Death by Increments

Written by John M..

Death by Increments

Rationale: Incorporate both the Lasting Wounds and Meaningful Death options into a single framework, and change the binary nature of the Death Saves.

Rules:

StateLasting Condition
MookNormalLieutenant/MinibossBoss
0 hp/Unconscious None +1 Lasting Wound[1]
Failed 1st Death Save None +1 Lasting Wound[1] Stunned for +1 round and +1 Lasting Wound[1]
Failed 2nd Death Save +1 Lasting Wound[1] Stunned for +1 round and +1 Lasting Wound[1] Stunned for +1 round, +1 Lasting Wound[1], +Hampered
Failed 3rd Death Save +1 Lasting Wound[1] Stunned for +1 round, +1 Lasting Wound[1] Stunned for +1 round, +1 Lasting Wound[1], +Hampered Stunned for +1 round, +1 Lasting Wound[1], +Weakened
Failed 4th/Last Death Save No death, but Stunned for +1 round and +1 Lasting Wound[1] No death, but Stunned for +1 round, +1 Lasting Wound[1], +Hampered No death, but Stunned for +1 round, +1 Lasting Wound[1], +Weakened Death
Negative 1/2 Maximum HP As failed Failed 4th/Last Death Save, plus:
Hampered Weakened Vulnerable Still dead

[1] If multiple Lasting Wounds reduce the character's maximum hit points to zero (0) or less, the character is dead.

These conditions apply once the character has returned to consciousness and are cumulative. Someone who has failed 4 Death Saves after a lethal blow given by normal monster will, once he regains consciousness, be stunned for 2 rounds, have 4 Lasting Wounds, and be Weakened until healed.

Normal recoveries cannot cure these conditions (including Lasting Wounds). A single casting of a magical healing ability will cure one of these long-lasting conditions (but at the cost of not healing any hit points). A Full Heal will cure all these conditions.

Comments: Overall, this will make going unconscious hurt a little (or a lot) more, since each failed Death Save comes with it's own penalty. You may wish into increase or decrease the penalties.
Harder: Each condition can only be removed by a Full Heal, and each Full Heal can only remove one condition, unless the group is willing to accept a campaign loss. If the group is willing to accept a campaign loss, all conditions are removed.
Softer: A normal recovery can cure a single one of these conditions (instead of recovering hit points), but doing so requires a success on a hard save (16+).

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