Subdual damage in Next

Forgive me if it's been already discussed, I've looked all over the forum and the Next rules, and can't find anything pertaining to this... the only similar thing is the "knocking a creature out" rule.
I'm currently playing in a 3.5 campaign, and we've had a situation where we had to knock out an opponent, and the rules stated that subdual attacks come at a -4 attack, but with full damage. To my friends and me that makes little to no sense, as a character proficient in use of a weapon should know how to not hurt someone with it as well (as seen with many a butt-slapping sword in swashbuckling movies) while a weapon made for cutting can in no way do as much damage when hitting sideways.
So, seeing how this is a new edition being formed, I thought I'd give my view on how it could be worked into new rules.

I'm thinking a much better way would be to  have half damage instead of the attack penalty. Maybe a -1 penalty, just to make it a bit more difficult and to account to care needed to not hurt someone with a lethal weapon.

How does that sound? Could it, and should it be implemented? Any ideas on how to improve it?
I agree with wanting to estabilsh a "knockout" rule, and that discussion should absolutely proceed.

But can we all agree that "subdual damage" sounds stupid and we should get a better name for it?
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
There is a rule.

Knocking a Creature Out 

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a
foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an
attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points or
fewer with a melee attack, the attacker can
knock the creature out. The attacker can make
this choice the instant the damage is dealt.
Knocking a creature out in this way causes the
creature to have 0 hit points, regardless of the
damage dealt. The creature falls unconscious and
is stable (see “Stabilizing a Creature” above).




Similar to 4e, except you can't do it with a fireball.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Nonlethal damage, then?

Most weapons are designed to injure, so however well it does that job should not factor into how well it functions at not injuring someone. If you want to not-hurt someone with a weapon, I would just go with (1d4 + STR), regardless of the weapon.

A penalty like -1 to hit is not really the way things work in 5E, and half-damage reduces the contribution from Strength even further when it should really be the major deciding factor once you've discounted the lethality of the weapon.

Whatever it is, it just needs to be better than the awful way they handled it in 4E
The metagame is not the game.
Please explain to me why players and DM's should have mechanical disincentives for disabling living enemies instead of just killing them. I'm detecting some arbitrary legacy thinking here.
Because it's a lot easier to kill someone than it is to disable but not kill someone, when attacking them with deadly weapons.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Because it's a lot easier to kill someone than it is to disable but not kill someone, when attacking them with deadly weapons.



Which is great if you're simulating an entire war and care about casualty logistics. Personally, I think the above argument harms narrative and fun more than it really helps anything. How does the current rule from the playtest actually hurt gameplay?
I don't really understand this discussion so much that I'm starting to just sort of chuckle at it now.

Mello copied the rule that currently exists for knocking a creature out, right?  It seems to work for everything we need it to.
I'm just skeptical that any D&D games are actually suffering from a glut of non-lethal heroes and need a reason why this concept should be objectively punished.
Fair enough.  I think the current edition has taken a few steps in the right direction (a bit better than 4e in this regard).  We're starting (slowly!  So slowly!) to see some material for the exploration and interaction 'pillars' I heard so much about.

What do you think would be a good place to broaden the methods with which players can effectively deal with combat situations?  More class abilities directly suited to non-violence?  Or a little more rules material in the skill list?  I'm just sort of spitballing here.
I think that the rules, as is, are fine so long as long as hitpoints are the main metric for violent conflict resolution. Trust me, there are lots of things wrong with D&DN's rules but this is probably the last thing I'd bother changing.
I could see a module for knocking people out too, for those who like it reaslistic.  But IMO, the default should be nearly as easy as killing someone.  Otherwise, there's disinsentive for RP.

Also, perhaps a moral/surrender module as well.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

This would be handled automatically by a "down, not dead" model.
The current method is quite workable though.
I'm just skeptical that any D&D games are actually suffering from a glut of non-lethal heroes and need a reason why this concept should be objectively punished.

