Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hit Points

Ahh...hit points. The ever "THIS is what hit points really are" game mechanic. ...That probably didn't make any sense. Point is, everybody is trying to define what hit points are or are not. I'm just going to talk about how I use them and leave the debate to people who care about the fight more than I.

Fantastic Heroes & Witchery has two types of hit points, Wounds and Vitality. Wounds are based on your race, usually a d8. Vitality is based on your class. Losing Vitality has no impact on the game other than bringing you closer to death. For every point of Wound you lose, you suffer a -1 to pretty much every roll. It works and is perfectly fine. No issues from me.

So here's how I want to tweak it a little.

Because I'm a kind DM, I want to go with one of two options:

  1. d6 wounds become d3+3, d8 becomes d4+4. I do not want my players to run around with 1 Wound. Just doesn't work for me.
  2. Make Wounds based on Constitution. I figure 1/2 CON score + Racial modifier.
Option 1 has the advantage of randomness. Player's seem to like that. I've played around with the 5e model of hit point generation where you could take the average and be guaranteed that amount of hp. OR you could roll and gamble. Could be more. Could be less.

Player's always gambled.

Option 2 has the advantage of giving players a little more wounds, figuring the average is 5 from Constitution + 2 for humans and the like. So not really changing much, but it's based on you're character's inherent toughness which I kind of like better.

So I guess I'm leaning towards option 2.

Now, hp in relation to Defense and Armor.....that's a little tricky. We now have 3 levels of defense instead of the normal 2.

Attack roll >= Defense; Damage roll > Armor Rating; HP = 0

So Defense (and the Combat Skill it's based off of) is how capable you are at defending yourself. Armor Rating is how protected from damage you are. Wounds are how much actual, physical damage you can take before you drop. Where does that leave Vitality. For my purposes, it represents your fatigue and willingness to stay in the fight and morale (those last two might be the same thing). 

So...I guess the question would be, Should your Vitality go up as you level up, or should that stay the same and it's all based on your ability to defend yourself and how armored you are. If it does go up as you level up, should you continue to gain hit dice up to the normal 9th level? I need to find that sweet spot between having enough hp that you're willing to risk going into battle, but not so much that you're not cautious and combat drags.

I dunno. I figure these options exist:
  1. Keep it as written. PCs continue to gain HD up to level 9, then a flat hit point gain beyond that.
  2. Lower the HD to Basic D&D levels (warrior d8, divines d6, rogues and magic-users d4).
  3. Gain a flat, lump sum bag of Vitality at level 1 that never goes up. Maybe, (roughly) 30 for warriors, 25 for divines, 20 for rogues, 15 for magic-users.
Lets start with figuring out what the "average" vitality would be for each of the 4 types of classes (ill get to the actual class list later). Remember, that there's a small pool of Wounds (I'm leaning towards option two, so assume 7 Wound HP on average on top of these numbers).

That's not terrible. The averages anyways. This doesn't take into account good/bad rolls (I would allow rerolling of any 1's though) or good/bad Constitution modifiers for levels 1-9.

Option 2 drops the average HP of each type of class by about 13 points on average at level 13. I do like that. Fighter types still have the most hp, but it's even with the damage that a long sword deals. I like that.

Option 3....well based on the table, the numbers I suggested above would be just about the equivalent of 6th level HP. That Might be a little higher than I'd want. Probably put it more at 25, 20, 15, 10 if I was going to go with this option..

Hrrm...My current campaign is using the hit dice as written, but I think I'd probably go with option 2 and lower the die types. I prefer hit points be lower, but I don't think I'd go with the flat HP option mainly because I really like how integrated the HD is into monster construction and their combat effectiveness. If I change that, then I have to COMPLETELY rewrite monsters. I do not want to do that. I'm messing with enough at the moment. 

As an aside, I do plan on having Vitality heal rather quickly. 1HD + CON mod after a 30 min rest after an encounter, and all Vitality after a 6 hour sleep. Wounds would heal slower, healing 1 point over 6 hours of sleep, 2 points if you spend the entire day resting.

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