D&D General Hit Points as a Spendable Resource (Feels bad even for non-meat HP?)


So, in the case of the paladin, I can completely see there being some level of divine connection (or whatnot) that is being depleted. Similarly for casters just having a certain amount of brain space to store spells.

The place that it gets me is when it is pushed off to the "martial" type things where it's described as exertion or effort. Story-wise, I'm having trouble with why maneuvers (say) wear one down in a totally different way than the soaking or dodging in the
non-meat part of HP does.
At some level what you mix as a resource and what you allow to pool as a resource is arbitrary.

A fighter can once per short rest action surge and once per short rest second wind, but they can't mix and match them as a joint pool of things to do per short rest.

Conceptually they could and then it would be more of a tradeoff of opportunity costs whether you choose to self heal or whether you choose to double your attacks/actions.

You can come up with narrative reasons for things like the differences, taking a breather to restore your fighting spirit (second wind) is different than pushing your body to do more in a short burst. Forgoing a breather wouldn't normally let you push yourself to max capacity more in doing something like pull ups.

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Mod Squad
Staff member
For the below, say we've accepted the premise that HP aren't meat. That is, a "hit" indicates some level of exhaustion, being worn down, loss of vitality, fraying concentration, or depletion of luck - and that if we're having physical wounds at all they're either cosmetic until zero or there is another wound track.

Note: By responding to this thread you are in no way legally, morally, ethically, intellectually, spiritually or otherwise binding yourself to the position that HP are vegetarian.

There are many powers and activities in D&D and the related fiction that seem like could be related to exhaustion or exertion: casting an overpowered spell, rememorizing spells without sleeping, going beyond the proficiency per day limit of something, an extended march, going without food, a huge physical exertion to do a stunt of some sort, trying to shrug off a magic effect. This might be related to exhaustion in the core 5e, short rest recharge, or exertion in A5E.

If HP aren't meat but are related to exhaustion and exertion, then:
  • Is another resource like exhaustion or exertion even needed?

"Needed"? I think that's the wrong word.

Useful? Yes. Setting aside the narrative for a moment, current Exhaustion has different functional effects than loss of hit points. That's useful from a design standpoint.

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