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The Sweet Release of Death (AKA: Dying mechanics?)

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  • The Sweet Release of Death (AKA: Dying mechanics?)

    Was running my bi-weekly Exalted 3E game, last night my dice decided they had had enough of everyone's shit and were going to do their best to try to kill the Circle (Shoutout to Momo for the delicious vicious critters)

    All said and done, one PC did manage to hit Incap with lethal damage which, per the core, states the character is either "Dead or dying." As I have not one but TWO Medicine-centric characters in the circle, I decided to opt for dying so as to give them a chance to shine. When I went to look for how exactly dying works, I can't seem to find any mechanics for it, much less suggestions for how.

    Am I an idiot that managed to just overlook something, in which case can someone direct me to a page number? Or is there not any hard mechanics, in which case any advice/ideas/pointers?


    Exalted Behind a Screen of Jade
    Fu Cru: Three Gwailo review martial arts cinema
    http://facebook.com/fucrureviews

  • #2
    Page 173.

    Recovery from Incapacitation is up to the Storyteller - in the case of being knocked out by bashing damage, it usually happens at the end of the scene, but might happen in the same scene shortly after the end of combat (if the Storyteller wants to get the player back into the action), or could potentially occur hours later. Incapacitation by lethal damage is usually fatal, though the Storyteller can allow the character to linger at death’s doorstep for a few rounds, giving other characters a chance to stabilize him with emergency medical treatment. In this case, it might take hours, days, or even weeks before the character regains consciousness and heals his Incapacitated health level.
    It's basically up to the ST to decide how this works, so in this case I'd say you absolutely made the right call.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
      Page 173.

      It's basically up to the ST to decide how this works, so in this case I'd say you absolutely made the right call.
      Hmm. Outside of making an abritrary "Umm, this seems like a Diff 5 roll..." is there any other mechanics in there for medical treatment and the like?

      And thanks for the vote of confidence. :-D


      Exalted Behind a Screen of Jade
      Fu Cru: Three Gwailo review martial arts cinema
      http://facebook.com/fucrureviews

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      • #4
        Not really. I generally have it just be about difficulty 3-5 Medicine roll depending on circumstances. That seems to cover it fine. The game is meant I think to be pretty forgiving in that area since it's a cinematic aciton one and in those stories heroes tend to survive a lot anyhow.

        And stuff.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SamuraiMujuru View Post

          Hmm. Outside of making an abritrary "Umm, this seems like a Diff 5 roll..." is there any other mechanics in there for medical treatment and the like?

          And thanks for the vote of confidence. :-D
          There's no official rules on how this works. The closest thing we have is the Treating Wounds paragraph on page 236, but it basically just says, "The Storyteller decides a difficulty for the player to roll against."

          If you're interested I can give you my old First and Second edition House Rules. Due to the lethality of 1st and especially 2nd edition, my group ended up introducing several House Rules to help keep players alive longer, since our early games often ended rather badly for various players.



          First, when a mortal is reduced to Incapacitated by Bashing damage, they're just knocked out until the end of the scene. If a mortal is reduced to Incapacitated by Lethal damage, they don't immediately die. Instead, mortals are considered "dying" and will die at the end of the scene without some kind of medical help (usually a difficulty of 1-3 depending on what kind of trauma caused them to be reduced to incapacitated). Mortals who survive typically enter a coma and will awaken anywhere from 1 day later to years later depending on the ST. Any mortal reduced to incapacitated by Aggravated damage requires much more extensive medical treatment to survive (usually 3-5).

          Meanwhile for Exalted, any Exalt reduced to Incapacitated by Bashing damage is simply knocked unconscious until the end of combat. Any Exalt reduced to Incapacitated by Lethal or Aggravated does not die and is not at risk of dying. Instead they are simply rendered unconscious for no more than 1 day.

          If someone suffers enough wounds to have their health go below Incapacitated (my group calls entering this state Negative Health Levels), they are considered dying and will die after a number of rounds equal to their Stamina. At any time before this however, someone can make a Medicine roll (typically Medicine + Wits) at a difficulty of the person's Negative Health Levels to immediately remove all Negative Health Levels, as if the person only had enough damage to fill in their Incapacitated box. Each additional round that someone lingers in this way, they gain one more Negative Health Level.

