Put some Lethality back in the game?

Personally, I would love it if the game became dangerous again.  Not the kind of dangerous where the DM just throws a bunch of Ogre Berserkers at a level 1 party, but dangerous in a way that has characters worrying about what could be in the next corrido in the dungeon.  

Save or die should be reimplemented, it works well IF used correctly.  

Lack of Raise Dead for certain races also leaves players being more careful, though this would probably be house ruled out really fast in almost every home game.  

Heck, I even house rule that one out in my 1e games.  

Level Drain was definitely lethal, but that is a terrible idea that should never see the light of day. 

No healing surges.  Everyone being able to heal themselves takes a lot of danger out of the game.  It also reduces the importance of Clerics.  Healing surges also led to things such as "Spend a healing surge" every time you received any sort of healing benefit, which I thought was rather stupid.

What I'm saying is I'd like to see D&D become a more dangerous game again where players think before acting. I've suggested a few ideas on how this could be or should not be done.

Any suggestions? Opinions? 
In my experience, a player's emotional investment in a character is inversely proportional to the lethality of the game. For example, I've never gotten attached to any of my characters in Deadlands, and their inevitable deaths have all been pretty meaningless to me. If someone dies every other session, why should the players care about their characters? They're just going to die anyways.

Healing Surges represents a limit to the amount of healing accessible to a character in any given encounter and in any given day. Removing this would allow unrestricted access to healing, and actually result in LESS lethal encounters. Also, what's stupid about healing abilities frequently allowing the use of a healing surge?

I've been in a party that TPKed twice before 5th level, and in the campaign I run, the party has lost enough individuals to amount to two TPKs, and they're only 10th level. In all my time playing D&D, I've seen Raise Dead only used twice, and once was on an NPC that the party accidentally allowed to die.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

I should have explained the healing surges thing better.  It just seems that when a Cleric heals someone, they should be healed through the magic, not that they got to spend a healing surge for free.  And unrestricted access to healing would not necessarily be the case.  If the DM doesn't give huge amounts of healing potions, and if healing spells were encounter type abilities, it would provide a steadfast limit on healing.

I'm not saying it should be lethal to the point that characters are dropping like flies, but dangerous enough that players think through things more cautiously.  It could just be the people I've played 4e with and the DM I've had for 4e that takes this element out, but this is from my own personal observations. 
its gotten too soft, thats for sure. not in my games though
I should have explained the healing surges thing better.  It just seems that when a Cleric heals someone, they should be healed through the magic, not that they got to spend a healing surge for free.  And unrestricted access to healing would not necessarily be the case.  If the DM doesn't give huge amounts of healing potions, and if healing spells were encounter type abilities, it would provide a steadfast limit on healing.


Sounds like a headache to me, and I'm speaking as a DM. I don't want to have to keep track of ensuring that the party doesn't have too much or too little access to healing. Also, when you remove the healing surge limitation from healing, and also remove people's ability to conveniently heal themselves, you end up with healing classes becoming REQUIRED again, which is something I was glad to see removed in 4E. In fact, if each healing class can, let's say, healing one ally once per encounter, then you might want two clerics to double your per-encounter healing. Any way you slice it, when healing becomes so powerful that you have to limit it like that, then classes with access to healing abilities become overvalued.
I'm not saying it should be lethal to the point that characters are dropping like flies, but dangerous enough that players think through things more cautiously.  It could just be the people I've played 4e with and the DM I've had for 4e that takes this element out, but this is from my own personal observations. 


OK, let's quantify this: How often should a PC die? And under what circumstances should a PC be able, or be unable, to be resurrected?

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

More than just lethality, make the decisions that are made in the game have more consquences in general. Make the threat of monsters be more than just the damage they deal.


That's not a system issue, it's a campaign/adventure-writing issue.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Personally, I would love it if the game became dangerous again.  Not the kind of dangerous where the DM just throws a bunch of Ogre Berserkers at a level 1 party, but dangerous in a way that has characters worrying about what could be in the next corrido in the dungeon.  

