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    I think I finally have a mechanic that I'm happy with. It took some tinkering, and wouldn't have been possible without the help of this forum.

    There are many ways to tackle this issue. Some prefer using exhaustion, some have their own lingering injury mechanic and some would even have separate mechanics for being at 0 HP based on whether the character is conscious or not.
    I think I have arrived at the simplest solution that solves all my initial problems with the dying process, matched my design goal and intent, conveyed the desired feeling, all without introducing to many new issues such as tearing the balance apart or encouraging unfun behavior. The big things to notice here are the saving throw to remain conscious, the OPTIONAL use of lingering injures, and the pseudo-permanence of death saving throws. Everything else is just the glue that holds these mechanics together.

    This should give dying characters a fighting chance to defend themselves and get the heck out of dodge, discourage yoyo healing, make going down have so lasting effect, and allow players to take lingering injures in order to extend their character's life. I think lingering injuries are an important part of the mechanic, since being an adventurer means regularly having to fight for your life. Even if you succeed, it doesn't mean you never get injured in the process.

    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-08-11 at 04:04 PM.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    Resurrection
    When a spellcaster brings a character back to life their souls are tied to one another. If the spellcaster ever dies, any character he has resurrected dies with him.
    This part is, bluntly, a pretty bad idea in any campaign where enough PCs die and get resurrected that it ever matters.

    If PCs go to NPC clerics to get rezzed, then that cleric is forevermore a major glaring weakness that their enemies can use against them in lieu of attacking them directly, because said NPC cleric is most likely undergeared relative to PCs, not surrounded by 2-5 murderhobo bodyguards at all times, stuck in a fixed and hard-to-defend location at a public temple or shrine, and so forth. Baddies taking advantage of that weakness can feel arbitrary and unfair if a player suddenly drops dead for no apparent reason (even though it's telegraphed ahead of time with these rules that someone might go after prominent clerics to kill their resurrectees), and them not taking advantage of this established facet of teleportation to kill an innocent and get a freebie hero death on top doesn't make much sense for the kind of evil-with-a-capital-E villains you tend to face at high levels.

    If PCs have the right level and party composition to have a rez-capable PC in the party, then they become a major weak point in the party. If the fighter, wizard, and rogue have all died and been rezzed by the cleric, then the next time the cleric dies in combat it's a TPK, even if the encounter was otherwise fairly survivable and without the other PCs being able to do anything to mitigate it.

    And if PCs are dying infrequently enough that you might possibly see maybe one death-and-resurrection the whole campaign, then the rule doesn't have enough of an impact/deterrent/etc. that implementing it is really worth it for that one case, and it's likely to feel more like a particular handicap for that PC than anything else.

    If you want to give resurrection some sort of extra impact so it's not just handwaved and forgotten about, I'd either go with a lesser mechanical penalty (resurrected character is cursed until the next full moon, character is vulnerable to radiant/necrotic damage and anti-undead magic for the next week, character has disadvantage on every roll until they get a week of bed rest, character needs one fewer failed death save to die from then on, or the like) or something purely flavorful (character has strange dreams about what the resurrector is up to and vice versa, character picks up some new personality traits from the resurrector and/or the afterlife in which they spent their time, character picks up a distinctive appearance trait like a bone-white stripe in their hair/unnatural eye color in one eye/big nasty scar/etc. as a constant reminder of what happened, or the like). That makes being resurrected carry some severe consequences you won't just forget about after the next long rest, but it's not an arbitrary instakill waiting to happen, either.
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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    If PCs go to NPC clerics to get rezzed, then that cleric is forevermore a major glaring weakness that their enemies can use against them in lieu of attacking them directly, because said NPC cleric is most likely undergeared relative to PCs, not surrounded by 2-5 murderhobo bodyguards at all times, stuck in a fixed and hard-to-defend location at a public temple or shrine, and so forth.
    ...You do realize that I run the enemies, right?

    If the fighter, wizard, and rogue have all died and been rezzed by the cleric, then the next time the cleric dies in combat it's a TPK.
    So it's just me that thinks that is AWESOME?

    And if PCs are dying infrequently enough that you might possibly see maybe one death-and-resurrection the whole campaign, then the rule doesn't have enough of an impact.
    This is the important part, and I'm thinking you are right about this one.

    If you want to give resurrection some sort of extra impact so it's not just handwaved and forgotten about, I'd either go with a lesser mechanical penalty or something purely flavorful. That makes being resurrected carry some severe consequences you won't just forget about after the next long rest, but it's not an arbitrary instakill waiting to happen, either.
    I love this! Thanks for the suggestion, I'm sure to steal some of this, since it lines up perfectly with my design goal of creating more "oomph" surrounding resurrection. To counteract the obvious flaw you mentioned, i have mechanic in the works called "Mark of the Grave" which would be some special ability granted to the resurrected character.. Who says death can't be fun ^^

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    ...You do realize that I run the enemies, right?
    Yes, but that doesn't negate the fact that the rule exists solely to introduce a big ol' gaping vulnerability that players are probably going to look at and want to cover.

    Like, if there's a wizard in your party, you personally probably don't go out of your way to have NPCs to try to steal their spellbook, right? But it's a thing that happens in plenty of campaigns, and smart wizards will want to defend their source of power and greatest weakness, so wizard players often take steps to defend their spellbooks even if the DM explicitly says they don't need to worry about it and it won't ever come up ('cause some bad DMs will say that and then have NPCs do it anyway).

