Thursday, July 2, 2020

D20 Fates Other Than Just Dying When You Reach Less Than Zero HP

Respice post te! Hominem te esse memento! Memento mori!

D20 Fates Other Than Just Dying When You Reach <0 HP

1. Retirement

You've gotten too old for this shit. When you return to town you immediately retire to a quality of life that is appropriate to your remaining wealth and skill set.

2. Amnesia

Catastrophic brain trauma! You forget just about everything besides how to walk and talk. Return to level 0. Perhaps some miracle could return your lost memories.

3. Haunting

Your ghost disperses, possessing the entire dungeon level (or building floor, or forest glade, or whatever) that you're in. You can open and shut doors, operate traps, and do whatever else the DM deems appropriate for a poltergeist. If you kill another PC you can possess their body.

4. Changeling

Your body falls apart into a pile of mouse bones and rotting leaves. You were a changeling the whole time, a replacement left by the fairies who stole your original self. Do your friends care enough to rescue you from their clutches?

Who took you?
Where are you now?
The Marquis of Missed Marks, an enthusiastically incompetent hunter and maker of faux pas.
Chained to a table, stuck in an endless card game with half-dog half-human hybrids. The chips you gamble with represent bits of your humanity.
The Prince of Dawn’s First Glimpse, who rules the moment when the sun becomes visible over the horizon.
Straining against the harness of a racing chariot. The winner is set free with a golden laurel, but you’re up against phantasmagorical beasts.
Kur, son of Kur. He is his own father and child. Has serious daddy issues/identity complex.
Hanging in a giant birdcage, stitched into a bird costume, forced to compete in singing contests with giant intelligent canaries for seeds.
Yon-Hob-o’-the-Whale-Roads, whose cetacean servants snatch drowning souls from the grasp of Davy Jones.
Futiley attempting to finish cleaning a house with no walls or roof in the midst of a hurricane. Slimy halibut are strapped to your feet.
The Queen of Loves Lost by Morning, whose subjects are lovers known only in dreams.
The wedding of Salt and the Slug Countess. All present agree it’s an awful pairing, but courtesy demands indirectness. The speeches stretch on.
The Hound of Ripolies, cursed by their lord to go about on all fours and fetch amusing people from the mortal world.
The funeral of Vierad Lifedrinker, who vehemently disagrees with being buried. Its ghoulish scions hide among the mourners and scheme to release it.

5. Metempsychosis

Your body is dead, but your mind is free! It takes over the nearest creature which fits the description as follows (intelligent creatures can contest with a save):

1: Vermin
2: Distant relative
3: Hireling
4: Beast
5: Non-human humanoid
6: Statue, doll, suit of armour, or similar object (becomes animated)

You retain any mental stats and abilities, but take on the physical stats and abilities of your new body.

6. Turncoat

Heroism is too much trouble. You're gonna join the winning team. Run away and join the monster faction of your choice. Become an NPC, or don't, I'm not your boss.

7. Zombified

You die, but don't stay down. You're a zombie now. You can't heal without unholy magic, and take 1d6 damage every day you don't eat fresh brains. Decent sorts avoid your company. Die for good the next time you hit 0 HP.

8. Desperate Charity

You crossed over to the other side for just a moment, and what awaited to was not pleasant. When you return to town you donate your wealth and everything else you own to a worthy cause in a bid to buy your way to a better afterlife.

9. Mortal Injury

You survive momentarily by sheer luck, but were dealt a blow that will make you drop dead in 1d6 days. It would take powerful magic to save you from that doom. Do with your time left as you will.

10. Revelation

On the verge of death you peek beyond the veil and behold the divine. Your adventures must involve seizing artifacts or locations relevant to your new faith, desecrating those of competing faiths, or similar missions. Whenever you talk you must drop references to your novel beliefs. Should you ever fail to do this you leave the adventuring life at the next opportunity to preach your revelation to all who will listen and many who will not.

