O Death, where is thy sting? Oh, there it is...

Dyson, over on his excellent blog, has just been talking about the WHFRP system of determining damage and death. To summarize, if a blow takes you below zero hit-points, you get to roll a d20 (+ however many HP you are below 0) for Nasty Critical Damage which may leave you mangled or dead. I really like it, conceptually, and I think I may adopt it in preference to the HP/CON damage split I'm using at the moment. Reposted here, straight from Dyson's blog, is the Grievous Unpleasantness Table:
Effects of Mighty Blows (d20 + points below zero HP)
1-4:Merely a flesh wound! Continue fighting with a -2 penalty on attacks and saves.
5-7:Oof! Strike to the groin, head or other painful blow stuns the character for 1d3 rounds, and suffers a flesh wound as above
8-10:Crushing Blow! Character is stunned for 1d6 rounds, suffers a flesh wound, and must save versus petrification/paralysis or be rendered out of the fight – unconscious or otherwise crippled until healed.
11-14:Incapacitating Strike! Character is rendered unconscious or otherwise crippled and out of the fight until healed. Further, a saving throw versus death is required to prevent the obvious side effect of permanent and immediate death.
15-18:Deadly Blow! The character is dead.
19-20:Mangled! The character is dead, and body parts are missing, thrown around and otherwise mangled.
21+:Splatterfest! The character is not only dead, but is grossly dismembered and mangled beyond recognition.

For monsters and NPCs, just make a simple save versus death when reduced to damage from 0 to -5. If the save is successful, then the critter remains conscious but fights at -2. If the save fails, the critter is unconscious, if the save is a 1, the critter dies. If struck to -6 to -10, the critter is unconscious and dies if it fails a save versus death. At -11 and below, just kill the critter.
1-6: Flesh wound
7-11: Oof!
12-15: Crushing blow
16-18: Incapacitating strike
19: Deadly blow
20: Mangled
21+: Splatterfest
It occurs to me that it could easily be used as a standard combat Critical Hit system as well as for below-0-damage, though I'd probably run it in that case using a d12 rather than a d20 to avoid insta-death rolls; they're no fun for anyone. Or possibly I'd jiggle the numbers a bit to weight the chart more towards the broken-but-not-dead end, as shown here to the right:

This distribution only has a 10% chance of instant death, compared with the 30% in Dyson's chart, and some may see that as being soft, they may call me a big pussy, but I don't really care. If you get walloped again once you're down below 0hp, you're probably going to die or be horribly crippled anyway.

Yet Another Hill

 I got a cheap 30-watt foam-cutting hot wand from China a few days ago, and tried it out by carving up a foam off-cut into another hill. ...