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2e, the most lethal edition?

GreyLord

Adventurer
PS: I should add...the DMG for 1e was FULL OF OPTIONS.

The actual death rule is listed on page 105 of the PHB...which states

If any creature reaches 0 or negative hitpoints, it is dead. Certain magical means will prevent actual death, particularly a ring of regeneration (cf. MONSTER MANUAL, TROLL).
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
SOOO...if you actually interpreted the rule as you say you did...did you ALSO not allow monsters to actually be dead until -10 HP.
Looks for place in the books saying monster and player facing rules are identical... then turns to 3rd edition ahah.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Looks for place in the books saying monster and player facing rules are identical... then turns to 3rd edition ahah.
That's true. IF we go by that...the DMG would be for monsters?

The PHB defines what happened to the players already at 0 HP.

:)
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
That's true. IF we go by that...the DMG would be for monsters?
:)
LOL you took facing more literally than I meant it... but I suppose I could have said impacting its utterly appropriate for monsters to have one set of rules and the monsters another. your hyperbole about how having zero to -3 be unconscious with the rest dying is still hyperbolic and misplaced unless you think you are playing 3e where they lock step npcs and pcs like the game was RuneQuest 3 instead of D&D. 4e went back to players having different rules vs their adversaries.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Going to -10 was ONLY for those that the 0 Hit Point rule applied to. IT was NOT for anyone else.
Yep. The rule was only for "any creature." That includes PCs dude. I guess it wouldn't apply to rocks.

The Zero Hit Point rule applied to those...(as you can plainly read above) when any creature is brought to 0 Hit points.

It CLARIFIES THAT AN OPTION could be that this could be as low as -3 Hitpoints if from the same blow.

If you don't use that option, any creature that falls below 0 hitpoints from a blow is dead.
Um, no. First, it's not an option. It's in the combat section, not some mythical "optional rule" section. Specifically, it's in the section talking about hit points and damage. It explains what happens when you drop to 0 hit points. What happens? You fall unconscious. Then it explains what happens when you go past 0. What happens? You lose 1 hit point per round until -10. The ONE AND ONLY OPTION it speaks about is that the DM can extend unconsciousness to up to -3 hit points if one blow takes you to that range.

That is why this is the ZERO HIT POINT rule.

NOT THE -10 HITPOINT RULE...NOT THE NEGATIVE HIT POINT RULE...but the ZERO HIT POINT RULE.
Don't have a stroke man. We get that there are two rules that both apply to all creatures, including PCs during combat. The non-optional rule that happens when you drop to zero(and possibly down to -3) and the non-optional rule that says you don't die until -10 hit points.

Basically, it's an optional rule that was pretty clear and clarified...but it was an optional RULE in the DMG 1e (whether you like it or not...the official rulings most times came from the PHB anyways...that said, it WAS sometimes used in the official events AS I HAVE described...not really as you think it worked).
Show me where it says that it was optional. My 1e DMG doesn't say optional anywhere other than what quoted from it.

SOOO...if you actually interpreted the rule as you say you did...did you ALSO not allow monsters to actually be dead until -10 HP.
Yes, that is correct. Players saved and interrogated many creatures that way.

That said, MOST people didn't even pay heed to the rule. They had characters and monsters die at 0 HP...and the DM would allow characters to be unconscious as they wanted or needed.
I played 1e for years with many DMs and never once had a DM have a PC die at 0. Monsters? Sure, but that was mainly just short hand for letting them just die at -10 since nobody was saving the monsters anyway.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
PS: I should add...the DMG for 1e was FULL OF OPTIONS.

The actual death rule is listed on page 105 of the PHB...which states
You still haven't proven that a rule not listed as optional was specifically an optional rule. All the two different non-optional rules from the PHB and DMG prove is that between the year the PHB was release and the DMG came out, Gygax had second thoughts about dying at 0 and changed the rule.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
First, it's not an option. It's in the combat section, not some mythical "optional rule" section.
The whole DMG is essentially optional rules. (really, the whole game is, but don't admit it to the players)
Specifically, it's in the section talking about hit points and damage. It explains what happens when you drop to 0 hit points. What happens? You fall unconscious.
nb: that's to /exactly/ 0 hit point. If you drop to -1 or fewer you die.
Then it explains what happens when you go past 0. What happens? You lose 1 hit point per round until -10.
That's what happens while you're unconscious, after having been reduced to exactly 0. You lose 1 hp per round, going from 0, to -1, etc, down through -9, then die when you reach -10.

