When a player reaches 0 Hits, he or she dies. Upon death, as long as the player is not engaged in a cutscene, they will respawn in Lumbridge with a message saying "Oh dear, you are dead". Dying restores all stats to their maximum value and gets rid of a player's PKing skull if they have one.
Rules for Item Loss[edit | edit source]
Typically speaking, a player will keep only their 3 most valuable items when they die (determined by shop price). However, there are many exceptions to this rule. Certain items will always drop to the ground, even if they would otherwise be in the top 3 most valuable. All stackable items (e.g. runes, coins, certificates) are in this category of "always dropping", as well as certain quest items (e.g. Liquid Honey).
There are also modifiers on how many items you keep. If a player is "skulled", then they will keep 0 items on death instead of 3. However, if a player is praying Protect Items when they die, then they will keep 1 additional item (i.e. 1 item is kept if skulled, 4 items are kept if not). If a player dies while in a duel then they will keep all their items, even items that have the property of "always dropping" (noted in previous paragraph).
How long items take to disappear from the ground after death is not a constant value either. Outside of the Wilderness, when a player dies, their items appear to other players immediately. If they aren't picked up by those other players, then the person who died has approximately 10.5 minutes to retrieve their items. If a player dies during PVP in the wilderness though, their items last 1 minute longer, because there is 1 minute during which only the player who PK'd the other player can see their loot. Additionally, a player's bones are handled seperately from the rest of their items because they didn't come from their inventory, but instead from inside their flesh. Their bones will disappear after approximately 2 minutes.
Pedantic players will note that the above timers are dependant on how many players are on a world. The more players online, the shorter the despawn timer[clarify]. However, the above times given are times typical for the amount of players online at the end of the game. Another technical inaccuracy in the above description is that not all of a player's items despawn on the exact same tick, they despawn one at a time.