Save or die should be reimplemented, it works well IF used correctly.  

Lack of Raise Dead for certain races also leaves players being more careful, though this would probably be house ruled out really fast in almost every home game.  

Heck, I even house rule that one out in my 1e games.  

Level Drain was definitely lethal, but that is a terrible idea that should never see the light of day. 

No healing surges.  Everyone being able to heal themselves takes a lot of danger out of the game.  It also reduces the importance of Clerics.  Healing surges also led to things such as "Spend a healing surge" every time you received any sort of healing benefit, which I thought was rather stupid.

What I'm saying is I'd like to see D&D become a more dangerous game again where players think before acting. I've suggested a few ideas on how this could be or should not be done.

Any suggestions? Opinions? 




My issue with these situations is that it doesn't account for a simple bad roll. I like the idea of having a modular/optional Lethality system available for those who want it. My experience says (and this happened) that no matter how much care you take, no matter how many precautions, the character in question may simply roll a 1 and be dead, regardless. (True story: we knew a save or die creature was coming. We prepared aciduously for it. We used magic and terrain to our favor. And one of the two initial people for our trap/ambush rolled a 1 on their save versus the aura affect as the creature moved into play and was dead. Anticlimatic, not a lot of fun, and the player basically sat out the rest of the combat fiddling his fingers, waiting.)

Whereas in our 4e games, lethality is imposed by the DM. If he doesn't want us to rest, he imposes limits on the ability to rest or has random encounters occur to encourage us to keep moving. Those healing surges become more and more precious as they get down low with no rest in sight. And if an individual combat last long enough, the 2/enc healing a Leader can do, plus the one Second Wind, don't seem like enough, so you start using your potions, or your smaller healing abilities, and hoping your tactics will win out before your precious (healing) resources are gone or you drop.

In the same group, however, we have some pretty good tacticians. We can often make the DM's plans seem easy due to good tactics. But all it takes is a new monster with powers we haven't seen before to blow those tactics out of the water, or a second (or third) wave of creatures as we are trying to take a Short Rest and haven't recovered our Encounter abilities to make a seemingly easy combat into a cluster-youknowwhat.

Lethality, in my opinion, is all about the DM balancing the events and telling the story in such a way to make players use their party resources and not recover them.

However, adding optional rules for those who want the equivalent of Save or Die effects won't affect me or my group, so if DnD wants to put them into 5e, I wouldn't argue against it.
Balance = Equally effective, but different, ways of reaching a goal or overcoming an obstacle.
its not just save or die, its the massive amounts of hp, the endless ways to heal, and quite frankly, the wussy monsters
Novacat

I'm not quite sure how to do the fancy quoting without quoting your whole post so that's why it's not pleasant.

It's not necessarily about quantifying how often a PC should die.  It's more about how often the PCs are in situations where death is a serious possibility.  Which would in turn encourage them to think outside the box when confronted.  I'd say this type of situation should come up once or twice a session, depending on length.  If that's the case, maybe PCs would actually die from these situations every three sessions or so (bad luck on the dice, stupid decision etc.)  Of course that would vary greatly from each group.

The most lethal D&D I run by far is the original 1974 ruleset with no supplements.  This is back when all actions happened in order of DEX score, no dice roll.  And spells had casting times.  And meleers attacked every segment instead of every round.  Which means if you have a casting time of 3 segments, every combatant will have attacked 3 times.  Someone in the party dies about every other session on these games.  But in that edition there will be a moderately sized retinue of henchmen, so it's usually one of those dying rather than a PC

As far as resurreciton goes, I'm not necessarily for a racial restriction on this.  However, if a PC has been disentegrated, there shouldn't be any resurrection.  If a PC has been burnt too severly, or doused with acid, or its head is not attached, there shouldn't be resurrection.  The availability of resurrection is more in what manner was the PC killed.

