Massive Damage

March 20, 2007 at 7:47 pm (House Rules)

So, massive damage. That rule caught my eye on the first time I read the 2nd edition AD&D Player’s Handbook – and of course I have been using the relevant rule in 3 and 3.5 editions. But its a little too static for my taste, so here’s a house-ruled version.

Normally: The massive damage rule states that whenever any character receives 50 points of damage (or more) in a single hit, he must make a Fortitude save with a DC of 20 or immediately die.

What I don’t like: I don’t like how the damage that triggers it is the same for both high- and low-level characters. I also don’t like how the DC is the same whether you get hit by an Ogre for 53 damage or a Red Dragon’s Breath for 1,54315*10^6 damage. I also don’t like that the damage output is so high it doesn’t come into play until the very late (high-level) stages of the game.

My version: The massive damage rule applies any time any character is dealt more than 30 points of damage (after factoring in damage reduction etcetera). The save DC is based on that amount of damage like so: DC=1/2*Damage Received. Failing that save does not kill a character outright, but places him at -1hps, at the dying state.

Use it: If you don’t like what I don’t like about the massive damage rule.

Don’t use it: If you want your games to be “safer” for the players at the lower levels, and if you like the rule as it is.

It’s definetely an ok rule, but one I just felt like it needed a touch of finesse.

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2 Comments

  1. Magus of Antioch said,

    I’ve always made the saves after damage equal to half of max hp is dealt, for example if a character with a max hp of 30 takes 16 damage, they must make the save.

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