On Points About the Hit

I was listening to the D&D Next G+ hangout.

They say: Everyone handles hit points differently.

One person (I forget who) says "I like to have everyone heal up to half hit points after the battle!" because that is the part of wounds that aren't physical damage?

This made no sense to me. But it did spark an idea.

Real physical wounds count up from zero.
Stamina, fatigue, and luck wounds count down from the total.
Subdual, non-lethal damage, is tracked as an integer, added to the physical wound total.

When the numbers meet, characters fall down.

This allows many variations, criticals do real damage, all wounds do 1 point of real damage, etc. Just a new and interesting way of looking at hit point damage.

19 comments:

  1. Yeah, but then you need a system for fatigue.

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  2. This is rules-as-written in D&D 3.5. You keep separate totals of lethal and non-lethal damages. When their sum exceeds your hit points, you're out.

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  3. The Cortex system has two lines on the character sheet. You checked off the one top-to-bottom and checked off the other bottom-to-top. So, you could see the totals meet.

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  4. Well, RaW except for the differentiation between 'real wounds' and 'Stamina, fatigue, and luck wounds'. There are no 3.5e vanilla rules for tracking which part of damage is dealt as physical damage and which drains stamina or luck.

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  5. I prefer to keep the whole thing an abstraction, but if you want to keep physical wounds and "everything else" in two separate piles, then you could do worse than a system where everything above your rolled hit points at level 1 is your "luck/stamina/fatigue/etc"

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  6. As with other commenters, I prefer to keep HP abstract, to avoid tracking specific injuries or wounds. If I was going to bring those things into D&D, I would probably prefer using an injury table at 0 HP.

    Matthew James Stanham has a pretty good article about how such a system might work here:

    http://silverbladeadventures.blogspot.com/2011/06/article-hit-points.html

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    Replies
    1. Holy tiny font, Batman.

      Seriously though, thanks for reminding me about this. It's a bit more complicated than I could probably get away with using on a G+ game, but it's still good stuff.

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    2. necessary to fit it all on 3 pages. You really only end up using 'tooth and claw' and 'edged' mostly

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  7. I could see this working well with an Armor save system--that is "attacker rolls to hit, defender rolls for armor to see if damage is taken."

    On a successful defense, damage is luck/fatigue/stamina, which recovers after the battle (or after a rest, or whatever your situation of choice). On a failed defense, the damage is a wound, which requires medical attention/magic/etc.

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  8. @Jeff, This is a good idea, but of course it changes D&D's armor class quite a bit. One idea is to use two numbers - one representing the factors that avoid a hit, another for those that avoid damage. In 3.x it would be touch AC and standard AC. If it hits the touch AC and misses the regular AC, then it's nonlethal damage. If it hits the real AC it's lethal damage.

    Of course you might need to play with the numbers a bit to make it work out well. As is, you'll take the same amount of lethal damage and more nonlethal.

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  9. I basically treat all HP as luck/fatigue. It's a player stats and mostly their STR (or CON if you use 6 stats instead of 4) that indicated actual physical damage. Players have lots of ways to get those HP back and they all come back after a good rest. The stat damage takes a lot longer to heal and so they can be fully rested but impaired for days or even weeks if they take a real butt kicking. I also let players choose when to burn those HP and when to take the 'physical' damage because sometimes it's better to have some HP kicking around so you can stay in the fight.

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    1. @Mr Todd

      That sounds like a good system. Do you attach any concrete wounds to ability score damage?

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    2. I do. There's no table or anything (although there are some injuries that do stat damage on the critical table) but stat damage comes with appropriate scaring - mental as well as physical depending on the stat involved and the incident. The player is expected to add it to their folio.

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  10. Microlite20 takes this a step further:
    HP are not only luck, fatigue, and injury; they're also spell points.

    I've been considering letting fighters spend a handful of them for an "action point" type of effect.

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    1. @Peter

      I am personally not fond of that approach, because it turns clerics and healing magic into power batteries, and healing has enough effects on the dynamics of the game without adding in more things to consider as well.

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    2. I like the idea of generalizing an already nebulous pool of inner strength just a bit further than the traditional approach. I could see a place for the cleric who restores comrades spirits and vigor in this way.

      But I can also see your point as to how party members might come to expect the cleric to sit around ready to top off their powers.

      The only remedy that comes to mind would be disallowing healing hp, and only using it to treat actual tangible conditions (death, scars, unconsciousness, being dazed, loss of limbs, etc.).

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    3. One could also keep a separate pool of spell points that are not recovered by healing. Such spell points could be based on max HP (or hit dice), regenerate on some other schedule, and not be healable. If one wanted, used spell points + damage taken being greater than max HP could also lead to incapacitation.

      But that is an extra number and so is not quite as elegant, even though it solves the problem and also models spell power as a form of vitality.

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