Death is the inevitability of most creatures of the Prime Material Realm. Adventurer find their demise in horrid, forgotten places more often than others who live the safe town or city life. While not impossible, resurrecting the dead is a tremendous feat that leaves marks both on healer and on the healed.
This article discusses the game mechanics behind dying. For the lore article, see Entropy

Dropping to 0 Hit Points

When you drop to 0 hit points, you either die outright or fall unconscious, as explained in the following sections.

Instant Death

Massive damage can kill you instantly. When damage reduces you to 0 hit points and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum.

Falling Unconscious

If damage reduces you to 0 hit points and fails to kill you, you fall unconscious and recieve 1 injury. This unconsciousness ends if you regain any hit points.

Damage at 0 Hit Points

If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you die. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.

Death Saving Throws

Whenever you start your turn with 0 hit points, you must make a death saving throw to determine whether you creep closer to death or hang onto life. This saving throw has a DC of 10. You are aided only by spells and features that improve your chances of succeeding on a death saving throw.

Rolling a d20

The player rolls privately, showing the score only to the GM. If the roll is 10 or higher, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail. On a success, you gain 1 hit point. Failed saves are to be tracked and persist for the rest of your character's life. If you collect 3 faliures, your character dies.

Rolling 1 or 20

When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, you die. If you roll a 20 on the d20, you regain 1d20 hit point instead of 1 and regain consciousness. On a 1, your character dies.

Stabilizing and Healing

D:A The sick and the weary I give comfort
D:B Like a mother bear I shall guard them
D:C Thou shall take an eye for an eye
D:D Those who took twice may not receive once
D:E Those who give twice shall be welcomed at my side
— A:D Health, Dogma, B
Healing a creature to at least 1 hit points immediately awakes them.If healing is unavailable, the creature can be stabilized using an Intelligence (Medicine) check with a DC of 10 + The number of failed saving death throws the creature has so far.

Stable Creatures

A stable creature doesn't make death saving throws, even though it has 0 hit points, but it does remain unconscious. The creature stops being stable, and must start making death saving throws again, if it takes any damage or if 1d4 days have passed since it was stabilized.

Consequences & Repercussions

Knocking on death's door has lingering effects on the body and mind. When creature is ressurected after rolling their first death saving throw since becoming unconscious, the GM rolls on the Madness table and determines the effect. Trying to ressurect a creature in the middle of combat instantly increases the severity of the chosen table by 1.   A creature that does not agree to be resurrected can be resurrected by force. The creature makes a Wisdom saving throw against the caster Spell Save DC. On success, the deceased creature can cast 1 curse on the caster. On a failure, the creatures comes back to life.


While extravagant materials such as diamonds and their likes are used in components for such rituals, only a piece of a living soul can anchor another, separated one, back to life. When you cast a spell such as Revivify Raise Dead, Resurrection, True Resurrection or other of such nature, the caster itself must act as an additional material component of the spell. Regardless of the method, a creature with no functioning eyes, or that has been dead for more than a full year cannot be resurrected by any means save for a Wish spell.  

The windows to the soul

When a person brings another back to life, they must sacrifice one of their eyes to be used as a material component for the spell. The iris of the eye is consumed in a quick and painful flash of light, leaving the entire eye white and the skin around it disfigured. The used eye becomes completely blind and can be healed by any means save for a wish spell.   The creature that is being resurrected loses one of his original irises, replaced with that of the one who resurrected them. If the person who performed the resurrection had any special properties related to their eyes, such as the creature that was resurrected gains those properties as well. A blind creature can not be resurrected or resurrect others.  

Sacrifice of Flesh

Another method of providing resurrection, such in cases of a blind person who wish to resurrect another, is using one owns vitality to give to another. The creature being resurrected is brought back to life with full health. This causes necrotic scars on the creature performing the resurrection, taking twice the amount healed as necrotic damage and a permenant reduction of their own health points. The lost health can not be restored in any way save for a wish spell. If the target's maximum health exceeds that of the creature performing the ressurection, the performing creature dies immedietly after the target comes back to life.

