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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 11:14 am 
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This post is probably going to get some interesting responses, but I would like to put this out there. Has there been discussion on a possible change to the 'HP' system? I know DnD has operated under the system where if you have >1 hp, you are up and running at full steam and when you hit zero you are dead/dying.

There have been many attempts in other game systems to develop a system that balances reality and speed for game mechanics. There are many times that a DM wants to create a situation where the players are operating under a handicap (i.e. poison, illness, or other effect) but do not want to totally eliminate the character from play. (i.e. bored and sitting out).

This idea is really directed at characters beyond 0-3 levels.

3e had an encyclopedia of conditions that a character could experience. Even after playing 3e for many years, I still have to look up some of the conditions. Many of those conditions would necessitate recalculation of attack bonus, HPs, skills... etc.

So would expanding out how HP's are done help streamline the process?

Here is my suggestion/idea (not 100% mine)...

A character will have two heath point (HP) stats. They will be Endurance Points (EP) and Life Points (LP).

EP's are very similar to current HP's. They will grow at each level that a character options. EP's will be consumed via various actions (combat, falling, and other actions). When all EP's are exhausted, any further damage will be directly applied against the LP's

LP's are more of a fixed number that will be based off of Stamina/Strength/Endurance. This is related directly to physical wounds taken by the character. LP's damage will accumulate until they hit zero, then a character will either be dead or dying.

What advantage does creating two different stats allow us as DM's? I am glad you asked and yes I do talk to myself.

This allows us to do various things like the following:

Combat damage: If you roll max damage on a die, you take one LP of damage in addition to the damage to EP's. If you roll a critical, you automatically take one additional LP of damage in addition to any LP damage that was rolled when calculating damage. This becomes more interesting when a fireball spell fires, each die is a potential of a LP of damage. If you roll 10d6 damage, you could potentially do up to 10 LP of damage (I had a thought of limited the max bonus LP damage to be = spell level). The reason for this is to add an element of danger for someone getting hit by a spell instead of just shrugging it off.

Falling damage: I always thought it was non-realistic for a fighter with 100 hps to look at a 100' cliff and go... I can survive and take a flying leap. With this method, you could take a bunch of LP damage in addition to EP's to make it more deadly.

Illness (reduce EP's by 25% for the duration of the disease). Simulates that they are not at full effectiveness for combat and other actions. Much easier to take LP's in combat.

Poison (could work the same way) as an illness it could also directly cause LP damage depending on the poison.

Paralyzed: Half or all of incoming damage goes straight to LP as you cannot defend yourself.

Healing spells: A cure critical wounds would restore EP's first and after all EP's are restored (i.e. refreshed the character), LP's would start to be healed. If you rolled a max on of of the heal dice, it would heal a LP in addition to the EP's . (example: cure critical wounds (4d8). If you rolled a 5,2,7,8 --- you would restore 22 EP's and one additional LP)

The point of all of this is that a DM can quickly and easily create effects that adjust the EP's up and down to simulate various in game effects and prevent the re-calculation of stats and mechanics.

Another example: Slow (temporary reduce EP's by 50%) as the character cannot dodge, roll, or otherwise reduce the damage coming in.

Dazed (EPs 25% for 2 rounds) after the 2 rounds they get the EP's back.

This is a hodge-podge of ideas and effects that I wanted to throw out there for people to comment/pick apart. The point of this is to not make the DCC RPG more complicated, but provide a very simple/easy mechanism to allow for a DM to dynamically effect a character without impacting the speed of game play.

Another optional idea to symbolize the physical wounds that are taken by a player, you could even do a -1 to ALL rolls after they take 1/2 their LP total in damage. No reduction of ability scores to force recalculations. Just make it a blanket -1 to everything.

The system is not complete by any means, but I think there is enough there for point of discussion on the pros vs. cons of this.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:05 pm 
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Monte Cook did something similar in his Book of Experimental Might by dividing HP into health and grace.... I've been using this system in my 3.5 campaigns for a few years and it works out great.

I have detailed how it works below:

Hit Points
All characters start with bonus hit points equal to their Constitution score. Giving 1st-level characters more hit points in this fashion allows them to face heftier foes at the outset of their adventuring careers while retaining a novice’s ability to succeed at attacks, checks, and saves.

