20 September 2015

Fall Down, Go Boom

I just read a very well written and designed falling damage system for pre-1983 D&D. I'd never use it. No, I'm not cracking wise, it's a great rule but just not right for my campaign (please note the last 5 words of the sentence before giving me both barrels). Keeping in mind I like to keep things simple and fast, here is mine.

I researched real life falling damage and learned falls of greater than ~30' usually result in a fatality. Figuring dungeon adventurers are unusually lucky/blessed/divinely favored I doubled that figure to 60' for my rules. Falling damage is figured normally using the usual d6 per 10' fallen rule up to 60'. If the fall exceeds this distance the player rolls d% with any result but "00" resulting in character death. If they make the roll they survive with 1 hit point remaining. Why the survival chance? First of all, there are documented rare cases of parachutists free-falling to the ground and surviving. Second, I generally avoid the chance of absolute failure/success IMC.*

Sure, it makes falls scary. I just felt a high level fighter jumping off a 100' cliff then leaping to his feet, dusting himself off and fighting on was not the tone I wanted to set for my campaign.

* though I do have them. Touch anti-matter or jump into lava, for example, and you'd best have 3d6 and a fresh character record sheet handy.

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