It's how you go about it. In the quoted rule, as in 4E, the last person to land a hit is the only one who gets a say in whether to kill or subdue. With a method that allows for nonlethal/subdual damage, anyone who lands a solid nonlethal hit is going to make that enemy fall unconscious when the sum of nonlethal damage exceeds remaining HP.

The metagame is not the game.
In the quoted rule, as in 4E, the last person to land a hit is the only one who gets a say in whether to kill or subdue.

A dude isn't going to survive being shanked just because everyone else was beating him with a sock full of nickels.
A dude isn't going to survive being shanked just because everyone else was beating him with a sock full of nickels.

If the dude was tough enough that the shanking alone wouldn't be fatal, then the sap isn't going to suddenly become a deadly weapon. Arguments could be made either way, but since this isn't Warhammer, I think it's safe to err on the side of non-lethal.

The metagame is not the game.
I think it's safe to err on the side of non-lethal.

A model of "nobody dies until everyone does" handles this quite well.

Remember that those other hits aren't always hits.  They are strains from parrying/ dodging, etc.

now granted, for certain fights that doesn't make sense ( like laying into a large beast) but door a humanoid, saying you nicked him a few times then finished him with a well placed pommel pummel works pretty well. 
I'll tell you what I like the sound of...  A 'down but not dying' model.  Below 0 hit points, you fall prone instead of unconscious, have disadvantage on all checks, half movement, something like that.
There's nothing really wrong with "zero = unconscious", either, or "zero = noncombatant".
Sure.  The big problem in my opinion is how to best incentivize players and DMs to actually act like their characters/monsters are afraid of going below 0 hit points.

Well, okay, for some monsters and barbarians that whole fearless bit might make sense.  Not for the grand majority of them though.
I'm just skeptical that any D&D games are actually suffering from a glut of non-lethal heroes and need a reason why this concept should be objectively punished.

It's how you go about it. In the quoted rule, as in 4E, the last person to land a hit is the only one who gets a say in whether to kill or subdue. With a method that allows for nonlethal/subdual damage, anyone who lands a solid nonlethal hit is going to make that enemy fall unconscious when the sum of nonlethal damage exceeds remaining HP.




Right. I just don't see that as problematic. While it's not super realistic, neither are most of the combat rules in D&D. It's about as problematic as the concept of hitpoints, but just like hitpoints it fullfills its purpose pretty effectively.

From my perspective the 4e/DDN non-lethal rule is like four or five people trying to catch the same creature. That creature only has so much stamina and pluck for fighting and evading before someone gets lucky or corners it. At that moment it is at that person's mercy, regardless of the motives of the other four pursuers. 

Regardless, the number of tables inconvenienced by complicated and punishing rules for non-lethal effects probably outnumbers the number of tables where there's a desire for more simulated lethality. Chalk it up to an optional module and call it day. After all, the average D&D heroes have kill counts that compair only to the most exageratedly violent narrative protagonists. I don't think D&D needs to have more emphasis on simulated murder than does is already.
There's nothing really wrong with "zero = unconscious", either, or "zero = noncombatant".

Agreed.

Zero equals whatever the narrative dictates.

Danny

This is an excellent thread. I think it should be handeled this way:
- It should count with hit points.
- To beat somebody to unconscious should be at least as easy (mechanically) as kill him.
- In fact, it should be more easy than killing, to give players a meaningful choice - in fact, they should be all the heroes of good.

My suggestion:
- If you want to beat somebody to unconscious, not to kill him, your damage is triple.

This easy rule counts with hit points, gives players a meaningful choice not to kill a foe, and it gives a good mechanic for great role playing (like "I punch him with my fist to his face, trying to put him down.")
Flynning ended by a facepunch is fairly common in cinema.
- In fact, it should be more easy than killing, to give players a meaningful choice - in fact, they should be all the heroes of good.

That creates other problems, though. If it's mechanically advantageous to go non-lethal, then the party has to decide what to do with all of these villains who were trying to kill you and who will probably kill someone else if you let them go. Not every enemy is going to honestly repent, and if even one of them goes on to kill an innocent, then that's all your fault for letting them go to begin with. But going around to execute all of the fallen isn't really heroic either.

