how about 3 death saves.

in 4th edition you have death saves if you fail 3 of these in a day you die.
currently you only roll death saves in 4th edition if your under 0 ( dying condition) HP and have a 55% base change of making the save.

some people like the idea of the old SOD effects ( i personaly am not a fan of them)


but would the flowowing compromise be acceptable to SOD fans:
like in 4th you die when you fail 3 death saves in one day.
unlike 4th some powers make you roll a death save. for example finger of death might couse 1 healing surge damage + roll a death save.
and you make death saves when you are under 0 HP.

and for people who think players heal to fast maybe you recover 1 failed death save per extended rest.




in 4th edition you have death saves if you fail 3 of these in a day you die.



Yeah, I wish.

It's three between a rest; not three between an extended rest.  You have to fail thrice in a single encounter to die.




Your actual idea, though, is something I could definitely get behind.  If we're going to have both death saves and save or die effects I think this would be a good way to implement them.
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I don't see getting much value from such a mechanic, especially compared to the high price of making everyone keep track of their death saves. 

I cast three finger of death on someone and have a 9% chance to kill them outright. But each finger of death is also doing damage, so it is very likely they die from hp loss before they ever reach the real save vs die.
in 4th edition you have death saves if you fail 3 of these in a day you die.



Yeah, I wish.

It's three between a rest; not three between an extended rest.  You have to fail thrice in a single encounter to die.




Your actual idea, though, is something I could definitely get behind.  If we're going to have both death saves and save or die effects I think this would be a good way to implement them.



well then this might be one of the things we have been doing wrong from the start.
if you are right that it is 3 failed saves between short rests i still feal 3 saves between extended rests would be better.

I don't see getting much value from such a mechanic, especially compared to the high price of making everyone keep track of their death saves. 

I cast three finger of death on someone and have a 9% chance to kill them outright. But each finger of death is also doing damage, so it is very likely they die from hp loss before they ever reach the real save vs die.



somple 3 check boxes above the field where you keep track of HP.
I'm not sure 3 is the right number.  When someone goes down and is dying, I want PCs to fear and break their necks to try to save that downed comrade.  With 3 fails...it makes the 1st failed save nearly meaningless.

What if we cut it down to two!  The first is the warning...character is slipping into the underworld.   If no help is rendered...the next one should be the deciding factor...and if PC is lucky, he or she will cling to life for one more round.

 

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My group has always played that you only recover failed death saves after an extended rest. (We also misread the rules) But donig it that way worked out well for us, since a character that was brought to dying (which was often) usually failed 1-2 saves in an encounter.

The Heal skill became our best friend.

I like the 3 failed saves threshold, if it's only recovered by extended rests.
Glasya has a minor action attack that on a hit knocks the target Unconscious (save ends) and the while the target is unconscious, the first save the target must make is a death saving throw.  So effectively the target needs to just fail five saving throws (3 death saves, and 2 unconscious save) total during an encounter with the Princess of the Nine Hells before it dies.  That excludes of course the Coup de Gras that could be made during those three rounds.

Seems balanced enough if you ask me  
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What about using the 'disease track' approach.  When you are down, you roll each turn on the disease track.  Roll low and you slip another step toward death, roll high and you move one step towards consciousness (at which point you can spend your second wind).

Perhaps among the effects of slipping further down the track (after failing) are ongoing damage or briefly persistent effects when you are brought back (for exampe - if you bring the character back before they slip, once healed they are 'normal', but if they have failed a death save slipped down a step on the track when brought back they are dazed (save ends) from the near death experience.

(You could also just add this kind of approach onto the deathsaves themselves).  It gives the players a reason to try to get to them before they start failing saves.


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I like the idea of certain things like Finger of Death making someone roll a death save. And my group plays with death saves only resetting after an extended rest. I wouldn't go to short rest resoration unless all my players demanded it. I like the idea with Finger of Death and the like because players know they only have a few of those, and if someone starts to throw out spells that make them roll one, preferably with a penalty, it will freak out my players. They'll know to be cautious.
I'd also insist on sticking with the 3 Death saves because with two  it gives less time for players to work towards healing them. Yes sometimes players will just let their comrades fail the first before worrying about them, but just as often for my group they simply can't get to the guy bleeding out.
+1 to this thread. Definitely something the devs should consider.
In regard to SOD effects, that seems to be a pretty good implementation when they target players. However, monsters don't roll death saves as a rule. How would they work when the players are using them? Would players even have access to SOD effects?
in 4th edition you have death saves if you fail 3 of these in a day you die.



Yeah, I wish.

It's three between a rest; not three between an extended rest.  You have to fail thrice in a single encounter to die.
.



Just to clarify something, in 4e you can also die from going to negative your bloodied value in hit points. I've seen that happen more than once in our groups, usually because an unconcious character was taking ongoing damage from an effect and/or hazardous area (usually both in the cases where the character died of hit point loss.)  Only once have I seen a monster intentionally coup de gras a character to death (happened to me, unfortunately. Thanks DM! Yell) And of course I've seen and had some characters die from failing three death saves.



In fact I've seen more characters die in 4e then I ever did in 3e. Which is why I find it funny when I see posts claiming characters never die in 4e. That's definitely not the case in the groups I'm in.   
In regard to SOD effects, that seems to be a pretty good implementation when they target players. However, monsters don't roll death saves as a rule. How would they work when the players are using them? Would players even have access to SOD effects?



Give monsters death saves as well?

In regard to SOD effects, that seems to be a pretty good implementation when they target players. However, monsters don't roll death saves as a rule. How would they work when the players are using them? Would players even have access to SOD effects?



Give monsters death saves as well?