A PC’s hit points are divided into two categories: Grace and Health. The difference is mostly flavorful rather than mechanical—hit points have always been a mixture of abstract luck or skill and actual physical stamina and toughness. “Grace” and “Health” are just terms that help you distinguish between the two types more concretely. Grace hit points represent luck and skill at avoiding serious wounds, while Health represents actual physical punishment you can sustain.

Health is equal to the bonus hit points gained from Constitution + 1 per level. “Bonus hit points from Constitution” counts both the initial amount at 1st level equal to Constitution score as well as the extra hit points gained each level due to a Constitution bonus. The rest of a
character’s hit points are considered Grace points. So a 4thlevel character with a Constitution score of 15 and 40 total hit points has 27 points of Health (15 [Con] + 8 [+2 Con bonus each level] + + 4 [level]) and 13 points of Grace.

When characters suffer hit point damage, they lose Grace points first. The only mechanical distinction to remember here is that Grace hit points heal at a rate of 1 per minute of rest, while Health hit points come back at a rate of 1 per day of rest. Magical healing works the same way for both hit point categories but always heals Grace hit points first.

Why Grace and Health?
Distinguishing between Grace and Health enables the DM to describe what’s happening in combat in such a way as to better convey game information to the players. If players hear the DM say that a blow seemed to really do some actual Health damage to a foe, they’ll know the foe is probably close to defeat.

Of course, different types of creatures will have a different ratio of Grace to Health. For example, almost all of a giant’s hit points represent toughness, or Health. This small change reflects the way I’ve always looked at hit points—much the same way that I look at action in movies. The hero seems to take an absurd amount of punishment throughout the film and not be too affected by it. But right at the end, the abuse suddenly seems to matter a lot more. He’s lost all his Grace and he’s down to just Health. In other words, movie fights are based on the principle that you wear someone down until you can move in for the really cool finishing blow. This new distinction helps set up that parallel without changing much mechanically—because, mechanically, a hit point is still just a hit point.

Being able to regain Grace more quickly allows characters to press on to more encounters in a single day. It also drastically decreases the need for a cleric. Not that clerics aren’t important anymore, but it is possible to have a group without one now. Lastly, it encourages the realistic practice of stopping to rest and catch one’s breath after a significant encounter. This last fact has its own effects on the game, however: Spells that last one minute per level generally will be good for only one encounter, even at high levels, because the durations will run out as everyone rests after a fight.

Believing that 1st-level characters start with too few hit points, some DMs choose to start PCs at 2nd or even 3rd level. But giving more hit points to 1st-level characters (by adding their Constitution score to their total) makes them much more interesting in a way that simply starting them at 2nd or 3rd level does not. There’s a different dynamic to game play when the ability to stand toe to toe with a typical monster increases but the ability to resist harmful effects (through saving throws) stays the same, as does the ability to land successful blows or use skills. Coupled with a greater access to healing, this allows characters to worry less about getting taken out in one hit and worry more about more interesting threats: ability score damage, spell effects, and so on.

Think about this: Most CR 3, CR 4, or even CR 5 monsters that have interesting abilities requiring saving throws peg those save Difficulty Classes at 13 or 14. When the characters going up against these beasts are 3rd level or so, it’ll be the rare encounter in which the party experiences the effects of that ability. The characters are much more likely to make their saves. So it becomes a waste of a round to have, for example, a fire mephit use its heat metal ability against enemies appropriate to its Challenge Rating—it’s a foregone conclusion that its breath weapon will inflict only half damage.

But with a simple addition of hit points, I could throw not one but two fire mephits at a party at 1st level. The saves versus the breath weapon will be interesting moments in the game, and someone’s armor or weapon is sure to be affected by heat metal. Even with the mephits’ damage reduction and fast healing, the PCs will be able to outlast them, when normal 1st-level characters almost certainly could not. (I should point out that there are five characters in my group, not four, which also affects these estimations.)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:32 pm 
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Interesting thread, Hamakto.

Hamakto wrote:
3e had an encyclopedia of conditions that a character could experience. Even after playing 3e for many years, I still have to look up some of the conditions. Many of those conditions would necessitate recalculation of attack bonus, HPs, skills... etc.


If possible, I'd like to avoid the "encyclopedia of conditions". 4e mitigated this somewhat. But it's still to the point where any given group would be lost when it comes to conditions without some sort of reference or game aid.