Dying Actions

Sometimes the inevitable happens and your story simply ends. Instead of going our with a whimper, you might still have a saying on what will remains of your legacy.  
At any point while you are dying, before you roll a death saving throw, you may opt to instead choose one of the options below. General actions can be used by all player characters, while others are class specific. At the end of this action your character falls dead. No effect can prevent this death and no method of resurrection can bring your character back to life.

General Actions

Last Words

You have just enough strength to deliver your final words. Creatures of your choice within 60 feet gain a full stack of Inspiration. For the next 90 days, whenever they complete a long rest, their inspiration stack is full once again.

Parting Gift

You entrust a personal weapon or item to your comrades, imbuing it with your final wishes. The item becomes a magic item of your choice, appropriate for your level as determined by the GM. The new item must be similar to the original; a sword cannot become a bow, for example. If the item was already magic, its potency is increased by one level, if applicable. E.g. a +1 longsword becomes a +2 longsword. If the item requires attunement. you may attune it to a creature within 60 feet who is able and willing to be attuned to it.

Heroic Sacrifice

you may choose to make the ultimate sacrifice. By bleeding out and burning out your very soul, you immediately lose all the conditions the are currently affecting you, heal to maximum health, regain all short and long rest abilities and restore all expended spell slots. You immediately take a full turn and may interrupt another creature's action as you do so. Every attack you make automatically scores a critical hit. Every saving throw you provoke automatically fails and any skill check succeeds.


Magnum Opus

You've been working on it for years, maybe even decades. Your greatest creation. You never got the chance to use it, but hopefully it will serve your friends well. You create a magic item of your choice. Select one item from chapter 7 of the Dungeon Master's Guide. With the GM's permission, you may select one from another source, or even design your own. The item's maximum rarity depends on your artificer level. Uncommon at levels 1-2. Rare at levels 3-9. Very rare at 10-15. And legendary at 16-20.   As part of this action, you may pass the item to a creature you can see within 30 feet. If the item requires attunement, the creature may opt to become instantly attuned (if they're eligible to be attuned to it).


You decide to go out with a bang. Literally. By pulling a hidden string, pushing a button or setting off a switch, you mix your entire collection of alchemical and magical ingredients, together with a whole lot of black powder.   As your body explodes in a flash of light that rivals a small sun in brightness, Creatures within 50 feet must make a Dexterity saving throw. They take 2d6 thunder damage per artificer level, or half on a successful save. Creatures within 15 feet also take 2d10 fire damage per artificer level, or half on a save. This ability completely demolishes any structure within 15 feet, and may cause significant damage beyond that.  


Over My Dead Body

With a final surge, you leap in front of your friends, taking the blow for them. And even after death, your spirit continues to watch over them. This action is triggered when an ally within 40 feet of you would suffer harm. You intercept the danger completely, causing any creatures of your choice to be totally unaffected by it.   Creatures saved this way gain temporary hit points equal to three times your barbarian level, and advantage on saving throws for the next 24 hours.

Undying Rage

Even in death, you fight on. Far beyond what should be possible for a mortal. You regain consciousness, and all of your hit points. You immediately stand up and begin raging, even if you had no uses of your rage left. You have advantage on all saving throws you make, and once per turn can end any one condition affecting you as a free action. You can move as normal, but can only take the Attack action during your turn. You continue this berserker rage until you are reduced to 0 hit points, or until your rage ends.  


Grand Finale

This is it! The big one. One last hurrah! You regain consciousness and half your maximum hit points. Any negative conditions affecting you immediately end. For the next minute, you have advantage on all skill checks and saving throws. You die when the minute ends, or when you run out of hit points.   Once during this time, after making an attack roll, you may turn the attack into a critical hit. Alternatively, after forcing a creature to make a saving throw, you may force it to fail. Doing so causes the affected creature to take the maximum possible damage (if any), but causes your time to immediately run out.

That's All She Wrote

You die as you lived: inspiring those around you. Challenging them to be better. Each player character present during your death permanently increases one of their ability scores by 1.  


Dying Wish

You spend the last of your strength focusing on one final prayer deemed worthy of answering and exchange your soul to safeguard one allies at the ultimate cost. Your body shines in a bright light, damaging all enemies for 1d6 radiant damage per cleric level, rendering them blind. For their next turn, your allies are immune to all sources of damage, has advantage on all saving throws and deal an additional 1d6 radiant damage per cleric level you have.  

