My first battle finnished but I need a lot of help with death and dieing process

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So the first battle was a bit slow but we got through it.  It is not my first time playing, but my first time at D&D 4e and my first time as DM.  I also should note it is my boy's first time playing.  Things went smoothly but I know I screwed up in a few areas.  None that hugely effected the game and in the end the boys were loving it.  However, I do want to learn from this and I need help with how to handle the next game night.

Here is a basic summery of what happened:

This started out as a bar battle with a hook that would give them hints towards the bigger story which will come later when they become 2nd level. I'll run a printed campaign at that point. Right now I'm just trying to give them practice using their characters and the mechanics of how to play.  As I need this too.

At one point one of the characters got knocked below 0. He went -2 . Anyway, a warlord healed him up to 5.  I think this was my first mistake.  I believe he was only able to heal him to 0 or 1 and then the rouge at that point would need to use a heal surge to heal himself to more reasonable and safe level.  I also did not roll a death saving throw because the Warlord did manage to get to him right away. Was that correct or should have I made him roll a death saving throw immediately after he fell below 0 from the hit?  I thought the saving throw would need to be taken at the end of his next turn.

At the end, there was one of the soldier still in battle, he was able to escape but not without knocking the warlord to -6 and then escaping.  This time I just forgot the saving throws.  However, now the fight is over and the warlord is at -6 and no one has any major skills to help him.

I have a few questions at this point on how to proceed and also how to handle this situation better next time.  I am quite lost.

Questions: If I had done things right, at the end of the Warlords next turn, I should have rolled a saving throw.  If I understand correctly 1 to 9 he becomes one step closer to death, 10 to 19 he stays stable under his current condition but still remains dieing and 20 he regains consciousness and is at 0 then he can heal himself, Is that right? Also If he keeps getting 10 to 19, do I just keep rolling saving throws until either he regains consciousness or he looses three death saving throws?  It also notes that after a short rest they can stabilize.  This confuses me.  I'm not sure how you can rest when you are actively dieing. Can another non healing character stabilize him with a skill roll?

Okay so outside of that, they are now out of danger but he remains at -6. How should I proceed?  Should he take his saving throws now while other characters try to stabilize him through skill checks?  Or now that he is not going to be attacked, can he just rest?

I'd like to be able to make sure next time things go better, also I'd like for him not to die but I am very confused on how I should correctly handled it.  Your help is very appreciated and I am pretty confused. 

Thanks
LB





 


 

A few points:

First off,  "Regain Hit Points: When you are dying and receive healing, you go to 0 hit points and then regain hit points from the healing effect. If the healing effect requires you to spend a healing surge but you have none left, you are restored to 1 hit point." - PHB 295.  This means that if the Warlord heals you and you would regain 10 hitpoints, and are dying, your total hitpoints after the heal is 10.  Whether you're at -1 or -100, you go to 10 after the heal.

The vast majority of healing is allowing the character to spend a healing surge.  Such expenditure just happens, and does not require any further action.  The Warlord's power Inspiring Word is an example of this.  In order to determine the total healing effect, take the healing surge value of the person being healed and add any bonuses applicable to it from the power in question (for example, the 1d6 extra hitpoints from Inspiring Word).  In the case of the rogue at -2, let's say his healing surge value is 5.  The Warlord uses Inspiring Word, and rolls a d6 for the extra healing, and let's say it comes up as a 4.  The rogue then regains 9 hitpoints, which after starting at 0 means he now has 9 hitpoints and has spent a healing surge.  One surge should be deducted from the current total, and he regains consciousness.  No further effort or action on the part of the rogue is required.

Death saving throws happen at the end of the dying character's turn.  If it's not your turn when you get dropped below 0, you don't make a death saving throw until it is your turn.  If you get healed before it's your turn, you don't have to make a death saving throw (unless you get dropped again before the end of your turn).

As far as dying characters at the end of the encounter, it's a bit of a DM call.  I for one don't rule the encounter over until all effects that could potentially result in character death have been resolved, including ongoing damage and death saving throws.  In order for your warlord to not die, he'd have to be stabilized.  Usually this requires a Heal check or some form of magical healing, but if none of your allies can help you with that then you may just be out of luck.  Spreading out basic first aid capability in the party is generally a good idea for this reason, and you wouldn't have been out of the realm of reason to simply allow the Warlord to bleed out and die if nobody else could actually do anything about it.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Okay so then for the most part I had the right idea.  So now, the start of the next adventure I should resolve this possible death.  That brings to the death saving throw confusion.  The question above still has me confused a bit.

