Death & Dying in DCC RPG

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smathis
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Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:06 pm

A while back Joseph had made some comments about how he was concerned about the lethality of DCC. As a result, the forums have been a petri dish of ideas on the topic. These have included but have not been limited to:
  • A Vitality/Wound point system ala Star Wars SAGA
  • Using attribute damage to represent lasting "wounds" and allowing hit points to heal faster
  • Having armor do damage reduction as in Conan d20
  • A "Wound" system leaning heavily on the Consequences mechanic in FATE
Some good ideas, for sure. But all varying in their degree of complexity and applicability. So, here I am, piling more wood on the pyre as it were.

Has anyone considered a System Shock mechanic?
Every character gets two more numbers added to their sheet: Massive Damage Threshold and System Shock.

Massive Damage Threshold
A character's MDT is equal to either 50% of the character's hit points (rounded up) or their Constitution/Stamina score whichever is highest. Whenever a character takes damage equal to or higher than their MDT, they roll on the Massive Damage Table. Note that if this damage reduces a character to zero hit points or below, then they would need to roll on the Dying Table instead (see below).

Massive Damage Table
Roll a d20 and apply the character's System Shock bonus. Each roll on the Massive Damage Table causes the character's System Shock rating to decrease by one point -- applied after the roll.

Roll => Result
Natural 1 => Instant Death
Zero or lower => Instant Death
"Modified 1"-10 => Unconscious.
11-19 => Conscious but stunned for 1d3 rounds.
20+ => Fine.


System Shock
A character's System Shock rating is equal to their level modified by their Constitution/Stamina bonus. A System Shock score can start out as zero or a negative number.
One point is subtracted from System Shock every time it is used. System Shock is considered "used" in the following situations.
  • The player rolls on the Dying table.
  • The player rolls on the Massive Damage Table
  • The player opts to add +2 to any skill, save or to-hit roll by lowering her character's System Shock by one point. The player may take any number of bonuses in this fashion on a "one point of SS" to "+2 bonus" ratio. So a player could get a +10 on a save by subtracting 5 points from his System Shock.
System Shock is recovered at one-point per day. It cannot be regained through magical means.


The Dying Table
The Dying table is rolled whenever a character is hit by an attack that drops him to zero hit points or less. Each roll on the Dying table subtracts one point from the character's System Shock rating -- applied after the roll.
Any attack that would drop a character below zero hit points only drops them to zero hit points. There are no negative hit points. System Shock handles that.

Roll => Result
Natural 1 => Instant Death
5 or less => Death
6-10 => Unconscious, Still Dying: Roll again next turn on this table
11-15 => Unconscious but Stable: No more rolls necessary.
16-20 => Conscious, Could Still Die: Character starts round prone, but can do stuff. Roll again next round if character is still at zero hit points.
20-25 => Conscious and Stable: Character is prone, conscious and has one hit point.
Natural 20 => "My Name is Inigo Montoya": Character is conscious, prone and rallies for 1d4 + Level hit points.


Example: Dying
Quirk the Prestidigitator gets hit by a Dragon's breath weapon for a whopping 17 points of damage! Quirk is a 2nd-level Magic-user with a Constitution score of 9 and 3 hit points. He was undamaged -- up to this point -- and his System Shock is at +2. He's dropped to zero hit points and rolls on the Dying Table. He rolls a 4, which his System Shock bonus of +2 makes a 6! Whew! Quirk is unconscious, but alive. And must roll next turn again on the Dying table. This time with a System Shock bonus of +1. The next turn he rolls another 4. But this time, his System Shock bonus is only a +1. So he's got a five. Sadly, Quirk has left the building.


Example: Massive Damage
Cronk the Barbarian is a beefy 5th level Barbarian with 45 hit points and a CON of 16. That makes his Massive Damage Threshold equal to 23. Cronk falls into a pit trap and takes a whopping 32 points of damage. He must now roll on the Massive Damage Table. His System Shock is +8. Cronk rolls a 10. He's conscious but stunned for 1d3 rounds. His hit points are now at 22 and his System Shock is +7. Cronk might want to wait a bit before climbing up.


