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When do your characters die?


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The old rules said unconscious at 2 hit points and dead at 0.

What kind of houserules have people employed here?

I experimented with immeadiate death upon severed head, chest or abdomen (with impaling & crushing damage maiming at double hit location HP damage, but severing at tripple HP damage), and at -CON HP.

Below zero the character was unconscious, but had a

(CON - negativ hit points) x5% chance of surviving the round.

They usually did not survive any longer, but at least they had a chance.

Also, with Resurrection, I've always played 3rd edition RuneQuest, but I like the mechanics of the 2nd edition RuneQuest Resurrect spell better (it fits better in Glorantha, but I'm not sure how good it would be for other settings). What are your opinions on this?


Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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I feel a character should be able to be resurrected as long as most the body is there . I would not allow a Rez only if the body was so badly damage that it could not be pieced back together such as fire, dissolved in acid or eaten by a monster.

For death at zero hit points I start making players make a con roll with a -5% for every point below zero till help of some arrive.

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Both depend on context - what's the setting like? What technology / magic etc is available.

But as a general rule of thumb in my BRP games a character drops unconscious if THP are reduced to <=3 (but First Aid / Medicine can bring them round again). THP <=0 means the character is dying - bleeding from major wounds, in deep shock etc. Magic or trained paramedics might stabilise them, but if so they will still need substantial treatment rapidly, and I usually penalise such characters a hefty reduction in their CON which takes weeks or possibly months to recover.

As for resurrection, again, depends on the tech or magic available. I don't see any particular reason why Divine miracles should be hampered by anything as trivial as the absence of physical remains, and if sufficiently high technology is available and has scanned the individuals brain sufficiently recently, I don't see why in a tech setting a blank clone can't be force grown and have the individuals personality and memory uploaded. But equally, there is that wonderful sense of resonance that says the soul cannot return to a broken house (and the dark legends of what the Queen wrought when she defied the priest and had her son the Prince restored to life despite his missing arm...). And there are reams os SF and philosophical speculation about whether a cloned body, recreated personality and copied memories is the same individual or just a good copy...

So, as I said: it's all about the setting, really.


Nick Middleton

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In my games characters becomes unconcious if they have 1 or 2 HP. With 0 HP they die. If I am playing a hightech game, there could be a chance to survive 0 HP if the medic arrives in time and the character makes a CONx5 (has happened several times the past years) In Fantasy or low tech games there is not such a chance.

Resurrection has been occured just one time (15y ago or so) The PC was resurrected by a evil god as a ghoul, which was quite interesting.

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In my game, we use the following guidelines:

Dead if you've gone your full HPs negative or a vital hit location has been reduced to the location's full HPs negative or below.

So, someone with 14Hp dies when he reaches -14HP. Someone with 6 HP in the head, chest or abdomen dies when he reaches -6 in those locations.

Anyone reduced to 0 HP or below is unconcious and loses 1 HP per round until they die, if they have a bleeding wound.

Any healable wound can be healed after death for resurrection purposes. People can be resurrected as long as they are above the death threshold, even if they would be still injured afterwards, but it's best to heal people fully, just in case.

I like the (CON - Negative HPs)x5% chance of surviving each round and I might introduce that.

We played with strict 0HP=death, -6 vital location=death in RQ2 and had a massively fatal game. Since we were all Rune Lords and had access to Chalana Arroy Priestesses, we could always get out of it, but that seems too excessive for me these days. We had one scenario where around 8 PCs died in the random encounters before the scenario had properly started, and these weren't wimpy Rune Lord Priests by any means, they were tough!

So, since then, I've tried to tone down the deathcount.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 


Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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In the fantasy game I'm setting up, you're unconscious at 0, at negative hp have to make a CON rolls after that to keep from losing more, and killed or dead when your negative hit points exceed your CON.

In COC, it's when you're negative 6, I think. I'd have to look again.

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In our game a character at 0 or less THPs was unconscious, but had a (10 - negative hit points) x5% chance of surviving the round. After that they would lose another THP until stabilized.

Dead if vital area was double under. So if your 5 point head was at -5, you died.

The dead could only be healed for 5 minutes after death, so they had to be healed to at least positive HPs on total and all locations in 5 minutes or there was no coming back.

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)


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