I'd propose something extremely simple, like levels of impairment. To borrow somewhat from Star Wars Saga...

-2: Minor impairment
-5: Major Impairment
-10: Severe Impairment

This can work in a few ways. For example, being Blinded is a severe impairment. Being poisoned might do X damage but also give the character a Major Impairment until they get better. Having the flu might drop the character's Stamina attribute by one bonus (so from +1 to 0 or, rather, from a 12 to a 10) as well as giving a minor impairment.

This concept of impairment would have no hard and fast rules. There would be actions that it would and wouldn't come up. Like having a broken leg might be a major impairment until it's healed. But would NOT impair, say, one's ability to study a spellbook once the leg is splinted and healing poultices in place.

Hamakto wrote:
EP's are very similar to current HP's. They will grow at each level that a character options. EP's will be consumed via various actions (combat, falling, and other actions). When all EP's are exhausted, any further damage will be directly applied against the LP's


Or, take a page from FASERIP... When Hit Points drop to 0, your character is out of the fight. And you begin losing levels of Stamina. So 18 (+4) would drop to the next tier 16-17 (+3) then the next, then the next. This would be the equivalent of having a character "bleed out". Or something along the lines of "Death Saves" in 4e. If a character is dropped, then maybe they make Fortitude saves each round until they roll a '20' and stabilize or someone helps them out for a round.

When a character reaches zero Endurance, they're dead for good. This would negate the need for kludgy negative hit points rules or anything like that. Nor need questions of what Cure Light Wounds would do for a character at negative hit points. Did you have 4 hit points left and took 18 damage? No math needed. You're at zero and bleeding out.

Like any other attribute damage, Stamina lost via "Bleeding Out" would return at 1 point a week. Ouch. Harsh, I know. But if attributes are all around not made the centerpiece of the character (like in traditional 3e and 4e), it shouldn't be that big of a deal. And lost Stamina ranks/levels would already impact hit points. Bleeding out from 14 to 9 would mean you've lost 2 x Your Level in hit points until that Stamina could get back up!

Hamakto wrote:
Combat damage: If you roll max damage on a die, you take one LP of damage in addition to the damage to EP's. If you roll a critical, you automatically take one additional LP of damage in addition to any LP damage that was rolled when calculating damage. This becomes more interesting when a fireball spell fires, each die is a potential of a LP of damage. If you roll 10d6 damage, you could potentially do up to 10 LP of damage (I had a thought of limited the max bonus LP damage to be = spell level). The reason for this is to add an element of danger for someone getting hit by a spell instead of just shrugging it off.


This is interesting. I'd like to see what DCC does with crit tables, though, too. Works just as well if you adopt a Wound/Vitality Point system or a system of bleeding out via losing Stamina.

Hamakto wrote:
Falling damage: I always thought it was non-realistic for a fighter with 100 hps to look at a 100' cliff and go... I can survive and take a flying leap. With this method, you could take a bunch of LP damage in addition to EP's to make it more deadly.


Ha! As a player who's actually leapt off a cliff instead of facing a dragon that nearly TPK'd the party, I totally agree. I think the key here is limiting Hit Points, though falling could stand to be beefed up -- no doubt. But if DCC adopted a reasonable hit dice system that capped out around 10th level and then offered a meager bonus beyond that (to which the Stamina bonus was not applicable) then we'd be seeing 10th level wizards with 30 or so hit points and 14th level fighters with 80 or so.

Instead of the 10th level Wizard having around 50 and the 14th level fighter having something in the ballpark of 120. IMO, this is one of the reasons high-level 3e is just flat broken.

Just throwing things out here, but what if there was such a thing as Maximum Hit Points. As in, no matter how high your level your race, class, whatever could never exceed X. Leveling then becomes an exercise in how high you can hit that maximum.

And it kinda makes sense (to me). Every other stat has a racial upward limit, past the point of which a character is considered "super-human". Why not Hit Points?

Hamakto wrote:
Healing spells: A cure critical wounds would restore EP's first and after all EP's are restored (i.e. refreshed the character), LP's would start to be healed. If you rolled a max on of of the heal dice, it would heal a LP in addition to the EP's . (example: cure critical wounds (4d8). If you rolled a 5,2,7,8 --- you would restore 22 EP's and one additional LP)


Yup. Here's where Vitality/Wound Point systems in 3e got complicated for me. While attribute "damage" is much more grim than losing Wound Points, there's already a system in place for recovering them. And spells that deal with that sort of healing. So no need to mess with the system.