Example: Skillburn
Cronk's had a swig of ale and is ready to climb up out of the pit. The climb is a DC 20 but his modified roll is a 19! Ugh. Cronk uses up one point of System Shock to avoid taking another fall and boosts his roll by two points to make it 21. Cronk's System Shock is now at +6.


Example: Avoiding Save or Die
Cronk is now facing off against the Dragon that killed his loyal little buddy, Quirk. The Dragon is wily, though, and hits Cronk with a Petrification spell. Cronk needs an 18 to save but only has a 14 after modifiers. Cronk uses up 2 points of System Shock to boost his roll by +4 -- to an 18. Cronk's System Shock is now at +4.


Example: Cronk Dies
Cronk is up to 38 hit points at the moment. But still only has a +4 left in his System Shock. Cronk gets hit by the same breath weapon that fried his buddy Quirk. Only this time the Dragon rolls well and does 27 points of damage! Cronk's Massive Damage Threshold is still at 23. So he has to roll on the Massive Damage Threshold table, adding his +4 System Shock to the roll. Cronk rolls a 1… Instant Death! Oops. Sorry, Cronk. We hardly knew ye.


Addenda

Hit Point Recovery
Because hit points are now less indicative of whether someone is about to die, we can have them recover at a faster rate. At the end of each scene/encounter, the character recovers 50% of the hit points lost in the scene. So, when Cronk fell down the pit and lost 32 hit points, he got 16 of them back after he chilled for a while and had some ale.

Monsters and System Shock
Monsters die when they reach zero hit points. Don't worry about System Shock for them.

Monsters and Massive Damage
Whenever a Monster takes 15 points or one-half their hit points in damage (whichever is greater) in a single blow, roll a d20 and add their "level" or number of hit dice to the roll. If the total is 13 or higher, the monster is fine. If the total is 11 or 12, the monster alive but stunned for the next round. If the total is 10 or lower, the monster is dead. A natural 1 is always instant death.

Stabilizing the Dying
Anyone with a knack for healing can take a turn and stabilize their buddy. This takes one round but no roll is required. The stabilized compadre will no longer need to roll on the Dying table and can heal normally after the combat is over -- assuming there isn't a Cleric around to fill him with happy thoughts.
Granted this is a long post. But the system is relatively simple. And hits the following high points:
  • Lasting damage is reflected by the System Shock rating -- yet offers no penalty. This allows adventurers to keep adventuring.
  • Hit Point damage is now free to reflect luck, skill and all that other stuff. Freeing us up to let it recover more quickly. Again, allowing the adventure to continue.
  • The System Shock mechanic (a decreasing bonus) is similar to the spellcasting bonus. So it's a sub-system most DCC players should be familiar with. Hopefully making it less obtrusive.
  • Skillburn. Why should spellcasters have all the fun?
  • Allowing System Shock to be "spent" on skill rolls, to-hit rolls and saves allows for cinematic play and mitigates the Save-or-Die issue. If your guy rolls a 5 on his save and wants to drop -8 System Shock to avoid dying from a DC 21 contact poison, so be it. I'd just hate to be that character on the next System Shock roll.
  • Addition of Massive Damage allows for high-level characters to still experience death. No jumping off a cliff to avoid a fight! That fall could kill you. But the threat isn't so great as to hinder adventuring or to be constantly nagging at the players.
  • Massive Damage and the Dying table allow for a character to "lose" a combat but be unconscious, instead of dead. A character could be dropped to 0 hit points and not die. A high-level character could take a 32 point backstab, pass out and be taken captive. Appendix N smiles!
  • It's System Shock. Like from AD&D. Only better. OSR people would recognize the term and the concept would be familiar to them -- although the implementation is quite different.
The barbarian was an extreme example. I'd expect the range for System Shock to typically fall between +/-2 of the character's level. Meaning +9 would be a high range and a -2 would be the lowest of the low. Most 9th level characters would probably have around +8 or +10. At that level, it becomes more about Skillburn and dodging the nasty Save or Die effects of creatures in that range. Which is as it should be, IMO.