11. I'm Fucking Invincible!

You just barely survive, and become recklessly convinced of your own immortality. When presented with potentially lethal choices, you must take the riskiest option.

12. Hideously Scarred

You survive, but are grotesquely disfigured by the experience. Unless you go about fully covered up, children will run and scream at the sight of you, the elderly will suffer heart attacks, townsfolk will faint, and no civilized place will tolerate you on its premises.

13. Plague-Bearer

A terrible infection takes root in your wounds. Roll a random disease, preferably on a table with some nasty ones. Anyone you touch, and anyone who touches something you've touched without sterilizing it, must save or contract the same disease. You yourself can never be cured of it, but it will never kill you.

14. Pacifist

You lose your stomach for violence. You can never again willingly harm another living creature, and the sight of blood makes you retch.

15. Possessed

You slipped from your body for but a moment, and something other has slithered in to cozy up beside you:

What is it, and what does it want?
When does it emerge?
A demon: To deepen and prolong your suffering
While you sleep
A revenant: To extravagantly avenge its murder
During nights of the new moon
A trickster spirit: To fuck with people and teach a lesson or something maybe
While you are drunk, enchanted, or otherwise mind-altered
A faded godling: To revive its cult, get people devoted to its obscure domain
When you are splashed with water, only reverting when splashed again
The egregore of a revolutionary movement: To rebel against the status quo
When you are wounded in a similar way to what almost killed you, until healed
An angel: To reward or punish others according to their sins or good deeds
For 1d6 10-minute turns after being exposed to a bright light or loud noise

16. Thanatophobia

Should you pull through, your near-death shakes you to your core. You become obsessed with avoiding death at any cost. You'll sell out your closest friends if it means saving your own skin. You seek out immortality, finding even the most wretched forms of undeath preferable to your mortality.

17. Thaumamorphification

Your soul explodes at the moment of your demise, searing a new, unique spell into the ground where your corpse lies. This spell reflects your character and capabilities, and if spells in your game have levels it is the highest spell level a magic-user of your level could cast. Work with your DM & fellow players to come up with something appropriate.

18. Swallowed

As you're about to die, a giant fish/eagle/worm/etc. (as appropriate to your current environment) bursts in, swallows you whole, and flees. You somehow survive in its stomach, like Jonah. You could survive like that for quite a while. If your companions can hunt it down and cut it open you'll be unharmed inside.

19. Familiar

Your drifting spirit is caught in the ritual of a budding occultist. You are transformed into their familiar. They are a first level magic-user (or your game's equivalent). Consult the table for your new form and your new partner:

What is your new form?
Who has taken you as their familiar
A gaunt toad with eyeballs floating in the fluid of your translucent warts
A lonely, bitter old man left with nothing but spite for the people who abandoned him
A mangy crow with snaggled human teeth crowding your beak
A precocious orphan convinced that the dark paths can offer them power and recognition
A flayed cat wearing its own pelt as a cloak
The bored wife of a traveling merchant
A pus-crusted possum that weeps black flies
A half-feral fur trapper caught between true wilderness and the edge of civilization
A skull that walks about on hairy spider legs
A normally-timid librarian who on a drunken whim experimented with a locked-away tome
Much like your old one, only as tall as a man’s hand, and with empty holes where your eyes and ears and nose should be
A petty courtier in a minor court who seeks any means to advance their position

20. Beatified

Somehow you've gained an honourable entrance into some heaven, upper plane, ascended consciousness realm, or whatever. A part of your corpse becomes a relic that grants magic power to its bearer. Some mystically-inclined sorts receive visions of your life and death and start a cult to venerate you.


  1. Very useful - thank you very much.

  2. Good lord those familiars. What a wonderful gift we've been given!

  3. These are great ! Love it !
    I need to find a game to use them ! maybe for the characters that survived the funnel? :-)

  4. This I shall have to bookmark.