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OD&D Optional Death Rules from Rules Compendium

The Variant Rules chapter in Rules Compendium has some more forgiving rules for death. It has you roll a saving throw against Death Ray when reaching 0 hit points, and again if taking any damage while below 0 hit points. It also allows for magical healing, and use of Healing skill at -5 penalty to try to revive a character.

Has anyone used this rule? How did it impact the game?

I'm considering it, but as a compromise, making all of the death saves at the moment of the attempted revival, instead of when the character first falls unconscious. That way, the players need to decide whether to help before they know whether their fallen comrade is beyond help.

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My view on Raise Dead is that there are only so many clerics in range of 10th level or higher, and those clerics are probably already casting it as often as possible to save as many people as possible, so it's really unlikely your dead friend is gonna be the one they devote a spell slot to. A single 10th level cleric lordling is going to be able to raise 1 dead person every single day, which would have almost no impact in the grand scheme of his dominion.

Once player characters have the option to memorize Raise Dead, things could get tricky, but i think there are other ways to put pressure on the party so that Raise Dead becomes risky to invest in, especially when playing by the book. If adventure sites are frequently days' travel away from civilization, for example, the 2-week mandatory bed rest period can turn into a real problem as the party needs to protect their raised comrade in the event of wilderness encounters on the way back to home-base.

I'd also tweak it so that time spent in this convalescent state doesn't really count as being "alive" for subsequent resurrections, so a character who dies on the 1st of the month, is raised on the 4th day, and then gets killed again on the 6th will recovering is still considered to have "died" on the 1st, not the 6th when it's time to raise him again.

As far as Raise Dead Fully, you just gotta find ways for characters to die that prevents the Cleric from easily getting hold of the body.

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