Forum > Design, Development, and Gameplay

Death and getting better.


Check my blog entry first.

I was wondering what peoples views were on character death in D&D at first but other systems as well. Other than D&D, what systems allow for characters to return from the grave...... (AFMBE springs to mind :heh:)

Hastur T. Fannon:
Deadlands.  I have to admit I like the Harrowed (is that the right name for them?)

As I've said on the blog, I think the way D&D does it makes it feel like a video game.  Oops, I died.  Better reload

Death is a bit too trivial in D&D for my tastes, but on the other hand that might be a necessity due to some pretty lethal effects in the game (at least poison isn't save-or-die by default any more).

The one other game I know of that allows the dead to come back to actual life (as opposed to undeath) is a Swedish game called Eon, where it's a pretty difficult magical effect on its own, and should probably be combined in a ritual with some heavy-duty healing since the resurrection effect doesn't do anything about the wounds (so on its own, it would likely lead to about five seconds of life before the character died again).

Here's a house rule for you.  I never got a chance to playtest it, but the idea is solid.  It's actually just changing flavor text mostly.  The rule is PCs don't die.

So what happens when you go below -10 hit points?  Well, you're mortally wounded.  The character might linger for a week or more, let's say their CON score in days, before expiring.  They can take no actions but can converse briefly in between agonized moans.  To cure them, you need one of the two powerful healing magics, Cure Mortal Wound or Heal Mortal Wound.  These are Raise Dead and Resurrection, renamed.

The exception to this is the Boromir Rule.  The character can choose to fight to the death, acting at full strength as if fully healed (full HP) for one scene.  When these temporary HP are exhausted, or the battle is over, the character collapses and is truly dead.  Not even a True Ressurection can return the character to life.

Another way to play with it is to change the level to something else.  The level makes sense here, the character is weakened from their brush with death.  But they could also incur a penalty to an ability score or movement, well, anything that the GM and player agree makes sense.

To the list of games where you can come back I'll add nWoD Mortals, if it's a vampire that took you out.  :heh:  And you know I'm going to say Buffy, which is a little different in that you spend the DP then come up with a justification.   Whether it's a miracle in the ER, being returned by the Powers That Be, or a bereaved relative building you a new robot body doesn't really matter.


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