There are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. Throughout their career, adventurers face danger and destruction at every turn—and not everyone is lucky enough to make it back to town alive.
This chapter sets out the Dying condition and includes rules for persistent death saves, funerals, character wills, and resurrection magic.
When you are reduced to 0 hit points, you gain the Dying condition. You can't move, and your ability to talk is limited. This condition ends if you regain any hit points.
While you are dying, you must make a death saving throw at the start of your turn to see how long you can cling onto life—if you fail three death saving throws, you die.
When you make a death saving throw, roll a d20 and check the Death Saving Throw table below to see what happens to you.
|1||You fail two death saving throws.|
|2-9||You fail one death saving throw.|
|20||You regain 1 hit point and the dying condition ends.|
Death saving throws don't reset after a short rest—instead, you recover one failed death saving throw after completing a long rest. Take care to rest properly.
If you are hit by any damaging attack whilst dying, you automatically fail one death saving throw. Critical damage, likewise, causes you to fail one death saving throw.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your best just isn't good enough—all things come to an end, and your character is unfortunately no exception.
But with any luck, you fought a good fight and left the world a little less dark than when you first joined it.
No corpse should be left out in the open to be torn apart by birds and wild dogs—a hero deserves a hero's send-off.
If your adventuring party are able to recover your body, bury it, and throw an appropriately lavish funeral, they may buy a share of the unspent experience you had when you died—10 XP per gold spent on your funeral.
Though victorious against the drow pirate Ravna Ry'len, Krazak suffered a mortal wound and died with 460 unspent XP.
The surviving party members carry his body back to town, where they spend 46 gp on a lavish funeral—plenty of beer, food, and fire. The next day, they each take a share of Krazak's 460 XP.
If you are using a Milestone leveling system, then consider this variant instead.
If your adventuring party are able to recover your body, bury it, and throw an appropriately lavish funeral (at least 50 gp for each of your character levels), they each gain one favor from you from beyond the grave.
You can leave a will behind to confirm who the heirs to your property are. This can be arranged in retrospect with your GM after the character's death if necessary. The reading of the will usually takes place at your funeral, or before the introduction of a new character.
This might be the last opportunity for your character to say any final words, so make the most of it.
Clanda:A will? You're telling me that brute knew how to write? Let me see that.
"In the unlikely event of my death, I, Krazak the Undefeated, leave 50 gp to the church to fix that damn leaky roof. Valiant, you need all the help you can get: take my ring of protection. Viridian, you're weak as a kitten: take my amulet of health. Everything else goes to my brother, Gundren."
Once you've added your character's name to the graveyard, it's time to start anew with a fresh character or an elevated NPC/henchman.
There are a variety of ways to determine your starting level and wealth—choose the method that fits your game.
Death is not always the end. Magic is a powerful force, and with it even the dead can rise again.
Such spells are not without cost, however, and resurrection spells require the rarest of components—diamonds of a particular cut, rarity, and quality. These gemstones can't be bought on the open market—finding one may be a whole adventure in itself.
Lost Knowledge: Death has a price—a character that has been dead for longer than a day will lose any unspent experience points when resurrected.
|Revivify||3rd||1 minute||3 × Pristine diamonds|
|Raise Dead||5th||10 days||Royal diamond|
|Reincarnate||5th||10 days||Mystic oils|
|Resurrection||7th||100 years||Perfect diamond|
|True Resurrection||9th||200 years||Astral diamond|
The Reincarnate spell is unique in that it requires only mystic oils. Unlike rare diamonds, these oils can be bought or crafted during downtime—at a significant cost.
If you want to add a sense of finality to death, use this No Resurrections variant rule.
The souls of the dead, once passed beyond the veil, can never return to the mortal plane. Resurrection spells of any kind—including wishes—have no effect.