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If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?

CapnZapp

Adventurer
How do your players feel about their epic god-slaying hero being murdered in their sleep by some punk with a knife, with their only possible defense being a Perception roll (at Disadvantage) to wake up in time?
I believe the point is that you aren't playing an epic god-slaying hero, but a mortal gunslinger?
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
If you're the hero behind an outhouse, and you need to Sprint across open ground to the next cover where your friends are, the excitement is whether you will make it without getting shot.
If you're watching that scene in the movie, do you really expect the hero to get shot dead in that moment? Seriously?

On the contrary: As I've explained, it's at the core of the issue, since plot armor is only part of the problem, and many players simply can't marry hit point loss with the sensation of danger.
That's not to the contrary, at all. That's what pemerton would call 'orthogonal.' It's really nothing to do with it. Whether you conceive hps as 'plot armor' (they represent narrative reasons why your character won't die) or 'luck' or skill or 'ability to defend yourself' or whatever, the /function/ is the same: you don't die until you run out of them. That's it.

Pick the explanation of hps that works best for you - and the genre - because functionally, they're all doin' the same job.


And, if hp loss doesn't give you a sense of the character being in danger, functional alternatives, like Fortune Points or the like, aren't likely to, either.
 
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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I believe the point is that you aren't playing an epic god-slaying hero, but a mortal gunslinger?
My point was that HP should only come into play when the defending character is putting up a fight. They don’t model a character’s ability to dumbly absorb damage, but to actively resist damage.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
My point was that HP should only come into play when the defending character is putting up a fight. They don’t model a character’s ability to dumbly absorb damage, but to actively resist damage.
I suppose that's varied a bit from one edition to the next. Back in the day, there was a rule along the lines of "sleeping or otherwise helpless creatures can be slain at a rate of 1/round." In latter eds, there were 'Coup de Grace' rules that made it a lot more likely, but not guaranteed, that you could kill a helpless victim. In 5e, hitting a downed character will kill it pretty quick.

But it's an adequate way of visualizing hps in an action scene. The hero who is up & running is harder to shoot dead than the one who's exhausted, propped up against the side of the barn, waiting for you to finish him off (if his last desperate trick doesn't work, that is).
 

Saelorn

Explorer
I believe the point is that you aren't playing an epic god-slaying hero, but a mortal gunslinger?
I see the confusion. The title of this thread refers to the middle ages as though it was a genre; which is problematic, because the middle ages is just a setting, and the genre of D&D is high fantasy. In light of that, the conversation has forked between people carrying genre conventions into different settings (What if D&D, but in the Old West instead of Pseudo-Medieval Europe?), and actually changing genre conventions (What if D&D, but in the Western genre instead of the Fantasy genre?).

Because if I was playing in a "D&D, but in the Old West instead of Pseudo-Medieval Europe," then I would fully expect my epic gunslinger to slay at least one god.
 

MarkB

Adventurer
Prof to AC as long as you move on your turn could work.
I'd probably go with some basic boost to AC for moving, and the standard bonuses for cover, and then have provision for different builds to specialise further in either evasive movement or hunkering down in cover - much the same as the choice between light or heavy armour in the standard rules.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
So let me get this straight. HP works for flying arrows, being cut to bits or run through by a sword, bludgeoned by maces, ripped to shreds by dragons bigger than a city bus ... but not for bullets? Real world stories of people being shot 20+ times mean nothing because in some movies of a specific genre bullets are always 100% lethal. Except when it's "just a flesh wound" but apparently we're ignoring those. Bullets are never shown to simply bounce off or be stopped by body armor because we couldn't possibly have the equivalent of kevlar for armor (or just high quality steel) in a fantasy setting where we have made up metals like mithral and adamantium. There has never been a case were police fired nearly 2,000 rounds trying to take out a pair of bank robbers. Well except for this one.

Bullets are magical death delivery devices that never miss unless you are behind cover. Unless of course you're the hero of virtually every action movie ever made.

