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    Canonfire :: View topic - Death's door rule and spellcasters
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- AD&D 2nd Edition
    Death's door rule and spellcasters
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 11, 2009
    Posts: 227
    From: Montgomery, Alabama

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    Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:22 pm  
    Death's door rule and spellcasters

    In most of my games we follow the optional "Death's door rule" and thus PCs aren't dead upon reaching 0 HPs, but instead are totally incapacitated and very quickly dying from damage, blood loss, shock, etc., at a rate of 1 HP a round. At -10 HPs the PC is dead. This gives fellow PCs a few minutes time to aid the dying PC with magic or even emergency aid such as binding their wounds. My question with this topic is what happens to the spells wizards and priests have memorized when they drop to 0 HP or less with this rule. Do you have all spells wiped from their memory upon return to 1 or more HPs, or do you leave the spells intact? My groups have always left the spells intact, but recently a new member suggested the spells be erased by the trauma or perhaps spells of 7th level or higher be affected. What's your take?
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3776
    From: So. Cal

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    Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:19 pm  

    Your new member knows the rules pretty well. Wink Hovering on Death's Door specifically states that the spells are wiped, even if a heal spell is employed- the shock of the experience is simply too much. Also note that anything other than a heal spell leaves the character helpless and at 1HP *FOR A WHOLE DAY*, after which the character can be healed by whatever means. As that is the case, losing spells is not usually a big deal, as the party will usually have to rest for a whole day anyways, after which time the character can reacquire lost spells. Even with a heal spell, the character will need to rest at least 8 hours to regain spells; a full day of rest is needed before the character can regain any spell slots used within the previous 24 hours.
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Mon Apr 18, 2016 10:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
    Posts: 2440
    From: SW WA state (Highvale)

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    Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:00 pm  

    Check out the 3rd level Necromantic priest spell (page 79) if you have Complete Book of Necromancers since it allows recipients of this spell to be brought up to 0 hp immediately if they are in the negatives, with subsequent applications of healing magic to allow them to return to consciousness. It says nothing about allowing spells to retain intact by spell-casters, but neither does it say that they lose them, either. DM's call on that one, I'll wager (this is true for all, when you get down to it).

    -Lanthorn
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 11, 2009
    Posts: 227
    From: Montgomery, Alabama

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    Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:59 pm  

    You're right Cebrion (as usual), but I think I'm still going to allow spell casters to retain memorized spells after hovering on "death's door". I can see why the rule as written wipes the spells from their memory due to the trauma of their brush with death, but I also thinks it's a major hindrance to lose all your remaining spells. Maybe I just run very brutal campaigns, but for most of the adventures my PCs have gone through, at least 2 (sometimes more) of the party end up injured to the point where death would occur if I didn't use the death's door rule. It was the same when they were low level PCs and it's even more frequent now that they are high level. I agree that in instances where the PCs can rest and recoup spells for the next day wiping the spells isn't that big of a deal. However, many times my PCs have been reduced to 0 HPs in the early rounds of a crucial mle, or even in the middle of the adventure when opportunities for rest aren't available. Without their spells, the wizards in particular are going to be left with nothing but daggers and maybe if they're lucky a wand to fight the rest of the adventure. Also at my PCs current level, losing 20+ spells is a major kick in the nether regions to say the least, whereas a low level wizard would only lose a few spells. I guess I'm leaning heavily on the power of cure critical wounds spells and heal spells to fully revitalize the PCs. Perhaps when I retire this group of PCs (in one more adventure in fact), I'll follow the death's door rule exactly as written when I run my next campaign.

    Great point Lanthorn. I forgot about that spell from the Necromancers Handbook. It would definitely come in handy in this instance. The wizard spell Empathic Wound Transfer from the same book also comes close to helping as well.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3776
    From: So. Cal

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    Mon Apr 18, 2016 11:08 pm  

    The 3rd level spell death's door from The Complete Book of Necromancers does not avoid any penalties (i.e. spells being wiped, required downtime, etc.). The spell is somewhat poor, but at least it does allow for immediate healing rather than having the character languish very vulnerably at 1 hp for a full day. I would allow that the spell does not also remove the requirement for 24 hours of bed rest too though (only a heal spell can accomplish that- just say "NO!" to any sort of B.S. low-level spell work-around). Spell wiping is still in effect, as the shock of the event is not undone, and, sorry, a 3rd level spell is not going to undo such a thing anyways when a heal spell cannot, because then we'd have...

    "Are you an archmage who has just lost over 100 levels worth of spells because you went to 0 hp or below? Well, have I got news for you! Death's Door, a fantastic new 3rd level spell, will end all of your worries...IN ONLY A SINGLE APPLICATION...and with no side effects!!! Act now, and get TWO spells for the price of ONE!!!" Happy

    Hmmm... If one spell does the job so well, why would I need two of them? Laughing

    The empathic wound transfer spell does not avoid the spell wipe and resting penalties either (i.e. no spell, other than for a wish or similar magic, counters the shock of the event), but I would probably allow it to work somewhat for hp transfer, as it is not what I would call literal healing magic. You might even allow for the characters sharing the damage in this way to also share the required recovery time (i.e. divide up the 24 hour downtime among them). Whatever percentage of the wizard's hit points were transferred to the recovering character, the wizard must endure that percentage of the required 24 hour recovery time. Though not covered, to me this is completely in the spirit of the empathic wound transfer spell.
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