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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    Hello All,
    I am newish to DMing 5th Ed, so I don't personally have this issue in my campaign, however I've listen to many live play podcasts that run D&D and one thing that really bugs me is when players are downed and hop back up. That is when they hit zero (or less) hit points, then get healed as if nothing happened. I understand that the healing in 5th Ed is balanced around not having negative hit points (I'm an AD&D and 2nd Ed person, so -10 used to be the limit). I'm happy that as you level up, you do become heartier against death, that is less you take damage equal to your hit point max after being knocked down, you can still be saved.

    Here is my proposed solution, to the down and back up (oh what was the problem? I like to run creatures as once down they move on, except for gnolls they chew on you. Rather than smart creatures know to hit you twice after you're knocked out to force the lost Death saves).

    When you're knocked to zero HP, you're unconscious and then when you're healed, you are still unconscious unless you make a successful CON save, DC = max(10, X), where X = excess damage that took you "below" zero, so if you're at 8 HP and you take 20 damage, X = 20 - 8 = 12. Then each turn after the first CON save, your DC drops by half, min 10, so let's say you took 50 points of damage, your con save would be 42 on the first turn, then 21 the 2nd turn then 10 thereafter. Also being knocked out makes you last in the initiative order.

    If you've read this far, I'd love your thoughts, including the "wait till it's a problem in your game then fix it" line.

    Best,
    Malfarian
    Ancient gamer slowly rising from torpor, please forgive my ignorance of these modern times.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    5E design philosophy really encourages simplicity. Not saying this is crazy complex, but it's certainly more complicated than any other 5E mechanic I can think of off the top of my head.

    I would find it frustrating as a player. "I just spent my turn and a spell slot to get Bob back in the fight! Go team! Oh wait never mind, failed his save. Just wasted my turn then I guess." Alternatively, "Great, I get to just sit here while everyone else fights the giants for even longer."

    The changing initiative order opens a weird loophole where, if someone who was high in the initiative order takes his turn, then gets KO'd, then gets revived, he'd get a second turn in the round.

    My suggestion: Don't make it harder to become conscious, make it more punishing to be unconscious. Add a level of exhaustion upon being revived from each KO (but maybe let the levels dissipate on short rests instead of long. Exhaustion is nasty.) This adds to realism since being at 100% fighting shape after being knocked out multiple times doesn't make much sense, and makes in-combat healing relevant again as your players will be scrabbling to keep their hitpoints above 1HKO range.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Cats View Post
    5E design philosophy really encourages simplicity. Not saying this is crazy complex, but it's certainly more complicated than any other 5E mechanic I can think of off the top of my head.

    I would find it frustrating as a player. "I just spent my turn and a spell slot to get Bob back in the fight! Go team! Oh wait never mind, failed his save. Just wasted my turn then I guess." Alternatively, "Great, I get to just sit here while everyone else fights the giants for even longer."

    The changing initiative order opens a weird loophole where, if someone who was high in the initiative order takes his turn, then gets KO'd, then gets revived, he'd get a second turn in the round.

    My suggestion: Don't make it harder to become conscious, make it more punishing to be unconscious. Add a level of exhaustion upon being revived from each KO (but maybe let the levels dissipate on short rests instead of long. Exhaustion is nasty.) This adds to realism since being at 100% fighting shape after being knocked out multiple times doesn't make much sense, and makes in-combat healing relevant again as your players will be scrabbling to keep their hitpoints above 1HKO range.
    Thanks for the feedback, I forgot to include exhaustion in that post and planned to add exhaustion as well as the above. As to the strange acting twice in a round, yes that's an interesting point, I had thought about losing yiur turn in this case, but decided the being alive but unconscious would fix it.

    I'll ponder your ideas more.
    Ancient gamer slowly rising from torpor, please forgive my ignorance of these modern times.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    Ok what if death saving throws never reset , until death that is.
    Ancient gamer slowly rising from torpor, please forgive my ignorance of these modern times.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malfarian View Post
    Ok what if death saving throws never reset , until death that is.
    That's a pretty cool approach. NEVER resetting might give you the opposite problem though (your players will die a lot).

    Can't think of a way to allow resets that is more than a mild inconvenience but less than a frustrating ordeal though.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    I've slept on it and I think a "simple" way to do now is:

    When a player gets knocked to 0 hp, they gain 1 level of exhaustion and lose their next action (assuming they are conscious). Then Death Saves do NOT reset when brought back to 1 hp, instead you lose 1 Death Save per long rest.

    The major issue I have is the Fighter at 40 HP gets hit for 60 HP, and then healed by a cure light wounds and it's like nothing ever happened. The action economy in D&D seems to be to me that to actually kill a character you need to risk tpk, which is not what I'm after at all. Right now characters can be idiots and get away with it. Unless of course I want to have the Monsters pummel the corpses wasting their valuable actions. I've not had this happen because my game has just started, but I have a long commute so I've listened to MANY D&D podcasts and it's a once a session issue at least.

    I'm also considering adding goblin shaman with mass cure light wounds to heavily frustrate my players should they start this silly play.
    Ancient gamer slowly rising from torpor, please forgive my ignorance of these modern times.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Sariel Vailo's Avatar

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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    It depends i have a player who hates dying and one player whos cool with death. Use your certainty
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    I think the saving throw reset on long rest is a solid plan but would also consider letting a successful death save during one short rest per long rest remove a box as well, just to give the players a little more cushion since splash damage on downed pcs triggers a failed death save.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    If you don't want the "cure spell = resurrection," tell your players that being above 0 HP doesn't automatically mean they're conscious. They're stable, and at above 0 HP, but have to be woken up or wake up themselves with a Con save (for example). That eliminates what you state as the most annoying feature of the podcasts' near-death experiences without messing with mortality in a major way. You can also reinstate negative HP, with more negative HP = a more difficult death save and healing spells not automatically going straight to positive health, but I wouldn't recommend it.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by JBPuffin View Post
    If you don't want the "cure spell = resurrection," tell your players that being above 0 HP doesn't automatically mean they're conscious. They're stable, and at above 0 HP, but have to be woken up or wake up themselves with a Con save (for example). That eliminates what you state as the most annoying feature of the podcasts' near-death experiences without messing with mortality in a major way. You can also reinstate negative HP, with more negative HP = a more difficult death save and healing spells not automatically going straight to positive health, but I wouldn't recommend it.
    This is what he suggested in his first post.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DrowGuy

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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Cats View Post
    This is what he suggested in his first post.
    It is?...Sort of. The method first posted is a lot more calculatory and math intensive (imagining a set save DC from 1 thru 20), and mine doesn't actually trigger the wake-up on the healer's turn. It'd be like a death save - when your turn comes up, roll your Reawakening Save. Pass, go ahead and take your turn; fail, good luck!
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: Character Death and Dying ... fixing not a problem?

    Thank you for the additional feedback.
    Ancient gamer slowly rising from torpor, please forgive my ignorance of these modern times.

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