    Likewise, this houserule doesn't actually do anything to "balance" resurrections, it just adds a major gotcha for resurrected PCs, and there's really no reason to have it unless you intend for it to take effect somehow, much like a DM asking you to give him descriptions of NPCs that would motivate your character for revenge if they died under mysterious circumstances while claiming that those NPCs would be perfectly safe.

    So it's just me that thinks that is AWESOME?
    I'd say so. The stereotypical "the tanky fighter defends the squishy wizard" dynamic isn't everyone's cup of tea; not everyone who likes playing fighters wants to be obligated to (or feel pressured to) spend his time running interference for the wizard, and not everyone who likes playing wizards wants to be the primary target for most enemies. Making the entire party's survival dependent on the cleric's forces the fighter dynamic on the entire rest of the party and makes the cleric even more of a target, and where the fighter accidentally letting someone get past him and gank the mage is a big screwup but recoverable if the party can retrieve his body and escape, anyone letting the cleric die is irrecoverable and likely to make that player feel really crappy and/or have the rest of the party blame them for the TPK.

    Having one lynchpin character that the rest of the party protects can be fun, if there's player buy-in; I played in one campaign where one character was a vapid overconfident noble and the rest of us were his long-suffering bodyguards and handlers, and it was a blast. But that's very different from a DM forcing that dynamic on the group.


    Now, it's entirely possible that neither of those things would be an issue for your group at all--perhaps they actively prefer the tank/skirmisher/blaster/healer dynamic, perhaps they trust you implicitly not to screw over their characters, perhaps they find sudden TPKs hilarious and great story fodder--and if so, that's great! But I figured I should raise those issues because (A) those implications aren't necessarily obvious from a one-line houserule and you might not have considered them and (B) anyone else who borrows these rules might not have the same group dynamic you do and those are things to keep in mind.

    I love this! Thanks for the suggestion, I'm sure to steal some of this, since it lines up perfectly with my design goal of creating more "oomph" surrounding resurrection. To counteract the obvious flaw you mentioned, i have mechanic in the works called "Mark of the Grave" which would be some special ability granted to the resurrected character.. Who says death can't be fun ^^
    In that case, something you might want to consider is tying together ghosts and resurrection thematically. The whole "coming back wrong" trope around resurrection has a lot in common with the ghost's "unfinished business" trope, a fading ghost and a soul that's been resurrected too many times both have that shadow-of-its-former-self only-loosely-tied-to-life thing going on, and ghosts are varied enough in aesthetic and theme that there are tons of sources of inspiration for Mark of the Grave effects. Heck, if you can get your hands on Ghostwalk from 3e, that describes a whole mini-setting based around ghosts being a common thing, people bouncing back and forth between alive and ghostly in their (un)life, different paths of power ghosts can focus on, and so forth, so you could borrow a ton of stuff from that.

    And not only could you say that some ghosts are people that were supposed to get resurrected but it just "didn't take" if you wanted to introduce some uncertainty or failure chances around resurrection, but one way to address the issues with the existing rule that I mentioned above while retaining the soul link idea would be to say that if your resurrector dies the jolt of their soul leaving the body and heading to the afterlife yanks your soul out of your body as well, turning you right from a living creature into a ghost as your corpse crumples to the ground.

    That gives you a similar "Well crap, Friar Tuck just died, now we're boned too" consequence for resurrected PCs, but leaves such a PC still able to act and try to help the rest of the party escape (in the case of one or a few deaths) or avenge their own deaths (in the case of a TPK). It also leaves a party of ghost PCs with the job of trying to get themselves resurrected while they may or may not be able to carry their bodies or communicate with anyone else, which leads to a lot more fun hijinks than "Welp, TPK, time to roll up a new party."
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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Wow! Your insight has been invaluable. Thanks for taking the time. I'll give all of this a long hard think.
    Thank you for being a part of this community, and sharing your perspective and opinions.
    I want to write a more worthy reply, but I can barely keep my eyes open. I'm gonna go to bed.

    EDIT: I really think your 'becomes a ghost' is a much more entertaining idea than my 'simply dies' idea. That coupled with some ethereal-themed ability when ressurrected makes the whole ordeal much more impactful to the story. Ressing a dead character has always felt like actively reducing the impact of an event on the story, like a giant 'undo' button. This at least has something change, which is a huge step in the right direction. The additional death saving throw or some shadow-themed-ability as a mark of the grave feature might also help to make things interesting.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-08-15 at 07:36 PM.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    Updated to fix some issues regarding the flow.

    Previously there were no consequences to being at 0 hit points and taking hits. A player could fight a Hoard of commoners while at 0, although only until his Death Saving Throws run out. I added negative Hit Points to fix that. Now a player can keep fighting, but is limited by Death Saving Throws, how many hits he can take and the risk of gaining an Injury. This makes fighting at 0 more of a calculated gamble, even against low-CR enemies. This makes everything fit better with the idea of characters using HP to mitigate attacks, and being more vulnerable when their HP runs out, without having to turn every hit into an auto-crit.


    • New Injury chart
    • Negative Hit Points added, and healing at negative clarified.
    • Dying and Stable conditions defined.
    • Nat20 on a Death Saving Throw defined.
    • Added Incapacitated and Falling damage to Injury mechanic, since there's no way taking damage in these conditions can be flavored as merely 'roughed up'. Might reconsider after watching some Die Hard.
    • Resurrection clarified, while left intentionally vague.


    The added changes makes a lot of the above comments obsolete. So if you just got here, you don't have to read the entire thread to know what's going on.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-08-23 at 03:45 AM.

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    Default Re: What dying SHOULD feel like

    This definitely seems like fun to use besides the injuries I think for the thematic of making those clutch plays while you're falling

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