Damage, Death and Healing

Hit Points and CON Points

Hit point damage is a representation of a mixture of luck, defensive skill and fatigue. It is, at worst, minor scratching and bruising.

CON points, on the other hand, represent the character�s actual physical being, and damage taken from CON is much more serious, representing major wounds, broken bones and so forth.

Hit-point damage is easily and quickly healed, while CON damage is much more difficult to fix.

Below Zero

Effects of Mighty Blows
d20 Effect CON
1-6 Merely a flesh wound! Continue fighting with a -2 penalty on attacks and saves. -1
7-14 Oof! Strike to the groin, head or other painful blow stuns the character for 1d3 rounds, and suffers a flesh wound as above -2
15-17 Crushing Blow! Character is stunned for 1d6 rounds, suffers a flesh wound, and must make a saving throw or be rendered out of the fight � unconscious or otherwise crippled until healed. -4
18-19 Incapacitating Strike! Character is rendered unconscious or otherwise crippled and out of the fight until healed. Further, a saving throw is required to prevent the obvious side effect of permanent and immediate death. -8
20 Deadly Blow! The character is dead. All
21+ Mangled! The character is dead, and body parts are missing, thrown around and otherwise mangled. All

When a character (or creature) is damaged, the amount of damage is normally deducted from his or her hit points. When hit points reach lower than zero, in addition to hit-point damage the character starts taking damage according to the Effects of Mighty Blows chart (see the table to the right). Roll 1d20 and add the number of hit-points below zero.

Note that this applies to any blow (or other damaging effect) that takes a character to below zero hit-points, regardless of how healthy the character may have been before taking the damage.


A character below 0 hit points rolls 1d6 each round for bleeding damage; a result of 1 indicates stabilization (no further loss as long as he or she doesn�t move or engage in any kind of violent action such as dodging around). A result of 2-5 means the character loses another 1 hit-point to bleeding, while a result of 6 means they lose two hit-points.


A character brought below 0 hit-points and rendered unconscious can benefit from Cure Wounds spells only to stabilize their wounds. On regaining consciousness, they will be at STR and DEX 0, at negative-whatever hit-points, and will regain only one of each for every day that passes (2 per day if resting absolutely or under medical care). Once they reach zero hit-points, they can again benefit from Cure Wounds and Restoration magic.

CON Loss/Gain and hit-point totals

A high CON score grants extra hit-points with every level, while a low CON subtracts them. If the character�s CON changes, either up or down, their maximum hit-point total is affected IMMEDIATELY.

For example, if a 5th-level character with CON 13 (+1 hp/level) suffers an attack or effect that dropped their CON to 12, they would immediately lose the 5 hit-points they had due to their +1 CON modifier. If their CON were to get as low as 8 (-1 hp/level) they would lose another 5 hit-points, due to their new CON modifier.

CON loss is, as you can see, a very serious harm to the character.

Note that CON loss or gain only affects the character�s MAXIMUM hit-point total; it will only affect the character�s current hit-point total if it is greater than the new maximum. If a character gains CON sufficient to raise their hit-point maximum, they will �heal� up to that new total at the usual rate.

Regardless of any CON modifier, a character�s hit-point total (when unhurt) cannot drop below 1 hit-point per level.


For the most part, damage in this game is highly abstracted. Specific hit locations are not normally necessary nor desirable; keeping track of specific damage is a bookeeping chore, and at worst a specific-damage system can lead to a �death-spiral� effect in which accrued damage makes it harder and harder for the character to avoid further damage.

Some creatures or magic weapons, however, have the specific ability to chop bits off their victims.

A character who has a limb severed takes the normal hit-point damage for the attack, but they also begin to bleed as if they were below 0 hit points (see above) until the wound is bound up. The amputation of a head is normally a little more serious, often resulting in death.

The ongoing effects of an amputation, such as reduced movement and/or DEX etc. will be determined by the DM on a case-by-case basis.

Continuous Damage

Some things continue to cause damage after the initial attack. A character who has been set on fire, or doused with acid, or who has fallen into molten lava, or is being crushed by a trap, takes additional damage every round following the initial attack until the situation is ameliorated or they die.

In situations where damage could not conceivably be avoided by luck or agility (such as are usually represented by loss of hit-points), the damage may be applied directly against the victim�s CON.

Continuing damage of this nature is adjudicated at the beginning of each round, before anything else.

Drowning and Suffocation

Inevitably, at some stage of their career a character is going to fall into deep water or be trapped in a subterranean vault without air, or with bad or even poisonous air.

A character can hold his or her breath for a while, but not forever � at least, not without magical aid.

As long as they are not exerting themselves in any way, a character can hold their breath initially for as many rounds as they have points of Constitution. Once that period has elapsed, or if they have to exert themselves, then they must start making CON Saves every round (roll under CON score on 3d6), with a cumulative +1 penalty to the roll for each passing round.

As soon as a CON save is failed the character begins to drown (or suffocate) taking damage at the rate of 0-2 CON points per round (possibly more in highly corrosive atmosphere), as if they were at below 0 hit-points, with the difference that a result of 1 on the d6 does not indicate stabilization.

Note that if the character is holding their breath in a poisonous atmosphere, the failed CON save indicates that they have inhaled the poisonous gas and will imediately suffer the consequences of that.


Assuming Earth-like gravity, damage is taken by falling at the rate of 1d6 per 10� per 10� fallen, to a maximum of 21d6 (terminal velocity). In other words, a character who falls 30� takes 1+2+3 d6 of damage � 1d6 for the first 10�, 2d6 for the second, and 3d6 for the third, up to a maximum of 20d6 (terminal velocity � from then on, he or she is travelling at a speed of 210� per second).

On planes with lesser or greater gravity, the damage dice will be correspondingly smaller or greater. Similarly, a plane with a lower air density will allow a higher terminal velocity (perhaps 30 or 40 dice) while thicker air would result in a lower terminal velocity.


In addition to the various magical means of restoring hit points, a character recovers 1 hit point per day, or 1 CON from wounds, sickness, or poison per month, that he or she takes uninterrupted rest.

If the character has access to proper, trained medical care during this time (i.e. somebody with a Healing skill and appropriate medicine and equipment) then he or she recovers 2 hit points per day (or 2 CON per month) of rest.

Four weeks of rest will return a character to full hit points (but not neccessarily CON) regardless of how many hit points they had lost.

Elves and Dwarves recover at twice the normal rate, and return to full health in only three weeks.

Healing spells such as Cure Light Wounds or Cure Serious Wounds return hit-points, but have little effect on CON loss. A Cure spell heals one point of CON lost to wounds only if a 5 or 6 is rolled on a die. The Heal spell will heal all CON and hit-point damage from wounds, sickness or poison.

Returning From the Dead

There are several spells that can revivify a corpse: Raise Dead, Reincarnation, Resurrection, and Wish. All of them, with the exception of Raise Dead, either provide a new body or reconstruct the old one as good as new.

A corpse revived by Raise Dead returns to life and any wounds are healed, but this spell will not replace any missing body parts � which can be problematic if any internal organs have been eaten, for example, or if the head is missing.

A character revived from death by Raise Dead (but not by Resurrection or a Wish) loses one level of experience, and returns with exactly enough xp to place them half way through their previous level. A character returned by Reincarnation, assuming they return as a species capable of attaining levels, will be of 1d6 levels.

In any case, regardless of the spell used, a character must make a successful CON roll in order to survive the shock of reawakening, and this CON roll is made at a cumulative penalty of -1 for each successive revivication. If a character fails the roll, they die again immediately. The revivication spell can be used again, but of course the penalty to the CON roll will be greater each time.