Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hit Points and Physical Damage

There have been many knowledgable dissertations on the subject of hit points in D&D. I will not rehash them here, they are easy enough to turn up with a simple Google search. For purposes of this article, I will say that I view them as a combination of the character's actual physical being, along with the typical mix of luck, stamina, favor of the gods, defensive savvy, etc.
However, I have always wanted a system whereby we could simulate physical damage, without becoming mired in needless complexity. I have one overriding reason for desiring this: dramatic story development. I'm not going to slip into some sort of Narrativistic poppy field here, so don't panic. I just want to add the concepts of scars, lingering wounds, true physical damage and the like. Those are things that will become part of the character's history and add new dimensions to the epic tales of their adventures.
There are several solutions to this problem, many of them very good. For one posssible alternative, I direct you to Akrasia's blog: http://akraticwizardry.blogspot.com/2009/06/pulp-heroes-and-damage.html. He has a lot of great stuff there, so be sure to go check it all out. It was while ruminating on his ideas for hit points that I came up with the ideas I am presenting here, so thanks are in order. Thank you, Akrasia, for the inspiration. It is a rare and marvelous gift.
Enough preamble. I propose that actual, physical damage be handled using a “damage threshold” model. The character's CON score represents the amount of “superficial” damage that can be tolerated before something bad happens. Anytime a character takes damage from a single attack that exceeds his CON score, he takes one point of physical damage. This is applied to either STR, DEX, or CON, reducing the stat by one, temporarily. This reduced stat is the character's stat until all physical damage is healed. It is used for all relevant rolls, calculations, and any other purposes. The only exceptions are bonus hit points and the Damage Threshold itself. Additionally, any time a critical hit is scored, it always inflicts one point of physical damage, in addition to the normal damage a critical hit causes. The damage from the critical may exceed the threshold, thus inflicting another point of physical damage. The stat affected by any physical damage resulting from a critical hit is decided by the attacker.
The superficial damage represented by hit points is relatively easy to heal. At the end of combat, all characters roll a d6-2(+CON bonus). This represents catching one's breath, and the “It's not as bad as it looks” rule. Thereafter, characters recover 1/10th of their hit point total per hour (round down). They are fully recovered if they can manage an 8-hour rest.
Binding, bandaging, and other forms of first aid allow the character to recover 1-3 points, plus any bonus related to the applying character's ability with such things. Finally, a character may also recover 1-3 (or more, depending on the drink) points if he can quaff a strong drink of some sort. All of these effects are cumulative, but may each only be performed once per battle. Healing potions or spells are of no use to superficial wounds.
Physical damage is another matter entirely. It may only be healed by rest, being under the care of a physician/healer, or by magical means. Regardless of the healing method, the following applies. The stat with the most damage is healed first. If more than one stat is damage and the damage is equal, then the character decides which heals first. Healing is considered point by point, So if a character is suffering from 4 points of DEX damage and 2 points of STR, the first and second points of healing would be automatically applied to DEX. Then, the player could choose to apply the next point to DEX. The next, then would automatically be applied to STR, since its damage is higher at that point. The only exception to this is magical healing, discussed below.
Resting (complete bed rest) restores one point per three days. If under the care of a physician or healer, and in an appropriate environment, this improves to one point every two days.
Magical Healing
Magical healing, no matter the source, only works on damage to one stat at a time. Any healing “left over” is lost. It is not applied to another stat. Magical healing cures a finite number of points, based on the source of the healing. The following table lists the amount of healing done by each source:
Cure Light Wounds 1 point
Cure Serious WounOptionsds 2 points
Cure Critical Wounds 1 point from each stat
Heal 2 points from each stat
Healing 1 point
Extra Healing 2 points (may be split)
Staff of Healing 1 point
Ring of Regeneration 1 point/round
“Death Spiral”
If you want to simulate the effect of a so-called “death spiral”, it adds a level of complexity, and deadliness, to combat. This may not be your cup of tea (I'm not even sure it's mine) but here it is, all the same.
In the rules as given the Damage Threshold remains fixed, equal to the character's CON stat. With this option the Damage Threshold is variable, based on the following condition:
The Damage Threshold is equal to the current CON, meaning that if CON damage has been sustained, it makes further stat damage more likely.
Grievous Damage
This option allows for one point of physical damage for each full multiple of the Damage Threshold. For example, a character with a CON of 13 is hit with 42 points of damage from a Fireball. With this option he would suffer 3 points of physical damage (42/13= 3.23).
Powered by Blogilo

No comments:

Post a Comment