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Questions tagged [character-death]

For questions about issues related to the in-game death, or threat/fear of death, of a player's character in an RPG.

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Is there any published lore that shows Mind Flayers can extract and farm brains?

I was doing some research on Mind Flayers and read/heard that Mind Flayers will occasionally extract a brain and use it to research the effects of Psionics, and that they enjoyed the mad thoughts they ...
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3answers
566 views

How do I convince the GM not to kill my character specifically?

I've recently started a new campaign with my friends. The GM is using the realm of Tal'Dorei (as well as other Matt Mercer-inspired things as he's a fan.) Our group had previously managed to have ...
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1answer
314 views

What official PC mechanics are there that directly counteract death?

For example, the Path of the Zealot Barbarian subclass at 14th level gets the Rage Beyond Death feature (XGtE, p. 11), which prevents you from dying while raging: Beginning at 14th level, the ...
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3answers
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Can Medicine checks be used, with decent rolls, to completely mitigate the risk of death from ongoing damage?

Here is an example of the type of situation that brought up this question. Say a PC has been pinned under the foot of a massive animated stone statue. The PC in question is knocked unconscious by the ...
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1answer
345 views

Paranoia Rebooted: Is the expectation that every mission in Paranoia begins with new characters?

I've run one-shots, I've heard the stories, and now I'm about to start a real long-running Paranoia campaign. And there's one thing I'm not sure of: Is the expectation that every major adventure ...
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1answer
222 views

Are automatic death saving throw failures from damage at 0 HP unbalanced against large groups of small enemies?

Since taking damage while at 0 hp counts as a failed death save, wouldn't a larger group of enemies potentially be more lethal than a smaller group of equal CR total? It doesn't matter how much damage ...
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2answers
155 views

Non Lethal damage and Lethal damage at 0 HP

I am unsure of how lethal and non-lethal damage interact when a character has both simultaneously. I know if lethal damage reduces you to 0 hp you start bleeding out, and if non- lethal damage ...
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7answers
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I killed a PC's animal companion at the end of last session, but later realized it should have survived; what are my options?

Notes: I am the DM, my players are a group of 7, levels of 11 or 12. So, our last weeks session ended with a black dragon releasing an acid breath attack on the only visible enemies in a courtyard. ...
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2answers
879 views

Does reducing a character's max HP with a spell also reduce the “negative HP” threshold needed to cause instant death?

Here's my situation: In a fight with a group of vampire thralls, the party's wizard got caught in a corner and was being savaged by vampire bites, his max HP dropping from 24 to 11. They fended off ...
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1answer
383 views

For what reasons do players prefer to have the risk of (Player) Character Death? [closed]

The Object of the Question In my almost two decades of RPGing, I've usually treated the probability of character death as a result of random chance in a matter-of-fact manner: as a thing that is, ...
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6answers
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Handling encounter elements that would realistically cause instant death

Creating an encounter often plays out the same for me: I come up with ideas for making the experience epic, find myself unable to solve the "what if they fail" problem, and then minimize or eliminate ...
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2answers
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Does a creature die outright if they drop below negative max hit points of their polymorphed form?

Does a creature die outright if they drop below negative max hit points of their polymorphed form? I know a creature will revert to their normal form upon reaching 0 hit points, but a creature dies ...
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1answer
170 views

How can I bring back a dead character without resurrection?

My player's character has just died as the result of rolling natural 1 against assassin's death attack. It was a 7th level character, advancing in rogue and paladin classes. Is another way to bring ...
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2answers
4k views

Is there any spell to bring back a disintegrated character?

In our latest session, one of our PCs got hit by a Disintegrate ray from an Undead Beholder. This dealt the exact damage needed, and so his character got disintegrated. Naturally, we are all sad that ...
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1answer
298 views

Does damage vulnerability affect death saving throws?

I know that a critical hit, which deals double damage, immediately causes an unconscious creature to fail two death saving throws. Vulnerability also causes a creature to take double damage against ...
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2answers
665 views

How many times can a mystic use psionic body?