Is the concept of HP a simplification of tracking damage? Sure. But as far as I can tell the basic concept has been adopted by nearly all video games that feature modern or futuristic weapons. So why is it they won't work for D&D again? Admittedly a lot of video games also throw in armor that can take damage, but pretty much all of the games I've ever played also have underlying HP that needs to be reduce to 0 to kill off your avatar.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
If you're watching that scene in the movie, do you really expect the hero to get shot dead in that moment? Seriously?
No, but they might face a real cost, such as a serious injury that slows them down later, or maybe getting pinned down (unable to sprint across open ground because it's too dangerous), or maybe getting shot and toppling over and next thing you know there are four bandits standing over the protagonist with pistols and a length of rope...
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
In addition to examining the genre implications of hit points, we should also think about the implications of healing. Because maybe getting shot and simply having your hit points lowered from 64 to 56 would be a big deal if healing that damage was impractical. Like, imagine there was no cure wounds and a short rest took a week and a long rest took three months, or something ridiculous. So over the course of an adventure, your HP would gradually decrease, and the effective "danger level" would ramp up. Yes, you can charge in recklessly during the early encounters since you know you won't die, but then you're wasting a really precious resource. Or, maybe you heal automatically whenever you do something suitably heroic. So now, managing your HP as a resource introduces an interesting trade-off -- the reckless charge might get you some damage, but it might also get you some healing... How do you like them odds, cowboy?
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
No, but they might face a real cost, such as a serious injury that slows them down later, or maybe getting pinned down (unable to sprint across open ground because it's too dangerous), or maybe getting shot and toppling over and next thing you know there are four bandits standing over the protagonist with pistols and a length of rope...
Nod. None of those eventualities would be accomplished by simply giving the guns in question moar damage - That'd simply result in a dead hero, or, if the numbers added up just right, an unconscious one, in 5e making death saves.

Now, there have been moments here & there in D&D history when a weapon attack might do something aside from just hp damage. In 5e that's locked in the BM subclass.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
So let me get this straight. HP works for flying arrows, being cut to bits or run through by a sword, bludgeoned by maces, ripped to shreds by dragons bigger than a city bus ... but not for bullets? Real world stories of people being shot 20+ times mean nothing because in some movies of a specific genre bullets are always 100% lethal. Except when it's "just a flesh wound" but apparently we're ignoring those. Bullets are never shown to simply bounce off or be stopped by body armor because we couldn't possibly have the equivalent of kevlar for armor (or just high quality steel) in a fantasy setting where we have made up metals like mithral and adamantium. There has never been a case were police fired nearly 2,000 rounds trying to take out a pair of bank robbers. Well except for this one.
To me, HP works to model your ability to defend against these attacks, generally they’re attacks you can see coming or come at a speed (if ranged) that you can react to in time to reduce the lethal damage to a scratch or a bruise or whatever.

Bullets are magical death delivery devices that never miss unless you are behind cover. Unless of course you're the hero of virtually every action movie ever made.
I think the difference is we know how lethal guns are, people are getting killed by them every day, and yes action heroes don’t get shot, but you also don’t see them get any sort of wearing down either. It’s cat and mouse until someone gets the lucky shot and it’s over (in the movie inevitably it’s the bad guy, but that doesn’t work in a game. The PC has to have some risk or there’s no tension). Modeling that through HP would work but the feel, IMHO, would be off (because, unless you’re wearing kevlar, a shot that hits is a shot that does major damage and is often lethal).

Probably the classic movie scene that sums this up is in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy goes up against the sword fighter and after seeing some fancy sword play just shoots the poor guy dead.

Is the concept of HP a simplification of tracking damage? Sure. But as far as I can tell the basic concept has been adopted by nearly all video games that feature modern or futuristic weapons. So why is it they won't work for D&D again? Admittedly a lot of video games also throw in armor that can take damage, but pretty much all of the games I've ever played also have underlying HP that needs to be reduce to 0 to kill off your avatar.
In D&D, to me, it’s two things: For NPCs it’s tracking damage, because that’s fun for the players, but for PCs it’s tracking their fighting spirit. They get cuts and bruises along the way, but mostly it’s showing how their ability to stay in the fight is going. When PCs get to 0 HP that’s when their flagging resources have finally allowed an opening for a potentially lethal hit.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
If you're watching that scene in the movie, do you really expect the hero to get shot dead in that moment? Seriously?
Please don't do that, as if I'm presenting a completely baffling viewpoint for the first time.

I am explaining how and why using hit points as a damage model can run into acceptance issues. Some reasons are less obvious than others.

Refusing to accept that it is possible, common even, to run into issues with the hit point based damage model does not help in the slightest.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
And, if hp loss doesn't give you a sense of the character being in danger, functional alternatives, like Fortune Points or the like, aren't likely to, either.
No, that the exact opposite of what I am saying.

And for the umpteenth time, do *not* reduce damage models to plot armor.

Yes, both hit points and alternatives function as plot armor.

But that does not mean they are identical.

Indeed, my entire point is that these differences are *very likely* to make a difference.

It's a big reason why you might face acceptance issues for firearms even though you might not face any for greatswords.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
So let me get this straight. HP works for flying arrows, being cut to bits or run through by a sword, bludgeoned by maces, ripped to shreds by dragons bigger than a city bus ... but not for bullets? Real world stories of people being shot 20+ times mean nothing because in some movies of a specific genre bullets are always 100% lethal. Except when it's "just a flesh wound" but apparently we're ignoring those. Bullets are never shown to simply bounce off or be stopped by body armor because we couldn't possibly have the equivalent of kevlar for armor (or just high quality steel) in a fantasy setting where we have made up metals like mithral and adamantium. There has never been a case were police fired nearly 2,000 rounds trying to take out a pair of bank robbers. Well except for this one.

