Thursday, March 8, 2012

Idea for Hit Points and Healing

Before rolling your first level hit points, roll a die (and add your Constitution modifier) equal to the hit dice of a Normal Man. Those are your "I have suffered actual injury!" hit points. When these are lost, you regain at the rate of d4 + Con modifier (minimum 1) per week.

(This also serves as a minimum for your total starting hit points - your roll based on class can not be less than this.)

Everything above that Normal Man roll? That's your "skill, luck, and plot immunity" hit points. These are regained at the rate of d4 + Cha or Wis modifier (minimum 1; choose whichever is considered the biggest dump stat in your campaign, or just whether you think "Force of Personality or Connectedness to the World would be more suitable - but since these aren't 'toughness' hit points Constitution is not to be used here!) per day. These hit points are always lost first.

Sure, that means 6 basic hit point Charlie is going to take a much longer time to heal if unaided than 1 basic hit point Pete, but then Charlie actually can survive much more physical punishment without expiring.

I guess that at low levels this will result in a lot more characters being "laid up" back in the safe area causing players to have a batch of characters if they don't want to just wait around for healing. "Joe the Fighter is going to be laid up for awhile after that goblin stabbed him, I guess I'll be using Bob the Cleric until Joe's healed up."

Or you can use this reasoning to make low level guys more kickass: rule that the class-determined hit dice are in ADDITION to the "Normal Man" hit dice, so in Moldvay your MU would start off with d4+d4 hp, the Fighter d4+d8, in LotFP a dwarf would start with d8 + d10, etc. Give that first level guy a small Hackmasterish kicker there.

Whatcha think?


  1. I did something similar with a campaign I ran awhile back, since it was more 2E, I had everyone roll d6 and then their own hit points. It worked a little bit, yet my players aren't always the smartest. They died to a group of gnolls. (The fighter went down first and no one thought to run.)

  2. The last time I ran C&C I did something similar. Each PC got an additional d8 + CON modifier for their "level 0" existence as a "regular Joe" before their career as a member of a class with levels. I wouldn't give them anything more than that as a kicker, otherwise 1st level doesn't really feel like a starting PC anymore.

  3. I like it. Back when I was still DM'ing AD&D I used the character's CON value as their 'real' hit points, and whatever was above this value as representing luck, skill, etc, so something quite similar to what you're envisioning.

  4. I use 1/2 con (rounded down) score for level zero hit points. So a guy with a 17 con would have 8 hit points at zero level. 1st level hits are rolled and added to this score.

    This way, even a magic user with below average con... say a con of 8.. will start off with at least 5 hit points.

    However, my other rule is that PCs get max hit points at first level. It just makes them a lot less squishy. So a magic user is likely to start with 8 hit points... a fighter can have as many as 9 (18 con) +10 (die roll) plus 3 (con bonus.. depending on your system) for a total of 22 hit points.

    A big burly zero level commoner with a con of 18 would have 9 hit points.

    While the max hit points at first level might be overkill, I've always thought that a first level character should have considerably more hits than a zero level one.

  5. I like it. Seems reminiscent of the d20 Star Wars a little. That had basic hit points equal to CON, with level/class based plot/luck/etc points on top of that. Critical hits didn't do any extra damage, they just directly reduced basic hit points.

  6. Good idea. Roger Musson did something similar in "How to Lose Hit Points...and Survive" in White Dwarf #15, Oct/Nov 1979. It's a decent way to make low-level characters have a chance to survive.

  7. I like this a lot too. I like the idea of making 'body hit points' that represent physical injuries, slower to heal, and 'fatigue and skill hit points' that recover quickly. I might suggest making the skill hit points something that always returns within a few days (so your daily factor would actually be multiplied by your level) and slow the body hit point recovery so it takes a few weeks to recover, barring magical healing.

  8. I kinda disagree with the idea of making 1st level PCs 'less squishy'. If you want your characters to live a little longer, just start everyone off at a higher level and call it a day. Having two separate HP pools is basically saying "I know you guys want less chances to die, but this is the best I could come up with and I didn't want to just let you roll bigger numbers."

    Then again, I believe in a fast and hard 10 hits per normal person EVER, not counting CON bonus. Everyone knows where they stand when the only thing standing between you and a new character sheet is 10 HP, luck, and armor.

  9. I like the idea — and if you wanted to go to the extra trouble, you could maybe link the results of the "actual physical damage hp" roll to character size/weight. If your character has a lot of apdhp s/he would be a real gorilla, while if they have few they'd be a frail-looking little wisp of a thing.

  10. I would just say your first 6 HP are your Meat, Blood, and Bones. Everything after that is Luck, Moxie, and Determination.

    If you have 6 or more HP currently, you're tired and sweating. You can heal 1 HP per two hours of rest and healing spells have full effect (1d6 per spell level, or whatever).

    If you're injured and have under 6 HP you're bleeding and swearing and worrying about gangrene. You heal 1 HP per day and healing spells cure only minimum damage. With high level magic this can bring you back past 6 HP, but then you'll probably want more healing spells at full effect.

    Shun tracking two separate HP values, or tying healing to a stat. That's just too fiddly.

  11. I love it. Adds a little granularity without changing the meaning of what hit points are - in fact adds to that a bit.

  12. Horrible idea. Your first level HP are supposed to be mostly physical toughness, with a little bit of luck, moxie, and training thrown in. That's why a first level character's HP are more than a regular Joe Shmoe, but not THAT much more. What really sets a PC apart from a regular commoner is when they gain levels. At second level, a PC can effectively take twice as much damage as a regular guy, and that amount only increases as they continue adventuring. Anything else just adds unnecessary bookkeeping.