Death And Dying

Here's an optional rule that can make getting laid out a little less immediately lethal to PCs while still preserving a healthy dose of dread.

A PC dies at negative-half their maximum HP, or -10 if that's better. Thus, a barbarian with 31 HP dies at -15 and a first level wizard with 5 dies at -10. A PC goes down at 0 HP, becoming unconscious- there is no more "0 HP is conscious but disabled".

At the end of each turn a PC is down, they roll 1d20. On a natural 20, the wound really wasn't that bad. They pull themselves together and get back up at 1/4 their maximum HP.

On a 10-19, nothing happens. They don't bleed or lose any more HP, but they don't get any better, either. They keep rolling.

On a 1-9, they get worse. If they get worse three times before someone helps them or they roll a 20, they die. This doesn't have to a string of 3 consecutive get-worse rolls, they just need to get worse three times.

A teammate can help the PC by either succeeding in a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize them or by using healing magic on them. If the PC gets stabilized, they remain at their negative hit point total but no longer need to worry about getting any worse. If someone uses healing magic on them, they go back up 0+Healed HP. Thus, someone at -8 who gets healed for 5 HP stands back up with 5 hit points.

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