View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Dramatic System for Near-Death

2015-05-02, 02:36 AM
Got fixated on an idea from another thread, thought I'd present it here after a bit more thought.

A player character that drops to 0 HP does not immediately go unconscious, but enters a state of twilight consciousness - where they can choose what to do next.

If they choose, they can focus themselves and act as normal on their turn (move, action, bonus action, and reaction). However, this costs one level of exhaustion, and results in one automatic death save failure.

Each round they can attempt this, taking another level of exhaustion and another failed death saving throw. They do not have to keep acting if they chose to act the previous round, and can instead engage in trying to recover via death saving throws.

If they use their last failed death saving throw, they do not expire until they have used all of their actions and reactions (at the start of their next turn) - but they expire. Preferably, a player character will be allowed a few words before this death.

If they are healed before they fail the last saving throw, or they become inactive and make three saving throws and recover, they do not lose the levels of exhaustion.

Any exhaustion gained this way remains, reducing by one per short rest, or reducing all levels with a long rest.

2015-05-02, 03:34 AM
You don't really need to make the exhaustion levels disappear immediately, if a player pushes their character to the point where they took 2 failed death saving throws and 2 levels of exhaustion, one would think that their character is going to need a while to recover. Since the cap a character can get to is 2 before death, then making it take 2 days for a character to recover from being on death's door seems appropriate. It's a gamble on the part of the player, "Do I NEED to act right now, if it might cause trouble for me in the future?"

With the Gritty Realism rest variant, it takes 2 weeks to recover... which is more realistic, but which would hurt a bit, but which makes the relative tradeoff even more prevalent.

Other than that, I like it! Gnomes approved!