D&D 5E New Death and Dying Rules

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
Unconscious at 0, no negative hit points, death saves, and dead if you take your maximum hit points in damage or fail three saves.

I mostly like the new death and dying rules. Anything that does away with negative hit points is worth trying. The only thing I would change is the amount of damage an unconscious person can take before death.

You're unconscious, so it makes no sense whatsoever that all the intangible elements of hit points would help keep you alive. Instead, it should be your con score. When you're unconscious, it shouldn't matter what level you are.
 

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Sadrik

First Post
You're unconscious, so it makes no sense whatsoever that all the intangible elements of hit points would help keep you alive. Instead, it should be your con score. When you're unconscious, it shouldn't matter what level you are.

I can see making it CON + level. Adding in a small amount of scaling but mostly making it about meat. One other thing I can see too is Size. A gargantuan dragon has a lot of meat so should be able to go a lot lower than a pixie.
 

Warbringer

Explorer
I like the massive damage rule, I like the 3 failed saves, nice for bleeding out, but don't like unconscious at 0 for everyone. Would rather some rule to let you fight on, maybe just disadvantage on the death saving roll....
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
No more negative hit points. Good. :):):):) negative hit points. It makes the math tricky, and it makes you say "0 hit points or fewer" all the time.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
How is that different to 4E?

You still have to track negative hp. Otherwise how do you know when you're at negative X?
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
How is that different to 4E?

You still have to track negative hp. Otherwise how do you know when you're at negative X?
You don't. Whenever you take any damage while dying, that counts as 2 death save failures (out of 3). If you take enough damage past zero that it totals your max hp (in one instance of damage), you die.
 

Klaus

First Post
Unconscious at 0, no negative hit points, death saves, and dead if you take your maximum hit points in damage or fail three saves.

I mostly like the new death and dying rules. Anything that does away with negative hit points is worth trying. The only thing I would change is the amount of damage an unconscious person can take before death.

You're unconscious, so it makes no sense whatsoever that all the intangible elements of hit points would help keep you alive. Instead, it should be your con score. When you're unconscious, it shouldn't matter what level you are.

Note that taking damage while dying counts as a failed death save. If you're dying,a goblin can stab you three times and you're toast.
 


Blackbrrd

First Post
I really like it. It's better than 4e in that you don't have to track negative hp and that you fail a death save if you take damage while down.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
I like the idea (three failures; damage counts as failure), but the exact implementation is going to have to change, I feel, since a first-level spell can kill any unconscious being instantly.

Magic missile creates three unerring darts that do 1d4+1, range 100 feet. Cast the spell, the three darts kill the victim without fail.
 
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Markn

First Post
I like no longer having to track negative hp's.

I think the massive damage rule is silly. It may have some effect on low levels (level 1, maybe level 2) but beyond that if you take enough damage to die from massive damage then the math of the game has failed. It just does not make sense to me. I do like that further damage is an automatic failed death save.

One thing I have hated is the Spare the Dying spell (or whatever it has been previously called). I would much prefer that it stabilizes someone rather than bringing them up to 1hp. As a DM, if the PCs are facing a single foe (or very few foes) and the cleric keeps bringing an ally back into the fight at 1hp, then dropping the ally does nothing for me. I have no choice but to target the cleric to remove the allies getting back into the fight. I find this unsatisfying and I'm sure the cleric player would also. Now, if you were brought to 1hp and still had to track the death saves you failed, that would be fine, but since death saves get reset once you gain healing I continue to find this a frustrating event at my table.
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
I like no longer having to track negative hp's.

I think the massive damage rule is silly. It may have some effect on low levels (level 1, maybe level 2) but beyond that if you take enough damage to die from massive damage then the math of the game has failed. It just does not make sense to me. I do like that further damage is an automatic failed death save.

One thing I have hated is the Spare the Dying spell (or whatever it has been previously called). I would much prefer that it stabilizes someone rather than bringing them up to 1hp. As a DM, if the PCs are facing a single foe (or very few foes) and the cleric keeps bringing an ally back into the fight at 1hp, then dropping the ally does nothing for me. I have no choice but to target the cleric to remove the allies getting back into the fight. I find this unsatisfying and I'm sure the cleric player would also. Now, if you were brought to 1hp and still had to track the death saves you failed, that would be fine, but since death saves get reset once you gain healing I continue to find this a frustrating event at my table.
I agree. Bringing dropped characters back into the fight makes healing way too powerful, and the game becomes silly.

And how can you have a swift touch spell, anyway?
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
"Each time a creature...takes damage..." (How to play, p. 18)
Magic missile creates multiple darts that strike "simultaneously" (Spells, ad loc.)

-- three strikes each hit one time (that's the sense of time in the death and dying rules), even though they all hit at the same time.

Whatever is intended, though, it can be tightened up.
 
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S

Sunseeker

Guest
You don't. Whenever you take any damage while dying, that counts as 2 death save failures (out of 3). If you take enough damage past zero that it totals your max hp (in one instance of damage), you die.

I actually don't like this. It basically lets the enemy AOE once and then leaves you with one saving throw, which kinda sucks.

The rest of it I rather like, however, I think negative HP is a little high....
 

GX.Sigma

Adventurer
"Each time a creature...takes damage..." (How to play, p. 18)
Magic missile creates multiple darts that strike "simultaneously" (Spells, ad loc.)

-- three strikes each hit one time (that's the sense of time in the death and dying rules), even though they all hit at the same time.

Whatever is intended, though, it can be tightened up.
Wording things like Magic cards solves these problems.

"Whenever a creature...takes damage..."
"Each dart deals [x] damage"

The "whenever" effect would trigger for each instance of damage separately, even if they occur simultaneously.

A lot of things in the playtest document are very poorly worded and unclear, and Magic templating would solve all of it.
I actually don't like this. It basically lets the enemy AOE once and then leaves you with one saving throw, which kinda sucks.

The rest of it I rather like, however, I think negative HP is a little high....
I was wrong; damage when dying counts as one death save failure. Is it too lethal? I dunno, I think a character loses their right to complain about lethality when they're alive at 0 hp.
 

variant

Adventurer
I do not like it based around hit points. Having it based around Constitution is simply better. I also think the rules should be at 0 hit points you have to make a saving throw to stay conscious.
 

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