"If I understand correctly 1 to 9 he becomes one step closer to death, 10 to 19 he stays stable under his current condition but still remains dieing and 20 he regains consciousness and is at 0 then he can heal himself, Is that right? Also If he keeps getting 10 to 19, do I just keep rolling saving throws until either he regains consciousness or he looses three death saving throws?  It also notes that after a short rest they can stabilize.  This confuses me.  I'm not sure how you can rest when you are actively dieing. Can another non healing character stabilize him with a skill roll?"

So what I gather is the battle isn't over, so all the characters stay in their initiative order.  When it comes to the warlord he'll make a saving throw. If he rolls 10 to 19 he stays as is but doesn't slip further into death.  Do I keep rolling until he hits a 20 or worse gets three failed attempts? While this is going on other characters can roll a skill check that can stabilize him.  They can even work together to try to stabilize him, this way they can get bonuses towards the skill check heal and have better odds of saving him.  

Is that the best course of action?
LB
Well, it's your call as far as when the encounter ends.  Some DMs I've played with end the encounter as soon as all hostiles are dealt with, and any dying PCs begin their short rest and recover from there with no chance of character death.  I don't really like to do that, because I think a legitimate risk of death is necessary to a suspenseful story, but as I said it is your call.  What you describe in that last paragraph is pretty much exactly how I run things, and I've seen other DMs do that as well.

As far as resolving the possible death, I'd say gloss over this one, but inform the group that you checked up on the dying rules and have them know not to expect it again.  Very little can suck the life out of a session than having everyone show up and then tell one guy "Hey, welcome back!  By the way, your character's got five minutes to live."  If it were at the end of the last session still, and everybody was still right off the heels of the exciting fight, then yeah, resolve the death.  But for this particular case, I'd recommend letting it slide.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Okay.  Yeah I think I can do that. I kinda had that thought too.  I'll introduce more of the establishing hook to make it seem realistic but also have that discussion.  Then I will make sure in the future I'll do what I described above.  The dieing will need to be revived and resolved through teamwork and skill checks next time.  I like that suspense and realism to the story.

Thanks for the help.  I have a much clearer picture of how to handle it for the next time.

LB  
Two things:

Even if no one else is trained in Heal, they can still use the First Aid/Stabilize actions on the warlord to revive him, or at least to stop the need to make saving throws. If the encounter is otherwise over then Take 10 should be okay, so unless the entire rest of the party is absurdly bad at Heal, they'll at least be able to stabilize him.

Second: the death save results are based on the total, not just the natural die roll. If he has any bonuses or penalties to saving throws (and other PCs might be able to grant those too), they apply to the death save. If the total result is 20+, he surges; if the total result is 10+ (but not 20+), he doesn't worsen.
Note: it's half as hard again to stabilise, as it is to grant second wind.  Unless you have a party at level one, all of whom dumped charisma, you should be able to grant second wind reasonably easily (better than 50:50, all of you can attempt it between each of his turns), or if not that, then stabilise at DC15 also works.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
I was not aware that the death saving throw was based on the total.  I thought it was a simple roll but knowing bonuses can be applied or penalties for that matter this is info I now know and understand better.  I think I just never understood it correctly when I read it. Thanks Neutronium_Dragon

Also I was not aware you can grant second wind to someone else.  How do you do that?  Either way I now feel I have a much better view of this and in the next battle it will be handled much more smootghly.
Thanks to all of you.
LB
You can grant second wind, a +2 bonus to the next saving throw, or an instant saving throw by using the heal skill.

Note: Savings throws that don't occur at the end of your turn don't contribute any negative effects for failing, so it won't kill the character faster with more death saves.

Also, failed death saves last until a rest (short or long) is taken, so a character knocked unconscious multiple times in a fight can accumulate failed saves and be closer to death each time.
I rule it the same way as Mand12. If somebody's dying, keep playing until they're safe.

That said, unless they're already at two failed death saves, it shouldn't be too hard to do so. Just stabilize them. DC 15 heal check. Even if the entire party has a 0 Wis mod and nobody's trained in heal (very doubtful), a party of 4 has a nearly 66% chance of doing it within a round. A party of 5, nearly 76%. And that's at first level. The DC doesn't get any higher.

On a related note, our group houserules stabilize the dying. Rather than no longer make death saves at all, the subject still makes them. They just can't fail them. That means they can still get a lucky 20 and rejoin the fray.
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