One of the great articles of 4e development has just been posted: a description of the new rules for Death & Dying.
Given I currently am running one campaign at 15th level and another at 10th level, and we’ve had a problem with characters just dying quite a bit, I’m definitely going to include the suggested house rules into the campaigns from their next sessions. Alas, those are two weeks away, but anyway…
Here are the rules we’ll be using:
1) At 0 hp or less, you fall unconscious and are dying.
Any damage dealt to a dying character is applied normally, and might kill him if it reduces his hit points far enough (see #2).
2) Characters die when their negative hit point total reaches -10 or one-quarter of their full normal hit points, whichever is a larger value.
This is less than a 4th Edition character would have, but each monster attack is dealing a smaller fraction of the character’s total hit points, so it should be reasonable. If it feels too small, increase it to one-third full normal hit points and try again.
3) If you’re dying at the end of your turn, roll 1d20.
Lower than 10: You get worse. If you get this result three times before you are healed or stabilized (as per the Heal skill), you die.
10-19: No change.
20: You get better! You wake up with hit points equal to one-quarter your full normal hit points.
4) If a character with negative hit points receives healing, he returns to 0 hp before any healing is applied.
In other words, he’ll wake up again with hit points equal to the healing provided by the effect—a cure light wounds spell for 7 hp will bring any dying character back to 7 hp, no matter what his negative hit point total had reached.)
5) A dying character who’s been stabilized (via the Heal skill) doesn’t roll a d20 at the end of his turn unless he takes more damage.
Possibly the best thing about the new rules (apart from the fact you don’t just die when you get hit for 30 damage when you were on 10) is that there isn’t a tax on healing you.
Looking forward to using these rules!