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?


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.
The question asked was about 3E in particular. If 3E is unrealistic, how did it not interfere with your interpretation of hit points and your narration of serious wounds?
 

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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.
Gary explained this one long ago - strike with the flat of the blade!

I'd say it's actually more problematic with a weapon like a mace.
 

Mercutio01

First Post
The question asked was about 3E in particular. If 3E is unrealistic, how did it not interfere with your interpretation of hit points and your narration of serious wounds?
The question asked was about 3E in particular. If 3E is unrealistic, how did it not interfere with your interpretation of hit points and your narration of serious wounds?

If you'd go back one page, you'd see my full answer. Since you appear to be ignoring it, you are either being deliberately obstinate, or simply seek to not listen to the answers you are provided.

But, in short, since magical healing is an deliberate assumption, the natural rate of healing only came into play if magical healing was missing, in which case the injured PC would hobble along at less than full HP until such time as magical healing was available. He didn't simply get up the next morning with all his HP.

You can call that invalid if you wish, but in every other edition of D&D, I was not forced to accept overnight natural healing.

Gary explained this one long ago - strike with the flat of the blade!

I'd say it's actually more problematic with a weapon like a mace.
I don't disagree, but 3E had you taking a penalty to attacks with lethal weapons being used counter to their stated purposes of killing humans. To wit, using the flat of your blade is not what it was designed for, and thus harder to execute properly. In particular, when I was deep in martial arts training, it took determined effort to pull punches or redirect focused blows so as to not cause damage, and thus the attacks themselves were not quite as properly aimed.

Now, even assuming that there is no penalty for non-lethal damage, would you not make your players declare that they are using weapons in a non-lethal manner before their attacks? If not, why not?
 

pemerton

Legend
I think you're being deliberately obtuse here

<snip>

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.
Actually, [MENTION=48135]Fifth Element[/MENTION] got my question right. I was asking how these injuries can be narrated as serious, when the game rules state that they will heal naturally in a week or so.

If the answer is "Because we ignore the natural healing possibility, and focus on the fact that, at the table, magic will be used" that's very interesting. Because when I read people complaining about martial encounter and daily powers (for example), they don't run their argument based on any actual facts of play at the table. They focus on the possibility that, in the gameworld, the PCs could notice the power is an encounter or daily one.

So for me, this is another case where I don't really see what is driving the application of process simulation considerations in some context, but results-oriented interpretation of the rules in other contexts, except familiarity and tradition.

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.
This can be feasible in 4e too, if the party has a paladin and cleric but no warlord. But I would agree it's more feasible in earlier editions.
 

pemerton

Legend
Re: subdual damageAD&D does have it - 1e DMG, page 67, "Striking to Subdue".
I think I always assumed that was for dragons only.

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?
Generally my players announce whether they're attacking to subdue or to kill.

That said, if they hadn't declared but wanted the foe to fall unconscious rather than be killed, I would generally let them narrate that - but it would be a result of luck rather than deliberate choice by the PC.
 

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.
Your example assumes that the character is stabilized which is not inherent in your highlighted question. If a character has been described with their guts across the floor [mechanically at -9 with stabilization uncertain and thus the wound highly likely to be fatal], and your character has the option of magically healing them (through spells, magical equipment or abilities), or performing a mundane DC 15 heal check, which option are you most likely to take? The guaranteed one or the possibly uncertain one? In play, this typically works just fine (we have a particular 2e/3.5 DM in our group who loves this sort of over the top damage) and that is why you can narrate serious injury and not have that narrative compromised.

Could it be undone by someone doing a heal check? Of course. It can even be undone by the player rolling that 10% chance (although by then, someone has usually tried to apply guaranteed healing). Does it allow for guts across the floor description having a very good probability of not being compromised? Yes it does.

However, is the 3e system healing mechanic perfect? Far from it, this is something D&D has never really gotten within the realms of believability. 3e has such ridiculousness as a high level but insipidly sick wizard healing to full health in a day while a low level hale barbarian will take weeks to reach full health. Would it be nice if they could give us something more believable in terms of healing, hit points and damage? Most likely not as then there will be people complaining of their characters dying of infection or spending months recuperating back to adventuring health unless you have access to magical healing.

What would be good though is having the flexibility to go one way or the other with a rules modules catering to each group's tastes. In this, despite the fact that they are still mashing physical and metaphysical concepts in together when they would be much better split (due to the believable and differing recovery rates of physical and metaphysical hit points); I still think that they can give the gamers who want to keep their characters in the action without halt the capacity to do so, while alternatively giving those of us who wish for something more believable our lollies too. I look forward to seeing how the 5e designers will cater to each.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

Actually, [MENTION=48135]Fifth Element[/MENTION] got my question right. I was asking how these injuries can be narrated as serious, when the game rules state that they will heal naturally in a week or so.
Your assuming the character has stabilized (which is not necessarily guaranteed when providing such narration). As such, the considerable likelihood is that the guts across the floor injured character will die rather than get the opportunity to heal naturally in a handful of days as I described above.

This can be feasible in 4e too, if the party has a paladin and cleric but no warlord. But I would agree it's more feasible in earlier editions.
I agree it is more feasible in earlier editions. In our 4e games, most of the time character's will use their own resources to recover. It is quite possible in fact that that is exactly what at least one character will do after a nasty combat, even with access to a cleric (who can only look after a couple of patients at a time). As such, any guts across the floor description is going to be quickly found out as ridiculous.

The most perilous 4e situation is when you have a character with no healing surges left and they're waiting for someone to stabilise them. Even then, because of either a warlord or other mundane assistance, the chance of the guts across the floor being compromised is still there and possibly more so than 3e because of the general standard of healing surge recuperation.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise
 

Mercutio01

First Post
So for me, this is another case where I don't really see what is driving the application of process simulation considerations in some context, but results-oriented interpretation of the rules in other contexts, except familiarity and tradition.

I can see this argument, but with magical healing being a presence in the game world, the characters would also know about magical healing, and would by relying on it. In fact that's exactly why a well-rounded group would actively seek out an adventuring cleric. The alternative is almost certain death.

FWIW, dailies didn't bother me the way encounter powers did.
 

jeffh

Adventurer
Ignoring the ongoing discussion, which I don't have the context for, and just looking at the original question, a hit has to indicate some injury or at least physical contact, doesn't it? Think of how, for example, poisonous snakes work - if you take 10 hits from them, you need to make 10 saves, not some lesser number, and they don't get harder as your hit points wear down.

Nothing I've said should be taken to mean hit points are entirely physical, or that these very minor injuries are the main explanation for hit point loss in all situations. Notwithstanding the flowchart on today's front page, I don't think anyone actually thinks that, and if such people exist, I am most certainly not one of them. I'm just saying there must be some contact involved.
 

pemerton

Legend
Your assuming the character has stabilized (which is not necessarily guaranteed when providing such narration).
I wasn't particularly talking about injuries that reduce a character into negative hit points, which have their own complexities (in 1st ed AD&D, a week's recovery after binding, and in 3E the need for binding - though, frankly, binding wounds in 6 seconds or so isn't redolent of anything very serious).

I was thinking more of, say, a 2nd level PC who drops from 15 hp to 1 hp in two blows from an orc in a combat. Thos 14 hp will heal in 4 days (at 4 hp per day), or in 2 days (at 8 hp per day) with nursing care (which nearly any trained nurse will be able to provide by taking 10). Therefore they cannot, in my view represent anything very serious.
 

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