We're playing Hoard of the Dragon Queen, and during the brutal first episode, there is a duel that can take place (spoilers in the link).
When the player loses the duel, the other participant...
strikes one more time [and] inflicts one death roll failure on a character.
When this happened - the player marked off two death failures on their sheet. I asked them why. Here are the relevant parts of the PHB.
The section titled "Dropping to 0 Hit Points" states:
If damage reduces you to 0 hit points and fails to kill you, you fall unconscious. This unconsciousness ends if you regain any hit points.
If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.
Lastly, the Unconscious condition description says:
Any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature.
In conclusion, any melee attack made within 5 feet of me is an automatic crit. So does that mean if a bandit is being rude, and stabs me again with his puny dagger - I have a 50% chance of dying come my turn (save for help)?
Am I right in assuming that this is hand-waved in this adventure as it specifically states "one death roll failure"?