Dying, Death and Recovery

There is no such thing as permanent death in the 6d6 RPG, only characters who cannot currently be brought back to consciousness.

In a high tech world, it might be possible to recreate someone from a few fragments of DNA. High priests in a fantasy settings might be able to revive someone who has been dead for days. Even in the real world, people recover from gunshot wounds to the head that would have been considered fatal just a few years ago.

Rules for dying and recovery may vary between settings. Those presented below assume a human or human-like character. Gods, vampires, robots and aliens of pure energy may have different, setting-specific rules.


A character who takes damage but has insufficient life cards to discard has taken a fatal injury and collapses into unconsciousness. They begin to die as they rapidly slip into a coma and their vital organs start to shut down one-by-one.

When a character begins to die, all but the most basic brain activity ceases. Any ongoing effects the character is controlling will cease. All cards leave the dynamic pool and most cards will leave the static pool. Only passive, static cards that require no mental activity (e.g. armour) will remain. Although the character still has a turn in the initiative sequence, they cannot take any form of action in their turn and they have no flow.

If a character is attacked whilst in this state they still get a resistance action with a minimum score of one. They are unlikely to have any cards available other than passive, static equipment such as armour but any available cards can be played if appropriate. Additional damage received whilst unconscious has no direct impact on the character, but the Game Leader may apply additional situation bonuses against any attempt to revive them.

Stabilisation and Recovery

Within one hour of starting to die, a character is relatively easy to revive. If the character can recover one or more cards from the discard pile they will awaken. Because of the time limit, instant healing such as magic potions or high-tech medi-kits are the best way to treat a character who is unconscious.

More traditional first aid and medical treatment can stabilise a character and extend this time period. A suitable action that beats a resistance set by all the life cards in the discard pile will make the injured character stable for 24 hours. This needs to be repeated every 24 hours until the character dies or recovers a life card from the discard pile. A stabilised character can benefit from medical treatment and natural healing giving them a good chance of recovery.

If a character cannot be healed or stabilised within an hour all life signs fade and the body grows cold. By most legal definitions the character is dead, but recovery is not impossible.

Dead or Alive?

The revival of a dead character is hard. To be restored to life the character still needs to recover just a single life card, but the resistance against any healing attempt is significantly increased.

In addition to all the normal resistance for the healing action, a situation bonus equal to the total Character Points of all the life cards in the discard pile is added to the resistance (as in a pool attack). The Game Leader may impose additional bonuses to the resistance depending on how long the character has been dead and what has happened to the body in the meantime.

Dead characters do not have natural healing. Whether standard medical skills will be good enough to revive the character depends on the setting. The best doctor in the world could not do it in 1870 but even the worst might be able to in 2870. Most likely the character will be revived by some sort of instant healing. Regardless of the form of healing, the additional resistance is applied.

There is no restriction to how long someone has been 'dead' before the revival takes place though these rules assume a relatively recent and complete body. It is left to the setting and the group to consider what happens when a long-dead creature is revived. Is the entirety of the body needed or just a fragment? Will a skeleton regrow all its flesh if revived?

This is just the start of the questions. What is the newly revived character's legal status? After so long, are they happy to be revived? Will their god be displeased that a soul has been snatched back to the realm of the living? Can a human mind cope with the idea of having been dead for 100 years?

Answering these questions will define a world and is something the group should decide.

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open/mechanics/universal/death.txt · Last modified: 2012/02/10 10:51 by tregenza
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The 6d6 RPG tabletop store is owned and operated by Chris Tregenza. Who also owns and runs Myomancy, a site about ADD / ADHD medication, Autism and Dyslexia Treatments and also site called Poosk. Chris also provides copy-writing, web design SEO advice to sites like Dingles' Games pathfinder rpg resources.