If death is the obvious (mechanically advantageous) method of dealing with enemies, then we still get to cheer for the party when they vanquish foes. It resolves that whole moral dilemma. They did what had to be done. If the heroes want to go out of their way to keep some enemies alive (even if it's a very minor penalty), then we get to cheer for those heroes even more, but it never becomes the expectation.
The metagame is not the game.

My suggestion:
- If you want to beat somebody to unconscious, not to kill him, your damage is triple.



That might be taking it too far. Then you're creating an incentive to never kill characters until after you've captured them. I think letting the players and GM determine it case-by-case at 0 hp is quite sufficient for the vast majority of needs.
If you do that, you just encourage the party to knock everyone unconscious and then coup-de-grace them all at their leisure. That doesn't seem like it's worth encouraging.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
There is a rule.

Knocking a Creature Out 

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a
foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an
attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points or
fewer with a melee attack, the attacker can
knock the creature out. The attacker can make
this choice the instant the damage is dealt.
Knocking a creature out in this way causes the
creature to have 0 hit points, regardless of the
damage dealt. The creature falls unconscious and
is stable (see “Stabilizing a Creature” above).




Similar to 4e, except you can't do it with a fireball.


I suggest 2 minor changes:

1) You can do this with any weapon attack, not just melee (aiming for the leg, etc.), as the attack can disable the target without knocking them out.

2) You have to announce a non-lethal attack BEFORE you make it. It shows that you are not attacking to kill, which may adjust people's reactions ("hey, they don't want to kill me... maybe we should talk...").

Please explain to me why players and DM's should have mechanical disincentives for disabling living enemies instead of just killing them. I'm detecting some arbitrary legacy thinking here.


You can't figure out reasons why someone would NOT want to KILL his opponent?

 
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
There is a rule.

Knocking a Creature Out 

Sometimes an attacker wants to incapacitate a
foe, rather than deal a killing blow. When an
attacker reduces a creature to 0 hit points or
fewer with a melee attack, the attacker can
knock the creature out. The attacker can make
this choice the instant the damage is dealt.
Knocking a creature out in this way causes the
creature to have 0 hit points, regardless of the
damage dealt. The creature falls unconscious and
is stable (see “Stabilizing a Creature” above).


Similar to 4e, except you can't do it with a fireball.

I suggest 2 minor changes:

1) You can do this with any weapon attack, not just melee (aiming for the leg, etc.), as the attack can disable the target without knocking them out.

2) You have to announce a non-lethal attack BEFORE you make it. It shows that you are not attacking to kill, which may adjust people's reactions ("hey, they don't want to kill me... maybe we should talk...").


1) I'm a little less certain about this.  Hitting someone with a side of a blade is much easier then hitting someone with the side of an arrow.

2) This was a houserule we used in 4e.  It worked easily enough.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

Considering that HP are abstract, and a mechanical 'hit' does not mean there was a narrative 'hit', the 'only the last guy decides' isn't an issue.
Considering that HP are abstract, and a mechanical 'hit' does not mean there was a narrative 'hit', the 'only the last guy decides' isn't an issue.


Agreed

It also allows to only keep track of "subdual" damage only when it becomes important: the hit that drops the monster. Much simpler 
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
Please explain to me why players and DM's should have mechanical disincentives for disabling living enemies instead of just killing them. I'm detecting some arbitrary legacy thinking here.


You can't figure out reasons why someone would NOT want to KILL his opponent?

 



That's a completely different question. Please reread and answer my question.

Here is an easy way to do it:

Non-lethal damage isn't tracked separately from regular damage, but any attack that deals non-lethal damage that would drop a creature below 1 HP results in the creature merely being knocked out instead of dying.

Most weapons are not designed to deal non-lethal damage making it difficult to make a non-lethal attack. When you make an attack, you may declare that you are attempting to deal non-lethal damage, if your attack is successful it only deals 1/2 normal damage. Some special weapons deal full non-lethal damage.