Guardian Angel

As your spirit departs your body, it ascends to the heavens, where it continues to keep watch over your friends. Whenever one of your party members takes damage or fails a saving throw, you may roll a d20. On a 10+, the damage is miraculously avoided, or the failed save turns into a pass. After successfully using this feature, you can't use it again until the target character finishes a long rest.  


Return to the Soil

As you breathe your last, plants bloom all around you, and a great tree sprouts from your body. A beautiful garden forms, 100 feet in diameter. This counts as difficult terrain to creatures of your choice. Additionally, once per year, your tree bears 2d8 gleaming fruits. Player characters who eat the fruit have their maximum hit points increased by 2d4.

The Hunt

At the end of the round, an enormous pack of wild beasts arrive, howling and yammering, thirsting for blood. Carrying your body aloft, the pack acts on your turn, moving up to 50 feet. The tide of fur and fang is overwhelming; hostile creatures within 20 feet of your body count as being in difficult terrain. Additionally, you can make three spell attacks during your turn, targeting one or more creatures within this area. Each hit deals magical piercing damage equal to 1d8 per druid level (rounded up), and the target's speed is reduced by 10 until the end of its next turn.   The pack persists for 10 minutes, or until there are no hostile creatures within 500 feet. At the GM's discretion, attacking or damaging the pack might reduce its time remaining. When the pack disperses, there is no sign of your body.  


Remember To Keep Your Shield Up...

You impart a final piece of wisdom to your friends. Hopefully it's enough to keep them safe. Each creature in your party gains a permanent +1 bonus to AC. This is applied after all other AC bonuses and modifiers.

They'll Tell Stories About This Day

You don't have time to be lying around, dying. If those are to be your last moments, you're going to make them count. You immediately take a turn as though you were alive and uninjured, and can use your Action Surge even if you couldn't normally use it. You are immune to all damage and conditions during this turn. You have advantage on all attack rolls and strength checks, and roll three dice instead of two, choosing the best result. Creatures have disadvantage on saving throws you force them to make. If you hit a creature more than once, all attacks that land after the first one are considered critical hits.


Strength Of A Thousand

The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Your own flame is about to be snuffed. Far better, then, to go out in a blaze of glory. You stand up, regaining half your maximum hit points and ki points. You life ends after 1 minute, or when your hit points reach 0.   You move so fast you seem to be in several places at once, a blur of striking limbs and parried blows. On each of your turns you can take either a second action or a second bonus action. Additionally, you can move through enemies' spaces, and cannot be hit by attacks of opportunity.


You have mastered your fear of death, and leave behind your mortal form willingly. As you ascend, you reach out and touch the souls of those around you, unlocking their true potential.   Each player character present gains 1 ki point. These can be spent to use one of the monk class features Flurry of Blows, Patient Defense, or Step of the Wind. When a character uses Flurry of Blows this way, they may choose to deal 1d4 + their Strength or Dexterity modifier, instead of their normal unarmed damage. Spent ki points are recovered at the end of a long or short rest.  



Calling on your divine powers one last time, your body fills with holy energies. Glowing with a blinding light, you stand up and move up to twice your speed. Then you unleash the smite to end all smites. All enemies within 60 feet must make a Charisma saving throw against your spell save DC. A creature takes 2d8 radiant damage per paladin level on a failed save, or half as much on a success. When the light fades and the dust settles, there is no sign of your body.

Eternal Guardian

You make a final oath, one that the universe itself cannot prevent you from fulfilling. You speak a word of power of your choice, binding every ally around you with a holy promise of protection or vengeance.   As an action, or as a reaction to being hit by a melee attack, an ally that witnessed you die may call upon you. When they do, a ghostly specter of your former self appears in the unoccupied space nearest to them, blocking one imminent attack. The player can then direct your specter to move and take a single action, as though controlling a normal character. It is armed with a single melee weapon it used in life, dealing 2d8 radiant damage, plus 1d8 for every 3 levels the ally who summoned you has. After using this ability, it cannot be used again by anyone else for 2d10 days.  


