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Death and Dying

An Atomic RPG System character’s Hit Points represent how much punishment the character can take, whether physical or psychological.

If the character’s hit points drop to 0 or below. They fall unconscious.
If their go below their Death Limit, they die.

Either way, when a character’s Hit Points drop to 0 or below, they can no longer take any actions. At this point in time the Atomic RPG System player character is Dying. They are near death and unless the character is lucky or gets help they will die.

However, player character death is not always the end of that character’s adventures. In nearly any genre there are great roleplay ways to explain a character coming back from the dead. Magic, cloning, a slap to the face, a splash of water, and automated external defibrillator to name a few! In the Atomic RPG System characters can get the ability to raise a fellow PC from the dead starting at level 1! No need to write of that great character you love if something unfortunate happens.

Unconscious or Dying characters are always healed from 0 Hit Points.

If a character is at -11 Hit Points and Healed for 20 Hit Points, they will have 20 Hit Points.


A character with exactly 0 Hit Points cannot take any Actions; however, the character is not Dying.

They do not have to make Revive checks. However, the player can choose to make Revive checks but run the risk of starting to bleed out with a poor roll.


When Hit Points drop below 0, the character is Dying.
The character cannot take any actions.
On the player's turn, they will be required to make Revive Check.

The character is close to death. When Dying your Character will bleed out losing Hit Points over time.

A character's base Dying Rate is 1/10th of the character's base Hit Points (Traits x Level) rounded down (don't worry, it's automatically figured on the character sheet). This can be modified through Specialties, Items, or Game Master cheating (Modifications).

As a general rule the Game Master’s NPCs should ignore Unconscious or Dying characters and switch their focus on the alive and active player characters. This includes ignoring them for Area of Effect or multi Target Powers. Only on very rare occasions should a NPC take any actions to continue to attack an Unconscious or Dying character.

Atomic RPG System Player Character Revive Checks

On the character’s turn, they must take into account any and all ongoing effects at the beginning of their turn. Negative effects are calculated before positive effects.

If the character’s Hit Points are still above the character’s Death Limit, they are not quite dead.

If the character is still alive, they must make a Revive Check.  The Revive Check determines whether they will continue to lose more Hit Points, remain stable in their current state, or experience a miraculous recovery.

When a character makes a Revive Check, compare the result of their roll against the table below. The Revive Check can be modified through bonuses from Specialties, GM Bonuses, or items.

D20 RollRole PlayEffect of Roll
1The character spurts blood from an artery, racing towards death!The character loses twice their Dying Rate in Hit Points.
2-9The character slowly bleeds out, getting ever closer to death.The character loses their Dying Rate in Hit Points.
10-19The character’s bleeding seems to subside and they remain stable.The character is stable and does not lose Hit Points.
20Through a burst of adrenaline, the character makes a miraculous recovery!The character has a miraculous recovery, healing to their Revived Hit Points.

A character’s base Revived Hit Points are 1/4th of the character’s total Hit Points, rounded down. This can be modified through Specialties, Items, or Game Master cheating (Modifications). This, as almost everything, is automatically calculated for you on your character sheet.

Player Character Death

A player character dies when their Hit Points drop below their Death Limit Hit Point value. At this point, there is nothing more the character can do, unless your group is using the Atomic RPG System Optional Advanced Rules. It will be up to the rest of your party to either Raise Dead and bring the character back, or the player will need to create a new Atomic RPG System character for the game.

A character’s base Death Limit Hit Points are 1/2 of their total Hit Points rounded down below 0. This can be modified through Specialties, Items, or Game Master cheating (Modifications).

Bringing a Character back from Death

Once a character is dead, they cannot easily be brought back. If one of the other characters have the Raise Dead Power or the Raise Dead effect on an item, this can be used to bring the character back from death.

Your setting and campaign rules will determine what Raise Dead really means. A character’s death sucks, but it is also a risk that heroes take. It sucks even worse if there is no way to bring characters back from “death”. Here are some ideas on how to handle a dead character in different settings.


In many fantasy settings there are many ways to bring someone back to life. Thing may include.



In modern and more "realistic" settings it may seem harder to explain someone coming back from the dead. However, there are ways to make it work.



Future settings can have raising the dead as common as it might be in any fantasy setting with magic. But instead, it is technology.

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As you may see there are lots of ways to explain and roleplay characters coming back from the dead.

Yes, it might be a stretch in some cases. But it really is quite valuable to have players be able to bring back their characters that they love.

Also, this really isn’t “plot armor” either. The experience has got to be traumatic. It likely is at the heart of an exciting story. Coming back from death should have a huge affect on the character, the story, and maybe even the larger adventure as a whole. This helps to take some of the “punitive” part of character death out of it but still make it meaningful and something the player should want to avoid.

Your character died

, but now its back!

When a Atomic RPG System character is brought back from the dead they are severely weakened.

If any Character Traits reach 0, the character is automatically unconscious and cannot take actions. They can be healed to full hit points, but cannot take any actions until they complete a Full Rest.

There is no permanent damage, character mechanics wise, when a character dies. However, the experience was most likely traumatic or life-changing for the character, offering rich roleplay opportunities. Your Game Master may also add some flavor or game changes depending on the situation and their campaign.

Non Player Character Death aka NPC Death

In the Atomic RPG System system, all characters that are controlled by the Game Master are non-player characters (NPCs). These can be monsters, associates, shop owners, and even the cow lazily chewing on some plants. Regardless of what it is, non player characters are defeated when they reach 0 Hit Points or below. 

When an NPC's Hit Points reach 0, the character that did it determines if they are knocked out or dead.

Most of the time it will be assumed that the NPC will die. However, if they choose not to kill the NPC, it can be knocked out instead. If the guard was just confused and the characters don’t want to kill him, he doesn’t have to die. Or an NPC can be captured as a prisoner or to be delivered as bounty.

This way players do not have to worry that an enemy might make a miraculous recovery or not truly be dead. It also makes it much easier for a Game Master to manage NPCs.

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Play for free as long as you want! Take your time to see just how flexible the Atomic RPG is with it's combination of digital tools, balanced rules, and ease of play.
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