New rules regarding death?

13 posts / 0 new
Last post
Dave Noonan talks a bit about their method for playtesting in a recent blog entry.

He samples the questionnaire that each player got in these sessions, and here is the bit that got my attention (well, there's a bunch of cool stuff to be had there, but I thought this one was the most deserving of a thread):

  • If you got KOed or killed, put down a "—."

Now... "KOed or killed". Could mean only that there's still the "dying" state at -1/-9, but the new terminology makes it sound different.

Perhaps there's a new "state" between "alive and kicking" and "dead"? Something like, "when you're out of hit points, your character falls down, knocked out. If he takes one more hit while KOed, he dies".

That would make for interesting mechanics. What kinds of monsters change targets when one enemy falls? What monsters just keep going and going until only a bloody pulp remains?

So, what do you guys think?
Or, it could mean the effect of taking enough nonlethal damage.
EVERY DAY IS HORRIBLE POST DAY ON THE D&D FORUMS. Everything makes me ANGRY (ESPECIALLY you, reader)
That would make for interesting mechanics. What kinds of monsters change targets when one enemy falls? What monsters just keep going and going until only a bloody pulp remains?

Isn't this sort of thing usually up to the DM?
Isn't this sort of thing usually up to the DM?

True. Although with all the new trend of "monster roles", something like that might be around.

Still, a KO rule would make character death less "granted" when someone falls down on negative hps. So that, unless the monster keeps punching at him, the cleric can wait until the encounter ends to run and heal. And defenders get to use their "hey, beast, target me" stuff.
Or, it could mean the effect of taking enough nonlethal damage.

Ugh, let's hope not. I'm really hoping there's no non-lethal damage mechanic in the new edition. It totally screws up the hit point abstraction.

I would assume it's the same as in 3E: if you drop below 0 hp, you're unconscious (KO'd) and if you drop below -10, you're killed. Either way, you're out of the fight, which is presumably what they're looking for in playtesting.
Ugh, let's hope not. I'm really hoping there's no non-lethal damage mechanic in the new edition. It totally screws up the hit point abstraction.

There better be a non-lethal mechanic. Otherwise, a lot more PCs are "accidentally" going to be kill by guards. And there will definitely be less bad guys to tor---interrogate.
There better be a non-lethal mechanic. Otherwise, a lot more PCs are "accidentally" going to be kill by guards. And there will definitely be less bad guys to tor---interrogate.

Here's my problem with non-lethal damage: It represents the same thing as hit points. Non-lethal damage is bruising, fatigue... anything that slows you down and makes you less effective in combat. But so is lethal damage! The only "lethal" blow that inflicts actual serious damage to your body is the one that drops you below 0 hp.

I totally, utterly and completely agree that there needs to be a mechanic for knocking out opponents rather than killing them. However, the damage inflicted before 0 hp is exactly the same, so having a different type of damage is not the way to do it.

Personally, I would be happy with characters that want to subdue their opponents having to be more careful with their blows... a method of 'pulling' blows so that they do less than 10 damage would be one way of ensuring that nobody gets instantly killed. This would make it more difficult to subdue an opponent, especially if they are intent on using deadly force... which is exactly as it should be.

If I was a city guard, I would ordinarily use "non-lethal" force... capping my blows at 10 damage would be one way of achieving this (assuming the bleeding-to-death mechanics were ditched, which I personally feel they should be except through attacks that specifically cause bleeding effects). If someone walked through the gates and started throwing deadly force around - fireballs, for example - I would have no qualms about killing the hell out of them; they brought it on themselves.

In other words, I would advocate that most people would be reluctant to use the full extent of their deadly force in situations where they preferred their opponents didn't die. If deadly force was used against them, they would be likely to respond in kind, as the desperation of the situation would demand it. In game terms, they would use low-damage attacks to avoid killing their opponents outright, but if attacked at full force (like drawing a sword in the middle of a fist-fight) they would use high-damage attacks, simply because if they didn't they would lose. If you wanted to make things easier for rogues to mug people, you could have a rule that sneak attack damage with the intent to subdue was automatically capped to drop the target to -1, even if used at full force. I think this models the desired situation pretty well.

If you crack someone over the back of the head as hard as you can, they're actually pretty likely to die, even if you're using a kosh or other "non-lethal" weapon. The idea that there are some weapons that don't really hurt people regardless of how hard or often you hit them, but rather make the target "more unconscious" somehow, is ridiculous to me.
Yes there is a logic problem with the whole concept of DnD hp and a separate track for non-lethal damage. As you say it is only the last blow that kills you; you could be exhausted from winning a non-lethal fight and then be stabbed in the heart by someone else. A really simple way to rule it is to decide whether the 'monster' is fighting to kill or subdue from the outset. If the former, the pc will be knocked out or killed depending on the circumstances, if the latter the pc can only be ko'd (unless perhaps the final blow is a critical hit - even real world boxers can accidentally kill an opponent).
In SWSE stunning and lethal damage are the same, excpet for when the character is dropped below 0 HP.

If the attack was lethal damage, they die.
If the attack was stunning damage, they are incapacitated.
In SWSE stunning and lethal damage are the same, excpet for when the character is dropped below 0 HP.

If the attack was lethal damage, they die.
If the attack was stunning damage, they are incapacitated.

Not exactly. If the attack was lethal damage, AND it exceeded their damage threshold (usually fortitude defense), they die, unless they spend a force point, or are revivified within two rounds (one round to reach them, plus a full-round action on the next round) by a DC 25 treat injury check. If the last blow didn't exceed their damage threshold, they are merely knocked unconscious. A coup de grace against an unconscious character can then be used to kill it.

I kind of like the way that works. It gives a little more value to a high constitution score other than just a few extra hit points. Also, you don't have to keep track of lethal vs. non-lethal damage.
So long as the rules for dying make it harder to do so (while making knockouts a possibility instead of a contrivance), I'm good with it.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
In Saga death is a lot more permanent than in DnD.

I'd like to see a system where one could be killed with about the same ease as in 3.5. Although I'd like them to tone down the amount of huge damage outputs some monsters would have to do to make a difference in the amount of resources they forced you to use up. That way you end up slowly being cut down then knocked unconscious or killed.

In 3.5 sometimes you'd end up walking through the forest when something would swoop down and rip about 86 or your precious 95 HPs from you. I hated those big swings so much. They make some combats that are supposed to be truly epic long fights into, at most, 3 rounds (or 18 in-game seconds) of combat . This combat is usually high damage swings either matched with high damage output from the party. It really got old after awhile. And you'd usually end up dieing from about 2 or 3 swings from a heavy hitter.
i was going to make an argument for nonlethal damage, but after seeing BattleaxeField's explanation of SWSE's system, i find i like that better.
Just thought you should know. the countdown continues...
Sign In to post comments