When something is declared "dead"...

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When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Captain_K »

If an ability kills someone.. is that someone at -10 hp or -1 hp?

Does everyone have PCs die at negative their CON score?

I like the idea of doing the appropriate normal damage and that damage is then how negative the "killed" person is... incase one has second thoughts about the instant kill.. :ugeek:
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by alcyone »

Captain_K wrote:If an ability kills someone.. is that someone at -10 hp or -1 hp?

Does everyone have PCs die at negative their CON score?

I like the idea of doing the appropriate normal damage and that damage is then how negative the "killed" person is... incase one has second thoughts about the instant kill.. :ugeek:
I think if you die of something other than hp loss, you are just dead.
For hp loss, I just do it by the book.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Captain_K »

The book being -10?
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Go0gleplex »

By damage, 0 = CON save or unconscious. Auto unconscious and Lose -1 per round until first aid or healed after reduced to -1 hp, dying at -10.

By ability noting death, such is instant upon save failure (if there even is a save allowed).

That's how I've played it since 1980 and no reason to change yet.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by alcyone »

Captain_K wrote:The book being -10?
Yes, at -10 hp.
Monsters normally at 0 hp, though I reserve the right to give important NPC types -10.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Buttmonkey »

Aergraith wrote:
Captain_K wrote:The book being -10?
Yes, at -10 hp.
Monsters normally at 0 hp, though I reserve the right to give important NPC types -10.
Same for me, although I can't think of a time I actually tracked an NPC's hit points into the negatives.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Ancalagon »

Dead is dead.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Go0gleplex »

Ancalagon wrote:Dead is dead.
Not according to Miracle Max. :lol:
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Fizz »

Not according to Miracle Max.
Indeed. There is big difference between mostly dead, and all dead.

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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Treebore »

I like giving PC's every chance to live, because having them dead is a big hassle. So I let them go negative their CON score +/- their CON bonus to be dead, but they start bleeding out IAW with the rules. Besides, it never made sense to me how their HP could start out at 6 and go all the way up to 60 or more, but how negative you could go stays static. So I played around with letting them go negative their Max HP, half their Max HP and settled on going negative as I have already described. Its definitely reduced the number of times I have had Dead PC's. Coup de Grace is still a thing, though. So when I really want them dead, they end up dead.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Lurker »

Fizz wrote:
Not according to Miracle Max.
Indeed. There is big difference between mostly dead, and all dead.

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Crud you beat me to it !!!!

For me back in the day, it was by the book - 0 or below unconscious but bleeding out. after - 10 death.

I've thought about Tree's house rule and probable would use it instead of by the book.

However, hearing about 5e, I think I like the 'death saving throw' idea of being unconscious at -0 or below but not dead until 3 con saves are failed. Though, with C&C I'd say it should be CHA not CON. I'd have to play 5e before I'd say I like it better than Tree's
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by alcyone »

Lurker wrote: For me back in the day, it was by the book - 0 or below unconscious but bleeding out. after - 10 death.
Which day, or which book? AD&D 1e says 0 or negative is dead, and Holmes Basic says when the 'hit score' falls to zero the character is dead. In OD&D hit points are the number of points of damage the character could sustain before death (so zero of them makes you dead.)

2e says "When a character reaches 0 hit points, that character is slain. The character is immediately dead and unable to do anything unless some specialized magical effect takes precedence"

I think the negative hp thing starting in 3e or maybe some supplement?
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Go0gleplex »

Not sure where, but it's been a rule in use in my games since '79, 1e. (edit): I found the reference in the 1st ed DMG, page 82, Zero Hit Points. This is where the -10 rule I used is from. (knew I'd seen it far earlier than 2nd ed.). Also noted as an optional rule on page 75 of the 2nd ed AD&D DMG.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by alcyone »

Go0gleplex wrote:Not sure where, but it's been a rule in use in my games since '79, 1e. (edit): I found the reference in the 1st ed DMG, page 82, Zero Hit Points. This is where the -10 rule I used is from. (knew I'd seen it far earlier than 2nd ed.). Also noted as an optional rule on page 75 of the 2nd ed AD&D DMG.
Thanks. It's interesting, because it's not the same as just having a -10 buffer: 7 to 10 of those hp are just for the countdown from unconsciousness to death.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Omote »

When it has mattered, any character that became dead (spells, effects, etc.) also reduced their HP down to -10 if the description of said ability or effect didnt specifically state what happens to HP.

Otherwise, -10 HP and any ability score reduced to 0 (in my games) also makes the character dead.