I think the system runs into potential problems at the higher levels. But I'm not sure how much higher than 10th level DCC will go. And I think 9th-10th level is in the upper-range of the sweet spot for it, IMO. It's just at that point where it begins to strain in a swashbuckly sort of way. A grittier system could be devised with more difficult Dying and Massive Damage tables. Or lowering System Shock across the board to something like 1/2 Level + CON bonus. Or just CON bonus.

I'm under the impression that DCC characters don't need more help dying, though.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Fabio.MilitoPagliara » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:00 am

I still think that it would be simpler to use stamina as life points when you get to 0 hit points, thus hit points would be more of defense points and stamina long lasting damage

to keep things as usual when you get to 0hp you roll a save vs death to see if you get unconscious or not
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:44 am

Fabio.MilitoPagliara wrote:I still think that it would be simpler to use stamina as life points when you get to 0 hit points, thus hit points would be more of defense points and stamina long lasting damage

to keep things as usual when you get to 0hp you roll a save vs death to see if you get unconscious or not
I think that's a viable option. We explored that a while back starting around here.

A good number of criticisms came that Stamina damage would be "horribly annoying to track". I don't share that opinion but I understand where they're coming from.

So I've been trying to work up something that might hit my high points and others that people have mentioned. The only reason I'm so concerned is that the setting I'm creating does not feature divine healing as much. So there's a greater need for a "keep 'em standing" rule.

But I'm kind of in the "trying to please everybody but pleasing nobody" mode at the moment. It seems a lot recently like there isn't an idea I can type on this subject that anyone (beyond myself) likes much at all. At the end of the day, I think I'll have to look at all the major ideas in their most complete form and pick one. I'll playtest each and then make a decision.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:19 am

I'm revisiting the older threads and going back over some of the other ideas from Hamakto, dkeester, mtnjeff, bholmes, myself and others in light of this System Shock thing. System Shock isn't far off from the "Death Saves" idea that had been discussed a couple months back.

I'll work on simplifying this idea further.

Thanks to Fabio and anyone else who takes the time to read all this and offer a response.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by JRR » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:41 am

I think these add unnecessary complication to gameplay. What's wrong with dying at zero hit points? Or even at -10? It's simple and does the job.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 10:58 am

JRR wrote:I think these add unnecessary complication to gameplay.
Fair enough. I agree. It reads more complicated than I'd like. I'm working on that. Thanks for the feedback.
JRR wrote:What's wrong with dying at zero hit points? Or even at -10? It's simple and does the job.
Nothing is wrong with that. It is simple and it does its job. But there are other jobs that I'm trying to get "damage" to do. I tried to outline them in the first post. But perhaps they were lost.

I'm trying to...
  • Distinguish between lasting damage and hit points. To allow hit points to recover more quickly, while still allowing some form of damage to carry over and remain threatening.
  • To do so in a way that doesn't overly penalize the character. So that their potential for death increases but their effectiveness is not overly decreased.
  • To have something that facilitates the idea of "Skillburn" and, in addition, allows for a character to fare better in Save-or-Die situations at higher levels.
  • Allow for a character to lose a combat without having him be dead. Things like being knocked unconscious.
Thanks again for the response. I hope this clears up the "why?". I think that this missed the mark somewhat. I'm taking it back to the drawing board for another pass.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by JRR » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:34 am

I understand your reasons, I just don't think it's necessary. I just think hit points do the job as well as anything else and do it with less complexity. Other methods can do the job as effectively, but always at a cost. I prefer the KISS principle.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:12 pm

JRR wrote:I understand your reasons, I just don't think it's necessary. I just think hit points do the job as well as anything else and do it with less complexity. Other methods can do the job as effectively, but always at a cost. I prefer the KISS principle.
I understand your point. My hope is to work out something that can accomplish the objectives I mentioned that doesn't fail the KISS principle.

Any help in the matter is appreciated.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by finarvyn » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:22 pm

JRR wrote:I think these add unnecessary complication to gameplay. What's wrong with dying at zero hit points? Or even at -10? It's simple and does the job.
I'm afraid that I agree with JRR on this one. While the original post contains a pretty nifty system, I'd vote for one of simplicity instead of complexity. (Especially since one of the goals of the DCC RPG is to keep overall page count down.) I think it's important to keep as many systems as possible simple so that they can be played out without lengthy charts and constantly looking up rules.

