Damage Rules

Nonlethal Damage

Most modes of attack deal nonlethal damage. A character has a hit point total, and whenever their nonlethal damage total equals their hit point total, they are knocked unconscious. They do not become disabled, nor do they begin dying if they take damage beyond their HP total. However, it is important not to accrue too much nonlethal damage, or else you could risk taking lethal damage.

Even things that would seem otherwise fatal deal nonlethal damage, such as gunshots. You may ask “how is a gunshot nonlethal?” Well, it’s nonlethal if it doesn’t kill you, and in a heroic game such as this, taking a bullet doesn’t always mean the end. The character may be harmed or slowed down by the blast, but very rarely do heroic characters drop from a single attack- although multiple attacks of such natures may kill them even before they get tired.

Unlike in other d20 games, a character’s HP score never changes from combat, although it may change as a result of an alteration to ability scores.

Nonlethal damage can become greater than a character’s HP score. If this happens, they do not regain consciousness until enough nonlethal damage is removed to cause the character’s nonlethal damage total to be less than their HP score by at least 1 point.

Characters recover nonlethal damage at a rate of 1 HP per point of Constitution modifier a day, plus one point of HP per character level. A day of full rest can increase this total, as can other effects. See the rules on recovering damage in the rule book for more information.

Lethal Damage

Each character has a sum of Life Points, which represent their vital essence. Whenever a character takes lethal damage, their life points are reduced accordingly. A character has an LP score equal to half their character level plus their Constitution modifier. Lethal damage is not affected normally, but once it is depleted a character begins to die.

Characters do not take lethal damage normally. The easiest way for a character to take lethal damage is to receive damage once they are unconscious or otherwise helpless. Whenever you are helpless and you take damage of any kind, you automatically take at least 1 LP damage. Furthermore, whenever you fail your Fortitude save against taking damage over your MASS, you also take at least 1 point of LP damage. If you fail your Fortitude save by 5 or more, you take an additional LP damage for each 5 by which you failed the save. Also, you take at least 1 LP damage on a critical hit (you may take more LP damage depending on the critical hit modifier of the weapon or attack that is damaging you).

It is possible for multiple effects to trigger at once, resulting in massive LP damage. For example, if you are unconscious, an enemy may choose to deliver a coup de grace on you, which guarantees him an automatic critical hit. Let’s say this happens and you fail your Fortitude save against massive damage by 10. Here is how you would calculate the lethal damage taken:

  • Being attacked while helpless = -1 LP
  • Suffering a critical hit = -1 LP
  • Failing MASS save = -1 LP
  • Failing MASS save by 5 = -1 LP
  • Failing MASS save by 10 = -1 LP

As a result, you take 5 LP damage from 1 attack! For a low level character, this could very well be the end!

Whenever your LP reaches 0, you begin dying. Each round you are in the dying condition, you make a Fortitude save against 20. If you succeed, you become stable. If you fail, you die immediately.

LP damage recovers at a rate of 1 LP per point of Constitution modifier a day. You must have had at least 8 hours of rest to recover, otherwise your LP does not return. If you spend a full day in rest, you regain twice this amount. Furthermore, whenever you recover nonlethal damage due to an effect (be it a first aid kit, a Heal check, or a use of the Healing Touch or Siphon Life revelations), you recover 1 LP for each die of damage healed (in the case of non-variable healing, it is considered to be only 1 die worth of healing, and as such you only recover 1 LP).

Some effects directly bypass a character’s nonlethal damage and deal LP damage. Such effects are rare, but potent.

LP and Lethal Damage Immunity:

Characters with the Lethal Damage Immunity talent do not take LP damage normally. They retain their current LP scores, but they cannot be killed in combat from lethal damage. They can still die from taking ability score damage and from other effects, and if they enter the dying condition from one of these effects, they can still die normally.

Creatures without LP:

Ghosts and other spiritual creatures do not have LP scores. This is because they are not alive in the mortal sense, and cannot be killed by traditional means. Damage dealt to spiritual creatures is considered nonlethal, but based on the type of spiritual creature, there may be different consequences for falling unconscious.

LP Damage on a Critical Hit

Critical Modifier LP Damage Dealt
x2 1 LP
x3 2 LP
x4 3 LP
x5 4 LP

Damage Rules

Rise: Cogito photoneater