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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Fizz »

Lurker wrote:However, hearing about 5e, I think I like the 'death saving throw' idea of being unconscious at -0 or below but not dead until 3 con saves are failed. Though, with C&C I'd say it should be CHA not CON. I'd have to play 5e before I'd say I like it better than Tree's
That reminds me of something i did back in the 2nd Ed days. The way i ran it was once you hit 0 or below, you had to roll a save vs death with a penalty equal to the amount below 0. (Ie, if you ended up at -7, you have a -7 on your save.) If you pass, then you're still alive at 0 hit points.

For C&C, i'd probably convert it to an ability check with a CL equal to the amount below 0. I could see using different abilities depending on what was causing the damage (similar to normal save rules). I must try this again.


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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by alcyone »

Fizz wrote:
Lurker wrote:However, hearing about 5e, I think I like the 'death saving throw' idea of being unconscious at -0 or below but not dead until 3 con saves are failed. Though, with C&C I'd say it should be CHA not CON. I'd have to play 5e before I'd say I like it better than Tree's
That reminds me of something i did back in the 2nd Ed days. The way i ran it was once you hit 0 or below, you had to roll a save vs death with a penalty equal to the amount below 0. (Ie, if you ended up at -7, you have a -7 on your save.) If you pass, then you're still alive at 0 hit points.

For C&C, i'd probably convert it to an ability check with a CL equal to the amount below 0. I could see using different abilities depending on what was causing the damage (similar to normal save rules). I must try this again.


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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

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Nice, that may work ...
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Captain_K »

I like forcing a "you're nearly out" for PCs. Full Function to 0 hp. Your first 1/3 of - hp (keep in mind dead for me is -CON score) you are largely immobile (fully prone on the ground, no real strength), conscious, feeble crawl at best.. no spell casting, but you can sort of talk.. think "dying man's last words", you might be able to rummage for a handy healing potion.. but I force the combat to end here.. and yes they are bleeding out a 1/rd. This smooths the back flipping 50 h.p down to 1 hp and still going strong.. one feather blow and you're out cold silliness.

This brings up a point.. but I want to start a new thread for it..
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Fizz »

Captain_K wrote:I like forcing a "you're nearly out" for PCs. Full Function to 0 hp. Your first 1/3 of - hp (keep in mind dead for me is -CON score) you are largely immobile (fully prone on the ground, no real strength), conscious, feeble crawl at best.. no spell casting, but you can sort of talk.. think "dying man's last words", you might be able to rummage for a handy healing potion.. but I force the combat to end here.. and yes they are bleeding out a 1/rd. This smooths the back flipping 50 h.p down to 1 hp and still going strong.. one feather blow and you're out cold silliness.
Yeah i have always found it odd that you can start at say, 50 hp, and you're fully functional until 1. Then at 0 you are suddenly incapacitated.

I have seens rules for effects at differing fractions of hit points. Though i have found winging it based on the way they were lost can work ok. If you lose all 50 at once, you are likely knocked out from that single shot. But if the 50 result from the cumulation of 50 cuts, then you're still awake and can take a few simple actions as the wounds take their toll.

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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Go0gleplex »

Reminds me of the System Shock rules from 1e. If you took damage equal to 50%+ of your hp, you needed a SS roll or would be KO'd or possibly even die...without even being reduced to zero hp. System Shock was removed with 2nd ed. onwards.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by serleran »

For effects that kill but leave a body, one round is provided to attempt to prevent actual death. It may require some sort of very powerful magic to do so, such as the case with phantasmal killer or slay living. Death by poison gives one round to have neutralize poison or even slow poison applied. I tend to rule as the case is presented.

Death by HP loss does the same thing but usually needs less powerful effects -- bandages and the first aid spell, for example, are extremely useful.

Being killed by something like disintegrate is a problem unto itself. Although, I do have this spell be reversible so it is possible to cast reintegrate within 1 round and at least get a body, although dead.

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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Lurker »

I may be the minority report here ...

I always look at HP loss as not nessicarily a direct result of physical damage. It is the loss of the subjective hard to define (and therefore measure) elements of combat. Luck, stamina, reaction time, etc etc etc getting worn away as the fight goes on and on.

Because of that the character with 50 hp isn't taking physical damage as he is going down from 50 to 40 to 30 etc etc etc. He is getting tired less focused less lucky and those near misses are getting closer and closer to not being a near miss.

With that the hero with 50+ hp may look like he was taking physical damage from 50 down to 1 hp fighting the goblin and oger hord, and then the weak goblin dagger dispatches him. However, for most of that time very little physical damage was taken, up to the point of the last sword swing or 2 before the weak goblin thief got the dagger in between the ribs and did truly mortal physical damage.

Now, I have never figured out a good hard definition of when actual true physical damage does start ... Is it the last 1/4th of HP ????? Is it the original HP at starting level only ??? is it the last (insert your preferred #) ????