If a level 20 Mystic character dies, his psionic ability has a chance to bring him back to life 1d3 days later on the same plane of existence. How often can a Mystic do this? Is it every time they die ...
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1answer
424 views

When does the Death Saving Throw happen with respect to sources of automatic ongoing damage? [duplicate]

If a character is knocked unconscious with 0HP with a source of automatically dealt damage, for example, into a fire, and takes damage from it each turn, does the automatic Death Saving Throw failure ...
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3answers
411 views

In 5e, when, exactly, is a dying/stabilizing character's turn? [closed]

The rules for Death Saving Throws seem clear to me, except for one important thing: when does the person rolling for death or stabilization get to make their saving throw? Issue came up last weekend: ...
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1answer
2k views

Can a player survive suffocation with a Periapt of Wound Closure?

The Periapt of Wound Closure's description says While you wear this pendant, you stabilize whenever you are dying at the start of your turn. In addition, whenever you roll a Hit Die to regain hit ...
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5answers
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Can I resurrect a corpse that has been animated?

One of my teammates has died in battle. As a noble necromancer, I do not want to carry his corpse to the temple on my shoulders, instead I plan to animate his corpse, so he can walk on its own. Then, ...
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1answer
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Does casting Disintegrate on a polymorphed enemy still kill it after the 2018 errata?

After the 2018 errata, the disintegrate spell description now reads: A creature targeted by this spell must make a Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the target takes 10d6 + 40 force damage. ...
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1answer
384 views

Is there a mechanic for an instant stealth kill?

I've read D&D 3.5 core books and haven't found anything useful in such a scenario - a player is approaching an unaware opponent (for instance with a dagger) and is trying to kill him by cutting ...
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2answers
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How does character death/resurrection work in Curse of Strahd?

While I was asking some questions in general chat about death in the Curse of Strahd adventure, @Derpy brought up an interesting point (that might contain loose spoilers). Correct me if I am wrong, ...
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2answers
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Does the Way of the Long Death monk's Mastery of Death feature protect against the Disintegrate spell?

Some damaging spells, like disintegrate, have some additional effects when they reduce you to 0 hit points (in this case, reducing the target to a pile of dust). The Way of the Long Death monk's 11th-...
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8answers
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How do I clearly foreshadow a potential out-of-combat death?

Let me first set the scene The group I DM for is in a position where they are at the mercy of a group of people who are contemplating what to do with the party. I have decided on a game of chance to ...
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1answer
3k views

If I am hit after I am reduced to 0 HP, do I take 1 or 2 death save failures?

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... ...
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1answer
2k views

Psychic Scream - Healing after your head explodes?

By request I'm DMing an adventure with a lot of H.P. Lovecraft overtones, and the party has encountered the Big-Bad-Guy tentacle horror, a twenty foot Obyrith I've styled after the Far Realms Glothoma....
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3answers
3k views

Can a Medicine check to stabilize a PC be performed multiple times?

During our last D&D 5e session, one of the player characters went down. As the healer was a bit too far away, another PC tried to stabilize the other PC with a Medicine check. Unfortunately, they ...
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1answer
2k views

If I have a lower-level Aid cast on me, am reduced to less than 5 HP, and then have a higher-level Aid cast on me, what happens?

For reference: Does casting Aid stack? (No), What happens to the current hit points when Aid ends? (You lose the current hit points that you gained, effectively taking 5 damage). My question is: If I ...
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12answers
12k views

What to do about PC rerolling for great stats?

I have a player who in the span of 3 sessions has gone through 5 characters (& made even more, some of which I told them not to play because the stats were too high), because they want "great" ...
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4answers
931 views

Handling character death with new players involved?

I'm planning to DM a D&D one-shot to get my friend group into D&D. Since they're new, I want them to be able to really have fun with this, and I think dying in D&D can really turn a newer ...
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1answer
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When a character dies, what level is their replacement?

A party adventures for some time and the player characters eventually advance several times in level, say, to level 5. Unfortunately, one of the player characters is then killed, and either cannot be ...
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1answer
280 views

Has it ever been officially stated how long it takes for a soul to transform into an outsider after death?

Okay, correct me if I’m wrong: In the Pathfinder Universe, souls travel along the River of Souls after death, then hang around Pharasmas Boneyard for a while, get judged and then get send to ...
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2answers
2k views

What happens if you're healed while drowning?

