Guten tag to my readers in Deutschland, especially those of you coming by way of Brave Halfling Publishing's German bulletin boards. Attention from that board to my Table of Death and Dismemberment, plus Chgowiz's recounting of a bar brawl in the solo game for his wife has me thinking about subdual damage. Traditionally in D&D, subdual damage is tracked separately from “real” damage, and I'm not entirely certain why. My guess is that a captive is generally more valuable than a corpse, and tracking them separately means you can't use fireballs and lightning bolts to subdue a foe. The only place subduing a foe shows up in Moldvay's Basic is under the dragon entry of the monster section and speaks specifically against allowing spells and ranged weapons.
Fair enough, but I'm still not seeing the necessity. Right now, if someone tells me they want to subdue their foe, I run combat like normal except that the target is knocked out instead of slain at the end (unless, of course, those final hit points are lost to a lightning bolt). It's not quite the same thing that Moldvay was talking about, but it's worked pretty well for me in the past.
If someone wants to capture the PCs I do things the same way. They still get a roll on the Table of Death and Dismemberment, but any roll other than a 10, 11, or 12 results in simply being knocked out rather than losing limbs and whatnot.
I also noticed that there's no roll that results in losing an eye on my table. Eye patches are cool, so I may need to change that.