Design Discussion: Unconsciousness and Death

May 1st, 2016

Design Discussion: Unconsciousness and Death

Today we’re going to explore the various mechanics behind unconsciousness and death in ToA: Exile. It should be noted that these mechanics are still in their earliest phases of testing and are subject to change based on feedback.


Hit Point loss, either from survival mechanics such as fatigue or hunger or from damage from combat or the environment, ultimately culminates in a state of unconsciousness for the character. While the character is unconscious, it lies on the ground and cannot be moved by the player. The character is defenseless against any outside damage, is still subject to survival mechanics, and their inventory is available for looting by other players.

Provided that the survival mechanics are not negatively impacting the character and damage stops before death, the character will eventually recover and the player will regain control. Other characters can potentially accelerate recovery using healing abilities.

When fighting other players, the victorious player has the choice to halt damage before death or to continue attacking until their opponent dies. When mobs are introduced, some will stop attacking and carry on once the player falls unconscious. More predatory types will likely continue until death so that they can devour the character. It is also possible for a player to receive so much damage that they bypass unconsciousness and immediately die. Such situations include falling of a really high cliff, facing off against an ancient dragon when you aren’t one yourself, or standing in the middle of a very powerful destruction spell.


If a player does not recover from unconsciousness, fails to respond to survival mechanics (hunger, thirst, temperature, drowning), or takes massive damage they will die and lose a life counter. The available number of life counters for a character on a server is determined by the server host/owner. If a character runs out of life counters, they will perma-die.

Once dead, the character’s body turns into a corpse and other players can interact with it depending on their species. Raknar can implant a corpse with an egg or consume it. Dragons can eat corpses, but they are considered tainted. Humans can harvest resources and meat from dragons and raknar, but they cannot harvest anything from human corpses.


When a character dies, a death screen appears and they are prompted to choose a respawn location if they have any life counters remaining. If the character has claimed a bedroll, nest, or hoard, they can choose to respawn at that location. Otherwise they must choose to respawn at a randomly selected location. Characters can claim multiple spawn locations, but they cannot share them with others. So if you and a friend want to make a safe base, you’ll both need your own bedroll/nest/hoard.

While dragons and raknar can make their own nests with little to no outside resources, humans must craft their bedrolls from materials that they have refined from raw resources, such as leather, thread, and filling.


When a character runs out of life counters, their character will perma-die on their last death. This prevents the character from being played any further, however, players can still view their character via their character screen if they wish to do so. We aren’t yet certain what information we will make available, but we would like to include several interesting statistics for each perma-dead characters.

While perma-death can be disabled on a hosted server by giving characters infinite life counters, you can count on the official servers always having it enabled.

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