Hamakto wrote:
The point of all of this is that a DM can quickly and easily create effects that adjust the EP's up and down to simulate various in game effects and prevent the re-calculation of stats and mechanics.


I like the ideas in spirit. I don't care for Wound/Vitality systems in general. I just think something like tacking on Stamina damage afterwards is simpler. Raises less need for more rules.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:52 pm 
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bwatford wrote:
But with a simple addition of hit points, I could throw not one but two fire mephits at a party at 1st level. The saves versus the breath weapon will be interesting moments in the game, and someone’s armor or weapon is sure to be affected by heat metal. Even with the mephits’ damage reduction and fast healing, the PCs will be able to outlast them, when normal 1st-level characters almost certainly could not. (I should point out that there are five characters in my group, not four, which also affects these estimations.)


Part of this is also inflation of damage from monsters -- both from higher bonuses and just plain using higher dice.

I've tried the Constitution score as starting HP. I've also tried Vitality/Wound Points from Unearthed Arcana (3e) and Star Wars Saga.

But I think it really all depends on what you're playing.

If you're playing 3e D&D, what worked best for me was giving characters their Con score in hit points at first level and then let them "catch up" as they increase. Eventually their "real" hit points exceed the Con score and they're off to the races.

If you're playing B/X D&D, doing that or using W/V Points make PCs almost unstoppable. I mean, we're talking about a system where a Medusa would have 25hp. And a Giant would have around 50.

Sure a Dragon would have something in the ballpark of 150.

But that's nothing compared to 3e or, crikey, 4e. So starting 1st level B/X characters out with the equivalent of Con plus Hit Points would seriously overpower them. A party of 1st level adventurers standing toe-to-toe with Giants or Gorgons. Wha?!

So I think it depends on the game being played. I like D&D best when everything is scaled down a bit. I find it's much easier to make things really standout if everything isn't turned up to 11 all at once. For me, 3e D&D worked best when I did the Con thing. It was less complicated that Wound/Vitality Points and, frankly, I could hardly tell the difference. But B/X works best when I just say "maximum hit points at 1st level, roll for 'em every level after that". That gives me the same kind of play with the older ruleset that the other did with 3e. Which makes sense considering how attribute bonuses, damage, AC and everything else that those bonuses depend on got inflated in 3e.

I don't know how DCC approaches this. Maybe it already has a system in place.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:56 pm 
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Some interesting ideas, but in order to sell this to me they need to be condensed a lot. I start reading these lengthy posts on how to make hit points work and I get all glassy-eyed about it.

Makes 4E's "bloodied" seem so easy by comparrison. :P

DCC should be simple without having too many rules and exceptions.

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 7:43 am 
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Sorry, finarvyn. The length of the post is from brainstorming and throwing stuff out there for discussion. What I'd mentioned in the post was the following, amended after I'd given it some thought.

Quote:
When a character hits zero hit points, they are out of the fight and begin losing Stamina. Roll a d20 and consult the following.

1: Drop two Stamina attribute bonus ranks.
2-9: Drop one Stamina attribute bonus rank
10-19: Stay at current Stamina but roll again next round
20: Stabilize! Stay at current Stamina and don't roll anymore.


By Stamina attribute "bonus rank", I'm talking about the amount of Stamina to take a character from +2 to +1 or -1 to -2. In 3e, this would just be a straight 2 point loss. With classic attribute bonuses, it may be more.

When a character drops below -4, they're dead. Stamina recovers as per the rules for attribute recovery.

###

The other thing I'd mentioned was regarding Conditions.

Quote:
Instead of multiple and varied conditions (dazed, stunned, blinded, etc.), measure conditions by the penalty (or impairment) they impose. There are three degrees of impairment:

Minor Impairment: -2
Major Impairment: -5
Severe Impairment: -10

The DM will determine when the impairment is applicable.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:33 am 
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Your amended version looks pretty quick and easy to handle. :D

I was just saying that if a hit point system gets too complex it mutates the feel of the game, that's all. To me, part of the charm of the older edition games was that combat was pretty simple, not realistic.