Just one guy's opinion, of course.
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:17 pm

Mkay. So I've been doing some research, plugging away and trying to come up with some system that will meet the criteria I've set out for myself. I think the systems I've been trying to work out have been perceived as too complex because (A) I try to write them all up at once -- making them look massive -- and (B) I've been trying to get one currency or subsystem to do way too many things.

As a result, I'm approaching this from another angle. I'm trying to use smaller, unrelated rules and sub-systems to tweak the game.

I've got 4 rule suggestions here that hit all my major points with the exception of "Skillburn". Someone brighter than myself will need to answer that one.

And, again, the reason this is important at all to me is because I'm working on a setting where magical healing is virtually non-existent.

I'll post the rules in small chunks so that they're more easily read and so we can discuss them each on their own merits. I think it will also reveal both where I've gotten them as well as how simple and non-intrusive they are.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:26 pm

Faster Hit Point Recovery
Post-Encounter
At the end of an encounter, a character recovers one-half of the hit points lost in the encounter after a five minute rest.

Example: Mordrek the Fighter goes from 32 hit points to 18 in a fight with some Orcs. After the combat is over, Mordrek's hit points jump back up to 25. (32-18 = 14; 14 divided by 2 is 7; 18 + 7 = 25).

Resting Up
After a night's rest, a character recovers his level + CON/Stamina bonus in hit points -- but at least one point. If the character was under medical care or the character is otherwise doing nothing but resting, he recovers twice that amount.
Both of these are pulled straight out of common houserules used in OD&D, B/X, BECMI and AD&D. Right off the odd74 and dragonsfoot boards.

I think they'll lessen the need for Clerics as healbots, while still allowing a degree of hit point loss to represent long-term damage.
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:33 pm

Death Save
When a character is dropped to 0 hit points, he must make a DC 13 Fortitude save or die. If the save is made, the character is unconscious and dying but not dead. The character must roll this save again every round or whenever he takes more damage while in this dying state. If the character fails this save at any point, the character is dead.

If the character gets an 18 or higher on a Death Save, he is "stabilized" and no longer needs to make these rolls every turn. Although he will need to make one again if he takes damage while unconscious.

If the character rolls a Natural 1, he is dead.

If the character rolls a Natural 20, he "rallies". He recovers 1d4 + level + CON bonus hit points and regains consciousness at the end of the current round.

Stabilizing the Dying
A dying character can be stabilized by anyone with an applicable profession taking one round of doing nothing but tending to their wounds. A dying character that is "stabilized" no longer has to roll a Death Save each round. They only roll Death Saves if they take more damage.
This rule, believe it or not, is lifted straight out of BECMI. I added the Natural 1, the Natural 20, the DCs and the Stabilizing part. But other than that, it's a Basic D&D rule.
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:37 pm

Massive Damage
If a character takes 50% or more of their hit points in damage from a single attack, the character must make a DC 13 Fortitude save. If the character fails the save, he is dropped to 0 hit points and loses consciousness. But is considered "stabilized". If the character makes the save, he's fine. If the character rolls a Natural 1, he's at 0 hit points and dying.
This is a simplified version of a rule introduced in CoCd20 that is a variant in Unearthed Arcana as well as d20srd.org.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:52 pm

Now for what each of these addresses...

Distinguish between lasting damage and hit points
With Faster Hit Point Recovery, roughly half the hit points a character takes in damage represent lasting damage. The rest of the hit points represent fatigue, scrapes, bumps, confidence, etc. So we're free to let those come back ASAP.

To do so in a way that doesn't overly penalize the character. So that their potential for death increases but their effectiveness is not overly decreased.
No real penalties in any of these.

To have something that facilitates the idea of "Skillburn" and, in addition, allows for a character to fare better in Save-or-Die situations at higher levels.
As mentioned before, there's no Skillburn in here. Also, there's nothing regarding Save-or-Die. Those are both issues I'd tried to cover in the first post that I think over-complicated the whole thing.

