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Shoug

Alternative To Death

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I've been toying with an idea for a houserule I'm going to try to make death a little easier to avoid (just in case). Basically, after damage is dealt and it is lethal you may instantly heal 1d6 for every 10 points of complications you take. These complications augment your existing matching complications. You can have no more Injury Complilcations than would cost more than half of what your starting matching complications costed. If you left some matching complication points on the table during character creation, these can serve as a buffer for your max Injury Complications total (if you didn't buy 10 of your allotted matching complications, then you get 10 "Injury Save Points" for free, basically). I feel like this makes forgoing some complications at the start not as painful, which I appreciate as many players can become really stuck if they can't think of good complications to take but they don't want to leave points on the table. It also makes death a little bit less likely, but at a fairly major cost. 

Ways this could manifest include things like severed limbs, nerve damage, PTSD with a variety of symptoms, damage to a sense organ, etc. I think I'm gonna give it a shot.

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I once ran a Weird West campaign where I built a bunch of pre-made powers and abilities the players could buy.

 

One of them was called "Back in Black". It was basically a "get out of death" power. Resurrection Healing with triggers and a bunch of limitations, etc... to make it cheap. It was a one use ability (once used it was gone for good; one charge never recovers) but could be re-bought with xp. But one of the limitations was a side-effect where whenever a player came back from the dead using this ability they gained a new complication that altered their character in some dark/sinister way. Some examples were: Will now only dress in black clothing, can only speak in a whisper, the killing wound never fully heals (no loss of BODY, but always seeping/bleeding, needs to always be bandaged), crows are always circling nearby, etc... (there were a bunch more, but i can't remember them right now). 

 

So basically the Players could come back from death (if they bought the ability each time), but each time they did they would become darker, and darker and more ominous as their complications kept adding up.  

 

 

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In my old 90s Fantasy HERO campaign we ran with most of the gritty rules on (Hit Locations, Bleeding, Impairing Wounds, Disabling Wounds, etc.) and characters had a tendency to die a little more than I liked due to bad dice rolls (Crit to the eyes?  Sorry Bucknard, but that's the Golden Gates for you.).

 

Can't recall where I picked it up, but we allowed characters to buy HERO Points for 4 cp.  They were a one-use reverse fate expenditure.  Some fluke of luck that would save their lives.  The enemy bowstring snaps turning the crit into a non-attack.  The berserker's axe catches in the door frame eliminating the hit and tying his weapon up for a couple of phases.

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The only way to be sure if such an optional rule will work for you, is to test it in play. For my part, I've found that just eliminating the optional Hit Location and Bleeding rules brings the lethality level of Heroic games 'way down, below the level I'm comfortable with. But I actually like to add a little more risk of death to my supers games, so I may not be the best judge. ;)

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20 hours ago, ScottishFox said:

In my old 90s Fantasy HERO campaign we ran with most of the gritty rules on (Hit Locations, Bleeding, Impairing Wounds, Disabling Wounds, etc.) and characters had a tendency to die a little more than I liked due to bad dice rolls (Crit to the eyes?  Sorry Bucknard, but that's the Golden Gates for you.).

 

Can't recall where I picked it up, but we allowed characters to buy HERO Points for 4 cp.  They were a one-use reverse fate expenditure.  Some fluke of luck that would save their lives.  The enemy bowstring snaps turning the crit into a non-attack.  The berserker's axe catches in the door frame eliminating the hit and tying his weapon up for a couple of phases.

 

That sounds a lot like a construct I recall in a magazine somewhere (might have been Adventurers Club, or Dragon) which was defined as 3d6 of luck that came up all 6's, one charge.  It was named "extra life" or something similar, with the same game effect.

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I did something similar to what the OP mentioned but when people lost their characters, I let people build a character based on the person with the least XP.  So if the lowest surviving character was built on 100+50XP, then the replacement character was allowed to be built on 150 points.  I don't know if it was because of this or that people playing HERO don't like uncontrolled disabilities ruining the image of their characters in their minds, that no one took the disadvantages.

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Depending on the campaign, you might want to redefine, "dying." The rest of the characters might have to go on a resurrection quest (accompanied by the spirit of the dead character). The character might be captured and need rescuing, or otherwise out of action for an extended period of time.

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He's not dead, he's just 'mostly' dead. I like the ability to buy the defy death thing for five points. If they buy it, they can use it to force something miraculous to happen to intervene, which can also be after the fact if the player wishes (after the fight and danger is past). One could perhaps also allow a 'dead' character to buy it post mortem. They buy it for the price of 'owing' five character points, basically sacrificing their next five XP. There might however be more consequences imposed for buying it after the fact, depending upon the method of death. There may be scars, physical disabilities, etc., added to a character.

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On 4/23/2020 at 2:18 PM, IndianaJoe3 said:

Depending on the campaign, you might want to redefine, "dying." The rest of the characters might have to go on a resurrection quest (accompanied by the spirit of the dead character). The character might be captured and need rescuing, or otherwise out of action for an extended period of time.

 

This is my favourite solution to death and sticks to comic book tradition.  It may even require a "radiation accident" with a significant shift in the characters powers.

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