In Castles and Crusades I can't find anything that dictates when an NPC or Monster is dead and have always just assumed that once they get to 0 HP they are dead. I came across something, I can't remember where, that states a PC isn't actually dead until -6 HP and goes into an unconscious state at 0 HP.

Why isn't it the same for NPC's and Monsters? Is this more of a DM discretion item?

If it isn't the same, is there something in the rules against allowing NPC's and Monsters to abide by the same rules as PC's and what is the reasoning?

The party "kills" an orc warrior, resulting in -3 HP. An orc shaman is in the woods nearby and heals the warrior to full health, waking him up from the unconscious state, and returning him to battle. He catches the party off guard and is now an extra opponent, possibly harming party members that don't realize the "dead" orc is back in action.


1 Answer 1


It's actually more nuanced than that: 0 HP means the character is either unconscious or conscious but gravely wounded (see pg. 120, col. 1, para. 9-11 "Hit Points" for corroboration), but it is unclear how the DM is to make that determination. -1 to -6 HP means the character is unconscious but may recover consciousness within hours and eventually heal normally. -7 to -9 HP means the character is mortally wounded and dying (pg. 120, col. 2, para. 1). -10 HP means instant death (pg. 120, col. 2, para. 2).

I don't see in the book where an extensive explanation is given for NPCs and creatures to die at 0 HP, but in other similar games (D&D) it is assumed that unconscious/ incapacitated enemies are effectively vanquished for game purposes, with no time to be wasted on details, except as story flavor. (If the wounded NPCs clot & heal, bleed to death, are given an extra twist of the blade, or granted a mercy blow... all are really the players' fiat.) The characters are already moving on to the next challenge. Essentially, in TT RPGs, the NPC descriptors "dead" and "left for dead" are synonymous.

The example you gave illustrates how the story can be impacted by the healing of one NPC enemy. However, the single unconscious NPC who was fortunate enough to be found by his comrades and nursed back to health is usually far outnumbered by the swath of bloody corpses an adventuring party leaves in its wake...

The C&C Player's Handbook defines 0 HP as "being killed or knocked unconscious," so there is allowance for the variance between NPC and PC hit point scores (see Player's Handbook, pg. 115, col. 1, para. 2 "Hit Points").

  • \$\begingroup\$ Awesome, thank you very much for the information and a great answer to my question. I will look up the PHB references you mention also. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 21, 2016 at 14:51

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