I can make and see an argument foe any of those options and many others, so I'm not smart enough to make the best rule for it.

All of that said, back in the day (well heck, now with my girls playing Victorious) I would narrate most damage as close calls and singed hair, but those last critical HP as such ... Those last 10 to 8 hp being whittled way by sword, arrow, dragon fire, shot gun blasts and gangster's' knives is when it is time to get worried, get some medic treatment or a good cleric to do a cure spell (I need to figure out a good way for there to be quick heals in victorious before my younger girl's Storm falls in the next fight ...)
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Spade Marlowe »

Lurker wrote: Because of that the character with 50 hp isn't taking physical damage as he is going down from 50 to 40 to 30 etc etc etc. He is getting tired less focused less lucky and those near misses are getting closer and closer to not being a near miss.
This was my understanding of HP as well, even going back to 1e. The average, 0 level human has ~5 hp or so. A fighter with 50 hp doesn't mean that they can take that much more direct damage. Rather, the increase hp is more a reflection of his ability, gained through experience, of deflecting blows, learning to anticipate an attack and minimize the damage, etc.

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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Fizz »

I always look at HP loss as not nessicarily a direct result of physical damage. It is the loss of the subjective hard to define (and therefore measure) elements of combat. Luck, stamina, reaction time, etc etc etc getting worn away as the fight goes on and on.
This was my understanding of HP as well, even going back to 1e. The average, 0 level human has ~5 hp or so. A fighter with 50 hp doesn't mean that they can take that much more direct damage. Rather, the increase hp is more a reflection of his ability, gained through experience, of deflecting blows, learning to anticipate an attack and minimize the damage, etc.
Yes, i think you are both correct about that since original D&D, and that is similarly described in CKG chapter 17 as not representing actual wounds.

The problem is in the nomenclature. When weapons list "damage" and "damage" is taken off of a "hit point total", then it's easy to surmise that hit points represent physical damage. Maybe hit points should be called "endurance points". Or maybe weapons shouldn't do damage, but i'm not sure what else to call it.

Further, it's easier to see hit points as a measure of endurance if you're a fighter with a shield and heavy armor- the sword blows hit, don't actually penetrate to your flesh, but can still hurt and wear you down. But without armor one good sword hit could kill anyone. (This is why i like grim'n'gritty systems that use armor as damage reduction.)

I think it was a Star Wars system, Star Wars d20 maybe?, that had a system where you had normal hit points, which were like endurance, and vitality points, which represented real damage. When you ran out of hit points, then real physical harm began to acrue with game effects. And a critical hit always went straight to vitality points as well. It was an interesting hybrid system.


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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Go0gleplex »

And what you are discussing there is pretty much WHY the System Shock roll rule was in place. Because hit points were abstract and catastrophic damage or other instances could overwhelm 'the abstract nature' of hit points. But of course it fell victim to the whole 'power creep' mentality that infected the player base.
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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Fizz »

Go0gleplex wrote:And what you are discussing there is pretty much WHY the System Shock roll rule was in place. Because hit points were abstract and catastrophic damage or other instances could overwhelm 'the abstract nature' of hit points. But of course it fell victim to the whole 'power creep' mentality that infected the player base.
D&D had the same massive damage rule at least as late as 3E. In 3E, 50+ damage from a single event meant a Fort save at DC 15 (i think). Fail and you're dead. I've no idea if 4E or 5E has an equivalent.

Does C&C have such a rule? I don't recall seeing it. If not, it's not a bad house rule. Makes people think twice about falling off a cliff or engaging a dragon. ("I've got enough hit points to survive that, so i'll just jump off this cliff.")

Still, even that rule seems a bit... sudden. 49 damage, all ok, but 50 you need to save for your life? Maybe it could be reformulated as a gradient. At 25 damage, an easy save is required. At 75 damage, near impossible save is required to stay alive. Maybe a Con save with challenge level equal to the massive damage - 50. Maybe i'm overthinking it.


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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by mmbutter »

See the hit points section of combat in the CKG (pg 314 in the latest). There are optional rules there for graduated damage impacting skill checks, and rules for dealing with massive damage.

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Re: When something is declared "dead"...

Post by Fizz »

mmbutter wrote:See the hit points section of combat in the CKG (pg 314 in the latest). There are optional rules there for graduated damage impacting skill checks, and rules for dealing with massive damage.
Thanks. Interesting stuff. Though i have an original CKG, not the latest edition, so not completely sure i'm looking at the same thing. I see sections on wounds, wound effects, grievous injury.

It doesn't seem to have the simple equivalent of massive damage though. Of course, maybe they added that in later versions of the CKG.

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