NancyButtpeach

I completely agree. 
As a DM, I don't want my players to die. It's disruptive to my story when the cast keeps getting changed out every other week. There remains in my party only one character from the original group, so you can imagine how awkard it is when all the stories of the Vanguard (their group name) don't describe the people who are members now.

The last thing I'd want to do is crank up the mortality rate. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

More than just lethality, make the decisions that are made in the game have more consquences in general. Make the threat of monsters be more than just the damage they deal.


That's not a system issue, it's a campaign/adventure-writing issue.

How the game is run by the DM and played by the players will affect all manner of things like roleplaying and lethality, but there are some systems that are lethal, like OD&D where characters often begin with 1 to 4 HP and die at 0 HP; and there are systems like 4th edition, where you must fail four saving throws just to be affected by magic sleep.


You and I have wildly differing opinions on what makes a game fun. I, for one, don't find starting with 1 HP and dying when I lose it to be fun at all.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

I'd like to see 5e become more dangerous than 4e was, sure. But there's more to lethality of a game than Save or Die. I'd much prefer a game where the philosophy is "don't do anything stupid, or you will die," vs. "don't botch your save, or you will die." That's not for everyone, though, so simply having optional guidelines for making a more lethal game would be appreciated.

That said, while I don't like SoD, I'm also not too big of a fan of easy resurrection. The latter always felt like a mechanical fix for the former. Have death be meaningful, driven by player mistakes rather than poor rolling, and difficult to reverse. If half the party gets killed, I want it to be because they charged into the dragon's lair unprepared, and I want their attempts to revive their comrades to be a nontrivial quest. Just my two cents.
Rhymes with Bruce
see, we used to love making pcs, we probably spent more time making pcs than playing. we died quite a bit and didnt care
see, we used to love making pcs, we probably spent more time making pcs than playing. we died quite a bit and didnt care


I like making characters, too, but I also like telling a coherent story with my campaign, which is much harder to do every time someone dies. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

see, we used to love making pcs, we probably spent more time making pcs than playing. we died quite a bit and didnt care


I like making characters, too, but I also like telling a coherent story with my campaign, which is much harder to do every time someone dies. 



i see what youre saying but i dont feel threatened by most current adventures for 4e at all, we played an earlier one the other night on the vt, and on the 4th encounter a dude says 'thats the first damage ive taken all game'. if monsters stay weak, players never run, never try to talk their way out of things. basically, easy combats and no threat of death hurts rp and tactics imo. i dont think everything should be save or die, but i do think, especially at low levels, it should be a hell of a lot easier to die

i dont like killing my pcs in my campaign either but i do want them to feel its possible
see, we used to love making pcs, we probably spent more time making pcs than playing. we died quite a bit and didnt care


I like making characters, too, but I also like telling a coherent story with my campaign, which is much harder to do every time someone dies. 



i see what youre saying but i dont feel threatened by most current adventures for 4e at all, we played an earlier one the other night on the vt, and on the 4th encounter a dude says 'thats the first damage ive taken all game'. if monsters stay weak, players never run, never try to talk their way out of things. basically, easy combats and no threat of death hurts rp and tactics imo. i dont think everything should be save or die, but i do think, especially at low levels, it should be a hell of a lot easier to die

i dont like killing my pcs in my campaign either but i do want them to feel its possible


Oh, well there's your problem right there. You're using pre-written adventures. Yeah, I've never felt threatened by them since after my first day of playing 4E.

I create all of my campaign content, monsters, locales, NPCs, and hazards custom for my players. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

see, we used to love making pcs, we probably spent more time making pcs than playing. we died quite a bit and didnt care


I like making characters, too, but I also like telling a coherent story with my campaign, which is much harder to do every time someone dies. 



i see what youre saying but i dont feel threatened by most current adventures for 4e at all, we played an earlier one the other night on the vt, and on the 4th encounter a dude says 'thats the first damage ive taken all game'. if monsters stay weak, players never run, never try to talk their way out of things. basically, easy combats and no threat of death hurts rp and tactics imo. i dont think everything should be save or die, but i do think, especially at low levels, it should be a hell of a lot easier to die

i dont like killing my pcs in my campaign either but i do want them to feel its possible


Oh, well there's your problem right there. You're using pre-written adventures. Yeah, I've never felt threatened by them since after my first day of playing 4E.

