On 10 Things You Don't Know About Hit Points

Am I going to say something one hundred people have said before? Hell no!

I'm going to say everything everyone has ever said! Also: Man, it is super hard to keep coming up with those titles that make you want to click through! 

What is the most important thing about hit points?

That they are fun for the players!

But they aren't realistic!


People should get weaker as they get hurt!

Are you familiar with the death spiral?

Ten different ways to handle hit points!
The Ventures - Pipeline
  1. Classic! Roll maximum hit points once per level
  2. Old School! Reroll hit points every level and replace the maximum if the new total is higher. Optional: Add +1 hit point or +Con or +1+Con if it is not.
  3. Carcosan! Reroll hit points every combat! And damage! EVERYTHING RANDOM
  4. The LoFP! Roll hit points for a normal man and have those be your actual physical health.
  5. The Warhammer! Once your hit points are gone, you start taking critical hits!
  6. The Star Wars! Your constitution are your wounds, and your hit points protect those - criticals go straight to wounds!
  7. The Canadian Paladin! Spend random values of your hit die to do extra damage to your opponent!
  8. The Hackmaster! Called shots and specific hit locations on criticals!
  9. The Strange Magic! You can't do more damage then the amount of hit points you have!
  10. The 4e! H-H-H-Healing S-S-S-S-SURGE!
And last, but not least, for the hardest of the hard core, for the ultimate grognard in us all!

11. The Chainmail! You can take one hit per level!
    Can you mashed potato! Can you do the twist!


    1. I'm a Warhammer in the games I run. I guess you are too!

    2. In Chainmail you must be hit a number of times equal to your hit points (or level) in a single round of combat to die, otherwise you're unharmed. So you're pretty tough until you get swamped or run into something with more HD than you.

    3. I like The Classic! plus The Warhammer!. That is, when you start out roll 1d6 HP plus CON bonus. At second level roll 1d6 plus CON bonus and add to your total. At third level roll 1d6 + CON and add to total. Etc.

      Also, in describing HP and wounds, all your HP in excess of 6 are willpower, skill, luck, moxie, divine favor. Those last 6 HP are wounds. That means you can tell if someone is a badass if you hit him for 5 HP and you just knocked him around a bit, and he's a wimp if you hit him for 1 and it was a stab through his arm.

      At 0 you start taking nasty criticals that will take a long time to heal.

    4. after years of confusion (and as written it really is confusing) I've decided Hit Points are really luck points (or fate or skill or prowess or whatever you like) and they don't have anything at all to do with wounds - before you hit 0 you may be scorched and nicked and bruised and scraped but it just makes you look more rugged. Real injury starts when hp run out and it's all death and dismemberment (per troll & flame's table) thereafter. And death spirals too, although typically short ones, and no numbers of points involved - maybe n rounds until you die or save vs y each round until medical attention or whatever, but no "death at -con" or anything like that.

      being luck points you can also spend them - pre-emptively on actions, on spells or psionics, on saves - knowing that as you do so you're eroding your chance of dodging that arrow or axe.

      I haven't figured out the numbers yet, or what else I might be able to fold into this mechanic (ac? potions of luck? curses?), but I think I finally have something I can work with, that makes sense to me.

    5. A bit late on this post, having only just seen it on your greatest hits of 2012 list.
      My thoughts for what their worth, combine from the above list:

      a) (Warhammer) Criticals are applied to hits against PCs in the rounds after the reduced to zero hp round. This returns choice to the player: do I keep fighting or retreat or something else.

      b) Use the Con stat as base hit points (Starwars) until class hp overtakes it (Old School). Improves survivability for 1st levels and M-Us.


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