So Leggy and Rargh, your two favorite (‘favorite’) PCs in the campaign you run, just got into ANOTHER scrap and got beat up like they do every fight. But after the fight was over, they got right back up and went right back to it. Turns out they’re hard to kill, like most Stuff of Legends characters. And you, the GM who is trying to paint a gripping narrative about tough choices in a danger filled world? You’ve had enough.
TSoL characters die when they reach their maximum HP in negatives. This doesn’t happen by accident, which is on purpose! It only happens if they’re severely outclassed, they’re focused on even after other targets because it’s PERSONAL, or the rare case where an enemy can build up enough of a big attack that it takes a character all the way from their current HP down to their maximum in negatives.
HP is split into two – positive and negative HP. Positive HP is the characters HP that goes from 0 to their maximum and is unchanged. Negative HP is the HP that goes from 0 to their maximum in negatives. When it reaches their maximum in negatives, they’re dead, which is as normal.
With this optional rule Negative HP does not recover from post battle recovery. If a PC goes down and takes 3 extra damage beyond 0 to go to -3 HP, after the fight, they’re still back up, at full Positive HP, but the next time they go down, their negative HP remains at -3, and the extra damage accrues to that.
So, if Negative HP doesn’t recover from post battle recovery, how does it recover? Natural recovery is one option – characters recover [Level + Caliber] every night of good rest. Depending on the campaign, it may take special facilities – a hospital, special magical healing, a day in the bacta life tanks – to recover, as well. Such facility may be required, or accelerate healing.
When it comes to healing abilities, there are two types – unlimited healing, and limited healing that runs out.
Unlimited healing will only restore Positive HP. Any healing that allows recovery from Wounded instead skips healing Negative HP, setting them at 0, removes Wounded, and then applies healing to Positive HP.
Limited healing- such as from 1/enc abilities, and innate tracks – can restore Negative HP.
TSoL characters have a few ways to explicitly cheat death – the Undying track and Immortal perks amongst them.
When if comes to resurrection abilities, you can either choose to leave them as is which means players will trend towards them more, ban them, or change them so they don’t actually resurrect from death. It’s bad form to make this a surprise, so it’s suggested to make the decision clear up front as part of using this optional rule.
PCs will have to track one extra number – their current negative HP. PCs will trend more towards abilites that can recover negative HP, as well, leaning closer to the DPS/Tank/Healer triad. Lastly, successive encounters between negative HP recovery become deadlier.