After my last post here, some readers commented I skipped some important details. In Moldvay’s Basic, here are the indelibly terse Damage (and Death) rules:
SCORING DAMAGE: The number of points of damage caused by a successful attack is immediately subtracted from the number of
hit points the defender has at that time. All damages remain until healed. Any defender reduced to 0 hit points or less is dead.
This rule rings with finality! None of the other wussy stuff like negative hit points from AD&D! With the already low Hit Dice of the classes and limited chance at bonus HP from a high Constitution score, B/X is unforgiving to say the least. Eric Hoffman, a Friend of the OSR, instituted the Death Save House Rule in his undeniably great B/X Game; Keep on the Borderlands Open Table. You can find his House Rules here.
The Death Save at 0 hp has served well in that game, but I wanted to try the Death Boxes from Blood & Bronze which I detailed last post.
What I forgot to mention is that neither Death Saves, nor Death Boxes, will allow any character to live if their unconscious bodies are left unattended to the reprimands of angry Odata! Oft times, even House Rules to Death and Damage aren’t enough, so we added the Shields May Be Splintered rule from here (enjoy that Rabbit Hole).