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113 votes

How do I address the need to kill off one member of the party for on going plot?

Then you need to damn the plot secrets and talk with the player and make sure they are OK with it. You don't need to give them details on how it is resolved but they need to know they will be killed ...
John's user avatar
  • 9,856
100 votes
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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?

Ask the player. First there is nothing wrong with making a mistake, we all do it, you will make more, don't try and hide it. You're the DM you are tracking a lot of stuff mishaps happen. Just ask that ...
John's user avatar
  • 9,856
96 votes
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What to do about PC rerolling for great stats?

Your player is trying to game you, the system and the other players at the table. Simply put an end to that. The issues with rolling stats is that you take on the risk of getting subpar ability scores ...
Slagmoth's user avatar
  • 22.2k
91 votes
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What spells are available to resurrect characters?

There are a small number of spells available for resurrecting players as listed below. The time limit is the maximum amount of time you have to cast this after the character dies—for example, you can'...
Timo Türschmann's user avatar
85 votes

How to prevent discontent among the players when one player murders the others' characters?

In all seriousness... Don't do it There isn't a way to spring this on players without hurting feelings. If you do want to do it then... Set the Expectation Beforehand GM: Hi everyone. I'm ...
Greenstone Walker's user avatar
79 votes
Accepted

How do I kill a 20th level raging Zealot Barbarian?

Brute force won't work, but any other effect will work, provided it is hit point-dependent At first blush, the 20th level Zealot Barbarian seems unkillable, and this is true if you play the Barbarian'...
Pyrotechnical's user avatar
73 votes

Does the Power Word Kill spell instantly kill PCs?

Spells do exactly what they say, whether cast on PCs or other monsters. Power Word Kill says a creature with 100 hit points or fewer dies. PCs are not exempt from this as they are also creatures and ...
Purple Monkey's user avatar
73 votes
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What happens to dying PCs when combat ends?

Keep the drama, because dying is dramatic! The stabilization rules would remain the same whether in or out of combat. Given the importance of that, I would recommend following initiative order until ...
NotArch's user avatar
  • 126k
73 votes

Can a DM permanently kill a player character?

The DM can do whatever they want Your DM is the god of gods of your world. Could they do it? Absolutely. However, your DM may have something more than that involved. It wouldn't feel very good for the ...
user-781943's user avatar
  • 21.8k
66 votes
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How to alleviate the tedium of PC death at higher levels?

Just say OK, I assume you teleport back to Xyz Temple, get raise dead cast for you, cast restoration, wait a week, cast restoration again, and teleport back here. It takes... [rolls a d20, saying “1 ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 353k
62 votes

What to do about PC rerolling for great stats?

Have all PCs generated by the same method You say in a comment that the other players all used point buy. That simplifies this problem. Tell this player: You generate with point buy, like ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
59 votes

Handling encounter elements that would realistically cause instant death

Group Checks, Success with a Cost, and Skill Challenges These three concepts are meant to be used in tandem, but can be cherry picked to suit your style of play. I have the most experience using them ...
goodguy5's user avatar
  • 21.1k
58 votes
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Interactions between unarmed strikes, negative strength and an unconscious target

Unarmed attacks can crit, but do not do double damage Can an unarmed strike crit? - Yes If you roll a 20 on an unarmed strike, it is considered a critical hit. This means that it will ...
Rubiksmoose's user avatar
58 votes
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How does anyone ever die with a Cleric?

Dying in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition very rarely occurs by chance. Importantly being reduced to 0 HP only renders a player character unconscious. Finishing off Unconscious PCs An intelligent ...
Daveman's user avatar
  • 6,419
58 votes

How does anyone ever die with a Cleric?

D&D 5e combat is low stakes At least, in the sense that anyone is at serious risk of dying in any given combat. Each edition of D&D has progressively made dying less likely. However, ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 212k
55 votes
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Can massive damage kill you while at 0 HP?

Yes, Massive Damage can kill you at 0 HP Damage at 0 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 ...
Xirema's user avatar
  • 52.7k
52 votes
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What happens when an unconscious but stabilised character is hit?

The creature takes death saving throw failures on the initial hit Unfortunately for the character in question, your first scenario is correct. A stable creature is unconscious with 0 hp - the fact ...
Tiggerous's user avatar
  • 25.1k
50 votes

How do I prevent a character from being resurrected?

As a spy, you presumably have a lot of deception-related skills. One good option is to make it look like a suicide. People who commit suicide generally don't want to be resurrected, and won't come ...
Dan B's user avatar
  • 90.2k
49 votes
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What are the DM's responsibilities when dealing with a character's death?

This is about Best Practices, not responsibilities. You ask about responsibilities and there aren't any, formally. Informally, the objective of the DM is to facilitate the play experience for the ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
48 votes

Is there a spell, weapon, or effect that causes permanent and irrevocable death?

Exceptionally few methods of killing are truly irrevocable in D&D 5th edition, since even a soul consumed by a lich can be restored by divine intervention (and a cleric can request this). This ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
48 votes
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Is there any spell to bring back a disintegrated character?

True Resurrection works You mention that you have nothing of the body left. Well, that's not entirely true because you still have ashes, which most DMs would rule as being 'part of the body of the ...
Theik's user avatar
  • 36.5k
48 votes
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Does a resurrected wizard remember their prepared spells?

There are no hidden rules The rules for dying don’t say you lose your prepared spells. The rules for Resurrection don’t say it either. So you don’t lose them; those spells stay prepared.
Dale M's user avatar
  • 212k
47 votes

Players better at dealing damage than taking damage

This is normal. This is how the game works. Sorry? Unfortunately, the way the numbers in the game are laid out, most fights are decided in the first 2-3 rounds. Even if they aren’t finished that fast,...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 353k
45 votes
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Does a Paladin's Aura of Protection Affect Allies' Death Saving Throws?

A Death Save is, in fact, a save so bonuses to "all saves" apply to them as well. Just like a Monk gaining proficiency in "all saves" means they apply their proficiency bonus to ...
Slagmoth's user avatar
  • 22.2k
43 votes

How do I clearly foreshadow a potential out-of-combat death?

Show, don't tell You need to convince your players that this situation could absolutely turn lethal if they don't play their cards right. As you say, it wouldn't make sense for the NPCs to outright ...
linksassin's user avatar
  • 30.9k
43 votes
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How do I engage someone who is playing his character poorly?

Give 'em enough rope, lose the safety net This character is being enabled to fail by the DM, you, even with the best of intentions. You'd like for the player to enjoy a character concept that he's ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
42 votes

How do I address the need to kill off one member of the party for on going plot?

I've experienced this situation (of a PC dying for plot reasons) from two angles - that of a fellow player at the table, and of the player of the PC who is killed. Neither situation was in Shadowrun ...
RichardJ's user avatar
  • 2,887
42 votes

Handling encounter elements that would realistically cause instant death

Try adding warnings and incremental degrees of deadliness to your environmental hazards. Instead of a single failure leading to instant death, give your players chances to realize the danger and deal ...
user48255's user avatar
  • 11.8k
42 votes

When would I give a checkpoint to my D&D party that they can return to if they die?

What's wrong with dying? I guess the first question is, what's the big deal with dying? Dying in Dungeons and Dragons is just the "losing" condition of other games. Card games have non-...
MivaScott's user avatar
  • 40.6k
41 votes
Accepted

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

You would suffocate to death unless it is a short trip. Bag of Holding: Breathing creatures inside the bag can survive up to a number of minutes equal to 10 divided by the number of creatures (...
ravery's user avatar
  • 9,530

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