Allow for a character to lose a combat without having him be dead. Things like being knocked unconscious.
The "Death Save" allows a character to be unconscious, not dead, via the "stabilization" mechanic. I like the Rally mechanic. The idea came from Robert Fisher's house rules for his OD&D game. The Massive Damage Threshold allows a high-level character to get "knocked out". Unlike previous iterations of MDT, it doesn't assume a character failing the save is dead. Instead, it assumes they are unconscious and "stabilized". Primarily so a character can get "knocked out".

Note that I'm assuming attribute damage will be addressed in the critical hit tables. I was also purposefully trying to avoid attribute damage, mostly because of the non-punitive bit.

If I added anything, it might be the ability for a healer (or similar) profession to roll a "skill-check" to give a character 1d4 + Level + CON bonus hit points back. Or maybe the Dutch Courage. Or some sort of Second Wind mechanic.

Again, the setting I'm working on most definitely won't have healing magic. So I'm needing something that makes the characters a bit more robust. But not too terribly so.

I'd prefer to adhere to KISS as well. How close am I getting?

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by bholmes4 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:54 pm

I need to consider this all further but I have to say I really like this idea. The problem is I am not sure I want it in this game, or at least, I would include it as an optional or house rule variant.

The original post really inspired me though.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by bwatford » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:14 am

We could make it very simple if you wanted damage to reflect something more than just loose x hp.

Have 1 chart with 100 different things, be it unconscious, a particular wound, stunned, blinded, etc. whatever you like. You could have some that really did nothing but add comic relief, their is room for anything.

Then have things that cause a roll on that chart which would be done with % dice.

If you loose 25% of your hit points at once, roll 1 time.

50% roll twice

75% roll three times

Have 25% of the effects flavor only or a benefit like getting pissed off or a rage bonus, 25% a penalty (stunned, etc for 1d4 rounds), have 25% wounds, 25% critical actions like unconscious, dying, etc.

That way the stronger the loss of hp the more and stronger effects it creates.

And leave the hp system in place, so dead is dead etc.

That will add both fun and randomness without the weight of a bunch of extra rules. In fact this could be turned into a deck of 100 cards instead of a chart and make the character draw them.

(i.e. Warrior Big Pippin takes a slash from the BBEG's two handed sword and looses half his hit points, he rolls twice on the chart. The first roll says he is enraged for 2 rounds (like barbarian rage) because of the wound. The second one says the wound was on his weapon arm so he needs to save or his drop weapon. Which he fails and drops his sword.)

Results: Big Pippin starts throwing fist blows while raging for 2 rounds or draws a backup weapon and attacks wildly.

This added flavor, realism and both a bonus and penalty without having to look up a bunch of rule stuff.

Just my two cents.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by rabindranath72 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:33 am

There are some very simple rules in the old Judges Guild ref. sheets, which I combined and extrapolated with some AD&D 1e rules for some interesting results. In a nutshell:
- Immediately after each fight, a character can recover 1d4 hit points if he rests for 10 minutes. NO OTHER ACTIONS ALLOWED!
- If a character reaches 0 hit points or lower, roll 2d6. On a roll of 10 or more, the character dies. If the number is lower than 10, the character has that many rounds to survive (known only to the DM!) If another player can administer, or use some spells, the character is brought immediately to zero, but he remains in a comatose state for 1d6 turns (each turn is 10 minutes.) After that, healing requires at least one week of rest.
Any character which is brought to -6 hit points or lower, will have some permanent effect, with possible reduction of ability scores, hit points etc. at the DM's whim.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by finarvyn » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:42 am

rabindranath72 wrote:There are some very simple rules in the old Judges Guild ref. sheets, which I combined and extrapolated with some AD&D 1e rules for some interesting results. In a nutshell:
- Immediately after each fight, a character can recover 1d4 hit points if he rests for 10 minutes. NO OTHER ACTIONS ALLOWED!
So that's where I got it. :shock: We've been using a "bind wounds" house rule since the 1970's and I was pretty sure that I didn't make it up, but could never remember where I got the idea. JG Ready Ref sheets, eh? That's so cool! 8)
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by Stainless » Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:21 am

Judges Guild Ready Ref sheets is what I started playing D&D with. None of us had access to Basic D&D and I think the AD&D books were just about to be published, or at least hadn't made it to Australia by then. We really had no idea what we were doing and so much had to be inferred from some cryptic lines of text, but boy was it fun. Mind you, at 12 years old, just about anything is fun.
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:07 am

bholmes4 wrote:I need to consider this all further but I have to say I really like this idea. The problem is I am not sure I want it in this game, or at least, I would include it as an optional or house rule variant.

