[RPG] What happens when a character dies?


What happen when a player's character dies in an ongoing campaign?

Does he/she create a new character?

If so, what level is the new character?

Best Answer

It all depends on what is available.

Firstly, lets just cover exactly when a PC actually dies:

  1. The PC takes enough damage from a hit to "outright" kill them. While there are no "negative hit points" per se, if a PC takes enough damage to bring them to 0 HP, and the remaining damage from the same attack is greater than or equal to their maximum HP, they die.
    • For example; a PC has 20 maximum HP, and currently has 3 HP. The dragon scores a critical hit with a claw attack, dealing 25 damage total. This reduces the PC to 0 HP, but there is an excess of 22 damage left to deal. Since that exceeds their HP maximum, they are killed instantly.
  2. The PC has fallen unconscious, and has gotten 3 failures on their death saving throws. At this point, they die.

Just because they reach 0 HP, doesn't necessarily mean they're dead.

Now, as for what happens afterwards: it all depends on your game, and the DM. For the most part, there are ways to bring back party members from death, and the Resurrection spell is one such way.


You touch a dead creature that has been dead for no more than a century, that didn't die of old age, and that isn't Undead. If its soul is free and willing, the target returns to life with all its hit points.

This spell neutralizes any Poisons and cures normal Diseases afflicting the creature when it died. It doesn't, however, remove magical Diseases, curses, and the like, if such affects aren't removed prior to casting the spell, they afflict the target on its return to life.

This spell closes all mortal wounds and restores any missing body parts.

A Caster in the party can learn this, if they are of high enough level, or, you can likely quest for a healer to do so. That is, of course, if the DM allows it. Talk to them to discuss the possibility.

(Other spells that can bring back dead party members include Revivify, Raise Dead, Reincarnate, and True Resurrection. Each spell has different requirements, costs, and effects.)

That said, there are certain quests (Tomb of Annihilation, for example), where the whole point is that PCs cannot be resurrected, and it is up to the party to cure the land of the curse that prevents this.

In the meantime, since Resurrection is often not a straight-forward event, it might be worthwhile to roll up a new character, or perhaps take over the role of an NPC that has joined the party, or whatever, as a stand in so you're still a part of the game.

Otherwise, if all of these are not a possibility in your game, you will have to roll up a new character. As for what the character level is, that is something to discuss with your DM. Boosting your PC level would depend on the level the rest of the party is at.