Monday, October 29, 2018

Death & Dismemberment for 5e

Yes, I'm still alive! ;p

In addition to the Stars Are Right table I posted last time, I also created a new Table of Death & Dismemberment table for the new 5e game. Like the previous versions, this stops hit point loss at 0; further successful hits just cause additional rolls on the table. When a PC is dropped to 0 hit points, roll 3d6 and consult the table.

What makes this table different? I've added psychological effects and taken some advantage of 5e's status rules. Let's check it out:


3 or less: Your character is dead!

4: Your character has lost their leg. Move at half-speed until it is replaced; a wooden peg-leg allows you to move at your normal speed -5’. Your character is unconscious until they are restored to positive hit points.

5: Your character has lost a hand. They are unconscious until restored to positive hit points. So long as they still retain one hand, they can still cast spells and wield weapons.

6: Your character is grievously wounded. If they are not stabilized within 3 rounds, they will die. It takes one action to stabilize; any magical healing that brings the character’s HP total to at least 1 also stabilizes the character.

7: Your character loses an eye. They have -1 on all ranged attacks until the eye is restored. However, their scarred visage also gives them +1 on intimidation checks. They remain unconscious until they are restored to positive hit points.

8: Your character is physically scarred beyond the ability of healing magics less than Regeneration to remove. This will effect your use of social skills, but exactly how will depend on the situation. This character will remain unconscious until restored to positive hit points.

9: Your character is emotionally scarred by their near-death experience. They are now frightened (PHB page 290) by the creature/spell/type of person who dealt the near-mortal blow. This fear can be removed by a Greater Restoration spell or other magics or special abilities that remove or negate fear effects. The character is also unconscious until they are restored to positive hit points.

10: Your character is knocked out and will remain unconscious until they are restored to positive hit points.

11: The weapon your character is wielding is shattered! They remain at 1 hit point and can stay in the fight… for now. If your character isn’t weilding a weapon or that weapon is magical, they are instead knocked out (see 10 above).

12: Your character takes a grievous wound to the leg. They are still conscious, but at 1 hit point and can only move at a speed of 5’. Any healing magic restores normal movement.

13: Your character’s armour is battered by the attack. Your AC suffers a -2 penalty and will take one day and 10% of the cost of a new set of armor to repair. Your character is still in the fight with 1d4 hit points. If your character is not wearing armor, they are at 0 hit points and unconscious until restored to positive hit points.

14: Your character takes a nasty blow to the head. They remain in the fight with 1d4 hit points, but they lose one spell slot (player’s choice). Spell slots are regained after a long rest (or a short rest for warlocks) as normal.

15: The attack leaves your character stunned until the end of their next turn (PHB page 292). They otherwise stay in the fight; roll a single hit die to see how many hit points they have.

16: The brunt of the attack is absorbed by your gear. Lose one potion. If you have no potions, lose 1d4 pieces of mundane equipment. You stay in the fight with 4 + your CON bonus hit points. (If you have no gear at all, roll 2d6 on this table.)

17: You get blood, mud, or some other icky fluid in your eyes. You are blinded until the end of your next turn (PHB page 290). Stay in the fight with 4 + your CON bonus hit points.

18: You experience a surge of adrenaline! Roll half your max hit dice and regain that many hit points. If you’ve already rolled this result in this fight, then you are unconscious at 0 hit points.

First off, yeah, this is an insanely forgiving table. It's far easier to die using the RAW of 5e than it is on this table. (Though you can die from just a single roll, which you can't do in the RAW.) And yet, I had one player voice misgivings about it; the Table of Death & Dismemberment continues to work it's old black magic. ;)

This table interacts more with the rules than previous versions and also creates more ongoing effects (for low-to-mid level characters; high-level characters will almost certainly have the spells needed to banish long-term effects, but they also have the spells necessary to mitigate death, so...)

It hasn't been used "in the field" yet, but I'm looking forward to how this shakes things up. If I change it, I may add more ongoing psychological effects a la Darkest Dungeons. If you've got some suggestions for sexy-ing this up, don't hesitate to let me know.

Art is The Wounded Gaul in the Musei Capitolini.





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