This method would allow a player to make a non-lethal attack, but it is risky because they might not do enough damage to drop their foe, simply resulting in a loss of damage. This method gets past the 4e issue of the player determining whether their attack was lethal or not after they see if their target drops. A feat could be added to the game that allows someone to do full damage on non-lethal attacks.
What happened was that we were trying to capture an escaped prisoner and needed him alive, while NPC guards didn't care so were going all-out. Using the old nonlethal rules was easy, as soon as the actual HP were lower than nonlethal damage dealt down he went... but that last hit was a 27HP critical. If the Next rules were used, that would pretty much instantly kill him, no chance of a "dropped below 0, falls unconscious".

I have no problem with using a house rule, but that only works in the campaign where it's established, and we have plenty of various campaigns running, so it's much easier to have an official rule... especially as there's several new players who have trouble with all the rules, for them it would be far easier to be able to just read the rule in the book. That's why I started this thread, to see if nonlethal damage could be "officialized" in an easy and logical way.
What happened was that we were trying to capture an escaped prisoner and needed him alive, while NPC guards didn't care so were going all-out. Using the old nonlethal rules was easy, as soon as the actual HP were lower than nonlethal damage dealt down he went... but that last hit was a 27HP critical. If the Next rules were used, that would pretty much instantly kill him, no chance of a "dropped below 0, falls unconscious".

I have no problem with using a house rule, but that only works in the campaign where it's established, and we have plenty of various campaigns running, so it's much easier to have an official rule... especially as there's several new players who have trouble with all the rules, for them it would be far easier to be able to just read the rule in the book. That's why I started this thread, to see if nonlethal damage could be "officialized" in an easy and logical way.



The GM killed your prisoner then, not the rules.

Edit: I'm assuming that the GM was in control of the  guards. Under the current rules they had no reason not to take the prisoner alive. Thus you should assume your GM wanted the prisoner dead for personal or narrative reasons.
Please explain to me why players and DM's should have mechanical disincentives for disabling living enemies instead of just killing them. I'm detecting some arbitrary legacy thinking here.


You can't figure out reasons why someone would NOT want to KILL his opponent?

 



That's a completely different question. Please reread and answer my question.



Sorry, I still don't get what you meant. English isn't my first language
Try radiance RPG. A complete D20 game that supports fantasy and steampunk. Download the FREE PDF here: http://www.radiancerpg.com
What happened was that we were trying to capture an escaped prisoner and needed him alive, while NPC guards didn't care so were going all-out. Using the old nonlethal rules was easy, as soon as the actual HP were lower than nonlethal damage dealt down he went... but that last hit was a 27HP critical. If the Next rules were used, that would pretty much instantly kill him, no chance of a "dropped below 0, falls unconscious".

I have no problem with using a house rule, but that only works in the campaign where it's established, and we have plenty of various campaigns running, so it's much easier to have an official rule... especially as there's several new players who have trouble with all the rules, for them it would be far easier to be able to just read the rule in the book. That's why I started this thread, to see if nonlethal damage could be "officialized" in an easy and logical way.


Seems to me that a critical is you taking full advantage of a opportunity not dumb luck. An attacker should be able to treat any crit as a normal hit.

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Imagine a world where the first-time D&D player rolls stats, picks a race, picks a class, picks an alignment, and buys gear to create a character. Imagine if an experienced player, maybe the person helping our theoretical player learn the ropes, could also make a character by rolling ability scores and picking a race, class, feat, skills, class features, spells or powers, and so on. Those two players used different paths to build characters, but the system design allows them to play at the same table. -Mearl

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The prisoner was a PC and a future addition to the party, and *very* dangerous to the guards... the current rules for nonlethal damage meant that it was much more difficult to hit him, and that was a great risk, so the guards can't really take the risk. We don't like to railroad the story, so we didn't fudge the dice... but a lucky roll on attack and damage can easily destroy plans in a system like that. A -4 penalty to attack is a huge number, and that's why I'm wishing for a better system to be introduced.
A -4 penalty to attack is a huge number, and that's why I'm wishing for a better system to be introduced.

And "that dude drops.  want him dead, or knocked out?" doesn't do that?