Injuries From Damage (3.5e Variant Rule)

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Injuries From Damage[edit]

I have always found some of the abstractions D&D creates to take away some realism from the game. Sure, they make the game speed up and go farther and farther away from the massive volume of tables that consumed 1st and 2nd edition. It just doesn't make sense to me that Massive Damage rules have it so that a mace strike either kills you or it does not. Sure, it could crush your skull, but a torso hit shouldn't kill you likely. It should break your ribcage, leaving you dying.

This set of rules will add more complications to your games. It does not simplify anything and will slow down combat.

On the other hand, your players may appreciate it more breaking the villian's arm and rendering his sword swinging useless (causing him to retreat) than seeing him retreat because he is "heavily wounded". Even more-so, the heal skill becomes very useful for setting bones and nursing grievous wounds.

I know these types of rules have been made a million times before. My goal is to create a set that handle various types of weapons differently. A piercing weapon does different things than a slashing one.

Rule Variant 1: Massive Damage[edit]

Massive Damage rules had a cool idea in mind, but they should have been a variant, not a core rule. 50 damage is such an arbitrary number. This variant also reduces the nastiness of massive damage but increases the chances of something happening.

Massive damage is scored when you deal enough damage to take away half your opponent's maximum Hit Points.

On dealing massive damage, your opponent must make a Fortitude saving throw against a DC of 10 + 1/2 your HD + your Strength modifier. If your weapon does multiple types of damage, choose which type of damage to deal. Compare your opponent's saving throw to the following table:

Saving throw result Bludgeoning Piercing Slashing
Failed by 10 or more Dead. The skull is crushed. Dead. The neck, heart or major artery is pierced. Dead. Decapitated or major artery sliced.
Failed by 5 or more Broken ribs or spine and immediately brought to -1 HP. Even if healed to above 0 HP the victim counts as disabled. Pierced organ and bleeding at a rate of 5 HP per round. The bleed rate can be reduced by 1 with a Heal check DC 20 with a further reduction of 1 more for every 5 the check is passed by. Chopped off a limb. If victim only has half of its legs left (or less), they are prone and base speed is reduced to 5ft, lose the option of 5ft step action, and bleeds 2 HP per round. The bleeding may be reduced in the same way as a pierced organ.
Failed Broken limb which in the case of an arm-like limb results in a -4 penalty when attacking or performing any action involving a skill or ability score based check. If it is a leg the movement speed is reduced to an amount based on the percentage of legs left. So a spider with a 40 ft. move speed and a broken leg loses 5ft. from their move speed (40ft/8 legs= 5ft reduction/leg). Shields cannot be used with a broken arm effectively and only provide half their bonus when fighting defensively or using total defense (otherwise they provide no bonus at all). Loss of an eye results in a -2 to search checks, spot checks, AC, and attack rolls. Sliced tendon of a leg results in an effectively broken limb. If an arm, it provides a -2 penalty to use it as above. Each round the wound bleeds 1 HP per round and can be healed like a pierced organ.
Passed No additional effect No additional effect No additional effect

If the damage can damage multiple different areas, the DM should randomly determine where the damage was dealt.

The following feats can be used in conjunction with this rule:


Finesse Massive Damage [General][edit]

You can apply your Dexterity to Massive Damage DCs
Prerequisite: Weapon Finesse, Base attack bonus +8
Benefit: When you deal massive damage to a creature, you can apply your Dexterity modifier instead of your Strength modifier to determine the DC. You can only use this ability with a weapon you can apply weapon finesse to. (should only apply to creatures susceptible to critical hits)


Greater Critical [General][edit]

Choose one type of weapon.
Prerequisite: Improved Critical(with chosen weapon), Base attack bonus +14
Benefit: When you roll to confirm a critical hit, if you roll within the critical range of your weapon, the hit is treated as massive damage even if it does not deal enough damage to trigger the effect.
Special: You can gain Greater Critical multiple times. The effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new type of weapon.


Bloody mess [General][edit]

When you deal massive damage, it has a devastating effect.
Prerequisite: Power Attack, Base attack bonus +6
Benefit: When you deal massive damage, add half the amount of you added to your damage (rounded down) from Power Attack to the DC of the massive damage.


Splatter [General][edit]

When you deal massive damage, it has a devastating effect.
Prerequisite: Bloody mess, Base attack bonus +9
Benefit: When you deal massive damage, add +2 to the DC.

Rule Variant 2: Massive Damage (no weapon type)[edit]

Maybe you find that having a weapon type involved is too nitty gritty. That is fine -- this variant makes it more simplified, but still has the same effect of adding injuries to the game. As before:

Massive damage is scored when you deal enough damage to do 50 damage or half your opponent's HP, whichever is higher.

On dealing massive damage, your opponent must make a Fortitude saving throw against a DC of 10 + 1/2 your HD + your Strength modifier. If your weapon does multiple types of damage, choose which type of damage to deal. Compare your opponent's saving throw to the following table:

Saving throw result Effect
Failed by 10 or more Dead.
Failed by 5 or more Heavily injured. You are immediately brought to -1 HP. Even if you are raised to above 0 HP, you are as disabled. This can be reversed by a Heal check DC 30 and 2 months rest or 6 months rest.
Failed Bleeding. You lose 3 HP per round. The bleeding rate can be reduced by 1 with a Heal check DC 20 and 1 more for every 5 the check is passed by.
Passed No additional effect

The above feats can also be used with this variant.

Rule Variant 3: Critical hits[edit]

Critical hits are supposed to be doing more damage because they are hitting vitals. The extra damage is nice, but it sucks that they can't get seriously injured. Thus I introduce the same mechanic again except this time for critical hits.

On dealing a critical hit, your opponent must make a Fortitude saving throw against a DC of 10 + 1/2 your HD + your Strength modifier. If your opponent fails their saving throw, they must save against massive damage with a +10 bonus to the save. If your opponent fails their saving throw by 10 or more, they must save against massive damage with a +5 bonus to the save.



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