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DCC RPG playtester 2011, DCC Lankhmar trivia contest winner 2015; OD&D player since 1975

"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!"
-- Dave Arneson


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:48 pm 
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finarvyn wrote:
Your amended version looks pretty quick and easy to handle. :D

I was just saying that if a hit point system gets too complex it mutates the feel of the game, that's all. To me, part of the charm of the older edition games was that combat was pretty simple, not realistic.


Thanks. I agree. That's partly one of the issues I'd had with Vitality/Wound Point systems in 3e.

I saw the problems they were addressing. But I think 4e did it better by just "doubling" hit points. The distinction between Vitality and Wound Points opens up a slew of questions as to when each heals, which heals first, which are healed by what spell and how... It's not an unobtrusive rule.

That said the Endurance/Stamina dropping isn't perfect either. It fits more easily into the spot -- if only because the idea of Attribute damage and how to deal with it already exists. I think it's less obtrusive but it's not all that streamlined.

4e's idea of Death Saves is actually quite nice. Another possibility might be...

Quote:
When a character takes enough damage to drop him to zero Hit Points, he's unconscious and begins making rolls every round until he stabilizes, dies or someone takes a full round to stabilize him (no roll needed).

1: Character dies.
2-9: Character drops one die type for future rolls.
10-19: Character hangs in there. Rolls again next round.
20: Character stabilizes. Is still unconscious but now at zero hit points.


So if my character had 4 hit points and got hit for 6 damage. I'd be at zero and make a roll with a d20. Assuming I rolled a 4, the next round I'd roll a d16. Assuming I rolled an 11 on the d16, I'd stay there the next round. Then I roll an 8, so I drop another die to d14. The next round I roll a 1. I'm dead!

To me, this seems a lot lighter. Less obtrusive. And still gives "downed" characters something to do. Of course, it becomes a death spiral after that d20 is lost...

If I may extend this post with a bit of brainstorming, I think Recovery is also an interesting question. I like the ideas behind a Second Wind and Healing Surges. But not necessarily how it translated to 4e. Maybe something like this could work...

Quote:
If you have more than half your hit points remaining, you can recover your Stamina bonus in hit points by taking nothing but a Defensive action for one round. You can do this once per encounter. Maybe Dwarves can do it twice?


As for something along the lines of Healing Surges...

Quote:
By taking an hour following an encounter to catch a breath and tend to minor scrapes and bruises, a character can recover hit points. If the character has more than half their hit points remaining, they recover one-half their level (rounded up). If the character has less than half of their hit points remaining, they recover 1 point.


Note that an uninterrupted hour in a dungeon might be a luxury a party could not afford -- given random encounters and possible time constraints.

Either of those are options but I doubt both would be needed. One or the other should more than suffice. I found in my old-school games that the "Shields Shall Be Splintered" rule is not only really freaking fun but it also replaces the need for anything like Healing Surges. I've also added a "Helmets Shall Be Dented" addenda which allows helmets to be sacrificed to reduce a crit to just a normal hit.

Works quite well and you'd be surprised how important shields and helmets are now...


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2011 12:16 pm 
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Giving the "Death Roll" a little more thought, I'd consider changing the results to...

Quote:
When a character takes enough damage to drop him to zero Hit Points, he's unconscious and begins making rolls every round until he stabilizes, dies or someone takes a full round to stabilize him (no roll needed).

1-3: Character dies.
4-9: Character drops one die type for future rolls.
10-15: Character hangs in there. Rolls again next round.
16-20: Character stabilizes. Is still unconscious but now at zero hit points.


That way a character still has a chance to stabilize even with a d16. Anything below a d10 is a quick drop down the death spiral, though. So those characters would need assistance within, at most, 3 rounds.

It also opens the avenue for defining starting "die type" by Stamina or class (or both). So a fighter could roll a d20, while a wizard might start out with a d16 or a 0-level character start out with a d14 or d12.

Having a Stamina of 16 or better could boost the die type by one step. So a fighter with 17 Stamina starts out with d24, making him significantly more resilient.

Now, what happens to unconscious characters is anyone's guess. Generally taken captive or bound and offered to the dark gods, I'd suppose.

EDIT: I'd also like to add my support to, I think it was finarvyn, who recommended dropping Stamina each time a character got dropped. It might be more significant to drop it one bonus "rank" but either way it sets a hard limit on how often a character can go passing out in a dungeon. And I think it represents the rigors of dungeoneering quite well. Especially with it taking a week to recover each point.


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