I create all of my campaign content, monsters, locales, NPCs, and hazards custom for my players. 



oh i wasnt running the game, i was a player. but lethality of an edition i think is seen through the published product rather than someones private campaign world that nobody will ever see
More than just lethality, make the decisions that are made in the game have more consquences in general. Make the threat of monsters be more than just the damage they deal.



That really comes down to the Dms job, and not any set of rules or abilities, don't you think?
Only monster vault monsters are consistently good. 4e is aware of the problem and they fixed it. 

Healing surges are a solid, smart idea. They allow parties to function without a divine healer, so you can play like adventurers instead of forming a WoW party. They allow you to function without a constant stream of potions, so you can play cinematically, instead of clicking the potion belt like Diablo. 

They put a hard limit on healing, out of surges out of healing. They allow for someone to fight at full potential but still be worn. They kill the 15 minute adventuring day. Conan didn't quaff potions between slaying giant snakes, Aragorn didn't have Gandalf cast Cure Light wounds, and Rocky got back up to face Apollo. They were heroes being heroic and healing surges facilitated that in an elegant manner.

hit points have never been a measure of only physical wounds and healing surges work elegantly in that system. Returning to Dungeons & Diablo is bad.

You can increase the lethality and keep surges. Just reduce overall hit points and surges.  
oh i wasnt running the game, i was a player. but lethality of an edition i think is seen through the published product rather than someones private campaign world that nobody will ever see


But you're suggesting mechanical alterations to the lethality of the system, when in truth your issue lies with WotC's notoriously poor adventure-writing abilities.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

My problem with the "don't do anything stupid or die" philosophy is that there are wide variations in what people consider stupid.

Just to pick one example, let me use the ever popular "picking a fight with the town guards".

Sure we know its stupid for Joe Farmer (unless Joe is played by Jason Statham and actually the unknown heir to the kingdom) but is it stupid for

Conan in "Queen of the Black Coast" when he murders a judge in the middle of his court and carves a path to the wharf and hijacks a ship to Kush,

Belgarion in Guardians of the West (2 armies of Mimbrate Knights are surely superior to your average town guard),

Pippen's friend in Gondor when he is holding off his liege lord and the other guards while Pippen runs to Gandalf to save Faramir?
oh i wasnt running the game, i was a player. but lethality of an edition i think is seen through the published product rather than someones private campaign world that nobody will ever see


But you're suggesting mechanical alterations to the lethality of the system, when in truth your issue lies with WotC's notoriously poor adventure-writing abilities.



no, im saying id rather it ends up closer to 1e and b/x than 4e. its not just their adventures, it is systemic in their suggested encounter difficulty and the monsters themselves
oh i wasnt running the game, i was a player. but lethality of an edition i think is seen through the published product rather than someones private campaign world that nobody will ever see


But you're suggesting mechanical alterations to the lethality of the system, when in truth your issue lies with WotC's notoriously poor adventure-writing abilities.



no, im saying id rather it ends up closer to 1e and b/x than 4e. its not just their adventures, it is systemic in their suggested encounter difficulty and the monsters themselves


If it's inherent to the system, then you and I should have similar mortality rates in our games, but we don't. Your party can kick down doors without a care in the world because WotC doesn't write hard encounters in their modules.

My party is terrified of entire regions of land, and has a list of people to not make angry. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Personally, I would love it if the game became dangerous again.  Not the kind of dangerous where the DM just throws a bunch of Ogre Berserkers at a level 1 party, but dangerous in a way that has characters worrying about what could be in the next corrido in the dungeon.  