The original post really inspired me though.
Thanks. Fair enough on the "not this game" part. I'm trying to work something out for a setting I'm writing up. The setting will not feature Clerics that can heal damage at the wave of a hand. I mean, there will be magical healing. But not of the sort that's routinely available during combat.

So I need this more than DCC does.

Thanks for the kind words, though. Please feel free to tweak, kick these ideas around and let me know what works on your end. When it's all said and done, I'd like some sort of KISS system or otherwise in place that accomplishes those four objectives. Although, as my last posts demonstrate, I'm willing to let the Skillburn and Save-or-Die part slide in the interest of KISS.

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:13 am

bwatford wrote:We could make it very simple if you wanted damage to reflect something more than just loose x hp.

Have 1 chart with 100 different things, be it unconscious, a particular wound, stunned, blinded, etc. whatever you like. You could have some that really did nothing but add comic relief, their is room for anything.
I like this idea a lot. And I could see incorporating it with some other ideas that have been swimming around on the boards as well.

It's not too far removed from Robert Fisher's OD&D house rule where you roll 2d6 on a chart whenever you're dropped to zero hit points.

My only concerns would be how it would mesh with DCC's crit tables and then adding another chart. I'd have to see DCC's crit tables to figure out if there'd be a lot of overlap or if an overlap would matter.

I like the idea a lot, though, and will keep it under consideration. Thanks!

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:21 am

rabindranath72 wrote:There are some very simple rules in the old Judges Guild ref. sheets, which I combined and extrapolated with some AD&D 1e rules for some interesting results. In a nutshell:
- Immediately after each fight, a character can recover 1d4 hit points if he rests for 10 minutes. NO OTHER ACTIONS ALLOWED!
- If a character reaches 0 hit points or lower, roll 2d6. On a roll of 10 or more, the character dies. If the number is lower than 10, the character has that many rounds to survive (known only to the DM!) If another player can administer, or use some spells, the character is brought immediately to zero, but he remains in a comatose state for 1d6 turns (each turn is 10 minutes.) After that, healing requires at least one week of rest.
Any character which is brought to -6 hit points or lower, will have some permanent effect, with possible reduction of ability scores, hit points etc. at the DM's whim.
I might increase the 1d4 to 1d4 + Level. At higher levels, a straight 1d4 doesn't mean a whole lot -- especially in a world without Father Healbot, Cleric of Church Fixyewup. But, yes, the faster healing rate I'd proposed in the last set of rules was in direct competition with the "bind wounds" rule I'd seen elsewhere. It seems both have been used since at least the days of B/X.

I'd toyed with an idea similar to the 2d6 one you'd mentioned. Only mine was rolling a 1d10 and modifying the result by CON bonus. If the result was greater than 5, the character remained unconscious. If less than 5, the character died.

I liked that option somewhat but opted for straight DCs instead because we're working with a 3e-based game and I felt saying "make a Fortitude save DC 13" communicated more than adding a new sub-system. I like that the 2d6 lets you know how long the character has before bleeding out. That's nice. And it seems to make it very hard for the character to flat out die.

And it would be easy to have double-ones be a "Rally".

Nice suggestions. Thanks.

smathis
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:26 am

Thanks again to everyone for their replies. There have been a lot of good suggestions that I'm going to mull over a bit.

As it stands, what are people's thoughts on the following...
  • Faster Hit Point Recovery: "50% of damage taken in encounter" vs. "Bind Wounds at 1d4 + Level"?
  • A "DC 13 Death Roll" vs. "2d6: 10 or over you're dead, under 10 you have that many rounds left to live"

smathis
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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:52 am

I'm trying to write shorter posts so that they're more readable. I hope that's working out, although I feel like I'm spamming the thread to death.

So, here's where my head is on this topic. We've got the "System Shock" thing -- which I feel needs more work and I'm really leaning towards it not being worth the work. We've got a sub-set of house rules and existing rules variants (Death Roll/Faster Healing/MDT). And now we have a third option, it's a re-work of the "Wounds" thing I'd brought on this thread. But I've been working on streamlining it and hopefully making it simpler.

