A Ticking Clock

Negative hit points that slowly tick down as your character bleeds to death in the middle of the battlefield probably seemed like a good idea when 3rd Edition D&D was being designed. It added a countdown to death, some constant tension of whether or not you would stabilize. But in practice your “dying” comrade just tells you that they have six rounds left – an eternity in a D&D battle – and to heal other PCs or drop the monster. Realistically, if I were six rounds (also known as 36 seconds) from bleeding to death and could communicate you’d darn well better believe I’d be howling for someone to come over and bandage my wounds right the eff now.