If you don't take any more damage from an outside source. It's not super-clear what happens if you get hit again when at negatives from bleeding. However, judging from the optional rule, below, if you get hit, again, after reaching exactly 0, well, even if it's only 1 hp, you die.

"...you die" six letters, two little words, yet they constitute so much of old-school D&D...

...sorry, waxing nostalgic there for a moment.

The ONE AND ONLY OPTION it speaks about is that the DM can extend unconsciousness to up to -3 hit points if one blow takes you to that range.
What that actually means is that, under said option, if you are taken from a positive number to 0, -1,-2, or -3 by a single attack, you are unconscious, instead of just when being reduced to /exactly/ 0. You'll start 'bleeding' from there.

But, again, it seems if you are hit again, or, say, reduced to 0, then hit for even one more point, well, <broken record> "you die."


They're really neither of them very generous options compared to 2e Death's Door.
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
The whole DMG is essentially optional rules. (really, the whole game is, but don't admit it to the players) nb: that's to /exactly/ 0 hit point. If you drop to -1 or fewer you die.
Sure, but the DMG rule no more or less optional than the PHB rule.

That's what happens while you're unconscious, after having been reduced to exactly 0. You lose 1 hp per round, going from 0, to -1, etc, down through -9, then die when you reach -10.

If you don't take any more damage from an outside source. It's not super-clear what happens if you get hit again when at negatives from bleeding. However, judging from the optional rule, below, if you get hit, again, after reaching exactly 0, well, even if it's only 1 hp, you die.

"...you die" six letters, two little words, yet they constitute so much of old-school D&D...

...sorry, waxing nostalgic there for a moment.

What that actually means is that, under said option, if you are taken from a positive number to 0, -1,-2, or -3 by a single attack, you are unconscious, instead of just when being reduced to /exactly/ 0. You'll start 'bleeding' from there.

But, again, it seems if you are hit again, or, say, reduced to 0, then hit for even one more point, well, <broken record> "you die."
The DMG does not state you die if you are at 0 and then are hit for 1 more point of damage. The only rule in the DMG about it is that you die at -10.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
The DMG does not state you die if you are at 0 and then are hit for 1 more point of damage. The only rule in the DMG about it is that you die at -10.
It's not the most clearly-stated rule ever (even by 1e standards), but, yeah, that's the only way to parse the rule that allows the optional -3 'single blow' phrasing to make any sense.

TBH, it /doesn't/ make a lot of sense, no matter how you try to parse it. Every group I ever saw use the -10 rule, allowed that you dropped unconscious if reduced to anything from 0 to -9, then bled at 1/round, until dying at -10 (some even left you alive at -10, I guess because they liked round numbers). If you got hit in the meantime, as long as it didn't knock you below -10 it just accelerated the bleed-out.
Not to make the game less deadly, not to be 'realistic,' just because it was remotely intuitive and you could remember it.

But, strictly by the book (which, even though it's hard to even tell what that is, and no one may have ever actually played that way, is what Sacrosanct wants to rank past editions by lethality, on). If you got hit while down & bleeding out, you die.
 
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Hussar

Legend
Taking another stab at this with another data point.

If you go through the 3e monsters, by and large, they deal 10 X CR per round as maximum damage (not counting crits). Very, very few PC's would have 10 HP / level. Therefore, most 3e creatures could drop (if not outright kill) nearly all 3e PC's in a single round where CR=PC level.

I'm thinking that the reason that folks don't think 3e is that lethal is because of the ... erm... degree of "DM influencing" die rolls behind the screen that was going on. I know that as soon as I switched to rolling 100% in the open, I was killing a PC just about once every 3 sessions.

Again, when an orc can deal 45 points of damage, I'm frankly baffled how folks think that this isn't the most lethal edition.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
Taking another stab at this with another data point.

If you go through the 3e monsters, by and large, they deal 10 X CR per round as maximum damage (not counting crits). Very, very few PC's would have 10 HP / level. Therefore, most 3e creatures could drop (if not outright kill) nearly all 3e PC's in a single round where CR=PC level.

I'm thinking that the reason that folks don't think 3e is that lethal is because of the ... erm... degree of "DM influencing" die rolls behind the screen that was going on. I know that as soon as I switched to rolling 100% in the open, I was killing a PC just about once every 3 sessions.

Again, when an orc can deal 45 points of damage, I'm frankly baffled how folks think that this isn't the most lethal edition.
The odds of thatvirc dealing 45 damage is stupidly low. 1 in 20 for the threat, then confirm it then roll a 12. It's about one in a thousand chance give or take.

