5E Bloodied Condition in 5e:

dave2008

Legend
I just looked at a kickstarter preview that included new conditions. One of the conditions was the bloodied condition. Very 4e and I like the idea. I already have the conditions in my games, but the mechanics are different and they are very tied into my other house rules. However, the kickstarter made me think of a more generic option (even though the KS went the opposite direction). So, what do think of this:

Bloodied
  • When your current hit points drop below half your hit point total you are bloodied.
  • When you are bloodied you cannot regain hit points by spending your Hit Dice.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
When you are bloodied you cannot regain hit points by spending your Hit Dice.
I don't mean to sound rude, but this sounds like the worst possible consequence of being low on hit points that I could possibly imagine. This rule would require PCs to stop and short rest when they don't need to regain hit points? It completely subverts the purpose of having short rests and Hit Dice in the game. The whole point is so that you can heal during the adventuring day without magic. Who is going to burn an hour to heal when either you don't need healing or when the most injured party members can't benefit?

I have no problem with using the bloodied descriptor in 5e. It's one of the handiest and best design ideas to come out of 4e, and I'm genuinely sorry that it didn't survive intact in 5e. But this isn't really a good idea.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Thanks for bringing that Kickstarter to my attention. I've backed it.

Did the original 4E version of bloodied prevent you from using healing surges, or use up a healing surge, or something? What is the reason for the "no hit dice" part? Maybe a cap on the number of hit dice you could spend in a single short rest would be a better way of modeling this.
 

dave2008

Legend
Thanks for bringing that Kickstarter to my attention. I've backed it.
Your Welcome!
Did the original 4E version of bloodied prevent you from using healing surges, or use up a healing surge, or something?
No it did not.
What is the reason for the "no hit dice" part? Maybe a cap on the number of hit dice you could spend in a single short rest would be a better way of modeling this.
It is the idea once your bloodied your actually taking real damage and simple resting for an hour or overnight will not help. It would be a "grittier" approach to D&D
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
It is the idea once your bloodied your actually taking real damage and simple resting for an hour or overnight will not help. It would be a "grittier" approach to D&D
Gotcha. But I don't think adding a death spiral to 5E (where, once you get "in a hole," it's very difficult to climb out) is a good idea. Maybe for an AiME-type variant where it's gritty all the way around, but one "gritty" rule tacked onto the base game is, IMHO, not going to mesh well.

What if you say something like you can only spend half your hit dice in a single short rest, potentially requiring multiple short rests to get back to full health?

Or that hit dice can only heal you for a value up to half your hit points, no matter how many you spend? (So for example, if you have 40 HP and you get down to 10, you can never regain more than 20 HP by spending hit dice, until you have a long rest.)
 

dave2008

Legend
I don't mean to sound rude, but this sounds like the worst possible consequence of being low on hit points that I could possibly imagine.
Thank you! That is basically the idea.

This rule would require PCs to stop and short rest when they don't need to regain hit points? It completely subverts the purpose of having short rests and Hit Dice in the game. The whole point is so that you can heal during the adventuring day without magic. Who is going to burn an hour to heal when either you don't need healing or when the most injured party members can't benefit?
No, short rest and hit dice work just the same up until the point your bloodied. This inflection point could be controlled by changing the definition of bloodied (maybe bloodied = STR mod + CON Mod). That would allow you to customize to your group. The half HP total was just a carry over from 4e.

The benefit is a delineation of meat points (bloodied). This method would require acknowledge that you can't just sleep off a sword to the chest.

FYI, the variant in the KS only allow you to use HD to regain hit points up to half your total. The might be more your style. It keeps you up, but can't take you to max. health.

I have no problem with using the bloodied descriptor in 5e. It's one of the handiest and best design ideas to come out of 4e, and I'm genuinely sorry that it didn't survive intact in 5e. But this isn't really a good idea.
Maybe not a good idea for the general ethos of 5e, but that is why it would be a variant for a "grittier" style of play. The problem with the 4e style bloodied in 5e, at this point, is that the value was the other things (features, monster traits, etec.) that keyed off of the condition. 5e doesn't have those so adding it back is not simple operation.
 
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dave2008

Legend
Gotcha. But I don't think adding a death spiral to 5E (where, once you get "in a hole," it's very difficult to climb out) is a good idea. Maybe for an AiME-type variant where it's gritty all the way around, but one "gritty" rule tacked onto the base game is, IMHO, not going to mesh well.
I think it does instantly add some grit, but yes a suite of gritty variants would be best.
Or that hit dice can only heal you for a value up to half your hit points, no matter how many you spend? (So for example, if you have 40 HP and you get down to 10, you can never regain more than 20 HP by spending hit dice, until you have a long rest.)
That is basically the condition offered in the kick starter.
 

dave2008

Legend
I use the term "bloodied" in my games, but it has no mechanics attached to it, other than "half" HP or lower.
What is the point then, just a shorthand?

FYI, we use it too, but it is a separate pool. Bloodied Hit Points (BHP) = [STR mod + CON mod] x Size. Once your bloodied BHP go to 0, your dead.
 

Dausuul

Legend
In 4E, bloodied was used as the trigger for various mechanics, but the only effect of the bloodied condition itself was that it was visible to your enemies--once you become bloodied, the enemy knows you are below half hit points, which is valuable tactical information.

