Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hit Points, Death and Dying

The rules around death and dying vary quite a bit across editions.  For as long as I can remember, I've used the general AD&D rule; 0 hit points and below is unconscious, and at -10 is death.  Unconscious characters lose 1hp per round until treated or death is reached.  The actual AD&D rule is a bit more nuanced - there's mention of permanent injury and scarring in the DMG at -6, a 'severe blow' death below -3.  Like most things in AD&D, nothing is simple.  For simple, you've got Moldvay and classic D&D - zero or lower is dead.

I remember an old post by Cyclopeatron that had Gary Gygax's house rule - I'll dig for the link - Gygax House Rules.  Normal men died at zero hit points, but a classed character would be unconscious equal to his level +1.  A level one character could survive and be unconscious to -2, a level eight character could survive to -9.  Another house rule I've seen is unconscious at zero, dead at anything below zero.

Seems like a good time for a poll, especially since I'm about to ditch the -10 hit point house rule.  A new poll is up:  "How do you handle death, dying and zero hit points in your game?"