1E and BECMI had giant bees, a lot higher chance to kill you at low level.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
You still haven't proven that a rule not listed as optional was specifically an optional rule. All the two different non-optional rules from the PHB and DMG prove is that between the year the PHB was release and the DMG came out, Gygax had second thoughts about dying at 0 and changed the rule.
Just because your own personal interpretation made 40 years after the fact wasn't how it was ruled, played, or even STATED in the DMG doesn't make your ideas true...nor do the others who never seemed to actually seen how it was officially ruled.

In addition, as I said, the official rule for it is actually in the PHB (the one the players actually were supposed to have read, the DMG was for DM's eyes only. As far as players read, the official rules are in the PHB, with things that go contrary to it as a DM's option for DM's eyes only).

If you don't like the OFFICIAL rules of the PHB (page 105) that's your own call. However, trying to say 2e was more deadly than 1e is more of your own personal interpretation rather than anything based on how it was played or done.

It's actually ironic as my stance wasn't that 1e or 2e is actually more deadly...but it is as per the DM.

Which means, if you really are disagreeing with my assessment, you are VERY modern and saying a campaign is more deadly because players want it to be deadly than how the DM rules or decides.

I was POINTING OUT that the statements about the rules were actually incorrect. People are trying to read 1e like they did 4e...but 1e was nothing LIKE 4e was in how rules were read or interpreted.

The original rules were normally interpreted more openly overall, but played with OD&D or Holmes (DMG didn't come out for a while). The DMG was made plain that it was options.

As per the 1e DMG the DMG was for the DM's eyes only (players who read it were worthy of death!!). Players expected it to be played as per the rules they knew (and the Zero HP rule is NOT in the PHB). However, why then include the ideas of the DMG? The ZHP is prime example.

As per the DMG again (and you SHOULD know this, if you had ever actually took the time to READ the DMG), players who expend all their options may be discouraged or not want to play. For example, if they have planned and spent time to get to a dungeon, only to have wandering monster after wandering monster rolled up and take up all their resources making their planning moot, that can be very discouraging. Thus the DM has to be able to be the arbitrator of the rules and know what and how much.

Thus, being able to relax (or to make stricter) the rules are the DM's realm. Everything in the DMG is basically a toolbox for the DM to use. There are many contrary rules that may not seem to work with each other (for example, the official death at 0 HP of the PHB, and the ZHP rule) or contrary to each other at first glance, but can be integrated given someone actually understands them. However, the DMG overall is simply a toolbox for DM's, one of the greatest ones that has ever been made.

Even 2e players knew this...not sure why several on these forums seem to have no idea (or purposefully ignoring this and trying to read it as a 4e DMG rather than how the 1e DMG was utilized as) of this. This is NOT some new idea or something mysterious or unknown, this is pretty common knowledge.

That's why the ZHP was an optional rule, with the PHB rule being the default or core rule.

Of course, the DM could use whatever options and ideas they wanted, but the default was nothing like the Death's Door optional rule of 2e.

Not that it really matters, except those who for some reason want to prove 2e was more deadly (which it really wasn't, a great argument could be made that the way it was played eventually in 1e with thieves skills, especially remove traps, was FAR more deadly than a thief who chose to specialize in removing traps in 2e, or that a 1e Fighter got multiple attacks with specialization at 1st level vs. the core fighter in 1e, or that clerics got more special abilities, versatility, and possible weapons in 2e vs. those of 1e...etc).

Both (and even 3e) could be fairly deadly, and it really depended on the DM and how they ran the game. The rules listed really didn't have as big as an impact as the OP made them out to have had (and beyond that, most played death at 0 HP in both 1e AND 2e, and even if the ZHP rule was used, that was -1 HP...which isn't really THAT much of a buffer overall to make as big a difference as say...a Rogue triggering a trap because their Remove Traps skill was only 15% in 1e and the DM played it like that vs. the same DM with a Thief who had a Remove Traps skill of 40% in 2e who had a 25% better survivability rate with that DM in that accord).
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Yep. The rule was only for "any creature." That includes PCs dude. I guess it wouldn't apply to rocks.



Um, no. First, it's not an option. It's in the combat section, not some mythical "optional rule" section. Specifically, it's in the section talking about hit points and damage. It explains what happens when you drop to 0 hit points. What happens? You fall unconscious. Then it explains what happens when you go past 0. What happens? You lose 1 hit point per round until -10. The ONE AND ONLY OPTION it speaks about is that the DM can extend unconsciousness to up to -3 hit points if one blow takes you to that range.



Don't have a stroke man. We get that there are two rules that both apply to all creatures, including PCs during combat. The non-optional rule that happens when you drop to zero(and possibly down to -3) and the non-optional rule that says you don't die until -10 hit points.