I thought it worked quite nicely, and it's a shame they dumped it in 5E. I'd be on board with restoring it. However, I would avoid adding any mechanic that turns it into a "death spiral" where becoming bloodied reduces your ability to bounce back--that sort of thing can make a little bad luck on the dice snowball into a TPK.

Why not do the opposite? You can only spend hit dice when bloodied, and you can only regain hit points up to the bloodied threshold (i.e., hit dice cannot make you un-bloodied). That would turn it into a stabilizing mechanic rather than a destabilizing one.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
I understand the desire for more "gritty" style, but I'm not sure I would tie it to the bloodied condition, or rather to a generic bloodied condition. Form me, HPs work best when they are kept abstract, and trying to parse them into "meat points" vs weariness and luck does not really work too well. I would take a page from 4e and attach certain meanings to the condition:
  • Other's can see you're somewhat warn down, so it could be an opportunity to unleash a Power Word spell or know that you are running out of gas.
  • Certain spells and abilities may key off of it, similar to 4e. Monsters can have certain affects that happen, spells can do different things to targets that are bloodied, Raging Barbarians get an extra boost, etc.
  • If I wanted more gritty, I would say Hit Dice and most healing can only get you back up to bloodied, not all the way to full. This way you can get 'patched up' but still not too full strength and avoid returning to the "who's going to play the cleric?" model of earlier editions. Clerics, with a few notable exceptions such as perhaps the Heal spell, will not be able to patch up any more than the other methods available, though they would still be a valuable resource.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Why not do the opposite? You can only spend hit dice when bloodied, and you can only regain hit points up to the bloodied threshold (i.e., hit dice cannot make you un-bloodied). That would turn it into a stabilizing mechanic rather than a destabilizing one.
I think this could work, but I see it leading to some funny situations where a PC is one point away from bloodied and goes out looking for danger (or even self-inflicts a point or two of damage) in order to be able to spend hit dice!
 

dave2008

Legend
Why not do the opposite? You can only spend hit dice when bloodied, and you can only regain hit points up to the bloodied threshold (i.e., hit dice cannot make you un-bloodied). That would turn it into a stabilizing mechanic rather than a destabilizing one.
That is pretty much what the kickstartee supplement did
 
Of course, 5e has bloodied - that bit on narrating damage about 'showing signs of wear' when at half-hit points. It just obliges you to phrase anything that's based on it "...when you are reduced to half or fewer your maximum hps…" Because shortening that to a keyword would increase complexity.

Thanks for bringing that Kickstarter to my attention. I've backed it.

Did the original 4E version of bloodied prevent you from using healing surges, or use up a healing surge, or something?
No, not at all.

However, there might be abilities or items that functioned only while bloodied, or until bloodied, or activated upon becoming bloodied the first time - or that only worked on bloodied enemies. Monsters, likewise, would have powers that keyed off bloodied, either for themselves, or vs bloodied targets.
 

Aebir-Toril

Is lukewarm on the Forgotten Realms
Of course, 5e has bloodied - that bit on narrating damage about 'showing signs of wear' when at half-hit points. It just obliges you to phrase anything that's based on it "...when you are reduced to half or fewer your maximum hps…" Because shortening that to a keyword would increase complexity.

No, not at all.

However, there might be abilities or items that functioned only while bloodied, or until bloodied, or activated upon becoming bloodied the first time - or that only worked on bloodied enemies. Monsters, likewise, would have powers that keyed off bloodied, either for themselves, or vs bloodied targets.
5E still has the latter, but the term "bloodied" is omitted. There are many monsters with abilities that say "X happens if the target or self has half or fewer hit points".
 

Dausuul

Legend
I think this could work, but I see it leading to some funny situations where a PC is one point away from bloodied and goes out looking for danger (or even self-inflicts a point or two of damage) in order to be able to spend hit dice!
Part of the rule was "spending hit dice cannot take you above the bloodied threshold." There is never a benefit to damaging yourself under this system.
 

MarkB

Hero
How about "when you are bloodied, you can only spend hit dice if someone tends your wounds while resting. While tending someone's wounds, you are not considered to be resting."

Makes it tougher to heal up, or potentially requires you to take longer doing it - you may need to effectively take two short rests in succession, alternating between healing duties.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
Maybe not a good idea for the general ethos of 5e, but that is why it would be a variant for a "grittier" style of play. The problem with the 4e style bloodied in 5e, at this point, is that the value was other the other things (features, monster traits, etec.) the keyed off of the condition. 5e doesn't have those so adding it back is not simple operation.
The issue is that short rests do a lot more than recover hit points in 5e. Warlocks, Monks, and Fighters in particular heavily rely on short rests being a regular part of a balanced adventuring day. That kind of makes them sound like a breakfast cereal, but it's still true.

I don't think it's going to encourage a gritty style. As written, you're just encouraging long rests in favor of short rests. You're telling the PCs to stop adventuring when they're at half hit points because non-magical recovery isn't possible. It's not going to make the game gritty. It's just going to make the PCs extremely conservative. You won't have more PCs dropping to 0 hit points, you'll have PCs stopping to long rest after dropping below half hit points. If you want to make it grittier, then I would change the timing of long and short rests entirely.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Yep, we just use it as shorthand. It helps when running combats
I do the same and found it useful.

It's an easy way to convey to the players that the creature looks like it's taken a significant beating. Character should be able to see when something looks all beat up, wihtout beign too granular and specific.
 

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