Bullets are magical death delivery devices that never miss unless you are behind cover. Unless of course you're the hero of virtually every action movie ever made.

Is the concept of HP a simplification of tracking damage? Sure. But as far as I can tell the basic concept has been adopted by nearly all video games that feature modern or futuristic weapons. So why is it they won't work for D&D again? Admittedly a lot of video games also throw in armor that can take damage, but pretty much all of the games I've ever played also have underlying HP that needs to be reduce to 0 to kill off your avatar.
If you genuinely want to understand viewpoints of others than yourself, it would help if you actually listen. To them, not yourself.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
To me, HP works to model your ability to defend against these attacks, generally they’re attacks you can see coming or come at a speed (if ranged) that you can react to in time to reduce the lethal damage to a scratch or a bruise or whatever.


I think the difference is we know how lethal guns are, people are getting killed by them every day, and yes action heroes don’t get shot, but you also don’t see them get any sort of wearing down either. It’s cat and mouse until someone gets the lucky shot and it’s over (in the movie inevitably it’s the bad guy, but that doesn’t work in a game. The PC has to have some risk or there’s no tension). Modeling that through HP would work but the feel, IMHO, would be off (because, unless you’re wearing kevlar, a shot that hits is a shot that does major damage and is often lethal).

Probably the classic movie scene that sums this up is in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy goes up against the sword fighter and after seeing some fancy sword play just shoots the poor guy dead.



In D&D, to me, it’s two things: For NPCs it’s tracking damage, because that’s fun for the players, but for PCs it’s tracking their fighting spirit. They get cuts and bruises along the way, but mostly it’s showing how their ability to stay in the fight is going. When PCs get to 0 HP that’s when their flagging resources have finally allowed an opening for a potentially lethal hit.

There was a Mythbusters episode on dodging arrows. They had a martial arts expert try to dodge arrows shot from low-powered bows. He couldn't do it even when he knew exactly when and where the arrow was coming from. In addition, it doesn't really matter if you see that grizzly bear about to rip your face off, you're still not going to be able to get out of the way*. Last but not least, you seem to be treating bullets as some kind of seeking device that never misses. If you go by the western genre, Matt Dillon was shot 79 times (and once by an arrow). I can't count the number of times in movies/TV someone was just shot "in the shoulder", was grazed or just had a "flesh wound". They slap a bandage on it which immediately gets soaked in blood and ignore it after a minute.

As far as the sword guy in Indiana Jones, that was the standard bad guy minion. The same NPC type that gets taken out by a single punch, a thrown knife to the chest, a single arrow, being stabbed once with a combat knife, a single sword thrust, a single ... well you get the idea. Nameless bad guys die easily all the time.

My point is simple. We either accept the constructs of AC and HP (I do) or we don't. If we do, then I see no reason based on reality (people have survived being shot 20+ times, google it). People used bows and melee weapons to kill people for millennia because they were effective. If we go by fiction we have everything from Gunsmoke and Matt Dillon to Rambo. Video games? The vast majority of video games ever made rely on some combination of AC and HP.

As far as bullets leaving lasting wounds and healing ... so what? There are optional rules for that if you really want to implement it. I don't think it would be fun, but to each their own.

If you genuinely want to understand viewpoints of others than yourself, it would help if you actually listen. To them, not yourself.

Can you summarize your point? Because my bullet point list would be
  • Guns kill people
  • The only way to avoid getting killed by a gun is to get behind cover
  • Bullet wounds should inflict lasting damage

My bullet points are
  • It's common in fiction (movies, TV, video games) to be shot or shot multiple times if you're a named character. Sometimes it's near misses, other times it's "just a flesh wound" or a graze.
  • If you're a nameless mook you can get taken out easily with one hit from just about any weapon or even just a single punch.
  • You can't dodge out of the way of arrows (see Mythbusters).
  • You might be able to dodge out of the way of some melee attacks but not as many as people are implying. Good luck dodging a charging grizzly bear.
  • We accept HP and AC because it works well enough for the game. Arguing about what HP really means has no real relevance, a solid hit with a claymore is going to make you just as dead as a solid hit from a .45.

Am I missing something? Or are you just pulling the tired old "If you really understood you'd agree with me"? Because people can have differences of opinion on what makes a fun game. It's not the end of the world.

EDIT: *If you can dodge out of the way of an attack that's reflected by adding your dexterity modifier to your AC, not HP. Personally I've been tempted to (but never have) limit the bonus to AC you can get from dex, but it's just one of those things I accept because it's a game.
 