Show me where it says that it was optional. My 1e DMG doesn't say optional anywhere other than what quoted from it.
You should REALLY actually READ the DMG then. It starts with the entire idea at the intro and continues on from there. If you don't or didn't get it (well, you should have if you have actually been playing as long as you say you did...as it was BLATANT and MADE BLATANT back then if you played in any group that had any sort of connection to the main areas of playing) that the DMG was basically options. It basically blatantly says in the front of it that this is to help you (The DM, remember it says players who read it should die) construct your masterpiece, your campaign. It even inspires you to read the DMG and as per the rules as written, "cut portions as as needed to maintain excitement."

As it also explicitly states to use the rules the players expect (and they should only have read the PHB) and more lists the rules outside the PHB...AND as how Gary would run his games...as well as others from TSR at the time... I'm not sure how you got reading the 1e DMG as not having anything optional and must use rules (seeing the 1e DMG even counters this idea in it's own introductionary section). Seems MORE like you are a 4e player that wants to apply 4eisms to 1e and 2e rather than playing the style that they used to play.

Yes, that is correct. Players saved and interrogated many creatures that way.



I played 1e for years with many DMs and never once had a DM have a PC die at 0. Monsters? Sure, but that was mainly just short hand for letting them just die at -10 since nobody was saving the monsters anyway.
Weird...you are a singular entity. Just on this board which is small in number, you could probably find half a dozen who had PC's die at 0.

In fact, I'm not sure how you never found a DM to have a PC die at 0 if you had any exposure to the AD&D playing at large in any way shape or form.

Most of those except those of us OD&D ites...

Most started with the PHB, or Holmes, or B/X and BECMI and most played with PC death at 0. It is only more recently that larger numbers of people even became aware that there was the ZHP rule in the DMG (or even THAC0 in the 1e core rules), so what you are talking about really strikes me as odd as it doesn't actually reflect anything of the sort of culture of the playstyle from the height of the 1e era, much less going into the 2e era from 1e. I'd imagine if it had been as popular as you are trying to make it appear, Death's Door would have been more of the default with dying at 0 HP being the optional rule instead.
 
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Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Seems MORE like you are a 4e player that wants to apply 4eisms to 1e and 2e rather than playing the style that they used to play.
Sorry, but this is hilarious on several levels. One is just who you're talking too, I mean, you are barking up a tree he ain't never climbed.

You're also confusing your post-TSR trends, a little. 3.x had the RaW-uber-allies zeitgiest going.

But, it's the OP, Sacrosanct, a dyed in the sandtable old school headmaster, who has insisted on confining this debate to the actual, verifiable, rules-in-print, in spite of being well aware of the prevalence of variants back in the day.

1E and BECMI had giant bees....
Need more really be said?
 
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Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Just because your own personal interpretation made 40 years after the fact wasn't how it was ruled, played, or even STATED in the DMG doesn't make your ideas true...nor do the others who never seemed to actually seen how it was officially ruled.
Nothing has been interpreted 40 years after the fact. It was interpreted during 1e back in the early 80's.

In addition, as I said, the official rule for it is actually in the PHB (the one the players actually were supposed to have read, the DMG was for DM's eyes only. As far as players read, the official rules are in the PHB, with things that go contrary to it as a DM's option for DM's eyes only).
Yes. The DM that dictated which rules were used. The PHB didn't have primacy. You also clearly haven't read the 1e DMG introduction which not only does not state that the rules inside it are all options, but in fact says otherwise. It states straight out that they supplement and augment the PHB rules, which means that the DMG changes them. The PHB rules are secondary to the DMG rules, regardless of whether or not the players read the DMG, which virtually all of them did anyway.

If you don't like the OFFICIAL rules of the PHB (page 105) that's your own call. However, trying to say 2e was more deadly than 1e is more of your own personal interpretation rather than anything based on how it was played or done.
Sure, except not. I've already states that I'm basing it on actual game play. I lost far more PCs playing 1e than 2e, and with many of the same DMs, so it wasn't a DM thing.

The DMG was made plain that it was options.
Other than the fact that it said otherwise, sure. Seriously, read the introduction in the 1e DMG. You'll see that the things inside are not optional rules outside of every rule in every book being technically "optional."