I'm looking at each of these as competing approaches. Which appeals the most, if any?
Wounds
Each character has up to three Wound Levels: Wounded, Severely Wounded and Grievously Wounded. To determine a character's maximum hit points at each level of wounded divide their total hit points in half rounded down and again for each level.

So, a character with 2 hit points would be: Wounded (1), Severely Wounded (0) and Grievously Wounded (0). A character with 100 hit points would be: Wounded (50), Severely Wounded (25) and Grievously Wounded (13).

Effects of Being Wounded
When a character has a Wound, the fraction of hit points associated with that wound becomes their maximum hit points. So the 100 hit point character that is Severely Wounded would have a max hit point value of 25.

Because a character would be dead at zero hit points, any wound level that reduced their maximum hit points to zero would not be viable for them. So the 2 hit point character could not sustain a Severe or Grievous Wound.

How You Get Wounded
Instead of applying damage to hit points, a character can take a wound. The incoming damage is reduced by half before being applied to the character's hit point total. A character cannot be reduced below 1 hit point from taking a wound. Additionally, a character can take deeper levels of wounds to reduce damage further.

So the 2 hit point character can be hit by 8 hit points of damage. By taking a Wound the damage is reduced to 4 hit points. That's still enough to kill the character. But because he took a Wound, he can't be dropped lower than 1 hit point.

Say the 100 hit point character currently has 20 hit points left. And he gets hit by 50 points of damage. He takes a Wound to reduce the damage to 25 points. And then a Severe Wound to reduce that damage to 13. So he takes 13 points of damage and his current hit points are at 7. His maximum hit points are now at 25 because he is Severely Wounded.

Skillburn
A character can optionally take one level of Wounding to add +4 to any to-hit, skill or save roll. A character can take multiple levels of wounding to increase the bonus to +8 or +12.

Say a character fails a save against a Disintegrate spell by 6. That character can opt to get a +8 on that save by going from fully healthy to Severely Wounded. Or another character who already has a Wound rolls misses an attack by 5 but makes his MDA die. He really wants that MDA. So he takes two levels of wounds for a +8 to the attack. But goes from being Wounded to being Grievously Wounded.

Healing Wounds
Each level of Wound is considered one point of Attribute Damage and heals in the same fashion and at the same rate. So going from Grievously Wounded down to Severely Wounded takes one week. Similarly, only magical healing that heals attribute damage will heal Wounds.

Wounds and Monsters or NPCs
Monsters and NPCs do not have Wounds. Sucks to be them.
It all makes sense to me. But history has shown that doesn't mean anything. I think there's room for Faster Healing in here. And I also think there's room for a Death Roll. I'm liking the 2d6 Death Roll from rabindranath72 here. I think it fits and this system doesn't need anything for Massive Damage, IMO.

I like that it reflects how bad off a character is, yet doesn't penalize them as greatly as the previous version. I also like that it has a place for Skillburn. I don't like that it doesn't allow for a character to get "knocked out". Both System Shock and the Set of Small Rules allowed for that.

Thoughts?

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Re: Death & Dying in DCC RPG

Post by smathis » Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:29 am

On further consideration, I think the Massive Damage Threshold should probably be based on something besides 50% hit points. That 50% would be a killer for lower level characters and nearly a non-issue for higher level ones. I've lowered the limits from the high 50 points of 3e because I think DCC will feature lower damage totals.

It's also worth noting that massive damage is a VANILLA 3.5 RULE. Apparently no one uses it much? Might be a reason for that...
smathis wrote: Massive Damage
If a character takes 10 + (2 x level) or more of their hit points in damage from a single attack, the character must make a DC 13 Fortitude save. If the character fails the save, he is dropped to 0 hit points and loses consciousness. But is considered "stabilized". If the character makes the save, he's fine. If the character rolls a Natural 1, he's at 0 hit points and dying.

So a 2nd level character would have to roll a Fortitude save if he took 14 or more points of damage from a single attack. A 9th level character would have to roll if he took 28 points or more.

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