Save or die should be reimplemented, it works well IF used correctly.  

Lack of Raise Dead for certain races also leaves players being more careful, though this would probably be house ruled out really fast in almost every home game.  

Heck, I even house rule that one out in my 1e games.  

Level Drain was definitely lethal, but that is a terrible idea that should never see the light of day. 

No healing surges.  Everyone being able to heal themselves takes a lot of danger out of the game.  It also reduces the importance of Clerics.  Healing surges also led to things such as "Spend a healing surge" every time you received any sort of healing benefit, which I thought was rather stupid.

What I'm saying is I'd like to see D&D become a more dangerous game again where players think before acting. I've suggested a few ideas on how this could be or should not be done.

Any suggestions? Opinions? 

Reducing the importance of clerics is a GOOD thing. Nothing ever irked me more than the way every hero had to have his hit point battery following him around. It was the most genre-limiting thing in the entire game. Now I have a hero like John McClane who can walk on broken glass, get shot in the arm, tie a bandage around it, and just keep coming for more.

Really, HS ARE your hit points in 4e. 'Hit points' are more like 'shock level'. It accomplishes pretty much the same thing as the SWSE condition track.

Lethality is simply what you make it. There's nothing 'non-lethal' about 4e. The idea that you need above-level threats to kill PCs is just silly. I had my party on the brink of death last night with a level-1, an at-level, and a level+1 combat encounter and an at-level complexity 3 skill challenge. The characters are OK now, but they've dug into their resources and they have at least 2 more tough encounters to face before the adventuring day can end, plus another small encounter and another skill challenge. They'll be lucky to escape without someone croaking, and or very clever.

Personally I don't get all that many jollies from actually killing PCs. Forcing them to the brink of death and making them work to survive is the goal. Killing a PC without some drama isn't fun for anyone, it is just making them take out the trash, and nothing is less interesting than a SoD, "Oh, I rolled a 20, too bad, you get to spend the next 20 minutes doing paperwork. Haha!" Nor was the AD&D notion of "some races can't be raised" sensible to me at all. That kind of thing should be at the very least a setting determined thing.

Honestly, the whole HS thing in 4e works quite well. I don't feel any strong desire to see it changed. Going back to making one player be a healing battery is DEFINITELY not an improvement. There's nothing at all 'stupid' about spend a surge to get more hit points. Surges ARE YOUR HIT POINTS, so 'surgeless healing' was what was kind of stupid. Actually it is fine, if it is restricted to strictly limited resources that aren't attached to a specific character. Healing potions for example would probably have been best implemented as 'gain a surge and if you want spend it'.

Truthfully I think there's room for the game to emphasize ongoing conditions more. A poison for instance that drains a surge every hour until cured is a fun concept that you can use. That will light a fire under the party to find some kind of cure without smacking a player down and putting them in the penalty box. Personally I haven't found players to be any less cautious in 4e than in previous editions, but there's nothing wrong with more ways to create tension.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
oh i wasnt running the game, i was a player. but lethality of an edition i think is seen through the published product rather than someones private campaign world that nobody will ever see


But you're suggesting mechanical alterations to the lethality of the system, when in truth your issue lies with WotC's notoriously poor adventure-writing abilities.



no, im saying id rather it ends up closer to 1e and b/x than 4e. its not just their adventures, it is systemic in their suggested encounter difficulty and the monsters themselves


If it's inherent to the system, then you and I should have similar mortality rates in our games, but we don't. Your party can kick down doors without a care in the world because WotC doesn't write hard encounters in their modules.