          For example, Joe the Solar has been fighting for a bit. He has 3 dots of Stamina. He's suffered damage and only has a -2 health level, -4 health level and his Incapacitated health box left. He gets hit by a Dragon Blooded archer for 7 health levels of damage. He fills in his 3 remaining boxes and then takes 4 more damage, putting him at 4 Negative Health Levels.

          Joe falls unconscious and begins dying. Joe can linger in this state for 3 rounds (his Stamina rating) before he actually dies. On the first round nothing happens. His friends are too busy dealing with other problems to help him so he continues to die. His Negative Health Levels go to 5, and Joe's player makes dramatic gasping and gurgling noises to remind the other players about his predicament. During the second round, Joe's friend rushes over to save him. His friend makes a Medicine roll at a difficulty of 5 (as Joe now has 5 Negative Health Levels)

          If his friend succeeds, Joe's Negative Health Levels are removed and he's returned to his Incapacitated box and will be unconscious for about a day. However, if his friend fails the roll Joe gains another negative Health Level putting him at 6. Furthermore, the next round will be the third round in which he is at Negative Health Levels. His friend can attempt one final Medicine roll, this time at a difficulty of 6 (since Joe now has 6 Negative Health Levels). If she succeeds Joe's Negative Health Levels are removed and he's put at Incapacitated. If she fails however, that's it. The next round will be the 4th round Joe is at Negative Health Levels, and since his Stamina is only 3, he will die at the beginning of that round.

          My group also implemented a "Princess Bride Rule" (which I mentioned in another thread) where once per Story a player can narratively declare someone is just "mostly dead." This immediately removes all Negative Health Levels, putting the person at Incapacitated with no need for a Medicine roll and no need to worry about them dying (in the event that they're a mortal), regardless of how many Negative Health Levels they have. A player can't use this if the target suffered from something akin to having a mountain dropped on them, or being completely dissolved by a dragon's acid breath, or some other attack in which survival is simply impossible.



          These rules do make Medicine rather important, and also makes character death extremely rare. My group was never a huge fan of character death and felt that 2nd edition was too lethal, so we introduced these ways to avoid having characters die too frequently. We found that unless someone was at around 12 Negative Health Levels, a Solar focused on using Medicine rarely has difficulty bringing them back to Incapacitated state, so keep that in mind. If your players prefer a more gritty game where people die when they're killed then you probably won't want to use anything like this.

          Further, as I said earlier, I haven't played 3rd edition very extensively, so I'm uncertain if these rules would even be terribly necessary. 3rd edition has reduced lethality a fair amount and introduced the Dramatic Crippling Injury (page 201) to allow players to avoid an otherwise deadly wound. Next campaign I run, I may keep our Negative Health Levels rule (the players really like that one and would probably revolt if I tried to remove it) but I may get rid of the Princess Bride Rule since the Dramatic Crippling Injury rule does basically the same thing.
          Last edited by AnubisXy; 03-05-2017, 07:17 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

            There's no official rules on how this works. The closest thing we have is the Treating Wounds paragraph on page 236, but it basically just says, "The Storyteller decides a difficulty for the player to roll against."

            If you're interested I can give you my old First and Second edition House Rules. Due to the lethality of 1st and especially 2nd edition, my group ended up introducing several House Rules to help keep players alive longer, since our early games often ended rather badly for various players.
            Fantastic! That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for!


            Exalted Behind a Screen of Jade
            Fu Cru: Three Gwailo review martial arts cinema
            http://facebook.com/fucrureviews

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            • #7
              For any ST who wants to keep player character deaths few and far between but doesn't enjoy the idea of fudging, something to keep in mind is that characters go down when the incapacitated box is filled, with bashing or lethal, but will only start dying if that final damage mark is lethal.

              So if you make sure that at least some of the damage flying around is bashing you can drastically improve the odds of characters going down out but alive.


              I thank the Devs for the great game of Exalted!

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              • #8
                Rather than adding another set of rules to track, I would just say PCs die if they go past Incap with any damage. That's the way other WW games do it, and frankly it's a bit more fair to PCs. This system effectively removes the "down, but not going to die quite yet," option. Denying the PCs full use of their seven HLs in a game where damage doublers and 15+ damage pools are common is a tad silly, IMHO.

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