Thursday, May 24, 2012

Next Hit Dice Tomfoolery

I've read over the playtest stuff a little more. There are a couple of things dealing with Hit Dice that caught my eye. It may be due to the incompleteness of the document, in fact I am sure one of these quibbles is a first-release oversight. Even so, they raise some questions about the direction of the rules concerning Hit Dice, hit points, and healing.

First off, hit points. This one is short and sweet. The rules state that beginning hit points are equal to CON + CON modifier. Survivability boost. I get it. It then goes on to say that when a character gains a level, roll the appropriate HD and add it to the total. If the roll is less than the CON modifier, add the modifier instead (emphasis mine). So, CON mods aren't added to hp after 1st level?

Then, under Resting, it mentions that during a Short Rest a character may be treated using a healer's kit. Each such treatment allows the character to expend one HD. Each HD expended is basically rolled like a, well, like a hit die, and deducted from the character's damage. I can't find any other mention of "expending hit dice" outside the section on Resting, so I'm unclear about the overall effects. It seems like it is just a limiter on non-magical healing. Sort of a reskinning of the Healing Surges, just less potent. More info on it would help.

Oh, one more thing. Also under Resting, it states that after a Long Rest (8 hours) all damage is healed. You do have to have at least one hit point to take a long rest, so if you're at 0 you won't wake up feeling any better.


  1. "There are a few things we know that will change in short order. For instance, monsters still need some work, and the starting character hit points are a bit inflated to account for that." — Mike Mearls

  2. Thanks for the pointer to the quote, Brendan. I haven't followed the development sound bites.

    While I can accept that any playtest version of anything is incomplete in places and that what we're seeing at any particular point will likely change before final release sets it in stone. I don't think, however, that the playtesters should be required to maintain an ongoing knowledge of the developer's interviews and so forth, just so they can use that knowledge to inform their playtest experience. That almost comes across to me as "We know this rule doesn't work, but let's leave it alone, ok guys?"

    Complete or incomplete, the playtest documents, such as they are, need to stand on their own. Putting something in as a sort of stop-gap, for the sake of keeping the process moving forward, is well and good. It's not very productive, though, to expect playtesters, especially in an open playtest, to possess enough knowledge of the development process to understand the difference between rules that are "stop-gap" and rules that are intended for serious consideration.

    Time is a rare and wondrous thing in most of our lives. Are we supposed to be spending time playing and evaluating or following development posts so we know which rules to allow some leeway?