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Fenris-77

Explorer
You don't get that issue about greatswords because at a very fundamental level most people don't understand medieval combat and it's consequences at all. Most people have at least a semi-fictionalized understanding of guns and what they actually do, even people with firearms training and solid theoretical understanding of firearms injury. You can see that particular knowledge gap at work in this thread. The knowledge gap about medieval combat is significantly larger for most people, and the extent to which their knowledge is fictionalized much greater. Hit points do as poor a job modelling injury from bladed weapons as they do for firearms.

You know what though? It doesn't matter a whit. D&D isn't a simulation and isn't even pretending to attempt to account for realistic firearms injury. Anyone who's salty about that should play another system. That's not snark, just reality - D&D isn't interested in modelling accurate damage from anything, be it swords or guns. D&D is good at modelling the resistance of fictional heroes to fictional damage over the course of a fantasy story arc. If you want your fictional heroes to take their fictional damage a little differently, say Heroes Die instead of Elfstones of Shannara, hack away. But if you want to get all granular about the actual effects of hydrostatic shock you're probably riding the wrong ride.
 

CapnZapp

Adventurer
D&D isn't a simulation and isn't even pretending to attempt to account for realistic firearms injury. Anyone who's salty about that should play another system. That's not snark, just reality - D&D isn't interested in modelling accurate damage from anything, be it swords or guns. D&D is good at modelling the resistance of fictional heroes to fictional damage over the course of a fantasy story arc. If you want your fictional heroes to take their fictional damage a little differently, say Heroes Die instead of Elfstones of Shannara, hack away. But if you want to get all granular about the actual effects of hydrostatic shock you're probably riding the wrong ride.
That is a very simplistic way of looking at things.

It is perfectly possible - common even - to be content with D&D for faix-medieval melee-centric combat, and yet find the exact same system entirely inadequate for faux-modern ranged-centric combat.

So there must be more to it than that.

And sure enough, there is.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Yeah I’m probably too wedded to my interpretation of HP to bend it towards firearms against PCs. Not that I’d run a game like that in D&D anyway. So it was mostly a thought experiment.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
That is a very simplistic way of looking at things.

It is perfectly possible - common even - to be content with D&D for faix-medieval melee-centric combat, and yet find the exact same system entirely inadequate for faux-modern ranged-centric combat.

So there must be more to it than that.

And sure enough, there is.
I didn't say anyone wasn't content (I am btw) with certain things, nor that the system might be better at one that the other (it i). The fact remains that, contentedness aside, D&D isn't modelling accurate damage from any kind of weapon. An individual might not be happy about how HP models faux-modern ranged combat, but really, so what? It isn't designed to do that. The point at which people find it "entirely inadequate" is because those people have very different expectations about firearms and their damage relative to melee with blunt and bladed weapons. Those expectations are based on very fictional understandings of medieval combat and less fictional understandings of firearms. You can't be ok with highly fictional on the one hand and not on the other without a willingness to admit that it's your expectations, not the system, that are the issue. Or at least a big part of the issue.

I do agree that there's more to it than that, but I also think it's pretty cogent to point out what amounts to a category mistake at the heart of the issue at hand.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
To me, HP works to model your ability to defend against these attacks, generally they’re attacks you can see coming or come at a speed (if ranged) that you can react to in time to reduce the lethal damage to a scratch or a bruise or whatever.
And that's fine if it's how you want to model hit points. The game however, needs to model damage for guns in the manner it models hit points, and to the game luck and divine aid are also forms of hit points. How many times have we seen in a movie where the cross-hairs or red dot are on the hero's head, but he moves at the last second and the shot misses him by a fraction of an inch? Those in D&D are modeled by both misses and hit point damage, depending on the situation.

If you don't want to include those sorts of hit points in your game, then of course you don't have to use them.

I think the difference is we know how lethal guns are, people are getting killed by them every day, and yes action heroes don’t get shot, but you also don’t see them get any sort of wearing down either. It’s cat and mouse until someone gets the lucky shot and it’s over (in the movie inevitably it’s the bad guy, but that doesn’t work in a game. The PC has to have some risk or there’s no tension). Modeling that through HP would work but the feel, IMHO, would be off (because, unless you’re wearing kevlar, a shot that hits is a shot that does major damage and is often lethal).
A knife strike that hits is also often a wound that does major damage and is often lethal, yet we're okay with hit points modeling those sorts of injuries.

Probably the classic movie scene that sums this up is in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy goes up against the sword fighter and after seeing some fancy sword play just shoots the poor guy dead.
Indicating that the guy was first level and had like 6 hit points. Higher level guys don't just swing swords into the air to show off what they just learned in sword school. They know better and just kill the enemy. ;)
 

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