My party is terrified of entire regions of land, and has a list of people to not make angry. 



again you dont really know jack squat about the game i run, just an anecdote from a one shot i played in. im sorry but i will never measure the lethality of an edition of dnd by your homebrew game. 1e was lethal on paper-it didnt need novacat to make a homebrew world to make it that way. 4e on paper is tissue paper-and your homebrew game doesnt change that for anyone but you. id rather the printed word be more lethal straight out of the box

The lethality is as high or low as you want to make it (its why levelling up or down monsters is easy)... the default is supportive of new players and those who dont want to optimize or dont know how and assumes not a huge amount of tactics. The heros are assumed to engage in multiple encounters in a fairly short period of time... 

Bob1, bob2, bob3, who's player cannot be bothered to make an interesting background or even name your character till level 5 was sad and should remain firmly in the past.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

 Reducing the importance of clerics is a GOOD thing. Nothing ever irked me more than the way every hero had to have his hit point battery following him around. It was the most genre-limiting thing in the entire game. Now I have a hero like John McClane who can walk on broken glass, get shot in the arm, tie a bandage around it, and just keep coming for more.

Really, HS ARE your hit points in 4e. 'Hit points' are more like 'shock level'. It accomplishes pretty much the same thing as the SWSE condition track.

Lethality is simply what you make it. There's nothing 'non-lethal' about 4e. The idea that you need above-level threats to kill PCs is just silly. I had my party on the brink of death last night with a level-1, an at-level, and a level+1 combat encounter and an at-level complexity 3 skill challenge. The characters are OK now, but they've dug into their resources and they have at least 2 more tough encounters to face before the adventuring day can end, plus another small encounter and another skill challenge. They'll be lucky to escape without someone croaking, and or very clever.

Personally I don't get all that many jollies from actually killing PCs. Forcing them to the brink of death and making them work to survive is the goal. Killing a PC without some drama isn't fun for anyone, it is just making them take out the trash, and nothing is less interesting than a SoD, "Oh, I rolled a 20, too bad, you get to spend the next 20 minutes doing paperwork. Haha!" Nor was the AD&D notion of "some races can't be raised" sensible to me at all. That kind of thing should be at the very least a setting determined thing.

Honestly, the whole HS thing in 4e works quite well. I don't feel any strong desire to see it changed. Going back to making one player be a healing battery is DEFINITELY not an improvement. There's nothing at all 'stupid' about spend a surge to get more hit points. Surges ARE YOUR HIT POINTS, so 'surgeless healing' was what was kind of stupid. Actually it is fine, if it is restricted to strictly limited resources that aren't attached to a specific character. Healing potions for example would probably have been best implemented as 'gain a surge and if you want spend it'.

Truthfully I think there's room for the game to emphasize ongoing conditions more. A poison for instance that drains a surge every hour until cured is a fun concept that you can use. That will light a fire under the party to find some kind of cure without smacking a player down and putting them in the penalty box. Personally I haven't found players to be any less cautious in 4e than in previous editions, but there's nothing wrong with more ways to create tension.



So what you're saying is that HS are your hitpoints.  Wouldn't that mean that receiving a healing effect that makes you spend a surge is actually harming you?  Shouldn't it be that healing effects give you an extra surge rather than making you deplete what you already have?  And clerics were always a lot more than HP batteries in my campaigns.

again you dont really know jack squat about the game i run, just an anecdote from a one shot i played in. im sorry but i will never measure the lethality of an edition of dnd by your homebrew game. 1e was lethal on paper-it didnt need novacat to make a homebrew world to make it that way. 4e on paper is tissue paper-and your homebrew game doesnt change that for anyone but you. id rather the printed word be more lethal straight out of the box


I don't make up the math for my game; I use the numbers that are in the books (adjusted for errata, of course). The thing is, WotC doesn't use their own math when writing modules. They tone it down.

My campaign is 98% custom material, but my figures are all firmly planted in by-the-book math. That math has killed a dozen characters in 10 levels (along with a dose of PC overconfidence).

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

 
again you dont really know jack squat about the game i run, just an anecdote from a one shot i played in. im sorry but i will never measure the lethality of an edition of dnd by your homebrew game.  



