In the heat of battle, is hit point loss a wound?

In your mind, in the heat of a battle, what do hit points represent?



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Mercutio01

First Post
I thought the question was "how did you get away with narrating serious injury in 3E, when every non-fatal wound will heal naturally in a week or so?"

A response about natural healing can't be "it's magic!", by definition.
How are you defining a serious injury? And why is the assumption that I must be narrating every hit as a serious wound? I don't understand how that misconception gets created.

Furthermore, you are assuming 3rd Edition rules as my preference, which is not the case. It is the one I've played the most, but not my preferred edition. Now, using the standard 3E rules, a 3rd level character with 30 HP dropped to 0 will take 10 days to recover, or 5 if he does nothing other than sleep in a bed for all 5 days. In 4th Edition, that same character will heal in 8 hours.

Now, let's consider 2E (the edition I do actually prefer), 1 HP per day, or for full bed rest 3 per day + Con bonus per week. Even if you assume the fighter (warrior) has an 18 Con, that's still only 25 hit points of natural healing in 7 days. So it's 9 days of complete and total bed rest. And that's 216 hours. (Not to mention specific only to the fighter. It's longer for every other class) Versus 4E's grand total of ... 8 hrs.

Yes, the 5 days (or 9) of complete bed rest is unrealistic, but not nearly as stupidly fast as 8 hours. It's the difference between 8 hours and 120 (or 216) hours. That's 15 to 27 times longer. And that's if we're not considering characters that are still actively moving and fighting and taking more damage along the line.

It's a matter of attrition over time, and 4E doesn't allow for that, and neither do the playtest DDN rules. In all previous editions, the wounds/HP loss carried over from day to day. In 4E and DDN, you either die in one day, or you heal back to full as if you were never hit in the first place. That's a major problem with how I game.

And, thankfully, DDN is supposedly being designed such that it can support the style of play that I desire as well as supporting the style of play that 4E fans like.

Edited to add: And in a world with magical healing, sometimes I could get away with narrating a more serious wound, with the assumption that characters WOULD spend resources for magical healing, and thus would not rely solely on natural healing.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Re: subdual damage
Well that's why 4e got rid of it (and AD&D didn't really have it, except for a few corner case abilities like Slippers of Kicking). It is inconsistent with the overall framework.
AD&D does have it - 1e DMG, page 67, "Striking to Subdue". It's also mentioned again a few pages later in the unarmed combat section.

Non-lethal damage is kind of essential to have in the game for story reasons if nothing else: press gangs and slavers roll into town, round up whoever they can find, beat the tar out of any who resist, and either sell their new captives or put them to work.

But when beating the tar out of those who resist said beating has to be non-lethal, as why would slavers ever want to kill off perfectly good inventory?

And PCs need it too: "Put him down but leave him in one piece, we don't want him bleeding all over the place when he explains his crimes to the King!"

And it's really not at all inconsistent. All it does is reverse the idea of temporary hit points - some effects allow you to gain temporary h.p. for a while and then you lose them; subdual damage allows you to temporarily lose some h.p. and then get them back.

Lanefan
 

Non-lethal damage is kind of essential to have in the game for story reasons if nothing else: press gangs and slavers roll into town, round up whoever they can find, beat the tar out of any who resist, and either sell their new captives or put them to work.

You're arguing that it is required (or, at least, beneficial) to be able to defeat enemies in combat without killing them. Totally agreed!

However, this, in no way, requires a subdual damage mechanic that sits alongside the normal damage mechanic. Instead, the 4E version of, "When you drop an opponent to 0 or fewer HP, you can pick if they're dead or unconscious" works just fine. I house-ruled it into my 3.75 game, as well.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You're arguing that it is required (or, at least, beneficial) to be able to defeat enemies in combat without killing them. Totally agreed!

However, this, in no way, requires a subdual damage mechanic that sits alongside the normal damage mechanic. Instead, the 4E version of, "When you drop an opponent to 0 or fewer HP, you can pick if they're dead or unconscious" works just fine. I house-ruled it into my 3.75 game, as well.
The choose-when-dropped mechanic is one answer, but it has a problem: how do you narrate it during the fight, particularly if you don't know what choice will be made?

For example: if a foe is striking to subdue, a trained warrior might pick up on this during the battle and adjust her tactics accordingly; or at least ask herself (and-or her friends) "why are they trying to keep us alive?"

I'd rather have the strike-to-subdue declared ahead of the battle (or at least prior to each individual attack) if only for this reason.

Lanefan
 

The choose-when-dropped mechanic is one answer, but it has a problem: how do you narrate it during the fight, particularly if you don't know what choice will be made?

Well, with hit point loss not representing serious physical wounds*, and with mundane healing being pretty quick, you just say that they're striking to subdue - and you still take 10 points of damage.

;)

* At least until the very end of the pile, at which point the decision to kill (and cause a serious wound) or KO (and continue to not cause a serious wound) is made.
 

Mercutio01

First Post
Not to jump in the middle of this subdual damage argument, but hitting to knock out with a sword is a problem. That's one of the reasons non-lethal damage was separated from lethal damage.
 

I thought the question was "how did you get away with narrating serious injury in 3E, when every non-fatal wound will heal naturally in a week or so?"

A response about natural healing can't be "it's magic!", by definition.
I think you're being deliberately obtuse here as this seems very straightforward. You are not talking about a non-fatal injury, you are talking about an injury serious because the character in all likelihood is about to be killed by it (the slippery slope I mentioned when talking about deep negatives in 3e). You narrate serious injury in a situation when the character is about to die (-8, -9 in 3e and decreasing) and the only thing that is likely to help them is magical healing. The context here is quite obvious. You are not talking about a wound that has any likelihood of healing naturally in a week or so.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

You narrate serious injury in a situation when the character is about to die (-8, -9 in 3e and decreasing) and the only thing that is likely to help them is magical healing. The context here is quite obvious. You are not talking about a wound that has any likelihood of healing naturally in a week or so.
You're not answering the question that was asked. The question was, given that the 3E healing rules mean that any wound (loss of hit points) can be recovered within a week of rest, how you do narrate serious injury at all in that system? A 3E character, with complete bed rest, recovers 2 hit points per character level today. So a 20th-level fighter with 175 hit points, reduced to -9 but stabilized with a mundane DC 15 Heal check, will be fully recovered in five days.
 

Mercutio01

First Post
You're not answering the question that was asked. The question was, given that the 3E healing rules mean that any wound (loss of hit points) can be recovered within a week of rest, how you do narrate serious injury at all in that system? A 3E character, with complete bed rest, recovers 2 hit points per character level today. So a 20th-level fighter with 175 hit points, reduced to -9 but stabilized with a mundane DC 15 Heal check, will be fully recovered in five days.
I did answer the question that was asked.

In 3E, 5 days of full bed rest appears to be the standard to heal from 0 to full for most characters. That's 5 24hour days, or 120 hours of doing nothing but laying in a bed. Contrast that with 4E and DDN playtest as currently written where 8 hours heals from 0 to full. That's 15 times as fast as 3E. Yes, 3E is unrealistic, but 4E/DDN is insanely unrealistic.

And, again, in a system with magical healing, magical healing is assumed when describing grievous wounds. And even though 120 hours is still unrealistic, it's not the absurdly quick 8 hours of 4E/DDN.
 

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