UA:Massive Damage Thresholds and Results

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Massive Damage Thresholds and Results

The massive damage rule in the Player’s Handbook is designed for games of heroic fantasy. It maintains the remote chance that a single blow from a mighty opponent can kill a character, regardless of the character’s actual hit points.

Altering massive damage rules can dramatically change the characters’ attitude about combat. A lower threshold (the amount of damage the triggers a Fortitude save to avoid death) makes combat more deadly, perhaps turning any hit into a potentially life-threatening injury. On the other hand, a less deadly result on a failed save (unconsciousness instead of death, for example) makes combat less dangerous, making a character’s current hit point total more important than any single hit.

Here, then, are several alternative massive damage thresholds and results. You can combine different variations to create your own custom system. For instance, you might combine the HD-based threshold variant with the size-based threshold variant to create a massive damage threshold that takes into account both a creature’s Hit Dice and size.

Regardless of the variant you use, each player should record his character’s massive damage threshold somewhere on the character sheet (to avoid mid-battle calculations), and the DM may want to add massive damage threshold values to monster and NPC statistic blocks for the same reason.

Alternate Threshold Levels
Alternate Save Failure Results
Scaling the Saving Throw
Combining Massive Damage Variants
Behind the Curtain: Massive Damage Rules

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