So when you're drowning, and you fail your con check, you drop to 0 hp and are unconscious. In the next round, you drop to -1 and are dying, and in the following round, you are dead. It looks like ...
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6answers
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How do I kill a 20th level raging Zealot Barbarian?

At 20th level, the Path of the Zealot barbarian (Xanathar's Guide to Everything, p. 11) can rage indefinitely by virtue of starting a new rage just prior to their initial rage ending. This is ...
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3answers
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What happens when a PC drops to 0 HP outside of combat?

All similar questions I've found are concerned with what happens if combat ends while there is an unconscious PC, but I can't find any rules regarding what happens if someone drops to 0 HP while the ...
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1answer
195 views

Is there anything I should be wary of introducing this rule for unconsciousness into my games?

3.5 is pretty lethal, and I always felt it was a little weird that a sorcerer was unconscious for the same amount of time before dying as a barbarian. So I've been tinkering with the following house ...
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2answers
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Does Wild Magic continue if I am unconscious/dead?

In an AL game recently, I was playing my Wild Magic Sorcerer (PHB p. 103-104) and our group was suddenly surrounded by cultists. In light of the bad situation, I threw caution to the wind and ...
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2answers
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Will revivify work on a creature killed by Extract Brain?

Mind flayers (Monster Manual, p. 222) have the Extract Brain action: Extract Brain. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one incapacitated humanoid grappled by the mind flayer. Hit: The ...
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1answer
188 views

How does PC access to life-restoration magic affect a westmarchian game?

One of the hallmarks of a westmarchian game is danger, with a high likelihood of character death. From Grand Experiments: West Marches: The environment is dangerous. Very dangerous. That’s ...
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1answer
567 views

Does killing someone cancel their Contingency?

I was looking at the contingency spell, and besides being a very versatile spell, I noticed a couple things about it that really stand out: It does not have a method to cancel it other than removing ...
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1answer
1k views

Is it possible to delay the Revivify spell so it's activated when a character dies?

The other day I was speaking with one of my players and he thought "Is there actually a way to delay a revivify spell so it is activated when the character dies?" I thought it could be a great idea ...
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1answer
973 views

What happens if a Modron dies in Barovia?

My edition to edition knowledge is vague and varied, but as I understand it: When a modron dies, another one, or maybe its the same one, appears in Mechanus at the spawning pool. Consequently, if ...
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2answers
401 views

How can the DM ensure that starting PCs survive until the plot needs them to?

The campaign I'm imagining needs the 5 original level 1 PCs to… live for 13 years to the day after the campaign's start date, and… each be at least level 11 by that date. Over the course of their ...
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When is damage considered to have “killed a creature”? [duplicate]

The Narzugon's Hellfire Lance states: Hellfire Lance. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d12 + 5) piercing damage plus 16 (3d10) fire damage. If this damage kills ...
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2answers
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What happens if my mount drops to 0 HP in combat?

What happens if my mount's HP drops to 0 in combat? Does it make death savings throws? Can I heal it and not have to spend gold on a new mount?
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1answer
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How can maximum protection for a clone stored in a demiplane be achieved? [closed]

I'm looking to create a way for an NPC of mine to become immortal, without becoming undead or requiring the aid of an ally who could die or betray the NPC. The NPC's "class" is not yet final (as in: I ...
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6answers
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Is there a spell, weapon, or effect that causes permanent and irrevocable death?

Going by RAW, is there a way to (reliably) kill someone that cannot be undone? Short of outright wishing it'd never happened, I mean. I don't mean just Imprisonment, or whatever. The creature has to ...
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0answers
342 views

Is not helping a dying PC party member a bad thing? [closed]

One of our PCs was down and "bleeding out". It was my turn and no enemies were left alive, I chose not to help my party member due to me believing that my character doesn't care enough due to his past ...
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1answer
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Can I choose to die instead of rolling death saving throws?

In some circumstances, dying immediately might be useful (such as if I want to be restored by revivify next round) so as to qualify as a dead creature instead of a dying one. Is this allowed?