Thus, being able to relax (or to make stricter) the rules are the DM's realm. Everything in the DMG is basically a toolbox for the DM to use. There are many contrary rules that may not seem to work with each other (for example, the official death at 0 HP of the PHB, and the ZHP rule) or contrary to each other at first glance, but can be integrated given someone actually understands them. However, the DMG overall is simply a toolbox for DM's, one of the greatest ones that has ever been made.
They are flat out contradictory no matter how you understand them or how many glances it takes. The PHB states that 0 hit poins = death. Not maybe death. Not sometimes death. Always death. The DMG states that 0 hit points is never death. It's unconsciousness and you may eventually die or not. Those are mutually exclusive positions. You cannot have 0 hit points be both always death and never death.

That's why the ZHP was an optional rule, with the PHB rule being the default or core rule.
Per the DMG introduction, the rule in the DMG was an augmentation to the PHB rule and was not at all an optional rule.

You should REALLY actually READ the DMG then. It starts with the entire idea at the intro and continues on from there. If you don't or didn't get it (well, you should have if you have actually been playing as long as you say you did...as it was BLATANT and MADE BLATANT back then if you played in any group that had any sort of connection to the main areas of playing) that the DMG was basically options. It basically blatantly says in the front of it that this is to help you (The DM, remember it says players who read it should die) construct your masterpiece, your campaign. It even inspires you to read the DMG and as per the rules as written, "cut portions as as needed to maintain excitement."


Hmm. It seems you have read the intro and just didn't understand it. Here are some portions that will help you.

"It is incumbent upon all DMs to be thoroughly conversant with the PLAYERS HANDBOOK, and at the same time you must also know the additional information which is given in this volume, for it rounds out and completes the whole. While players will know that they must decide upon an alignment, for example, you, the DM, will further know that each and every action they take will be mentally recorded by you; and at adventure’s end you will secretly note any player character movement on the alignment graph."

"After the material which pertains directly to the PLAYERS HANDBOOK comes the information which supplements and augments."

"And while there are no optionals for the maior systems of ADVANCED D&D (for uniformity of rules and procedures from game to game, campaign to campaign, is stressed), there are plenty of areas where your own creativity and imagination are not bounded by the parameters of the game system. These are sections where only a few hints and suggestions are given, and the rest left to the DM."

The DMG rounds out and completes the PHB rules. Then it offers supplements and augmentations to the rules. Then it says straight out that there are no optionals for the major systems. Unless you are suggesting to me that hit point damage and PC death is a minor system...
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Orc with greataxe was how I read it.
The stat block has them with falchions, but I suppose you could give them a greataxe. Then have them get a lucky 1 in 20 crit. Then have them roll 3 12's in a row. I suppose. I don't see how that's any deadlier than 1e where the fighter rolled a 1 for hit points with no con bonus and then died at 0 hit points like people here are saying they constantly saw in game play.

Let's face it. In 3e a fighter got max hit points at 1st level, so even with no con bonus that's 10 hit points, with another 10 hit points for the ability to go to -10. 45 damage is 4.5x the fighters hit point total, dying just over 2x over when factoring in negative hit points. In 1e that fighter with 1 hit point came across an orc with a two handed sword and got hit for 10 damage, taking 10x his hit point total, dying 10x over. It's pretty clear when you are looking at the extremes which is deadlier.

3e required a natural 20 and 3 max damage rolls to achieve killing a fighter 2x over. 1e required only a normal hit, one minimum roll(hit points) and one max roll to kill the fighter 10x over.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
The stat block has them with falchions, but I suppose you could give them a greataxe. Then have them get a lucky 1 in 20 crit. Then have them roll 3 12's in a row. I suppose. I don't see how that's any deadlier than 1e where the fighter rolled a 1 for hit points with no con bonus and then died at 0 hit points like people here are saying they constantly saw in game play.

Let's face it. In 3e a fighter got max hit points at 1st level, so even with no con bonus that's 10 hit points, with another 10 hit points for the ability to go to -10. 45 damage is 4.5x the fighters hit point total, dying just over 2x over when factoring in negative hit points. In 1e that fighter with 1 hit point came across an orc with a two handed sword and got hit for 10 damage, taking 10x his hit point total, dying 10x over. It's pretty clear when you are looking at the extremes which is deadlier.

3e required a natural 20 and 3 max damage rolls to achieve killing a fighter 2x over. 1e required only a normal hit, one minimum roll(hit points) and one max roll to kill the fighter 10x over.
From memory you only need to roll 1 12. Whatever you roll plus modifiers is multiplied by 3.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
In addition, as I said, the official rule for it is actually in the PHB (the one the players actually were supposed to have read, the DMG was for DM's eyes only. As far as players read, the official rules are in the PHB, with things that go contrary to it as a DM's option for DM's eyes only).

As per the 1e DMG the DMG was for the DM's eyes only (players who read it were worthy of death!!).
As we took turns DMing we found that this was impractical....
 

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