D&D 5E D&D Next Blog - A Close Call with Negative Hit Points

keterys

First Post
I like the concept there... but I really hope that there's no ability damage in 5e. Especially if they're making ability scores even more relevant.
 

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Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I like the concept there... but I really hope that there's no ability damage in 5e. Especially if they're making ability scores even more relevant.

I don't want to stray onto a long tangent, but isn't ability score damage necessary to describe many conditions? Disease, poison, loss of blood: all of these are best represented by ability score damage.

Or are you more concerned with permanent ability score damage?
 

Rechan

Adventurer
I don't want to stray onto a long tangent, but isn't ability score damage necessary to describe many conditions? Disease, poison, loss of blood: all of these are best represented by ability score damage.

Or are you more concerned with permanent ability score damage?
I for one just hate way that it monkeys with all of the math on your character sheet. Ability damage has very far reaching implications, and adjusting all of that is a pain. It's definitely against the 'simple and quick' they're shooting for.
 

keterys

First Post
And there's no ability damage in most of the editions of D&D, so I'm really hoping it doesn't make the cut.

There are _lots_ of better ways to handle things than "Quick, screw your character sheet in the ear" :) Also, monsters are rarely balanced around PCs being able to inflict it ("I do 2 Int damage." "Err, so my 400hp solo tarrasque (or whatever) with 2 Int..." "Yeah, one shotted. No save.")
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I for one just hate way that it monkeys with all of the math on your character sheet. Ability damage has very far reaching implications, and adjusting all of that is a pain. It's definitely against the 'simple and quick' they're shooting for.

There are _lots_ of better ways to handle things than "Quick, screw your character sheet in the ear" :) Also, monsters are rarely balanced around PCs being able to inflict it ("I do 2 Int damage." "Err, so my 400hp solo tarrasque (or whatever) with 2 Int..." "Yeah, one shotted. No save.")

Both of these are fair observations. I have dissagreements, and would love to discuss them sometime, but not in this thread. Thank you both for the answer.
 

JohnSnow

Hero
Well, I think Drew's system (since it doesn't monkey with your con bonus) could be thought of as either "temporary CON damage with 0 still meaning dead" or "a pool of wound points that equals your CON score" - both without having to add another line to your character sheet.

Put another way, these lost CON points are actually "wound points" or WP - that don't easily go away.

As an aside: while I like the idea of slow recovery (1 wound per day), it seems to me the math should be such that an 18 con character recovers faster from 10 points of wound damage than his 10 con counterpart. Ergo, I would propose the following...

When the character has received wound damage, it recovers at the rate of 1 point plus one half of the character's CON bonus per day of rest. Thus a 10 con character recovers 1 WP per day (recovering from 1 WP to full health in 9 days, whereas his 18 con counterpart recovers from the same 1 WP in 6 days).

There's still a little wonkiness from the formula, in that a character with low scores recovers faster and those with an 11, 12, or 13 con take longer to recover than someone with a 10 con. Call it a work in progress...
 

thedungeondelver

Adventurer
The reason the rule was introduced was because the designers hated it when a cleric spent her entire action healing a comrade in a previous edition, only to roll a 1 on the healing die.

Okay I'm going to have to put my viking hat (wizard hat, actually, in my case) on for a minute and ask you youngsters about this. This is...this is kind of part and parcel, it's par for the course. Sometimes magic, even heavenly magic, is capricious.

If it is in game terms a matter of life and death, just saying "I'm spending my action this round bandaging [CHARACTER]'s wounds." means they're not bleeding out any more. They're stable, but unconscious.

As far as "rolling a 1" is concerned I mean if we extrapolate that across the board we can say "...spent an entire round attacking, only to roll a 1 on the damage/to-hit die." "...spent an entire round casting a spell, only to roll really really low on the damage dice and the monsters rolled their saves." "...spent an entire adventure only to roll low on a saving throw and die."

I mean, I hate to get curmudgeonly but I am bum-fuzzled at all this frankly overthinking that goes on about the cleric. I said this in another thread: they're decent fighters, they have (...sigh...) buff spells, they have offensive magic, they can protect against undead, they can help (or just substitute) in finding traps, they can do it all in armor...I just don't get it. So you rolled a 1. So what? That character better watch his ass in the next combat round, or maybe the cleric steps up and takes over because...y'know, flail and shield or mace and shield?

Again, if it sounds like I'm edition-warring here, I'm not. I just...as of late the sudden discussion of fixing something that isn't broken (clerics) is just baffling to me. It kind of reminds me of some usenet discussion about the then-upcoming 3e and how some folks were hoping it "fixed" the ranger.

I don't know, maybe I'm just out of touch.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
As far as "rolling a 1" is concerned I mean if we extrapolate that across the board we can say "...spent an entire round attacking, only to roll a 1 on the damage/to-hit die." "...spent an entire round casting a spell, only to roll really really low on the damage dice and the monsters rolled their saves." "...spent an entire adventure only to roll low on a saving throw and die."

<snip>

Again, if it sounds like I'm edition-warring here, I'm not. I just...as of late the sudden discussion of fixing something that isn't broken (clerics) is just baffling to me. It kind of reminds me of some usenet discussion about the then-upcoming 3e and how some folks were hoping it "fixed" the ranger.

I don't know, maybe I'm just out of touch.

I don't think you're out of touch. I think the problem has been relatively minor since 3e when clerics got to add their level to the amount healed, could cast the healing spontaneously, and even had a 0 level spell (cure minor) to stabilize a target. Yes, the target PC could still be in the negatives, but the cleric certainly had a good chance of success if he dumped a decent level spell slot into a spontaneous cure.

The one real difference I see in these issues is that failure to heal a character to consciousness means another round of that player sitting out and not actively participating. If the fighter misses or rolls a 1 on damage, he's still involved the next round. If the party really wants a PC back in the fight and the cleric is trying to achieve that end but the injured PC is still in the negatives after 1 attempt, both characters are probably still bound up in the attempt the next round. So if the wizard drops on round 3 after his own action, the cleric stabilizes him but fails to return him to consciousness on 4, and tries again on round 5, we've spent the 4 person-rounds worth of actions trying to get that wizard off the floor (2 for the cleric's 2 healing attempts, 2 for the wizard out of the fight).

Given this consideration, I'm not appalled by starting healing at 0. I think there are quirks to exploit that I don't like, but it's not that bad. If the margin between unconscious and death was still 10 hit points, spotting the PC <=10 hp is not a big deal. Spotting them up to half their normal maximum, however, when that could be 50 hp or more seems a cheesy to me.
 

nightwalker450

First Post
I like the idea of hitting zero would Daze you (single action/turn), the next hit your dying (Unconscious/Death Saves). And simply put, heals on dying targets, will heal from 0, but dying targets have their surge value halved. For a more complex way if the amount of damage is more than twice your current hit points, you skip the Dazed Part, and go straight to dying.

Since monsters are only to last for a single combat, they would die at 0. Unless the last hit were non-lethal, in which case they would be dazed, and another non-lethal hit would make them unconscious (stable).

Ta-da! Non-Lethal is more than a "do you wanna" question!

(I really like this, I might try this with my home group in 4e)
 
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FireLance

Legend
I for one just hate way that it monkeys with all of the math on your character sheet. Ability damage has very far reaching implications, and adjusting all of that is a pain. It's definitely against the 'simple and quick' they're shooting for.
Unless, of course, ability scores have fewer knock-on effects in 5e. If most checks are against the raw ability score, you would just need to keep track of whatever your current value is. X [ability] damage then simply becomes -X to [ability] checks.
 

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