Injury and Death
Now we get to some of the more interesting rules in the game. If you've been playing D&D for any length of time, then you already know about hit points and how damage a character takes is subtracted from this total. A note on damage however. In core D&D, damage is applied as Die roll then Multiplier then modifiers. This means that if a damage code is listed as 1d6+4 with x3, it means that you roll the 1d6, multiply by 3, then add the 4. I know I certainly never played this way back in high school.
The DMG then goes on to explain some different forms of special damage. Of these, one that requires special mention is energy drain. Energy drain is kinda funny in that it lowers your character level and can easily turn you into an NPC or a monster. Being level drained down to level 0 is only lethal if your character has no hit point when he reaches this point. If he still has hit points, he becomes a 0-level character. Magic can return the character to his adventuring status. If he's slain, chances are he's likely to become one of the undead, and possibly under the control of the beast that slew him.
Next we get to the healing section. I've seen many different rates of healing. A character doing no strenuous activity heals 1 hp per day. A character with complete bed rest heals 3 hp per day. If the character is able to remain in a bed rest state for a week, he may add any Constitution HP modifiers he gets to the 21 hp he healed for that week.
Following these sections is a group of rules on character death. Poisons in a character's system after death remain effective for 2d6 hours after the character snuffs it, so anyone wishing to bring back the dead needs to be aware of that. Massive damage is another rule that often gets kinda funny treatment by some DMs, so I'm going to point out here that a character suffering 50 or more points of damage from a single attack must make a save vs. death or end up dead.
One Optional rule that is in almost every campaign I've ever played in is the "Hovering on Death's Door" rule. This rule states that a character isn't dead til he hits -10 hp. This is not core(though it became core in 3e). When a character hits 0 hp, he's gone to the great big tavern in the sky.
Raising the dead is the next section to be discussed. A lot of DMs treat resurrection magics as automatically working, but by the book, the player needs to make a resurrection survival roll(determined by character's current constitution score). I know a lot of people don't understand why this is necessary, but the reason I've always understood was because "some souls don't want to return" and thus a failure on this roll means the character just doesn't want to(or can't) return to his body. In effect, this can lead to an adventure in and of itself, as the deceased character's companions must head to the underworld/land of the dead to figure out just why their fallen comrade wont return!
Additionally, when a character IS raised, a "piece of him is missing" and this is represented by having the character lose a point of constitution. When he hits 0 constitution, the character just can't come back. In effect his gods are either claiming his soul for keeps, or the character has finally reached oblivion and there wasn't enough of his personal essence to survive the final journey.
Next time: 100th post, and after that, unusual combat situations