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Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 5 months ago

D&D players lie in a weird place. We like realism, but when it comes down to it, reality really sucks sometimes. It's then that you have to just spit in reality's face and get down with the real life of the party, heroic realism. You know, the sort of thing that goes in stories, the telling of which is half the reason we play. In this specific case, we're talking about death. Heroic realism dictates that no one ever dies unless they accomplish something important with it. This is supported over and over again in literature. Characters are beaten unconscious, left for dead, and tortured, but if a character dies it's only because his death allowed the captives to escape the portal before it closed while he held off the last of the lizardmen. These rules model that in D&D rules, plus a bit more.



  • Characters heal 1 HP per minute while resting. Resting includes what it sounds like - combat, marching, and hard work don't count. We're talking about breathers, naps, that sort of thing.

This is meant to model the fact that characters in stories may get beaten nearly senseless in combat, but are back in fighting shape after bit of a breather.

This sort of models the same thing, but on a smaller scale. I find both the infinite Reserve Pool and the CT wonderful by themselves, and synergitastic when combined.

  • Long-term damage is handled through the Persistent conditions the Condition Track can give. Exact details are left up to the story and reasonableness.



  • When a character reaches 0 HP, they may choose to die or merely fall unconscious.

Explained above. Heroic realism here.

  • If they choose unconsciousness, they remain unconscious for at least 10 minutes, after which the player may decide when to wake up (unless a severe Persistent condition is keeping him unconscious). They may be awakened before that with a full-round DC 15 Heal check, but they are then left with a Persistent Level 5 condition until properly healed. (This doesn't mean to imply that they won't have such an injury when waking up normally as well, but merely highlights that they *definitely* will if it's important enough to be woken up.) When they awaken, they have one-quarter max HP.

Unconsciousness serves the same mechanical purposes as death - it makes the battle harder - without making the player roll a new character. It can still be crippling due to the Condition Track, but you can struggle through with that. Fun for the whole family!

  • If they choose death, the character immediately and permanently dies. However, the player than gets to narrate the remainder of the scene; he may control enemy tactics, dictate their success or failure, and even enact major changes within the context of the battle, such as killing off an important PC.

Death should be important and memorable. Getting downed by a Slay Living cast by a cleric guarding the lizardman gates isn't fun. Saving your friends and tossing the Porcine Crystal after them just before the stone door slams shut, locking you in the tomb with the horrible monster, can be. Note, of course, that this can be abused. As this is fundamentally a roleplaying device and not a mechanical one, the appropriate response to suspected abuse is a slap to the back of the head.


And The Other Side

  • If a player reduces an enemy to 0 HP, they may choose to kill the enemy, knock him unconscious, or leave him alive. If left alive, the player may immediately make a social skill check against the enemy with a +10 bonus to the roll. (Intimidate is a good choice, but Diplomatizing or Bluffing him into realizing that he's really on your side is popular as well.)

The player should have this freedom. The first two aren't much of a change at all - the enemy is usually killed, and knocking them unconscious only requires you to make your last strike be nonlethal, which really isn't worth the trouble of tracking that you have a -4 to hit. The last one is just plain cool, and *well* supported in literature. Just remember, you spared his life, but that doesn't (necessarily) mean he'll do you the same favor.

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