The problem with that is then you have to do a bit of re-working on how monsters die. As it currently is, they die at 0 hp (unless the hit was specified to knock out). Do you have monsters follow the same rules as PCs? Do they fall unconscious at 0 hp and die upon failing three (or some other number of) death saves, without dealing with negative hp? If a monster rolls a 20 on its death save, would it get to spend a surge and regain consciousness?

There's also the RP consequences as well. How do players handle a party of enemies that have all been rendered unconscious, but are stabilized? (That question isn't really meant to be answered, since it varies from player to player).

Apologies for the question barrage, I just prefer to be thorough when designing/altering mechanics
I like 4e's system of death saves.  Now, I wouldn't mind if they kept the rules but made is so the saves only reset after an extended rest(or 5e equivalent), but otherwise I don't mind the system.

This is kinda something tied to an issue my friend(part of our group) seems to suddenly have with 4e(among other things).  He feels that it's too easy to stay alive and thus making our group lazy.  Which is entirely not true, when someone drops to 0 hp we work to get them healed.

Anyway, I like the fact that you have a real chance of living in 4e.  If I'm playing a character I don't want to have to make a whole new character just because I got dropped to zero and failed one saving throw or whatever.  Though I don't remember 3.5's death rules I remember it was harder to stay alive and I lost my favorite character because the DM pitted us in a pitched battle and we had no way of healing.  And even in 4e I've burned through characters that've died in horrible ways, even with all the rules and death saves.  I mean hell one of my characters died because we were flying(everyone had flight, it was part of the game) and fighting.  In the battle my character got dropped to zero but we weren't just 30-40 ft up.  No...we were thousands of feet up.  Basically I had no chance and my character plummeted to the ground to become a rather large splatter.  All the healing and death saving throws in 4e couldn't help.  And that was fine.

Regardless, I hope they keep a system like 4e's in 5th.  I want a real chance to be able to stay alive and not have to worry that once I'm dropped to 0 hp I'll more likely than not be making a new character and losing on the character I've spent time building and roleplaying.      
The problem with that is then you have to do a bit of re-working on how monsters die. As it currently is, they die at 0 hp (unless the hit was specified to knock out). Do you have monsters follow the same rules as PCs? Do they fall unconscious at 0 hp and die upon failing three (or some other number of) death saves, without dealing with negative hp? If a monster rolls a 20 on its death save, would it get to spend a surge and regain consciousness?



That's not 100% correct. The rules say that, since it's unnecessary bookkeping and it will rarely matter anyway, monsters die at 0hp by default but the DM can roll for them if for whatever reason he thinks that the monster deserves so.

So you can do it, but as a general rule it's better to avoid them (also having to slit the throat of enemies for fear that they will return on their feet it's boring/unheroic). 
In regard to SOD effects, that seems to be a pretty good implementation when they target players. However, monsters don't roll death saves as a rule. How would they work when the players are using them? Would players even have access to SOD effects?



Give monsters death saves as well?




indeed
minions always die if they have to roll a death save.
normal monster dies after 1 feailed death save.
Elite dies after 2 feailed death saves.
solo dies after 3 failed death saves.

you only keep track of monster death saves for save or die reasons.
monsters just die when they have 0 HP or less. 
The problem with that is then you have to do a bit of re-working on how monsters die. As it currently is, they die at 0 hp (unless the hit was specified to knock out). Do you have monsters follow the same rules as PCs? Do they fall unconscious at 0 hp and die upon failing three (or some other number of) death saves, without dealing with negative hp? If a monster rolls a 20 on its death save, would it get to spend a surge and regain consciousness?



That's not 100% correct. The rules say that, since it's unnecessary bookkeping and it will rarely matter anyway, monsters die at 0hp by default but the DM can roll for them if for whatever reason he thinks that the monster deserves so.

So you can do it, but as a general rule it's better to avoid them (also having to slit the throat of enemies for fear that they will return on their feet it's boring/unheroic). 



I thought it was assumed that the DM can introduce exceptions. My apologies. Anyway, I like edwin_su's idea, and just adding a death save as an extra effect to existing powers.

I'm not sure 3 is the right number.  When someone goes down and is dying, I want PCs to fear and break their necks to try to save that downed comrade.  With 3 fails...it makes the 1st failed save nearly meaningless.

What if we cut it down to two!  The first is the warning...character is slipping into the underworld.   If no help is rendered...the next one should be the deciding factor...and if PC is lucky, he or she will cling to life for one more round.
 


No it doesn't. I've had plenty of combats where PCs went below 0 HP and 3 saves seem just about right. It's enough to keep tension, but also allows enough time so that the downed PC doesn't die if the other party members are tied down and can't get to him immediately. This is especially true if you go with the above suggestion of changing it from 3 failed death saves per encounter to 3 failed death saves per day.

There are also other possibilities. I tried out a houserule where we didn't track negative HP at all. Instead, suffering damage inflicted more death saves, and a coup de grace counted as an automatic 2 failed saves. That made death saves very important to the players.
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Just to clarify something, in 4e you can also die from going to negative your bloodied value in hit points. I've seen that happen more than once in our groups, usually because an unconcious character was taking ongoing damage from an effect and/or hazardous area (usually both in the cases where the character died of hit point loss.)  Only once have I seen a monster intentionally coup de gras a character to death (happened to me, unfortunately. Thanks DM! Yell) And of course I've seen and had some characters die from failing three death saves.



You must have some extremely low bloodied values and/or inconsiderate PCs.



In fact I've seen more characters die in 4e then I ever did in 3e. Which is why I find it funny when I see posts claiming characters never die in 4e. That's definitely not the case in the groups I'm in.   



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It is mathematically less likely for a 4E PC to die than a 3E PC.  This is a simple fact.  Some people think that's an improvmeent, some don't, and that's an opinion that can be debated.  But it is a fact that 4E PCs are less likely to die than 3E PCs.
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