I am not house ruling when I make most encounters level -1, and somebody who makes most encounters level +3 isnt either. We are both well within RAW.
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

So what you're saying is that HS are your hitpoints.  Wouldn't that mean that receiving a healing effect that makes you spend a surge is actually harming you?  Shouldn't it be that healing effects give you an extra surge rather than making you deplete what you already have?  And clerics were always a lot more than HP batteries in my campaigns.


There's no need to be obtuse.

Healing surges are hit points to which you don't currently have access. A cleric's Healing Word makes those hit points accessible to you, and stacks some bonus hit points on top of it. Getting rid of healing surges and limiting healing would mean the return of the 5-minute work day, because you start the day with access to all your hit points, and when you run out, you burn out the cleric on healing and rest so the cleric can get his healing back. 

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Personally I don't get all that many jollies from actually killing PCs. Forcing them to the brink of death and making them work to survive is the goal. Killing a PC without some drama isn't fun for anyone, it is just making them take out the trash, and nothing is less interesting than a SoD, "Oh, I rolled a 20, too bad, you get to spend the next 20 minutes doing paperwork. Haha!" Nor was the AD&D notion of "some races can't be raised" sensible to me at all. That kind of thing should be at the very least a setting determined thing.


This says what I was trying to get across better than I could. Kudos!
Rhymes with Bruce
More than just lethality, make the decisions that are made in the game have more consquences in general. Make the threat of monsters be more than just the damage they deal.


That's not a system issue, it's a campaign/adventure-writing issue.

This is so true. I have no problems creating threats. Real interesting threats aren't about 'hit points' or 'save or die' or something anyway. They're 'existential' threats. Give the party goals that matter. "If we don't recover the magical dingus the evil muckymuck will do the horrible!" Killing PCs is just creating paperwork and destroying player buy-in and investment in the game. It's not a BAD thing universally but it is the weakest possible way to create tension in the game. Instead threaten the character's system of beliefs, society, home, family, ambitions, etc. If those things aren't interesting to the characters and the players then what you need is a more interesting campaign, ganking PCs isn't going to get you there.

Also its much more fun to create long-term interesting consequences. Things like lycanthropy or gaining the enmity of a powerful enemy, or being kicked out of your holy order. Work character progression into the story too. Even 'disease' or 'curse' type mechanics are quite a bit more fun than '0 hit points, dead' or even worse 'failed save, dead'. Now, "failed save, get that guy to a medic within an hour or he's dead" can be fun, if it isn't overused.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Personally I don't get all that many jollies from actually killing PCs. Forcing them to the brink of death and making them work to survive is the goal. Killing a PC without some drama isn't fun for anyone, it is just making them take out the trash, and nothing is less interesting than a SoD, "Oh, I rolled a 20, too bad, you get to spend the next 20 minutes doing paperwork. Haha!" Nor was the AD&D notion of "some races can't be raised" sensible to me at all. That kind of thing should be at the very least a setting determined thing.


This says what I was trying to get across better than I could. Kudos!



my half orc has no soul! but i think that was all to try to push players into playing humans the most
Novacat and Garthanos are in the right here. The game is as lethal as the DM runs it. If the DM chooses monsters and traps that the party outclasses--whether by absurd powergaming, clever thinking, being higher level, or whatever else--then it won't feel lethal. You aren't REQUIRED to put in equal to party level encounters for your game to be by the book and not homebrew. Encounter levels are a suggestion, a starting point. Learn your party's capabilities and adjust accordingly to how lethal YOU want it to be, because it's your game that you're running.

