D&D General D&D as a Game- On the Origin of Hit Points and Start of the Meat Debate

Stalker0

Legend
Personally for me, the V/WP system is the best of both worlds, because it concretely defines "this is real meat" from "this is luck/stamina/etc". Real meat takes a long time to heal, Vitality comes back very fast.

In such a system falling does WP damage, easy enough. The main reason this was failed in the Star Wars system was the notion taht crits could bypass vitality and go straight to wounds. That was too much, it bypassed the very narrative protection that Hitpoints are meant to represent, and so high level combats often became about crit fishing than your regular damage.
 

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Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
A simpler option might just be to employ the Massive Damage optional rule from the DMG specifically in the case of falling. That wouldn’t eliminate the issue of falls somehow becoming easier to survive as you get better at fighting/magic/theft/whatever, but would help mitigate the cognitive dissonance of realizing your character has enough HP to just casually shrug off a 200-foot fall.
 

ezo

Where is that Singe?
IME most tables forget about Massive Damage from the DMG and even when I have seen it used, the odds are so low of getting a "reduced to 0 hp" result (like 20 or 30%?), it hardly has any real impact in practice.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Personally for me, the V/WP system is the best of both worlds, because it concretely defines "this is real meat" from "this is luck/stamina/etc". Real meat takes a long time to heal, Vitality comes back very fast.

In such a system falling does WP damage, easy enough. The main reason this was failed in the Star Wars system was the notion taht crits could bypass vitality and go straight to wounds. That was too much, it bypassed the very narrative protection that Hitpoints are meant to represent, and so high level combats often became about crit fishing than your regular damage.
You could also just eliminate the two pools of points thing and treat failed death saves as you would “wound points.” Just remove the part where failed saves are automatically reset when you regain consciousness. Have them require, say, a week of rest or magical healing to remove. As a bonus feature, whack-a-mole healing becomes a far less appealing proposition when failed saves stick around.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
IME most tables forget about Massive Damage from the DMG and even when I have seen it used, the odds are so low of getting a "reduced to 0 hp" result (like 20 or 30%?), it hardly has any real impact in practice.
I’m not sure they forget it so much as they either aren’t aware of it or choose not to use it. There’s the “no one reads the DMG” issue, and on top of that, who wants to have to worry about randomly dying to massive damage? Certainly not me! But in the specific case of falling damage, it seems more palatable.
 

ezo

Where is that Singe?
I’m not sure they forget it so much as they either aren’t aware of it or choose not to use it. There’s the “no one reads the DMG” issue, and on top of that, who wants to have to worry about randomly dying to massive damage? Certainly not me! But in the specific case of falling damage, it seems more palatable.
No, they are certainly aware of it, and most of the time say sure about using it, but then when we play they forget or ultimately decide to just drop it as it rarely has impact.

Falling is one of the few times PCs take enough damage (especially once in tier 2) for it to happen. Dragons' breaths and giants being the others I've most often seen.
 



Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
IME most tables forget about Massive Damage from the DMG and even when I have seen it used, the odds are so low of getting a "reduced to 0 hp" result (like 20 or 30%?), it hardly has any real impact in practice.
Some people are always going to ignore or forget the rules. You can't design assuming it though.
 

ezo

Where is that Singe?
Some people are always going to ignore or forget the rules. You can't design assuming it though.
While true I can only express my own experiences. I love the concept, but find it lacks impact due to the rareness of actual use and effect.

When rules are ignored or fogotten, I find that means the rules are not designed well and need to be re-thought or at least reworked. Others who find them sufficient or even good would disagree, of course, but as I said this is just my point of view.
 

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