From Hell's Heart I Stab At Thee

You move up to your speed, and then make a single weapon attack against a creature in range. You have advantage on this attack, and may draw or pick up weapons and ammunition as part of the move. On a hit, if the target has fewer hit points remaining than 10 times your ranger level, it is slain. On a miss, or if the target is not slain, then your attack becomes a regular critical hit instead. If the target is a large creature or bigger, the attack automatically succeeds.

You'll Always Be Our Guide

You can't be there to guide them anymore. But they'll always remember the advice you left them. Each player character who journeyed with you selects a skill that you have proficiency in. They permanently gain proficiency with that skill.


The Long Con

You've done it. You've fooled them all into thinking you're dead. Even your companions. Funny, you think you might actually miss them. Your character escapes, alive and well and completely undetected. However, he will now be supporting the party in a way he couldn't while he was with them, pulling strings from the shadows. The character becomes a secretive NPC controlled by the GM and the player, remaining an ally of the group.   When you create a new character it gains the Lucky feat. Almost as if some mysterious benefactor was helping them out. Additionally, at any later point, you may declare that your rogue character suddenly reappears, ready to save the day. How they do so is up to the GM, though they have have significant resources at their disposal. They can only help out this way once. After they do so, their debt to your party and to your new character is forfeited and your character loses the Lucky feat.

Yippee Ki-Yay

You have one final sneak attack up your sleeve. Saved the best for last. While mortally wounded you manage to sneak and move up to your speed. You can then choose up to 3 targets you can see within 30 feet and make a single attack roll with advantage. If the attack hits, you multiply the number of your sneak attack dice by 4 times and increase the die size by 1. You also render the first target you hit incapacitated until the start of their next turn.


Power, Overwhelming

You finally cut loose, letting your magic run wild. So much power! You can do anything! You're invincible! You regain consciousness, and can no longer be harmed or incapacitated. Additionally, you recover all your spell slots and sorcery points, and you gain a fly speed of 20 feet.   At the end of each of your turns, roll 1d4. On a 1, you lose control of your magic and are consumed by it, rolling on the wild magic table with the highest severity. You die, and are replaced by a vortex of power, following the rules for the Storm Sphere spell. It is cast as if with your highest level spell slot (minimum 5th), and does not require concentration. On your initiative, it emits a lightning bolt as if you had spent a bonus action, but the target is selected randomly.

Power, Controlled

For the first time, you manage to completely control your magic. Too late to save you, but you can save your friends. You regain your three highest level spell slots, and immediately use them to cast up to 3 different spells. They must have a casting time of 1 action or 1 bonus action. You ignore any required components. The selected spells can be any spells from the sorcerer spell list, though their level cannot be higher than the slot you cast them with. Spells with a range of self may be cast on a willing creature you can see within 30 feet.   You die immediately after casting these spells. If any of them require concentration, you count as concentrating on them for their full duration or until they are dispelled.  


Chain Of The Pact

Unforgiving of your failures, your patron punishes you by transforming you into a wretched little familiar. When you create a new character it gains the Find Familiar spell and can cast it as a ritual. The familiar summoned by this feature is your previous warlock character, trapped in a new body. They retain their memories and personality, but replace their previous abilities and attributes with their new form's. Its size must be tiny.

My Death Is Only The Beginning

Death is but a door. Time is but a window. You'll be back. Your physical body is destroyed. But traces of your spirit still linger about your allies. Conduits from which your power can manifest. When an allied player character damages a creature, you may mark the creature with an aura of doom. For the next minute, if its hit points are ever less than or equal to twice the triggering character's level, then a phantasmal apparition of your warlock appears. It tears out the creature's life force, slaying it instantly, before returning to whatever horrible dimension it came from. After marking a creature this way, you can't mark a creature again until the triggering character finishes a long rest.  


Death Curse

You use your own life force as fuel for one final spell. Select a spell from the wizard spell list with a casting time of 1 action or 1 bonus action and up to 2 levels higher than your highest known spell. You cast the spell immediately, as though you were conscious, and ignore any component requirements. It is cast using a spell slot 2 levels higher than your highest spell slot. you require no concentration to maintain it for its full duration.

Mentor's Wisdom

The time has come to leave your friends. But you leave them better off than when you found them. Each player character you've journeyed with increases their Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma ability score, whichever is lowest, by 2. In the event of a tie, the player chooses between the lowest ability scores.


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