Yes, 1e was much more lethal by default than 4e, because it was just plain easier to die. That is, in my opinion, a very, VERY bad thing. All it does is remove control of the lethality from the DM's hands, because if it's so easy to die by default, it's more difficult to make a NON-lethal campaign. I'm totally with Novacat again on this one--telling a compelling story sucks if the cast keeps changing.
Just thought you should know. the countdown continues...
well, its fine that we disagree. its just as you say nihzlet, i want it to be 'just plain easier to die', some dont. and thats cool, its just a difference of opinion
well, its fine that we disagree. its just as you say nihzlet, i want it to be 'just plain easier to die', some dont. and thats cool, its just a difference of opinion


What is NOT opinion, but rather mathematical fact, is that 4E can be as lethal as the DM wants it to be. If you're not feeling challenged, tell the DM you'd like to crank it up a bit. I did this in the game I used to play in on Fridays, and two sessions later, my character died to let the rest of the party escape a fight.

4E has a built-in sliding scale of difficulty, and if you choose not to use it, I would appreciate you not suggesting that the next iteration of the game be automatically set to "hard."

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

well, its fine that we disagree. its just as you say nihzlet, i want it to be 'just plain easier to die', some dont. and thats cool, its just a difference of opinion


What is NOT opinion, but rather mathematical fact, is that 4E can be as lethal as the DM wants it to be. If you're not feeling challenged, tell the DM you'd like to crank it up a bit. I did this in the game I used to play in on Fridays, and two sessions later, my character died to let the rest of the party escape a fight.

4E has a built-in sliding scale of difficulty, and if you choose not to use it, I would appreciate you not suggesting that the next iteration of the game be automatically set to "hard."



i honestly could care less if you appreciate it or not, ill suggest whatever the hell i want. but i wouldnt worry i dont think they are coming to me for design tips anytime soon

well, its fine that we disagree. its just as you say nihzlet, i want it to be 'just plain easier to die', some dont. and thats cool, its just a difference of opinion


What is NOT opinion, but rather mathematical fact, is that 4E can be as lethal as the DM wants it to be. If you're not feeling challenged, tell the DM you'd like to crank it up a bit. I did this in the game I used to play in on Fridays, and two sessions later, my character died to let the rest of the party escape a fight.

4E has a built-in sliding scale of difficulty, and if you choose not to use it, I would appreciate you not suggesting that the next iteration of the game be automatically set to "hard."



i honestly could care less if you appreciate it or not, ill suggest whatever the hell i want. but i wouldnt worry i dont think they are coming to me for design tips anytime soon



I sure hope not.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

and blocked
Gosh, I thought we were having a friendly, civilized debate.

Standard Answer to all 5E rules questions: "Ask your DM."

Novacat and Garthanos are in the right here. The game is as lethal as the DM runs it. If the DM chooses monsters and traps that the party outclasses--whether by absurd powergaming, clever thinking, being higher level, or whatever else--then it won't feel lethal. You aren't REQUIRED to put in equal to party level encounters for your game to be by the book and not homebrew. Encounter levels are a suggestion, a starting point. Learn your party's capabilities and adjust accordingly to how lethal YOU want it to be, because it's your game that you're running.

Yes, 1e was much more lethal by default than 4e, because it was just plain easier to die. That is, in my opinion, a very, VERY bad thing. All it does is remove control of the lethality from the DM's hands, because if it's so easy to die by default, it's more difficult to make a NON-lethal campaign. I'm totally with Novacat again on this one--telling a compelling story sucks if the cast keeps changing.



As far as compelling stories go, read the Black Company novels by Glenn Cook.  Very compelling story, and only about 3 members of the original cast make it to the end.  The cast is constantly changing.

For my D&D campaigns, I generally run a sandbox style gameplay.  The players are free to go where they want and do what they want.  In any edition.  There will be adventure hooks and opportunties for many different things.  The story evolves from the gameplay its self, which creates something that is better than the sum of its parts.  I don't railroad my PCs onto any story, the story evolves from their actions and (mis)adventures.  Character deaths can add to this.  If you can turn a simple "you rolled a 1 so you're dead" into something much more interesting through narration, you have a more interesting story.  Come up with a back story of how the new character gets involved.  If he dies in his first adventure, his time with the party would be a small note in the overall story.  It's perfectly possible to creat an interesting story with plenty of cast changes. 
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