5E Serious Wounds

AGrzes

Villager
The damage and healing mechanics of 5th ED suits me most of the time.

But from time to time I would like if characters get injuries that simple night of sleep or first level spell can not heal. I would also like to have a reason for NPC to be incapacitated or handicapped for prolonged period that plays well with mechanics (explain why cure wounds from player character is not instant solution).

I do not want to upset the existing mechanical balance but only add something on top. For NPC I can administer wounds as it suit plot but for player characters I would like to have established and open mechanism. I was thinking of allowing the players to trade in failed death saves for serious wounds - that way it is their choice to play wounded character and it is a benefit for them to not have character dead on the spot. I do not have effects of wounds and healing them fleshed out but still what do you think of such rule?
 

Bawylie

A very OK person
Quick and dirty. Each time a PC suffers a critical hit, they take normal damage AND mark one failed death save.

Cure wounds can restore lost HP, but only a long rest under medical care in a safe environment can shed those failed death saves.

No trades, really. Just consequences of bad hits.

Edit- spelling, content.


-Brad
 

aco175

Explorer
I agree that you want something simple to run and all the players will remember. Being hit with a critical or dropped below 0hp would do fine. You can have some sort of wound chart or levels where you roll to see what is broken and what that means. Example; roll a 1 on a 1d10 and your arm is sprained, requiring 1d4 days to mend. You suffer disadvantage to attacks until healed.

This would be more realistic, but suck in a dungeon since the fighter may be the one who is affected most. Maybe just make it based on being dropped to 0hp.
 

Gadget

Explorer
I would use exhaustion levels as a guide. Maybe just change the name to wound levels and you are good to go. Every time you suffer a critical hit and/or you drop below 0 hp, you gain a wound level with the same mechanical impacts as exhaustion levels. As it stands now, it take a Greater Restoration spell to remove an exhaustion level (out side of rest and recuperation), and those don't grow trees. You may be required to lengthen the natural recuperation times to regain an exhaustion (wound) level to achieve the feel you want, but it seems like it would work well.


Edit: beware of the death spiral, which cause you to become more wounded because of the penalties of previous wounds, which leads to greater penalties and more wounds.
 
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AGrzes

Villager
I think basing wounds effects on exhaustion levels is a good idea - I would add incapacitation of some limb (you simply can not use it) and blinding to possible consequences.

I do not want to make combat more difficult - my idea actually makes it easier - you trade dead character for walking (or being carried) wounded. So I would not like to associate the wounds with critical hits or all dropping to 0. On the other hand I would like in game effects of wounds and accumulating failed death saves do not provide this.
 

Nebulous

Adventurer
I would use exhaustion levels as a guide. Maybe just change the name to wound levels and you are good to go. Every time you suffer a critical hit and/or you drop below 0 hp, you gain a wound level with the same mechanical impacts as exhaustion levels. As it stands now, it take a Greater Restoration spell to remove an exhaustion level (out side of rest and recuperation), and those don't grow trees. You may be required to lengthen the natural recuperation times to regain an exhaustion (wound) level to achieve the feel you want, but it seems like it would work well.


Edit: beware of the death spiral, which cause you to become more wounded because of the penalties of previous wounds, which leads to greater penalties and more wounds.
That's good too, and uses existing rules. Since Exhaustion is so hard to remove, I might even suggest making one level removeable on a short rest too, as well as a long rest. If exhaustion levels are going to be much more prevalent (which I almost think they should, it's a rarely used mechanic in my campaign but it frightens the characters) then maybe it should have more ways to remove it.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
In my Curse of Strahd campaign, I replaced the '3 Failed Death Saves' chart with the Exhaustion chart. So each failed death save gives you a level of Exhaustion, plus a whole bunch of small additions and subtraction house rules to go along with it (including Lingering Injuries.) It's worked fine thus far for me and has made Curse of Strahd much more strickening.

Healing and Dying House Rules
- A Short Rest is 8 hours, a Long Rest is 3+ days in a suitable safe location where your wounds can be tended to.
- Cure Wounds and Healing Word spells are removed from all PC spell lists.
- Lesser Restoration gains the ability to reduce one level of Exhaustion.
- Stabilizing a creature requires a WIS (Survival) check against a DC 10 + the target's Exhaustion level.
- Each failed Death saving throw causes one level of Exhaustion.
- Death occurs at Exhaustion Level 6, and not 3 failed Death saving throws.
- A Short Rest removes one level of Exhaustion.
- Reaching Exhaustion Level 4 causes a Lingering Injury.

Lingering Injury Chart (see DMG pg 272): [Roll 2d10]
2: Lose a hand
3: Lose an eye
4-6: Horrible scar
7-9: Internal injury
10-12: Minor scar
13-15: Broken ribs
16-18: Festering Wound
19: Limp
20: Lose a foot
 

pehaimi

Villager
I'm using the lingering injuries variant and roll from the table if the player fails the first death save. Seems to introduce a little bit of urgency when a player goes down.
 

Gadget

Explorer
@Nebulous - I agree that exhaustion levels are too costly to remove in the standard game, especially if your campaign is making extensive use of them. I put forth a tweak in the 'Spells that could be better designed' thread that gave Lesser Restoration the ability to remove an exhaustion level, but it did not seem to be too well received. Maybe as a compromise Revivify could remove an exhaustion level instead. It has always made little sense that you could revive the recently dead with a third level spell, but you had to wait for fifth level spells to come on line to remove an exhaustion level.

@Defcon1 - Those house rules sound really flavorful and scary. I'm sure it helps set the atmosphere for COS.
 

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